It’s no secret that crime is a scary and very real problem in Salt Lake City. Crime can happen to anyone, anywhere. It’s truly alarming how often crime happens. I’m not just spouting some sort of fear mongering: I know from personal experience. The neighbor just north of me had three packages stolen off his front porch last week while he was at work, the neighbor just south of me had her garage broken into at night while she was out of town, and another neighbor had their car (parked under a noticeable security camera) broken into while they were sleeping. We all know someone in our neighborhood who has fallen victim.
The question we all ask is how do I prevent this from happening to me? What are the steps I need to take to keep my home safe?
Layers of Defense
I like to think of home security as layers of defense. Each security measure your home has will help reduce the chances of a trespasser targeting your property. Keeping the side gate locked, for example, will decrease the chances of someone entering your backyard.
At night, security lighting is your first line of defense in the many layers of security measures around your home.
Every house is a target for theft, but particularly dark homes. A property that is well lit is simply less trespassed because it makes the home feel lived in. In addition, it also acts as a deterrent because trespassers don’t want to be seen.
Motion Sensor Lights
There are different ways to approach security lighting. One popular method is to mount a light fixture up high on the side of a building. The fixture is often outfitted with a motion sensor and lamps (bulbs) with high light output.
While these motion sensor lights are great for flooding an area with a lot of light, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best method for residential security lighting.
Motions sensor lights do poorly when it comes to functional use and security in a residential setting for four reasons:
1. Motion sensors are great for throwing lighting everywhere, including your neighbor’s windows. Your neighbors don’t want your flood lights blazing in their windows at 2 a.m. every time a cat walks by or something else benign like the wind blowing.
2. They don’t provide you with security light when you really need it. Because the sensor has to be tripped, it won’t provide light unless the sensor goes off. If you hear something in the backyard, you won’t be able to see anything unless the source of the noise also set off the motion sensor.
3. They make for a poor functional light source. Who hasn’t had to do the funky chicken dance in the driveway? Because these lights turn off after a few minutes, you’ll have to continually do something to keep them on if you want to use them as a functional light source.
4. At the end of the day let’s face it, you and your neighbors will soon learn to ignore your motion sensing lights every time they go off, whether it’s because they were falsely turned off or not.
One of the biggest issues with motion sensing lights are that they don’t turn on until after a trespasser has already made up their mind to enter your property. The point of a security light is to be a deterrent, to keep the trespasser from wanting to enter your property. Once they’ve made up their mind that they are going to trespass, it’s already too late.
The key to effective security lighting is twofold: the light needs to work as a deterrent in order for it to work, that means the light has to be on so that people can see how well the area is being lit.
A Great Alternative to Motion Sensors
Low voltage landscape lighting makes for effective security lighting and a great alternative to motion sensing lights. Landscape lights, motion sensing light, offer purposeful lighting throughout the entire property. This means the light, the deterrent, reaches all the way to the far edges of your property in an artistic way that brings beauty to the neighborhood rather than an eye sore.
Landscape lighting provides active security without having to sacrifice beauty or functional task lighting. At the end of the day, light is your best defense. In addition to exterior lighting, it’s always a good idea to also have interior lights on for security purposes. Setting your interior lights to come on with timers, for example, will put forth the appearance that someone is home, even if you’re not. Remember, your lights acts as a deterrent, they won’t be effective unless they are on.
Landscape Lighting Makes All the Difference
At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For over 15 years, our award winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people’s homes and businesses across the Wasatch front and beyond.
If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call us at (801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com
Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installs, maintains, and repairs lighting systems throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis & Utah Counties.