Science Projects

Combating and Educating about Light Pollution

Lighting and Crime

There is an assumption today that lighting deters crime. Much research has been conducted, often funded by the lighting industry, that appears to point to a reduction of crime when lights are used, however, many believe there is no conclusive evidence that increasing lighting deters crime. Additionally when the data from these studies has been requested for independent analysis, the data has not been provided. Therefore one is lead to question the scientific validity of these studies!

It is often cited that the installation of better lighting (often meaning brighter lighting) in urban areas reduces crime. To draw the conclusion that the better lighting reduced crime is over-simplistic. Some crime analysts suggest that re-lighting an area has the effect of moving the crime around and doesn't reduce it. Also more people using these areas is likely to reduce the opportunities for crime to be committed. Additionally, urban areas are re-lit the scheme is often put in place with a number of other schemes such as CCTV, urban regeneration, pedestrianisation of areas etc.

If one considers that fact that our towns and cities have become brighter through the use of artificial lighting over the past 30 years, we have also seen an increase in crime during this same period so, historically, we anecdotally experience an increase of crime with more lighting this aspect is clearly at odds with the current research. What is accepted however, that people do feel more safe when there is lighting in the environment.

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