Because people commonly associate darkness with higher crime rates, they believe that night lighting deters crime. Increasing security lighting is often the first response to a crime, even though most crimes occur during the day. A Department of Justice report on the relationship between night lighting and crime found that there was no significant evidence that lighting affected levels of crime. However, increased lighting did appear to decrease the fear of crime.
A few pioneering communities have ignored conventional wisdom and reduced “crime-deterrent” lighting with good results. Five years ago, the city of Des Moines shut off 40 percent of its streetlights along main thoroughfares to save money. Despite the concerns of shop owners and police, there was a 3.5 percent drop in vandalism, burglary and robbery.
Excerpt from ‘Environmental consequences of night lighting’
By Daniel J. Rozell
Work in progress. New York, 2015