Security lighting can be a very effective feature of a larger security system. On its own, lighting rarely works to provide perfect security, but it goes a long way to increasing the feeling of safety for many people.
Basic motion sensing security lights can be a very effective deterrent (and a great way to keep the neighbourhood cats and possums on their toes).
Security lighting design fundamentals
Security lighting is often the target of vandalism, possibly to prepare for a future break in attempt. For this reason, they should either be mounted very high, or protected by wire mesh or tough shields.
It's critical that security lighting is arranged carefully too – poorly arranged security lights may actually prevent you from seeing what is happening. Consider where lights are placed, and where you are likely to be when they switch on.
Security lights aren't perfect
Beyond all other considerations, you need to remember that proper security lighting on its own doesn't constitute a complete security system. Likewise, security lighting is only useful at night.
Statistically speaking, most household burglaries take place during the day, when residents are at work or out shopping. Lights can be an effective deterrent, but you shouldn't rely on them to provide complete protection for your home.
- Security lighting should be 'bright enough to see clearly', but not 'as bright as possible'.
- Avoid facing security lights directly into the neighbours' windows.
- Use several medium-powered lamps rather than fewer, more powerful lamps. This will help to reduce glare and large, dark shadows.
- Make sure the lights are accessible for simple maintenance, and at the same time protected from tampering.
- Bury the control and power lines well underground, or mount them at a height of at least 8 metres to prevent tampering.