This time of year, exterior lighting becomes more important. As summer turns into fall the daylight hours quickly ebb away. The clocks fall back an hour stealing with them the coveted long summer nights. Evening errands and late-night dinner dates become less frequent. Leisurely strolls through parking lots are replaced with fast paced sprints to reach one’s destination. The sense of safety and security is exchanged for an uncertainty of one’s surroundings. Lurking in the dimness of the fall twilight is a fear of the dark that transcends all rational. Unfortunately, in many instances, this fear is all too real. Lack of proper exterior lighting during the late fall and winter months has been proven to result in an increase in crimes on persons and property theft.
Importance of Proper Exterior Lighting
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks in the spring so that evening daylight lasts longer during summer months. This annual ritual was first implemented in the early 1900’s however, did not become a standard in the United States until the adoption Uniform Time Act on April 13, 1966. The purpose of advancing the clocks was to make better use of the daylight as well as the belief that the consumption of energy would be reduced. Longer daylight hours allowed more time for leisure activity in the evening which in turn was good for business. Increased hours of light after the end of a typical workday was also found to reduce crime, creating a sense of security in one’s surroundings.
The benefits of “springing forward” seem to be undeniable however, “falling back” brings with it the opposite effect. A walk from a car to a doctor’s office at 8 pm in June is quite different than 8 pm in November. Appointments are best squeezed in during the day than chance walking through a dark parking lot with little or no exterior lighting. Parking garages that were filled with fellow shoppers now echo with the sound of solitary footsteps. Carefree walks are replaced with an anxiety ridden dash to safety while looking over one’s shoulder. The shadows of the darkness become the perfect backdrop for unsavory characters to perpetrate a crime.
The reduced number of pedestrian foot traffic coupled with improper exterior lighting in parking garages, commuter parking lots, parking facilities, shopping center parking lots, medical facilities parking lots, corporate parking lots etc. allow for crime to go undetected. These are appealing conditions for those considering committing crimes such as assault, vandalism, theft of property etc. The likelihood of criminals being identified, and therefore apprehended after committing these crimes drops drastically in the dark. In a study conducted at Stanford, ambient light is directly correlated with a drop-in crime. It stands to reason that an increase in artificial light during the winter months would also correlate with a drop-in crime.
When faced with a problem the best course of action is to look for a permanent solution. Installing adequate exterior lighting in and around your business reduces the likelihood of crime. The lack of hiding spots on a well-lit property is the best deterrent. A well-lit parking lot is uninviting to unsavory individuals who are looking to do harm. It is also a deterrent to squatters or groups of individuals looking for a place to “hang out”. Another advantage to a well-lit area is identification by a witness is made easier in the event of a confrontation.
The first step in ensuring adequate lighting is to have your property evaluated by a licensed commercial electrician who is familiar with site lighting. Electrical formulas such as total lumens/area in square footage are used to determine foot-candles, which are the amount of illumination cast on a surface. Careful consideration must also be taken to determine proper light levels as well. The type of facility, the amount of foot traffic and the hours in which the lights will be on all factor into the lighting plan.
Selection of light fixtures is the next step once the technical aspects of the lighting plan have been worked out. Is there an aesthetic to the property? Does the structure need exterior building lights? Would motion sensor lighting work in certain areas? Is there a need for updated emergency lights? Will wall packs be a better option? Does the company engage in environmental awareness and will they consider LED lighting? These are some of the considerations that your electrician will discuss with you.
In addition to parking lot and exterior building lighting, installation of security cameras adds an extra layer of protection. For the cameras to be most effective, the area in which the cameras are to be directed require adequate illumination. Infrared illuminator lights are a recommended addition to any CCTV system. Pathway lighting and landscape lighting add to the full effect of an illuminated property. These options add to an overall goal of security and wellness for anyone visiting your building.
While nothing compares to the embrace of daylight on a warm summer night, a well-lit environment offers similar peace of mind. Next time you are driving around take a look at your shopping plaza or medical buildings as you drive by. Would you feel safe on late fall evening or would you wait until tomorrow? If the answer is wait until tomorrow then I suggest you call your local licensed commercial electrician.
Looking for the Best Electrician for Exterior Lighting in Monmouth County NJ?
The Mikulka family has been serving the electrical needs of homeowners and businesses in Marlboro and Central New Jersey for over 25 years. We take pride in the reputation we have built and strive to maintain our standard of excellence in every project, no matter how big or how small. From design to finish, Mikulka Electric, Inc. provides the expertise to ensure your electrical project is completed on time and on budget. Service towns in the Monmouth County, NJ area include Marlboro, Colts Neck, Aberdeen, Matawan, Holmdel, Middletown, Manalapan, Freehold, and many more. For more information, you can contact us today at (732) 363-8954 or visit our website.