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Using Landscape Lighting to Protect Your Property

Updated on June 17, 2018
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Arby has been a professional writer and researcher for over 10 years, and her areas of interest are shamefully diverse.

According to the FBI, Americans suffered $3.6 billion in property losses due to burglaries in 2016 alone. That's a lot of stuff being stolen. It's important to consider how you'll protect your hard-earned assets, and help keep your family safe. There are other ways to help protect your property and family, like getting more strategic about your landscape lighting. No, seriously.

The right lighting can help prevent burglary.
The right lighting can help prevent burglary.

Thieves operate under cover of darkness. Security experts have known this since pretty much ever. A well-lit property seems well-kept. Monitored. Properties with properly placed and well-maintained lighting sends the message that a trespasser is highly unlikely to get by unnoticed.

Types of Security Lighting

Motion-Sensor Lights Motion sensing light fixtures are one of the most commonly used types of theft-deterrent lights. Not much explanation is needed in terms of what they do: they are lights that sense and respond to motion. The idea is to use the element of surprise to startle potential prowlers (and hopefully scare them off).

Even if a burglar realizes they're dealing with automated lighting, he or she also knows there is a huge risk of being spotted by the homeowners or neighbors once it has come on.

Affix motion lights to your garage or other outbuildings where someone might initially gain entry to your property. Adjust the sensitivity so it's not up too high. If your lights are coming on every time a butterfly lands on your neighbors mailbox, you should probably turn it down to sense only things happening on your own property.

Motion sensor lighting can be housed in any kind of fixture, so you don't have to sacrifice style for security. There are motion sensor lights available in pretty much any style you like, from utilitarian to ornate - and everywhere in between.

Landscape lighting for security doesn't have to take away from the design of your home and property.
Landscape lighting for security doesn't have to take away from the design of your home and property.

Spotlights and Floodlights Spots and floods can illuminate fairly large areas, and unless equipped with a motion sensor, stay lit as long as their power source is on. They either create an intense and concentrated beam in one narrow area (spot) or cast a broad swath of light (flood).

These types of lights are nice for areas where you are going to potentially be walking around at night (for instance: alongside the house where you wheel your garbage out to the street). Criminals are not likely to lurk in a brightly lit area, so you can feel more at ease when working outdoors later at night.

This kind of lighting is not recommended for businesses. This is because commercial properties are usually deserted at night and today's security experts contend that in such cases spotlights and floodlights do nothing other than help thieves and vandals to see better. At a residential home, there are usually people around - whether in the home itself, at neighboring houses, or out on the roadway. In this kind of environment, bad guys don't want to hang around in well-lit areas.

Just like motion sensors, flood lights and spotlights can be housed in attractive fixtures so they don't take away from the aesthetic of your outdoor spaces.

The truth is that installing any kind of landscape lighting is a step toward protecting your property.
The truth is that installing any kind of landscape lighting is a step toward protecting your property.

How Much Do You Know About Home Invasions?

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Enhancing Security With Decorative Lighting

Flood lights and motion sensor lights aren't the only way to enhance security around your home and property. Decorative lights can serve multiple purposes. A home with attractive, well-designed landscape lighting looks like the kind of place that probably has a security system.

Lighting pathways. Lighted pathways send a warm welcome to guests, but not so much for prowlers. No thief wants to be on full display as they march up to your house to steal things.

Changing it up. Criminals often watch places before they decide to burglarize them. If you regularly add new lighting or make little changes to your existing lighting, anyone watching will see that you're on top of things when it comes to your home and property. When you switch some of your outdoor bulbs for colored ones during the holidays, you're probably not thinking about the security benefits - but you just might be helping to deter the bad guys (or gals).

Filling in the spaces. Bright lights can be a great addition to your security measures, but they shouldn't be all you do. In fact, the bright spots created by spotlights and floodlights can actually make pockets of darkness that enable criminal activity. Balance this by adding soft lighting around your property to illuminate your landscaping and eliminate potential hiding places.

The key with adding a security element to your decorative lighting is to keep it in good repair. Burned out bulbs and kicked-over lights indicate that you don't notice everything going on around your property - or that you don't care that much.

How Safe Do You Feel at Home?

Are you concerned a about the security of your property?

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There's no way to be 100% sure your home won't be targeted by a burglar, vandal, or other criminal. Lighting is one tool in your home security toolbox that can really have an impact on how safe your property is.

© 2009 Arby Bourne


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