Coming home to find your house broken into is a nightmare scenario. According to FBI statistics, over 1 million burglaries took place in the United States in 2019 alone. Fortunately, innovative smart outdoor lighting technology gives homeowners a useful tool to deter would-be intruders and prevent break-ins.
This article will explore how to leverage smart outdoor lights to significantly improve your home's security. We'll look at why this type of lighting deters burglars, help you choose the right options for your needs, and explain how to use smart lighting features to keep your property safe. With a few upgrades and strategic lighting techniques, you can feel confident knowing your house will not be an easy target.
Why Smart Outdoor Lighting Deters Burglars
Burglars seek vulnerable targets that they can get in and out of quickly without being detected. Occupied homes with obvious security measures in place don't interest them. Smart outdoor lighting is an effective deterrent precisely because it gives the impression that someone is home, monitoring for any suspicious activity.
Unlike lights that are left on 24/7, smart bulbs can be scheduled to turn on and off at random intervals throughout the night. This mimics normal behavior as residents move around inside a house. Static lighting patterns are a dead giveaway that no one is home. With their variable light activity, smart bulbs make it seem as if someone is awake and attentive, deterring opportunistic thieves.
Research shows that burglars will knock on the front door to check if someone is home before attempting to break in. Smart lighting's ability to mimic normal occupancy causes burglars to think twice and move on to easier targets.
If you want to upgrade your current outdoor lighting to take advantage of smart technology, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Brightness – Look for smart bulbs or fixtures that produce ample, bright light to startle intruders and deter them from approaching doors or windows. 3,000 lumens or higher is recommended.
- WiFi connectivity – Smart lights need to connect to your home's WiFi to enable app control. Make sure to check for strong, reliable connectivity. The farther your lights are from your router, the weaker the signal.
- Smart assistant integration – Many lights work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc., for handy voice control. This also aids occupancy simulations.
Popular options for smart outdoor lighting include:
- Smart floodlights – These provide extremely bright, wide-area illumination. Position them to cover driveways, side yards, or other large areas.
- Smart spotlights – Direct a focused beam of light wherever needed, like on doorways or vulnerable windows.
- Smart pathway lights – Guide visitors safely to your front door while deterring anyone with worse intentions.
- Smart step lights – Illuminate stairs, porches, or deck areas for better visibility and security.
- Smart string lights – Offer a versatile and decorative way to light up patios, pergolas, or any outdoor entertainment area. You can change colors, adjust brightness, and set schedules or scenes for ambiance and security through a smartphone app or voice control.
Aim to install lights covering as many outdoor areas as possible, especially entryways, yards, driveways, and side/back areas of your home. The more coverage, the fewer shadows for an intruder to hide in. Strategically position lights to overlap coverage zones so all areas are illuminated.
Using Smart Lighting Features for Enhanced Security
Once you have your smart outdoor lights installed, here are some of the key features to take advantage of:
- Scheduling – Use a smart lighting app to set varied schedules that turn lights on and off at realistic, random intervals throughout the night. This scheduling mimics natural occupancy patterns compared to lights that are either always on or always off.
- Vacation Mode – Set schedules to their most random state to mimic an occupied home if traveling. Burglars will think someone is awake and active inside. Also, have mail and packages held or collected by neighbors.
- Manual Controls – If you see suspicious activity outside through indoor or doorbell cameras, manually turn on your outdoor smart lights using your phone's app. This lets you actively intervene and deter criminal activity.
- Voice Controls – Use Google Assistant, Alexa, etc., to control your outdoor lighting with your voice for added convenience. Just say, "Hey, Google, turn on the backyard light" for easy control.
By taking advantage of these features, your property will appear lived-in even when you are half a world away. Would-be thieves will look for easier opportunities elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Of course, lighting is just one piece of a comprehensive home security strategy. Combine your smart lights with secured doors and windows, alarm systems, and security cameras for the best protection. But their unique ability to simulate natural occupancy patterns makes smart lights an invaluable component in keeping your property safe and secure.
With the FBI predicting property crime will continue to rise in coming years, smart lighting gives homeowners a powerful tool. Position these lights strategically around the exterior of your home to minimize vulnerable entry points and keep your family safe from intruders. Your smart lights will put up a 24/7 vigil, patrolling for any criminal activity and deterring would-be burglars.
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