Security lighting is among the variety of considerations that should go into providing security and safety at any given property. The installation of security lighting can help protect people and property from criminal and terroristic activities, and it also works to create a perception of a reasonably secure environment, thus assuring the comfort of those who could potentially be at risk. For situations in which security lighting is needed in the design or retrofit of property, IES G-1-16 – Guideline on Security Lighting for People, Property, and Public Spaces offers guidance.
The interest of lighting and security on a widespread uniform scale have been prevalent as far back as the First World War, when the US Government recognized the need to increase exterior lighting at key production facilities and other locales as a way to enhance production and deter sabotage. Since this time, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has maintained periodic revisions of the IES G-1 standard, with this newest revision containing updates from the active development of the Relationship Between Lighting & Crime Subcommittee of the Security Lighting Committee.
Furthermore, the relationship of lighting to crime and security is a longstanding concept. In fact, it may have been at least partially comprehended as far back as the harnessing of fire by early humans, as they used the process to keep predators at bay. In society, an early example of the influence of lighting was in 1417 London, when the mayor decreed that lanterns with lights must be hung in front of each home and workshop throughout the winter to secure safe passage in the streets. Since Edison’s development of the incandescent light bulb, experiments with night security and security lighting have globalized the practice through an assortment of delivery methods.
Even though the potential of nighttime lighting to deter crime can be relatively easy to accept, the observable effects of this occurrence can be useful in demonstrating its effectiveness. In one seminal study, three areas of housing were selected: the experimental area in which lighting was improved, the designated “adjacent” area, and the control area, which served as the baseline against which any changes in crime could be monitored. The lighting in the adjacent and control areas remained unchanged. However, there was a significant reduction in the prevalence of crimes in the experimental area after relighting, demonstrating the benefits of security lighting.
For the purposes of IES G-1-16, it is important to establish when security is an issue. Since security is not always a particular concern in lighting design, it is crucial that those responsible perform adequate due diligence to assess risk and establish appropriate countermeasures. The standard offers clarification and tools for carrying out these procedures, as well as addressing the conditions for establishing the need for emphasizing security, some including: if the persons and/or property being secured present a desirable target for would-be criminals and terrorists, if there are especially vulnerable members of society on the property, and if the property has a history of relevant crime.
Therefore, the guidelines of IES G-1-16 are specific to situations where it has been determined that security is an issue and is an important determining factor in the design or retrofit of a given property, according to the scope of the document. These phrases differentiate this document’s guidelines from those of other IES publications.
IES G-1-16 draws a great deal of its guidance from some of the basic principles of security and security lighting. These include anticipating the threat, as those responsible can be prepared for what is expected, time, as the greater the time it takes for a criminal to plan, execute, and escape, the more likely it is for the criminal to be captured, and fight or flight, as the design of security elements can bear influence on the perpetrator’s reaction to being spotted.
Beyond this, IES G-1-16 addresses a wide range of concerns associated with the vision of the people who will come into contact with the lighting equipment, the designation of security zones, and the design, selection, and application of the security lighting equipment.
Additional information and guidance on security lighting can be found in the expansive and informative IES G-1-16 document.
IES G-1-16 – Guideline on Security Lighting for People, Property, and Public Spaces is available on the ANSI Webstore.