How To Use Smart Lighting To Keep Your Home Safe & Secure October 28, 2016 00:00


The FBI estimates that a burglary is committed every 18.2 seconds. That means in about the time it takes you to read this post, nearly 15 burglaries will have occurred in the United states alone, making this one of our country’s most common crimes.

And 66% of these burglaries occur in residential neighborhoods, most during the day in fact.  In 2014 for instance, there were almost 1.73 million home burglaries reported, costing the victims $3.9 billion total. That averages out to a $2,251 loss for each of these victims, quite a financial blow.

So how can a homeowner prevent such a common and costly crime from happening to them? And how can you use smart lighting to improve upon these methods, making your home even safer than before?

Leave the lights on.

There are two core principles of how to protect your home from burglary using lighting: simulate occupancy and illuminate the surrounding area so perpetrators are more easily identifiable.

That age old piece of advice for friends leaving town (make sure to leave your lights on!) covers both of these necessary tactics, which is why it’s become pretty common knowledge.

For a burglar, the natural tendency is to target a home which is likely to offer the path of least resistance. It’s no wonder then that houses which offer less of a chance to be spotted might be a home robber’s goldmine. And a pitch black home is a pretty sure sign that no one is moving around inside as well.

It’s safe to say then that simply leaving your lights on is a surefire way deterring burglars. Or is it?

Leave the lights on?

The problem with this strategy comes from the fact that burglars aren’t stupid. If they see a home lit up like a pinball machine day and night from Monday to Wednesday, chances are they’ll know someone’s pretending not to be out. In that sense, leaving the lights on might be just as much of an indication that the occupants are travelling as keeping them off.

And while plug-in timers cast the basic illusion that someone’s home, any thief worth their salt will probably be able to tell your lights are set to a precise schedule.

Cue smart lighting. Smart lighting helps you add a bit of randomness to the equation. Like timers, smart bulbs allow you to precisely schedule when each turns on and off. But more than that, you can add variety to these patterns that other timers simply can’t. Brightness, color, and even more finely-tuned schedules are all variables you can control completely for each bulb, making your home’s lighting look less scripted and more realistic.

Not only that, you can even control them directly from anywhere in the world. That means if you’re vacationing in Hawaii for a week, you can tweak and alter the lighting schedule for your entire home in Wisconsin right from your smart device. Even the cleverest burglar is sure to be fooled.

Safeguard your home by combining smart lighting with other devices

If you don’t own a home security system, one of the best techniques for deterring burglars is mimicking an occupied home. And while a lighting pattern might do wonders to help cross your house off a less discriminating thief’s list of potential marks, some burglars might use more straightforward tactics for finding out if anyone’s home.

One common strategy among burglars, for instance, is doing a quick bit of observation during the day and simply ringing the doorbell directly. If anyone answers, the thief will simply pretend to be selling a product or have a story ready about having the wrong house. A few seconds of embarrassment sure, but if no one comes to the door, that’s one surefire way of determining if anyone is waiting for them inside. Then it’s just a matter of slipping in through a door or window in the back.

Now, take this same situation but this time the house has a home security camera (like Nest Cam or Canary) or a video doorbell (such as Ring or Skybell). If the idea of being recorded isn’t enough to keep burglars from pulling tricks like these, you can use your ability to remotely control the lights in your house with these other devices to make your home seem even more occupied than before.

If, say, the you see someone suspicious ringing your doorbell, flick on the hall light. Just because no one answered the door doesn’t mean no one’s home. And adding a cue that responds to someone knocking on your door will make your house less likely to be worth the risk.

Motion lighting: effective, but only to a point

Motion lighting is an incredibly effective way to ward off unwanted visitors creeping around your property. Not only does it illuminate the area, making potential threats more likely to be spotted and identified by neighbors (and thieves know it), it also triggers a fight or flight response that just may send a home invader looking for a target that won’t draw as much attention.

But as useful as motion lights can be, they really only work on the illumination and scare tactic levels. What really keeps burglars from entering your house is the perception that the home is occupied. And while the activation of a motion light might get the heart pumping, it’s unlikely a thief will confuse an area-specific light being triggered with the someone actually being home.

So if you’re looking for the best way to protect your valuables from any unwanted intruders, use a combination of motion lights to illuminate the area surrounding your home and smart lighting to mimic occupancy.

Tell us what you think!

How do you use smart lighting to protect your home? Can you think of any creative ways we might’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to head over to Flux Smart to begin burglar proofing your home today!