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What are the Different Types of Security Lighting?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A number of different types of security lighting are available for an assortment of applications. When installing lighting systems which are designed to contribute to security, people should think about their options and select a system which will work well for them. Urban residents may also want to note that some police organizations and neighborhood watch associations will pay for security lighting, and/or help people install it, which can be a definite advantage.

Outdoor security lighting is lighting which is designed to illuminate outdoor areas. Some examples of such lighting include street lights, garage door lamps, and the lamps many people use to light front doors and pathways. This type of lighting is supposed to deter criminals to make them easier to see, while also helping people get around when it's dark.

Indoor security lighting provides light inside. It may be used to deter criminals by making it look like people are still present, or by providing a pool of light so that passerby and neighbors can see and report questionable activity. Sometimes, insurance companies may require this type of security lighting for businesses, to make a business harder to rob.

Some security lighting is on an automatic timer, which can be set to go on and off at a particular time. Other systems are light-sensitive, and designed to operate from dawn to dusk. It is also possible to find manually operated lighting, such as a security lighting system which goes on when someone flips a switch while he or she closes up, and remotely operated lighting, which can be useful for people who want to be able to control the lights at a distant business. Others are sensitive to motion, remaining off unless someone walks by.

Energy efficiency is a major concern for security lighting, and something which people should think about. Some lights are solar powered, which makes them very efficient, while others will pull power from the structure they are attached to. Using high-efficiency lights with good bulbs can cut down on operating expenses. So can correct placement, to ensure that the light is not wasted.

Light pollution should also be a concern when evaluating lighting options. A bright, badly-aimed light can cause a lot of glare, making it hard for people to see, and contributing to overall levels of light pollution. Choosing a light with a shielded housing will make security lighting less annoying for the neighbors, and also more functional, as criminals can easily hide behind a glaring light.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Monika — On Sep 13, 2011

@JessicaLynn - What a shame about your grandparents house! I bet they were sad to see their neighborhood deteriorate after living there for so long.

I think you made an interesting point though. Security lighting can definitely help deter criminals, but only to a point. If someone is really determined to break-in, some light may not scare them off. I think it's a smart idea to combine security lighting with an alarm system for maximum protection!

By JessicaLynn — On Sep 12, 2011

A few years ago, my grandparents were experiencing a lot of break-ins at their house. They had lived in the same neighborhood for about thirty-five years and the neighborhood really went downhill.

They invested in some security lighting for the inside and the outside of their house. The lighting outside was triggered by a motion sensor, while the lighting inside was on a timer. We all thought it was a foolproof way to cut down on the burglaries.

Unfortunately this did nothing to deter the burglars. My grandparents eventually moved, and we were all extremely relieved. Still, I think security lighting could help in a slightly better neighborhood with criminals who are a little bit less brazen!

By Perdido — On Sep 11, 2011

My neighbor has multiple solar lamps lining his driveway that glow at night. They soak up the sunshine during the day and emit a greenish light in the darkness.

He put them there because his driveway is really hard to see at night, and he gets a lot of visitors. The driveway is hidden amongst trees, and the solar lamps give guests direction.

I have walked past his house at night and seen them up close. I could see deep ruts made by cars seeking his driveway before he had put up the lamps.

By wavy58 — On Sep 10, 2011

The office building I work has indoor security lights. They are controlled by the breaker box in the back of the building. Whoever is the last to leave turns off the lights back there and switches on the security lighting.

It floods the front office with bluish light. This is where the cash register and safe are, and it works as a good deterrent to criminals. The office is right off the town square, so it is a very public area.

On days when I get to work really early, I sometimes work in the glow of the security lights. I find that the low lighting helps me focus more on what’s on my computer screen than what’s around me.

By seag47 — On Sep 10, 2011

My parents put a motion sensor light in our backyard. It is attached to the corner of the house. When something or someone walks by, it floods the area with light as bright as a regular porch light.

Unfortunately, it also lights up whenever the wind blows very hard or a large insect flies near it. When we first got it, we were alarmed every time it came on, but after several empty threats, we were much more casual while looking at the window at what might be the cause.

I’m sure it would scare anyone who didn’t expect to be caught. It might even frighten animals away.

By kylee07drg — On Sep 09, 2011

I have a blue toned security light mounted on a tall pole in my yard. It comes on automatically after the sun sets.

I am surrounded by fifty acres of pasture, and I often hear coyotes howling in the distance. This security light keeps them from approaching the house, since they like to hide in cover of darkness.

Also, I feel safer if I have to go outside at night. I can see everything around me, so I won’t be surprised by any wild animals. I doubt that anybody would attempt to break into my house with that much light illuminating the yard.

By Sara007 — On Sep 09, 2011

One of the best things you can do if you want to save on power is invest in solar powered security lights that you can scatter around your property. Nowadays solar security lights are cheap, costing as little as $10 per piece.

The solar security lights we have also function as a motion sensor security lights, as some of them have built in sensors.

Besides using your solar lights for security they are also great for creating a great atmosphere around your home. The lights we chose have both a high and low setting. So, if we want a little romance we dim them.

By letshearit — On Sep 08, 2011

Shopping for your own home security lighting should be a top priority when you get your new home. I think outside security lighting is a great deterrent to burglars and can even scare away unwanted animals.

For my home the exterior security lighting that I chose was a motion security light. I liked that the lights were triggered whenever something moved outside. While I haven't stopped any crime yet, it does keep some of the raccoons away from our trash. Not having to pick up after a raccoon’s trail of garbage is a definite plus for security lighting. Then again, perhaps we just have skittish raccoons.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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