Why Street Lights are Important

The Correlation Between Poor Street Lighting and Crime

Does Street Lighting Reduce Crime?

There is a long-standing correlation between light and crime. Just think of the phrase “in a dark alley” and see what comes to mind. Street lights are a proven way of reducing robberies, burglaries, property defacement, property damage, and other crimes that often happen in the dark. By ensuring your property has adequate lighting around it, you can reduce risks and avoid fostering criminal activity.

How Bright Street Lights Improve Safety and Security

As this article shows, areas with street light outages often see increased crime. The authors found, through a lighting study conducted in Chicago, that criminal activity will shift to darker areas. They say, “streetlight outages cause crime to spill over to nearby street segments.” This means that if the business down the street from your property updated their lighting, you should update yours, too.

The two most common crimes that lighting was found to effect are “robberies and motor vehicle theft.” But by investing in bright street lights, you can discourage this kind of activity around your business.

During an experiment done in New York City, it was found that “the provision of street lights led, at a minimum, to a 36 percent reduction in nighttime outdoor index crimes .”

Through both examples, it is made clear that street lighting, and outdoor lighting in general, can have a significant impact on reducing crime by brightening dark areas.

The Daylight Savings Time Effect

Since Daylight Savings Time just came to an end, it is suddenly getting dark earlier in the evening again. The extra hour of light that Daylight Saving Time adds may not seem like much, but this light affects more than you may think.

According to this study on the connection between lighting and crime, “it is shown that in areas with less public lighting, a sudden increase in ambient light produces a…reduction in crime.” The study found that the “sharp increase in natural light during crime-intense hours” caused by Daylight Savings Time, leads to a “significant decrease in robbery of 17-percent.”

So, while Daylight Savings Time reduces property crime by adding extra light in the evening, it only helps those with insufficient lighting on their property and it is only a temporary fix.

As Daylight Savings Time comes to an end, many businesses are left in the dark.

However, if you install adequate lighting throughout your property—especially in poorly lit areas—you can create the same crime-reducing effect that Daylight Savings Time does, but have it last all through the year (and all through the night).

How Much Energy Does a Street Light Use?

One of the big drawbacks of improving the street lighting around a property is the monthly cost of running those new lights. Are you wondering about monthly overhead? Or how reducing energy waste can affect that cost? Here are three ways you can cut costs without cutting corners.

Three ways to Reduce Energy Overhead

Upgrade to LED Lights

Utilize Smart Features

Choose Solar Power

Upgrading to LED

One way to reduce energy overhead is to switch from energy-sapping lamps to LED lighting. Below is an estimation of the energy used by a standard 1000W MH street light in comparison to an LED street light with equivalent lumen output.

While both of these street lights will brighten your property and help reduce crime, the LED light will cost 70% less to run each month.

Smart Features

By choosing street lights with smart features, like those that can detect sunlight, automatically dim, or connect to Wi-Fi for simple and wireless lighting controls, you can be sure that your property is well-lit while eliminating energy waste. Rather than have your lights running while it is still bright outside, automatic street lights have smart technology built in so each lamp comes on when you want it to.

Top Benefits of Automatic Street Lights

  • Reduce your energy bill
  • Minimize manual labor
  • Illuminate from dusk to dawn

Solar Powered Lighting

LED street lights that use solar power will provide outdoor illumination that requires zero wiring and costs virtually nothing to run. Plus, since solar lights are not dependent on the power grid, they are unaffected during outages. So, if the power goes down in your area, solar powered security lights will continue to protect your property—no generator required. Check out this blog for more info on our outdoor solar lighting options.

Choosing the Right Outdoor Lighting

Knowing that improved levels of illumination throughout your outdoor property will lower the risk of crime taking place, it is now time to choose the best lighting for your application.

Feel free to browse our line of street lights. For those looking to do a one-stop-shop for their outdoor lighting, we also offer steel and aluminum poles in round or square style so you can easily complete your project.

If you would like help with this process, consider taking advantage of the free lighting services we offer customers who source their lights through us. When you think "lighting design," sophisticated rooms may come to mind, but lighting design is just as important for street lighting. The answers to where, how many, at what lumens, color temperature, and throw pattern, and with what lighting controls all contribute to the success of your street lighting project. Check out the expert lighting design services available from Lighting Project Management team—and while you're there take a moment to request your free lighting consultation. 

Call our team at 215.355.7200 or email us at lights@eledlights.com to get started.