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It is generally accepted by security managers in both government and the private sector, that the contributions of perimeter lighting to a physical security system are based on a triad consisting of: (a) psychological deterrence, (b) detection and identification, and (c) incapacitation. In theory it is difficult to question the validity of this concept. In practice, however, this triad is supported by a rather weak analytical and experimental base. The deterrent effects of lighting are inferred from limited, and often uncontrolled, studies of urban crime patterns together with a plethora of subjective opinion. A variety of innovative experimental approaches have been applied to the problem of detection and identification but verification in the field is lacking. The incapacitating effects of lighting rests on a relatively firm experimental foundation but the various techniques are on the one hand subject to countermeasures, and on the other nondiscriminating, affecting both intruder and security force equally.
This investigation identifies what are, in the author's view, experimental shortfalls in the area of security lighting effectiveness and summarizes U.S. Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Command's plan to fill these experimental voids by a systematic series of testing.
security lighting, perimeter lighting, deterrence, detection and identification, visual incapacitation, visual performance, luminance contrast, building security
Staff manager, The BDM Corporation, McLean, Va.