- Jun 18 2014
While 92.9 percent of people feel “very” or “fairly” safe in well-lit areas, a significantly lower portion (25.3 percent) feels the same level of safety in unlit or poorly lit areas, according to a 2013 study conducted in the UK. This lowered perception of safety has a marked effect on how we behave. In fact, 40 percent of study participants claimed that lower street lighting would lead them to consider going out less at night, while 65 percent would choose to incur the added expense of taking a taxi home to avoid crossing dimly lit areas by foot.
The survey revealed a marked difference between men and women in the perception of safety as well as their related behaviors. For example 48 percent of women felt “very unsafe” while walking in poorly lit areas compared to just 18.7 percent of men in the same situation. At the same time, women were much more likely to take a taxi or avoid walking alone after dark than men.
A clear distinction was also made between older and younger survey participants. Interestingly, elderly people, while generally considered as the more vulnerable segment of the population, felt more comfortable being out in their neighborhoods at night than individuals from younger age groups. To explain this, researchers cited the fact that the elderly population is more likely to live in rural areas, as opposed to the younger, urban participants. Furthermore, statistically speaking, younger people are more likely to be victims of crime.
Ohio State University in the United States considered the affects of lighting on actual and perceived safety while redesigning its parking lots. Prior to the overhaul, campus parking lots experienced an unusually high level of crime, including theft and vandalism. The university implemented the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design – including landscaping changes that eliminated hiding spots as well as the installation of improved lighting – to deter criminal activity in its parking lots.
Research carried out four years prior to the redesign and two years later revealed that improved lighting was not only the most significant factor in increasing the perceived level of safety, but it also lowered the actual incident rate in the garages. The redesigned parking lot saw 50 percent less crime while rates remained the same in other lots on campus. Researchers attributed these outcomes to the fact that criminals tend to avoid well-lit areas in order to avoid being identified or caught. Brightly lit areas also allow drivers to keep an eye out for fellow drivers while giving the impression that others are doing the same.
If you are, you're not alone. According to a new study, a large majority of people not only feel safer in areas with ample lighting, but many will actually change their habits to avoid being out alone after dark.
Thank you for submitting your request to become a Quality of Life
You will receive an e-mail informing you when your Spotter account is activated.