At the very first beginning, I wanna do a research:

How many of you still leave a light on at night to deter burglars?

You must have been immersed in safety tips like: "outdoor lighting deter crimes and does a good job in protecting your home. Do remember to leave it on while you're away or at night."

But does it really help? How effective is porch lighting? Savvy thieves would probably not be fooled by your outside home lights, and you should also not be fooled by this so-called "expert" home security tip.

In this post, I'll just dig a little deeper into this issue – Do outside lights deter burglars? Is it safe to leave lights on all night? Should you leave your front or back porch light on at night?


Do Outdoor Lights Deter Burglars

Does Leaving Lights on at Night Deter Burglars

Simply put, outdoor porch lights may not be as useful as you think to deter crime.

Burning the bulbs for hours is a common artificial illumination we make use of to protect home from would-be burglars at night: It could be unsafe to leave lights on all night.

It is hard to admit that, you win nothing, but a false sense of security, and you just console yourself with illusory peace of mind. Let me cut right to the chase why outdoor porch lights are helpless in burglary prevention.

Most Home Burglaries are Committed During the Day

FBI's crime statistics in 2012 has drawn a conclusion that the majority of home burglaries happen in the daytime, rather than at night. Adding outside home lights does nothing to help prevent larceny during the day, but wastes a lot of electricity.

You are likely to be blinded to the real leading causes of residential burglaries. A least, this report proves that the darkness is not one. Instead of fooling thieves with those tricks (putting fake security signs and stickers is also one of them), you really should look for some practical and effective measures to prevent house intruders.

Burglar-proof your front door, back door and windows turns out to be much more helpful than leaving your porch lights on. Or, turn to security cameras.

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Outdoor Lighting May Increase Burglary Rather Than Decrease It

Obviously, home thieves don't choose their targets at random. They would stroll in your neighborhood, get familiar with your daily life schedule, and try to look for easier targets. Burglars are always searching for unoccupied homes.

So having your lights on 24 hours a day while you are out for a holiday is just like a beacon to them: "I'm not at home!" And the combination of lights on and blinds closed could also create an attractive location for the burglars.

Some savvy burglars will stake out a property for weeks before striking. If they notice you turn on the lights more often when your partner, spouse, or roommate is away, they could decide to intrude during one of those time periods.

Leaving Porch Light on All Night Can Help Robbers See Their Actions

Is it safer to keep porch lights on or off? Actually, leaving the porch lights on could encourage the burglary instead of discouraging it, which may come as a surprise to many.

Sometimes, leaving your outside lights on also makes it easier for thieves to take action, especially in rural areas. A well-lit area helps thieves to avoid those items in your yard, which would cause noises. They can easily find the weak parts of your home and break in for stealing.

Outdoor Home Lights Are Useless Without Witness

Research shows that leaving your lights on at night might not be effective at deterring crime if there is no one around to see it. Outdoor lights make the burglars harder to hide, but the lightning will be useless if no one actually sees the suspicious activity.

Further still, would burglars believe that a light being on means someone's at home? Nope, they are not that dump, actually. When they find a well-lit house, and are not sure if the homeowner is in, they will knock on the door. If no one answers the door, they would be encouraged to break in.

And if the burglars do break in with the porch lights on, there is no way to stop it or catch the thieves, if there is no witness around, whether neighbors, pedestrians or police.

Stop Burglars

How to Stop Burglars from Targeting Your Home at Night

We explained you should not take outdoor lights as the major burglar prevention while you are away, then what's the most effective way to deter burglars at night?

Security cameras could be a useful burglar deterrent gadget. Well, speaking of home surveillance systems, I'm not trying to sell you anything at all, but I'm trying to help you make safer living environment.

Working in home security industry for years, we have done a large amount of research about home intrusions and the role a security camera plays in preventing them. It does much, much help, as a burglary deterrent, even at night, with the class-leading starlight night vision technology.

Many customers speak highly of Reolink camera's night vision (see customer review), for capturing crystal clear videos at a distance as long as 190ft, in low light conditions:

Unlike the outdoor home lights, security cameras can let you know who is at your door, and what's happening there at night. Some motion activated cameras can also alert you via phone if someone is trying to approach your house. Then you are able to take in-time precautions and keep burglars away.

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With the optionally solar power, you can help keep your home safe, reduce your carbon footprint, and save the cost of outdoor home light electricity.

Here are several other ways you may consider to level up your home security in a real sense:

  • Get a big dog that barks. Does having a dog deter burglars? The answer is yes! 34% of convicted burglars surveyed said that a barking dog would change their mind before breaking into a home.
  • Lock your door and windows. According to a survey of convicted burglars, 56% of them come in through either the front door or back door. Another 22% come in through a first floor window. So take the advice from the burglars and secure your door and windows with strong locks.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Neighbors can help look out for each other and can easily spot a strange. You can even start a neighborhood watch program for a real peace of mind at night.
  • Use motion activated lights. Is it safer to keep porch lights on or off? Is it safe to leave lights on all night? Confused about these questions? How about a motion activated lights? They will automatically lit up once burglars come close to scare them away.

Find the top 13 inexpensive and practical ways to stop burglars from targeting your home here.

Neighborhood Watch

What's Your Idea?

That outdoor lights can deter crime hasn't be backed up by statistics. As far as I can see, rather than spend time trying and testing this unreliable security measure, we would take more time and effort to improve security in other more useful ways.

Now we come back to the question I put up in the beginning: Do you leave your porch light on at night?

Keeping home and your property safe is not something to be taken lightly. So I'd love to know how you look at the contributions outside lights make in deterring burglars, along with other effective tips you've used to stop break-ins day and night. After all, we share the same goal – to make homes safer and less likely to become a target of opportunistic crime.

  • ColinHenshaw

    Lighting does not deter crime. In areas of the U.K. where street lights have been turned off to save money, crime has gone down by as much as fifty percent, ergo criminals need light. So one is actually safer under a blanket of darkness. If lighting is deemed necessary, then it should be motion operated, and aimed in such a way that it does not trespass onto neighbouring properties.

    • Amanda

      Hi Colin, thanks for your share! The lighting does help burglars in a way.

  • Marie Munday

    Good article, thank you! I was going to share it with my community, but there are too many spelling errors.

  • Anti

    No it shows that the owners want to flaunt and show off, so well worth a go..

    • Amanda

      It makes sense. Many burglars might take their chances or just knock the door to see if anyone is actually there.

      • edicius4

        No this does not make sense, especially not if you've known anyone who burgled houses. I had the misfortune of being involved with many a drug addict in my youth. Some of them were quite effective burglars. I can assure you they always chose the house that had the least lighting and visibility to the neighbors, but they preferred even more so an isolated house with no lighting.

        ALL the data contradicts this opinion... I Have a suspicion you are looking at this at an environmental angle and not a safety angle, I hope I am wrong.

        This is horribly inaccurate and dangerous misinformation that Google is promoting in their search results. I don't think this author has known a single criminal in her life, quite clearly.

        I think you should try to interview some convicted burglars and ask them how they target a house. Every burglar, and unfortunately I've known a few, and even home-invaders Choose houses where the neighbors will be unable to see them entering or prowling the premises.

        Burglar's favorite targets are homes that are isolated by either obstructions or distance and that have little to no lighting.

        Telling people not to have lighting on their home is so horribly irresponsible that I'm disgusted it showed up in my search results. Please please put an audindum at the beginning saying this is your opinion and not based on any science, data, interviews or facts.

    • anne

      My neighbour has put brights lights around his property with three shining directly into my living room, bedroom and bathroom windows, 2 of the lights within 9 feet. I live in a small one bedroom ground floor flat where all three of my rooms face these lights.I feel as if I am in a prison camp and is causing me so much stress, but he doesn't care, because turning thgem off will spoil his vanity project. I feel that he has some influence in the local council as when someone came round, his comment was that he had just been to a property where the lights were brighter. I have to close the curtains to watch television, to go to sleep at night and I cannot sit out on my small patio with bright lights shing on me! It is making me ill.

  • Mazai

    interesting read

  • sam g

    In my old neighborhood with lots of drug addicts and drug dealers, the 2 things they didn't like was street lighting/home lighting and dogs.
    Things worsened when street lighting got reduced. And also worsened when neighbors with dogs moved.
    The more they can hang around your property, and even your home as you sleep, the easier it will be for them to break in, because sooner or later a door or window will be forgotten to be locked.
    I found lighting to be very helpful to reduce how close they got nightly.
    Not a full deterrent though.
    I agree motion sensor lighting and cameras would have been the best way. And fully protected home security system, which protected from several burglary attempts at night. In my neighborhood it was between Midnight to 4-5 am that all attempts occurred.

    • edicius4

      ALL the data contradicts this authors opinion... I suspect strongly she is an EXTREME environmentallist

  • Tcall

    I really like this article. Finally someone states the facts about this. I'll start by saying that I am not paranoid. I don't put energy out there that I don't need to put. Living in fear is not my thing. Yet, there are also some fail safe things I just do that seem to work like a charm, the very ones mentioned in this article, actually, plus some additional ones.

    I never light my home unless it's a holiday during the fall or winter. Otherwise, my house it pitch black at night, and low lit all day. I can tell you right now, that in the 18 years I have lived here I have never had a car or my house broken into. Why you ask? I've always had dogs. I also lock my doors and windows. I don't use my car as a locker. I don't leave my garage door open. I always let my neighbors know when I'm on vacation, plus my dog sitter is a neighbor. Also, I attempt to not be so predictable. Having teenagers helps that cause. I do have installed an outdoor motion activated light over my basement door, that would really only bother an intruder, NOT my neighbors. Sure, I've had some vandalism in the form of egging, but at that angle, and at night, cameras probably wouldn't have gotten good footage anyway.

    I HATE that my next door neighbors leave their LED super bright garage lights on ALL NIGHT LONG. It's affecting my sleep. There's nothing I can do to create my perfect black space in my bedroom. What about the impact that all those outdoor lights have on our environment? Check out ”Dark Sky Initiative” and information on Light Pollution. We need to do more to lesson our carbon footprint as well as not annoy our neighbors with our obnoxious lights on all night long.



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