Lighting is about more than just illumination. Yes, it’s useful to see in the dark, but lights can also be used as decoration, as accent pieces, or the focus of today’s article, for security.
In the United States, a home intrusion is committed every 15 seconds, equalling about 2.5 million households annually. And while this is a decrease from previous years, the value of items stolen per burglary has gone up. In fact, by the time you’ve finished reading this article, at least 8 new intrusions will have taken place.
But you can stop it from happening to you! You probably know this, and that’s why you’re reading this in the first place. Here are the first things you should do to get started:
Step 1: Assess your current situation.
Answer some basic questions to help you start thinking about what type of security you need:
- Where are you located?
- What is a realistic threat level for the area?
- Have there been security breaches in your area?
- Do you have any information as to why they happened?
Knowing a general security level will help you decide how many precautions you need to take, what kind of security you need, and where to draw the line when outfitting your home or office. From here, you can figure out the number and type of lights you need.
Step 2: Do a walk-around.
Now, figure out what vulnerabilities are present on your property. As you explore the area – or ask a friend to do it for you – think about the places that can go unnoticed. What isn’t currently lit up or monitored? What is, and is it sufficient? How good are your locks? Where can you easily hide?
While this may feel redundant, or even a little silly, this step is very important. Take a good look around: you may have gotten used to way your property is laid out and could be inadvertently overlooking some potential security threats, which is why enlisting the help of someone else may be useful.
Mark the areas you identify on a layout of your property, so you have a visualization of the ‘problem areas’ on the premises.
Step 3: Draw a light map.
On a sheet that overlays the layout with the high-risk areas marked, plot spots where you’d like to add some lights. Consider things like the number of fixtures that would be needed, how far the light would need to reach for you to feel safe, as well as the number of directions the light must be able to illuminate. Remember to include the lights you may already have around your home – but make a note if they are faulty, aging, or not bright enough for your needs.
Take some time to consider other accessories that would help protect the area – motion sensors, timers, security cameras, and locks – which work well in conjunction with security lighting to add layers of security to your home or office. Draw the mounting location, as well as your desired beam characteristics, and makes notes about any specific requirements you’ve identified. Cross-reference the zones you marked earlier to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
And there you have it! You’ve got a base plan to start your security lighting project. At this point, you’re ready to start looking for specific fixtures that are able to satisfy your requirements.