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Improving industrial lighting reduces crime

How a New York study showed that crime is reduced in areas with proper security and safety lighting compared to others without; how this compares to previous studies.

Large study finds extra safety and security lighting can cut crime rates
Lighting in common areas reduces crime. Some say there are pros and cons to lighting industrial and common areas, but a major study in New York showed conclusively that safety lighting does cut crime.

The mixed messages of lighting as a crime deterrent
In the UK certain local authorities have reduced the duration street and safety lighting is switched on; some lighting switches off at midnight or similar and the concern was that this would increase crime rates and compromise safety in open areas.

On the other hand, some argue that dark conditions could actually dissuade a burglar or intruder from trying to enter a home or business premises since the darkened conditions could make it harder for them to gain access.

Conservative MP Eric Pickles liked the idea of streetlights being switched off later on in the evening. At the time when he was Communities Secretary he said it helped him sleep but he was overruled by police in his (then) Essex constituency of Brentwood and Ongar when they ordered lighting to be switched back on late at night when there was an increase in crime.

Light in conjunction with security systems
Those arguing dark conditions are better for security suggest that potential intruders not being able to spot potential hazards such as a wheelie bin that could be knocked over and cause a noise, or see their way down a path or similar, could discourage them from attempting a break in.

It’s been argued a well lit area could make it easier for an intruder to see their way more easily so actually encouraging break ins.

An equally convincing case has been argued that proper lighting and security – especially in an industrial setting – is a deterrent to intruders. In a well lit area CCTV cameras and other security provisions with lighting installed by professional industrial lighting contractors may well act as a deterrent as the intruder will show up more easily on camera.

Indeed, in an environment such as a building site, signage that can be read easily because it’s a well lit area warning potential intruders that construction site security systems have been installed would likely act as a ‘twin deterrent’.

The New York study
The New York City Police Department and its Housing Authority in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the Crime Lab scientific research team conducted a six month trial involving around 80 public housing developments known to have higher than average levels of crime.

Half of the developments had new, temporary street and public area lighting installed while the other half did not.

Overall, the experiment showed that the developments with the lighting experienced crime rates considerably lower than those with no extra lighting. There was a reduction of 39% at night of index crimes – including serious offences such as robbery, assault and murder.

Conclusive?
The New York study does show that lighting can reduce crime.

It was a large and controlled study and used the ‘true standard’ procedure to be recognised as a proper scientific exercise. It was a randomised controlled trial (RCT), so its findings carry much weight while previous and less involved studies in the US and the UK have shown a mixed bag of results with extra lighting shown to be reducing crime in about half of the studies.

A full report of the New York study is available.

UK study of burglars
A study by the UK government concerning what factors burglars consider when deciding whether or not to break in somewhere found that lighting wasn’t considered at all. The problem with drawing a ‘lighting doesn’t matter’ conclusion from this study is the possibility of ‘selection bias’ skewing the findings in that the burglars polled were only the ones caught.

It’s possible burglars who weren’t caught were the ones who did consider security lighting an unacceptable risk and therefore didn’t try to break into buildings protected by lighting.

For more information, please contact:

Innolight: Mark Harris (Director) 07535962834, 10 Barclay Gardens, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 3BF. Web address: https://innolight.co.uk/

Sicuro: Hayley Russell (Marketing manager) 01268 545541, Suite 23 Saffron Court, Southfields Industrial Estate, Laindon, Essex, SS15 6SS. Web address: https://www.sicuro.co.uk/

-ends-

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The view or information contained within these unedited press releases, are that of the company producing it and not necessary the views of kpm.

 

About Sarah OBeirne

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