Does Outdoor Lighting Deter Crime [Explained With PROS & CONS]

It’s a dark and stormy night. You’re walking home from work and see a figure lurking in the shadows. When your heart races, you quicken your pace and hope to make it home safely. Would you feel safer if you had a light outside your home? It’s a question that many people ask themselves.

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer, now is the time to start thinking about installing some exterior lights outside your house.

Outdoor lighting is a simple and effective way to make the outside world feel safer and more welcoming. It also helps people feel comfortable while walking around at night.

This article will discuss how lighting influences crime rates and how you can combat crimes by installing outdoor lighting.

Security Issues and Outdoor Lighting

In recent years, there has been a rise in crimes where people are being attacked and killed by strangers. It is necessary to improve your home’s security if you want a crime-ridden neighborhood.

When it comes to home security, one of the most important things you can do is make your home well-lit. Installing outdoor lighting to illuminate your surroundings is one of the simplest ways to do it, especially when you live alone.

Of course, exterior lighting is just one part of a comprehensive security strategy. If you have a surveillance camera outside with bright lighting at night, you can always see what’s going on and keep updated about outside of your home. You can identify potential threats better this way.

Can Outdoor Lighting Deter Criminal Activities for Real?

Studies have shown that lighting outdoors can make people feel safer. It will be effective in deterring a small portion of burglaries.

Leaving lights on at night is not effective in keeping criminals away if there is no one around to see them. That’s why outdoor lights easier for potential criminals to see where they are going and what they are doing.

Also if you want to get more security layers, you can pair lighting with other security measures such as motion sensors and alarms.

Lighting is a powerful tool, but it alone won’t prevent criminal activity – you must take other vital steps to deter crime as well.

The Criminal Perspective

It is a well-known fact that criminals like to target poorly-lit properties. Those areas provide opportunities for them to operate without being seen. Also, criminals can use dark areas as cover to hide from potential witnesses.

Usually, burglars who have no intention to hurt people or kill someone get away whenever they sense any active human presence inside the household. Motion-sensor lights work the best in that case. You can check the CCTV footage that caught proof.

What Does the Research Say?

A study by the University of North Caroline found that well-lit areas had less crime than dimly lit ones. Another study by The University of Nevada found homes with outdoor lights were less likely to be burglarized.

Crime rates have outgrown in most cities over the few years. Many believe this is because of the economy or the tough times men are going through. 

New York is no exception. Crime rates went up 17% over the past years. A study shows that increased outdoor lighting has led the city to a 7% crime reduction. You can download the full report as a PDF.

People don’t realize that crime rates are rising because of the lack of lighting in many areas. This lack of lighting contributes to the crime rate by making it more difficult for folks to see at dark when they walk down the roads. That makes it easier for criminals to commit crimes.

How Much Light Did You Need to Deter Crime?

It depends on the specific location and situation. In terms of outdoor lighting, it is emergent to ensure that all the areas are well-lit. It includes places where people might congregate, such as car parks or public squares.

Moreover, good lighting around the perimeter of a building makes it more difficult for criminals to break in. Indoor lighting is also significant if there are valuable items inside your house. You can read is it good to use outdoor lights indoors?

Are There Any Benefits to Increased Outdoor Lighting?

There is no definite answer to this question. But some evidence suggests it does. One of the most obvious benefits of increased exterior lighting is that it can help you see better at night. 

If you’re coming home late at night from work or need to take your dog out for a walk, well-lit sidewalks and porches can make a big difference.

Spotlights are perfect for accentuating features in your yard. Landscaping lights can also light up and create a safer environment.

They are generally used to highlight a pond or water feature and maintain outside security besides creating a romantic ambiance in your garden.

Pros And Cons of Outdoor Lights For Deterring Crime


  • Increased security and safety in dark areas.
  • Improved visibility of potential criminal activity.
  • Deterrence of criminal activity through the presence of lighting.
  • Reduced fear of crime among citizens.


  • Light pollution may be distracting or annoying to citizens.
  • Possible negative impact on wildlife due to the presence of artificial light.

Final Verdict

Most scientists and researchers say it to be bullshit. Yet, you can witness a few differences that I have talked about in reality. Police claim outdoor lighting to be a way to deter 10 to 20 percent of crimes in any area.

So, you must set up motion-sensor lights or security lights surrounding your household without giving it a second thought. But do not leave your lights on all the time. 

Most of the thieves chase out the neighborhood before making any move. They will certainly notice if your outdoor lights keep lighting for the whole time.

Avoid putting the light on timers as it allows criminals to know when to come. Bulbs with built-in alarm sensors can deter criminals from removing them and burglars, as they go off when removed.

About The Author

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Written by Shimul
Hi, I'm Shimul, the founder of Trendy Outdoor. I'm excited about sharing the latest outdoor living trends with you. My goal is to provide you with up-to-date information that will help make your outdoor space stylish and enjoyable. Read About Me More । Follow on Facebook

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