Turning Off Lights Dangerous to Security

By: John Honovich, Published on Aug 26, 2009

Driven by the recession and increasing interest in environmentalism, many cities are turning off their streetlights. This is a surprisingly dangerous phenomenon, harmful to security generally and problematic for video surveillance deployments.

First, lighting is a fundamental element of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, serving as a deterrant to criminals and a tool to identify suspects.

Secondly, many (most?) outdoor video surveillance systems depend on the presence of general usage lighting. Almost all of these systems would be incapacitated at night if the general lighting was turned off. The cost to add in lighting just for video surveillance is significant (hundreds per fixed camera, more than a thousand per PTZs - whether you use infrared or white light illuminators).

I am not sure how prevelant this will become but it is the type of reactive measure that could cause real problems for existing installations.

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