How does light affect the crime rate?

How does light affect the crime rate?

On the surface, this seems like a question with an obvious answer. More light means increased visibility, heightened security and less crime, right? As it turns out, that's not strictly true. 

While it makes no difference to video alarm systems capable of detecting intruders in the dark, it's an issue that businesses need to be aware of. After all, the decision to light an area has effects on a number of aspects of their company, from spending on power to how safe staff feel after hours.

In a world where energy saving is a key concern for many organisations, anything and everything that draws power is open to review. For some councils in the United Kingdom, that included streetlights.

According to a study from University College London, more than 60 local governing bodies across England and Wales decided that streetlights were unnecessary, and chose to plunge whole communities into darkness in the name of cost-saving. 

To most people, this seems like a recipe for disaster, as people are likely to assume that darker environments are favourable conditions for burglars and other criminals who now have more places to hide. 

What the study found was that over the 14 year's worth of data, there was no discernable increase in the amount of crime taking place in these areas. However, the point is that it didn't make people feel more secure. 

Despite this, another study from the University of Southampton confirmed that a brighter street doesn't necessarily make for a safer community. The research studied the locations of over 100,000 crimes, finding there was no discernable difference between lit and unlit streets. 

While there were no changes to the number of crimes reported, the fact that people prefer lighter environments to feel safe is an important one. It also makes it easier for mobile security patrols to inspect the premises, creating a safer environment. 

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