Lighting as Part of Your Security Planning
I’ve worked in the security and investigation fields for about two decades now. Time and again, one of the areas that I’ve seen given the least amount of attention in security planning is adequate lighting. Often, the problem isn’t that lights aren’t installed but rather they aren’t nearly powerful enough. Another common issue is lights that aren’t maintained properly.
Criminals and such avoid light like vampires avoid the sun. They don’t want to be seen when they’re engaging in their chosen profession. If they are working at jimmying open a window at 2 AM and a light comes on, they scatter like the cockroaches they usually are.
Motion Activated Lights
Motion activated lights should be present on all sides of the home. You want these lights to be as bright as possible. The ideal would be bright enough that you could read a newspaper dozens of feet away from the spotlight. Position the motion sensor so movement at any entry point will be detected. If the range of your unit won’t extend far enough to reach all of the ground level windows and doors along the side of the house, consider adding another unit.
If money is tight and you can only afford one or two Motion activated lights, install them over or very near the front and back doors of the home. These are the most common entry points, not only for you but for intruders as well.
While there have been great strides in bulb technology, as they last much longer today than they did years ago, you still need to check them regularly to ensure none are burnt out. Test them monthly by taking a walk around the perimeter of your home.
Any lights that don’t operate as expected should be checked as soon as possible. Could be a bulb has burned out or perhaps the motion sensor is obstructed by something. Bear in mind that many motion-activated lights on the market today only turn on at night, so as to conserve energy. So, your testing may need to be done after sundown.
Of course, while these lights may help with deterring crime, they only do so passively. It is up to you to get out of your chair, possibly missing part of Dancing with the Stars, and check to see what it was that activated the light. While it is most likely going to be a critter of some sort, the time you don’t look will be the time it turns out to be Joe Burglar.
Security lighting shouldn’t be limited to the perimeter of your home, either. Each and every room of your home should have at least one working flashlight in it. In a sudden power outage, those flashlights will help prevent you from stumbling over something and getting hurt.
If you have small children, I suggest investing in a few dynamo (crank) powered flashlights for their rooms. Reason being, you know they are going to play with any flashlights you put in their rooms. Using the crank powered ones will prevent the possibility of learning, at the worst possible time, that the batteries are either dead or missing from the light.
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