19 May

Do Outdoor Lights Deter Criminals?

We’ve all heard that well-lit areas have lower crime rates, and there’s even some research to back up those claims. However, if you really want to deter crime in and around your home, you need to take it a step further than just flipping on the outdoor lights at night.

Think Like a Thief

Before you blindly assume that outdoor lighting will repel all criminals from your property, we’d like you to take a moment to really think about why well-lit areas deter thieves from breaking in. It’s not the lighting by itself that influences the thief to stay away…it’s the fact that they believe the lighting indicates that someone is home. The last thing most criminals want to do is break into a property and be faced with a family of four, so they typically try to time their devious acts to when a property appears unoccupied. More often than not, unoccupied properties do not have outdoor lights on.

With that in mind, you may think it’s a good idea to just leave your outdoor lights on all the time. We would like to discourage you from doing so. You see, thieves are pretty smart, and many of them spend at least a few days casing out the neighborhood before making their move. During that time, they’ll certainly notice that your outdoor lights never turn off, raising their suspicion that the lights maybe just an attempt to divert attention away from an unoccupied property.

The better move is to combine outdoor lighting with other security measures to mimic human activity on your property, even when no one is there. In the next section, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to do this.

Add Layers of Protection

Outdoor lighting is a great place to start when it comes to deterring crime from your property, but it’s only the first step. To really secure the area and convince would-be criminals that your property is not the best candidate for burglary, you need to add in some additional features, both inside and outside:

  • Security system/Cameras

There’s really no better way to deter crime than to have a security system, complete with cameras, alarms, motion-activated lighting, and audio features, active on your property 24/7. With professional monitoring, you’ll have a pair of eyes both inside and outside your home or business at all times. If the alarms don’t scare the criminals off, the monitoring service can send a photo or video to local law enforcement and have them on the way.

If a full security system is just too much, there are several home camera systems available today that connect to your WiFi and notify you on your phone of motion. Some of these systems can also record video, have two-way audio, and send information to law enforcement or community watch groups.

  • Motion-activation

Motion activation is one of the most important features we recommend on some outdoor lights, especially those that illuminate walkways and entryways. These are the lights the criminals don’t expect and often take them off their guard. Suddenly their casual stroll up your sidewalk is met by a bright, intimidating spotlight that warns them to stay away or be seen. We also recommend motion-activated spotlights for any outdoor areas that should not have any movement, so you can easily see anyone trying to lurk in the shadows.

  • Outdoor audio

Outdoor audio is great for entertaining, but did you know it can also be a great deterrent to crime? People get really creative here, using sounds of anything from a barking dog to an engine revving up to make criminals think someone is home. We recommend combining audio with motion activation for optimal results. 

  • Timers/Schedules

Many outdoor lights now have scheduling or timer capabilities, allowing you to program them to come on at night and go off during the day. But timers can be used for so much more! By selectively programming certain lights to come on at certain times while you are away, you can easily fool someone into thinking you are home. Consider using timers on indoor lighting and appliances (like TVs) as well to boost the effect.

Trust the Professionals

Now that you know the outdoor lighting techniques to keep your property safe and secure, it’s time to choose the features you want and have them installed. But if you’re like most people, you barely have time to do the things already on your daily schedule, so you definitely don’t have time to take on an entire outdoor lighting installation project. That’s when it’s time to call in the professionals! If your property is in Tampa Bay, Decorating Elves is the only call you need to make. We’re your one-stop shop for all your outdoor lighting and audio needs, including all the bells and whistles. Contact us at 727-474-2628 to schedule a free estimate for your outdoor lighting project today!