Often lighting is used in a commercial or public setting for security. It’s even used for this purpose in residential places – who hasn’t set off a motion detected porch light?
Did you know that one of the most important things about security lighting is centered on planning considerations?
For example – if the light is too bright it can conceal criminal activity. In addition, if the lighting design is not done properly the weaknesses in the system can be exploited, actually making the area less secure. Typically, these weaknesses are exploited by a less than savory element. This excerpt from a New Yorker article perfectly illuminates the issues surrounding light and crime related activities:
…lighting is effective in preventing crime mainly if it enables people to notice criminal activity as it’s taking place, and if it doesn’t help criminals to see what they’re doing. Bright, unshielded floodlights – one of the most common types of outdoor security lighting in the country – often fail on both counts… A burglar who is forced to use a flashlight, or whose movement triggers a security light controlled by an infrared motion sensor, is much more likely to be spotted than one whose presence is masked by the blinding glare of a poorly placed metal halide “wall pack.” ¹
You also need to figure out if your lighting plan should be optimised for human vision, or if it needs to be observed by security cameras. If it’s the second, then the lighting design also needs to account for where the cameras are placed and what their visual reach is so there is no uncovered territory.
Lighting also has an interesting link to safety – well the level of lighting anyway. Sometimes more light isn’t better or more secure. If it is not installed and designed by professionals, lights can cause a glare or be too bright, which can cause accidents or interfere with the eye’s ability to adapt to darker areas².
A final note – Lighting affects us as humans on a physiological level, and as a result it has a huge effect on our sense of security in a given space. Beyond the obvious, that lights make us feel safe at night in a dark parking lot, lighting can also help humans feel safer and more informed, thus influencing our behaviour. In fact, it has been proven that people prefer more light than is necessary for good performance³.