Motion-Sensing Lights Give a False Sense of Security

Most of us have motion sensor activated lights for security purposes. However, unless you’re talking about the crazy ex-boyfriend coming over in the late evening to kill your prized petunias, your sensor light will do little to deter crime.

Everybody Knows They’re Automated
When sensor lights first came onto the market, part of the appeal was that, to the uninitiated, it appeared as though someone had just turned on a light, and might be looking out, or about come outside. These days, everybody knows it’s just an automatic sensor, so that aspect of the deterrent effect is no longer there.

No One Is Awake To See The Light
The primary idea behind a sensor light is that criminals will be afraid of being seen. However, the primary crime that occurs in residential neighborhoods at night is vehicle burglaries, which typically occur between 12AM and 5AM, when the vast majority of people are fast asleep. With the exception of the rare person who’s quietly trying to sleep, but can’t, most of people awake during these hours will be out at a bar, watching TV, or playing video games. None of these people will hear or see anything going on outside your house.

Cameras Are A Better Deterrent
Given that the primary concern of a would-be burglar is being seen, an obvious solution to the problems I’ve mentioned is to combine your sensor lights with video cameras. In all honesty, most cameras have such poor resolution, that about all you can tell is the race and possibly sex of your unwanted visitor (which will be male 99% of the time anyway), but they don’t usually know that, and probably aren’t interested in finding out the hard way if yours are better.

Of course, just having a cameras won’t deter anyone. You’ll need to make visitors aware of your cameras. The old flashing red LED probably won’t do it, and while placing your cameras where the sensor lights would illuminate them might work, it would probably blind the camera. Thankfully, there are cameras out there that are combined with motion sensing lights, which also trigger an audio announcement that it is recording the suspect. These are ideal, because they automatically draw attention to themselves day or night, and they let you (and us) see who your neighborhood vermin are! The best ones even track their subject across your property, eliminating the question in their mind of whether or not it’s actually filming them!

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