Under the Spot Light

Under the Spot Light

Under the Spot Light – An Analysis of Security Lighting

The use of commercial and domestic security lighting has been used for several years now. The ever increasing development of passive infrared technology has meant that the modern type of security lighting is both reliable and effective. Lights can be set to come on at dusk and switch off at dawn or be set to stay lit a pre determined length of time. As with most items of security there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of security.




  • Can be a nuisance if set up incorrectly. Lights are either on continuously, or are activated by the PIR sensor, usually by cats or foxes etc or even the wind. This can create a “Cry Wolf” situation where the householders or neighbours just ignore the light due to its frequent illumination.
  • Will require an electrician to install them correctly and safely.
  • Use electricity at an alarming rate if a high wattage lamp is used and is activated frequently. A 500W bulb is somewhat over powered for most situations, in fact a bulb as low as 50W is adequate.
  • May actually assist a burglar by lighting up the area they are trying to break into. A light can even help them to see an escape route and means they no longer need to carry a torch.
  • Flood Lights can increase the fear of crime amongst the most vulnerable.
  • Powerful flood lights (500W) can cause glare blinding onlookers, this means criminals can use such lights as a cloak.
  • A very bright light creates even darker shadows in comparison; therefore a security light can actually provide hiding places for burglars. In fact burglars may turn an activate security light to their favour and may deliberately trigger the light to see what kind of reaction it creates. A repeated activation can result in the “Cry Wolf” situation and a genuine threat may be ignored.
  • The installation of security lighting, especially in rural areas, may actually advertise to an intruder that you are trying to protect something. A better solution would be to ensure any valuable goods and properties are hidden away.




  • Burglars tend to be opportunists and favour properties that are empty or are in darkness. The activation of a security light may make an intruder think twice about attempting a break-in.
  • The activation of a security light can give the occupier a “comfort feeling” that the light has done its job and has deterred any would be intruders.
  • An illuminated security light activated on your property can alert neighbours to keep an eye out if you are away on holiday or the property is empty.
  • External lighting on a property including deck lights and solar powered garden lights look attractive but can also help to illuminate any dark areas within the garden etc.
  • Security lights when activated by welcomed visitors ensure that they approach your property safely.
  • Security lighting on commercial properties helps to reduce vandalism.
  • Using a low energy light with a 11W bulb which is the equivalent to a 60W bulb is cheap to run but has a good illumination level.


As you can see there almost as many advantages as disadvantages, there is no right or wrong answer as to whether you should use security lighting or not. It all depends on the circumstances, who knows how many times a burglar has considered breaking into your property but has gone else where due to your security lighting. Of course there are instances where houses have been broken into directly under an illuminated light but my feeling is in most circumstances security lighting will help to deter the opportunist burglar.

The best solution is to install some physical type of security like folding grilles or roller shutters. If combined with an alarm system or even CCTV then you will have the ultimate deterrent to the unwanted guest.