October Crime Prevention Blog 4

Be bright, and leave on a light! By Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride

Welcome to the fourth instalment of my crime prevention blog. This month I’m going to look at the use of ‘light’ in the fight against crime!

Humankind has used light since the Stone Age, lighting fires to deter predators. Now, we have security lighting which can deter modern day predators, such as burglars and thieves!

When I speak to people about the benefits of using lighting to prevent crime, I always use one example that sticks in my mind. I had visited a family to provide advice as they had been burgled just days before Christmas.

They had wrapped their presents, which were scattered around the base of their Christmas tree, and they were all set to have a memorable festive time with their children. It turned out to be memorable for the wrong reasons.

At around 4:30pm on 18th December they were visited by two unwanted guests, who picked out their house from a street full of others and burgled it. They lost their Christmas presents, a TV, a video camera and jewellery, some of which was irreplaceable and was of sentimental value. The family were understandably left distraught.

Two suspects were subsequently arrested and questioned, and when asked why they had chosen that particular house from a street full of similar houses, they said it was the only one in darkness. A simple plug-in timer might have prevented the burglary from happening. Bringing lights on before you get home in the evening produces an element of doubt in the mind of the criminal.

How many lights and what type?

Burglars prefer to target homes which are unoccupied. They like to work in darkness, concealing their activity and identity, however, just a couple of lights and/or a couple of plug in timers can make a huge difference to your safety and security. Your home need not look like Blackpool Illuminations!

We recommend dusk ‘til dawn lighting for outdoor security, which is the type that stays on through the hours of darkness and switches off before the sun comes up. When it’s on, you look out of your window at night and can instantly see that everything in the garden is indeed rosy. Dusk ‘til dawn lighting works best when the area being illuminated is overlooked. This type of lighting should be energy efficient, using low energy lamps or LED’s. 

Lighting inside your home

There are several devices for switching on lights in your home, including timer switches and light sensitive lamps. Timer switches are very useful and fairly cheap. They can be plugged in and used to switch on a lamp, and perhaps a radio in a ground floor room. Some models allow for multiple on/off periods and are ideal for an upstairs room - where a light going on and off over a period of time will give the impression that your home is occupied.

You can also buy products that allow you to switch on lights in your home before you get in from work or from the other side of the world!

Don’t just set a light on a timer in the hall or landing area. You wouldn’t just sit in these locations in the evening - would you?

Remember! The clocks go back on Sunday 30th October so be bright and leave on a light!