In any good Hollywood film, the director pays attention to all aspects of the lighting because it can make or break the movie; it is the unspoken/uncredited star. Lighting has the ability to shift the mood. Even in the darkest scenes, moviegoers can still visibly see what the director wants them to see, which is the actors’/actresses’ faces. After all, someone in Hollywood paid a lot of money to design the perfect lighting that blends with the human eye so the audience can see clearly, making facial recognition a key factor that brings audiences to the movie theatres. The same can be said for perimeter lighting.

Just like Hollywood, make sure you’ve set the mood, which is to deter intruders and/or chase them away. Not to mention, since you’ve likely paid a lot of money for your security camera and VMS system, make sure you can see the intruder’s face.

Security cameras alone aren’t enough. Here’s why you need to turn the lights on before you turn the camera on for the best perimeter security setup. As they say in the movie business, and in this order: lights, camera, action!

Step 1: Lights | Lighting Deters Intruders

Unwanted intruders oftentimes bank on the fact that they won’t be seen in the process of committing their crimes. Fortunately, using the correct perimeter lighting can go a long way to deterring crime. Before cameras can capture the image of an intruder, lights act as a deterrent just by itself, minimizing the chance of a break-in. Additionally, the lights may startle the intruder, encouraging him/her to leave the premises. This, again, minimizes the chance of a break-in. In fact, a study by UNC Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice found that 24% of convicted burglars said they considered the presence of outdoor lighting when choosing their targets. Before the cameras can help identify the intruders, lights can minimize break-ins from occurring.

To be the most effective in deterring intruders, perimeter lighting should do the following:

  1. Be a low enough intensity so that no shadows or blind spots are created (which can hide criminals) AND be glare-free so you and your security system can easily see those criminals.

  2. Spaced 20-30 feet apart so that if one light goes out, the area is still adequately covered.

  3. Placed on the fence itself instead of on poles or more elevated structures—a common practice, which can also create shadows and hiding places.

When your perimeter lights can check off these three boxes, you’re well on your way to deterring any potential intruders, saving you time and money even before the cameras go on.

Step 2: Camera | Lights Help Capture Images

Even with the best perimeter lighting, there’s a chance that a very determined criminal could still enter your property. So what’s your second line of defense if this happens? Lighting, of course! Having the right perimeter lighting can make it possible for your security cameras to capture that intruder’s image in the best light possible (even better than only using night vision cameras!), and as a bonus, this will also decrease your data storage requirements. With the right perimeter lighting, you’ll avoid the glare, shadows, and blind spots caused by some lighting systems that can temporarily blind you and your security cameras.

Step 3: Action | Lighting Direction to Capture and/or Deter Intrusion

Lighting direction also makes a big difference both to the intruder and to the camera. Until recently, 100% of lighting was from pole mounted lights and/or LED lights mounted anywhere from 20’ to 60’ high. The light pattern only pointed the light downward, in essence, lighting the tops of an intruder’s shoes. So if the intruder is wearing even just a baseball cap, the cap creates a contrasting dark shadow on the intruder’s face, and the camera will struggle to capture a clear picture. With the CAST Lighting Generation 3 lights, the optics direct the light both downward and outward, the lighting illuminates the intruder’s face by virtue of the mounting height of the fixture which is typically 10 to 12 feet off grade. The baseball cap is no longer a tool to hide the face, and the camera will see the face clearly. When arming your perimeter with this new lighting solution, you build the strongest deterrent available using the latest technology.

To learn more about the benefits of the right perimeter lighting system, click here.

Whether you’re looking to invest in a perimeter security solution to prevent a break-in, or you’ve just experienced an intrusion, setting up low cost, low voltage lights first and camera second (hey, it works for Hollywood) is the right choice in making sure your perimeter is properly secured today, tonight and into the future. Need free help choosing the right lighting or have questions about how we can help? Fill out our contact form, and we’ll be sure to get you lit and secure shortly.