Managing commercial real estate entails an implied duty of care to make sound decisions that safeguard and benefit your property occupants. Part of this process involves securing the building against those who threaten harm to the people and belongings within.
Providing sufficient illumination is a critical component of a complete building safety system. Here are six essential lighting practices for real estate security.
1. Illuminate Entryways
You might find it surprising, but most thieves simply try the front door before resorting to more complicated means of gaining access. It makes sense; more complex maneuvers increase the risk of getting caught. Many miscreants take advantage of people’s natural urge to be helpful, approaching with full hands to trick the unsuspecting into holding the entrance open for them. If a late-leaving employee can’t identify this individual thanks to dark shadows, they could fall prey.
Furthermore, unlit entryways invite more hardened criminals to take advantage of distractions. They pounce as their victim scours their briefcase for their keys in the dark, demanding access or else.
Your first order of business should be to illuminate all entryways. Tackling the front entrance isn’t enough. Ensure each point of entry is well lit, using motion detectors if necessary to reduce your utility bill.
Lighting your entryways improves the efficacy of your other security measures. Even cameras with night vision don’t show much detail at night. Illuminating the suspect can help police and others view the footage to clearly identify the criminal.
2. Light Up Late-Night Parking
Carjacking can occur in 15 to 20 seconds, leaving your late-working employee stranded in your parking lot – or worse. Awareness is the best way to prevent such incidents, but your staff members can’t watch out for would-be criminals if they can’t see them.
Ensure your parking areas have adequate illumination. In general, warmer amber wavelengths minimize glare and light pollution, providing maximum visibility. However, you must assess your unique location. If brighter lights on the blue-light spectrum line other buildings, yours could seem dim in comparison, creating shadows where criminals can hide. When in doubt, go brighter.
3. Highlight Landscaping
You’ve undoubtedly heard tales of thieves hiding in bushes, waiting to accost the unsuspecting passerby. Criminals may use this trick on your property, too, particularly after hours. The problem is particularly dire in apartment complexes where the purpose of entry isn’t theft but perpetrating physical harm against the occupants.
Highlight your landscaping with lighting to improve security. Install lights low to the ground to cast shadows upward, allowing you to see the outline of anyone concealed by the greenery. This technique not only improves safety but also accents your structure’s beauty. Landscape lighting can also highlight your sign, keeping your company name front and center in the minds of all who pass.
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4. Go Green With LEDs
If you haven’t upgraded from incandescent bulbs to LEDs, you should prioritize doing so the next time you perform bulb maintenance. According to the Department of Energy, these devices use 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than older models. Making this simple exchange can result in considerable savings each month – the larger your building, the more you keep in your pocket.
LED lighting offers much more than eco-friendliness, cost savings, and improved security. You can create a signature look for your building after dark by incorporating various hues. The right color-changing lighting strands can highlight products within your storefront or create a unique vibe for nightclubs and eateries.
5. Embrace Automation
If you own a business, you might trust your staff to turn on and off the lights at appropriate times. However, it’s one more thing to remember and an extra worry you can do without. Instead, embrace automation.
Keeping your lights on timers ensures you have illumination when you need it, even if you aren’t present on the property. It also increases your sustainability quotient and saves you money.
6. Designate Escape Routes
You may not want to think about a fire, flood, or even a power outage disrupting daily operations on your property, however, emergencies happen. Safety standards demand that you provide a well-lit escape route so your occupants can evacuate when necessary.
Depending on your property type, varying standards may apply. For example, OSHA dictates minimum lighting standards in work areas. Landlords must maintain the public areas in residential apartment complexes, including maintaining lighting along walkways and stairways.
Essential Lighting Practices for Real Estate Security
As a property owner, you have a duty of care toward your occupants to make sound decisions that protect their onsite safety. Part of creating a healthy environment is to provide adequate lighting.
Embrace these six essential lighting practices for real estate security. Your tenants will appreciate your commitment to their well-being and you’ll breathe easier knowing you took the appropriate steps to safeguard your interests.
About the Author
Zac Amos writes about IoT, cybersecurity, and other tech topics, and he works as the Features Editor at ReHack.
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