Lighten Up

Burglars like to ‘work’ unseen and prefer empty houses. A home without lights on and surrounded by darkness signals that not only is the house empty, but that a would be burglar can operate unseen. A house in this situation is a much more likely target.Take a few simple measures to reduce the likelihood of being burgled.

Leave a light on:
Leave a light on inside the house (choose well-used rooms such as the lounge or bedroom – not a hallway or other largely unused area). The intention is to create the impression that someone is in – a significant deterrent. Illuminate the areas of your home which are most likely to achieve this. This will vary from house to house.

Use a timer switch to turn on lights inside the house:
Occupied houses will normally have more than one light on. Therefore, if possible, illuminate a second area that reinforces the impression that someone is in. At least one of the rooms, and preferably two, should be visible from the road.
Timer switches are an excellent way of triggering one or more lights. As daylight hours grow shorter, reset the timer to activate earlier. In the middle of winter an house with someone at home will often have lights on in the early afternoon and the timer needs to be set accordingly.

Use lighting outside the house:
Security lighting should operate either on a timer switch or permanently from dusk to dawn. For this to be economical and to avoid causing nuisance to neighbours, low energy lighting will be needed. This will normally be a Compact Fluorescent light, controlled by a photo-electric cell. (A light sensitive, dusk to dawn switch.) A 13 or 16 Watt unit with an opal cover, sited out of easy reach, will more than adequately illuminate the average rear garden with a gentle pleasant light – which has security, safety and social benefits. This form of lighting is very energy efficient and operates at an annual cost of around £6.
A permanent night time light such as this plays its part in deterring the burglar from selecting that particular house, costs next to nothing to run, and helps to create a more reassuring environment.

Privacy and Security
Be careful to strike a balance between privacy and security. Privacy for you is also privacy for the burglar to work in unseen. Wherever possible try to create the impression that neighbours and the public are able to see what is happening in the most vulnerable areas of your house, which are normally the rear and side. To maintain this impression at night lighting will be needed.
Burglars do not want to be caught and therefore do not want to be seen. A location where the criminal feels uncomfortable and exposed is less likely to be targeted. Remember it is the burglar’s impression that he or she can be seen – or might be seen – that matters most, not whether someone is actually watching.

The views on lighting expressed in this report are supported by The Institution of Lighting Engineers and The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers.