Authorities have often suggested leaving lights on to help keep your home safe. But, many homeowners are questioning whether that is actually an effective burglary prevention strategy. As you look down your street to see if certain homes are illuminated, you might be wondering what makes a home a potential target. And, what does lighting have to do with home safety?
One study suggests that using lighting as a burglar-deterrent reduces the chances of anonymity. The study suggests that security lights help deter break-ins because many intruders feel they would be more likely to be recognized and caught if security lighting were in use.
But, is lighting really the deterrent? This same study suggests that neighborhoods with good lighting are perceived to have a stronger sense of community pride and that the lighting acts as informal social control to help prevent burglary. In fact, according to FBI data, most break-ins occur during the day between 10 AM and 3 PM because it is when people are least likely to be home.
Another study was conducted using burglar responses. KGW8 News surveyed 86 burglars regarding their motivations and methods for breaking in to a home. The responses were unclear in determining whether lighting was a sufficient deterrent: “Responses were mixed regarding lights on in a home. Some said it was a deterrent. But one burglar said the combination of lights on and blinds closed created an attractive location.” In addition, every burglar who took part in the study said that they would knock on the door prior to attempting a burglary and almost all would reconsider breaking into a home if a car was in the driveway.
The combination of this data suggests that the most important element for burglary prevention is a presence within the home. Burglars prefer to break in when the house is empty. They can work quickly and quietly and be gone before anyone even knows they were there.
Using this information, there are a few ways you can use lighting as part of your burglary prevention strategy.
Leaving on lights at all times of the day doesn’t seem to be an effective burglary prevention strategy and it doesn’t do much for your utility bill either. With some planning, you can help keep your home safe and reduce your carbon footprint.