Do Outdoor Lights Deter Crime?

As a home or property owner, you definitely already know that outdoor lights are integral in illuminating your property and its environment. Outdoor lights, especially the bright ones, ensure the safety of those staying within a building while still beautifying the exterior view of that building. But can installing outdoor lights not only make you aware of what moves outside your property but also serve security purposes by preventing criminals from getting close?

Outdoor lighting has been proven to reduce crime. Normal outdoor lighting favoring warmer colors and aesthetics may be somewhat less effective than bright white floodlights. Either option deters criminals, but you should consider separate outdoor lighting systems for decoration and crime prevention.

Suppose you live in a neighborhood where the majority of the houses have outdoor lighting. In that case, such areas have a lower percentage chance of being robbed compared to communities that have no outdoor lighting. There are a lot of decisions to make about your home lighting, especially if you’re worried about crime and need that to be a priority. So, let’s take a look at your options and start to build a better picture of what a solution here looks like.

Will Outdoor Lights Prevent Crime?

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Outdoor lights are specifically designed to light up your house’s exterior and enable you to see whatever goes on outside clearly. Many studies have shown that houses with outdoor lighting or motion-activated lights are less likely to be broken into. This only applies to certain types of burglaries, primarily small-scale ones.

And by the way, although this article focuses on lights, you can have a look at this post on a site specializing in home security details for a discussion about how game cameras can be used to enhance home security. These work great in tandem with outdoor lighting, but they’re also a set-it-and-forget-it option like motion-sense security lighting can be. It’s another valuable tool to have in the chest here!

Back to lighting! Lots of homes still make use of the old-fashioned lights for their outdoors. Although they are bright enough, they also provide a view of the home’s weaknesses which would be helpful to burglars and criminals to break in or hide. This is why security lighting is the best option.

Security lights are designed to protect your home or building. Security lights can regulate how criminals view your home at night, and they can achieve this with their top-notch features and motion-activated lighting.

There are three ways in which security lights can deter crime:

  • Leaving your lights on from sundown till sunrise will lighten up your home and yard during the darkest hours of the night. The sundown to sunup lighting is super bright, making it impossible for any criminal to break in.
  • There’s also a mode that turns your lights on as the sun sets and off right after the sun rises. Automatic timers help make this possible. You don’t have to go through the stress of manually turning the lights on and off.
  • Motion-activated lighting is a feature of security lights that turns them on when they detect movement. With this, uninvited visitors like criminals get scared when the lights suddenly expose their presence.
  • The final technique is the directed lighting technique. This one involves a pattern of security cameras and highlights that brighten the exterior of your home. This enables you to identify potential criminals as they come towards your home and capture them on tape.

How Can You Use Light To Deter Burglars?

It has been proven that the more light there is in your neighborhood, the more difficult it is for a criminal to steal from you. Out of all the numerous ways you can use light to deter burglars, the best ways to do so are:

Using lights that mimic movement inside your house, so they think someone’s home.

Rather than leaving your indoor and outdoor lights on or off throughout the night, you can control your lights to turn on and off at varying times. Anyone watching your home from outside will assume an occupant is in the house when you do this.

If your lights use timers, then that’s even better. You could set them in advance for all the rooms inside or outside your home.

Use motion sensor lighting outside

Motion sensor lights are typically so bright that even your neighbors would be aware of any questionable activity in your yard. So when the lights turn on, not only do you become alert, but your neighbor does too.

You should also use an alarm system to support your motion sensor lighting. This will alert you at all times whenever an intruder gains access to your property.

Use timers on indoor lamps if you’re not home.

As mentioned before, using timers on your indoor lamps is a good idea, both when you’re home and when you aren’t home. Smart security lighting helps you do so as they have the right features.

If you want to use this method, ensure your curtains are drawn to prevent anyone from seeing inside your empty home. Furthermore, you can use a video doorbell, so visitors will think you are actually at home when they knock.

Can Outdoor Lights Help Catch A Burglar?

If you have surveillance cameras (or maybe a game camera as we mentioned above) aimed at your door, the light will help you see what the suspect looks like. It gives the police and community a higher chance of finding who broke into your house.

As effective as outdoor lights are, they’re useless if there’s no one around to witness or report a burglary. The lights would only help the burglars see what they’re doing clearly. Even if you use motion sensors or timers when you’re not at home and you don’t have anyone around to be a witness, the burglar will most likely not be seen.

Even if you have no security cameras around your property, but some neighbors or passers-by could actually bear witness to any suspicious activity, then outdoor lights can be helpful in catching a burglar.

For people living in sparsely populated areas like some rural communities, it’s advisable to keep your outdoor lights off at night. Keeping them on would only enable the intruder to see better.  

Will Outdoor Lights Deter Animals?

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Certain animals aren’t usually deterred by light, especially large animals like coyotes. This is because they get used to such stimuli quickly, compared to smaller animals like raccoons and skunks that dislike light.

Possums, on the other hand, don’t get startled as easily as the previously mentioned smaller animals, but deer get spooked easily by lights.

Generally, motion-sensing lights can deter animals irrespective of size. That’s because an unexpected light source will often unsettle them. Although for larger animals, installing motion-sensing lights isn’t usually enough.  

It’s a good idea to keep one by your trash can if you don’t want animals like raccoons getting in your trash. But you should know that with time when they see that the light causes them no harm, they eventually get comfortable with visiting your yard.

To get rid of animals from your yard, you should try to minimize the amount of food growing in your yard and always empty your trash or clear your yard of debris as often as possible.

Can Animals Get Used To Your Outdoor Lights?

It’s been shown that animals that repeatedly come to your house will get used to your lights. If they walk through your yard every night, they might only get scared the first few times and then get used to the lights.

In other words, the more repeated the animals’ visits become, the less effective your outdoor lights are in scaring them away.

You may be thinking that motion sensor lights would do the trick, but unfortunately, lights are lights. They may initially work for animals that haven’t come across such a type of lighting. Still, if the animal is brave enough to re-visit, it eventually gets used to it.

However, it seems that flashing motion sensor lights aren’t as easy for the animals to get used to.

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