Outdoor lighting and crime, papers by B. A. J. Clark and P. Marchant
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Outdoor lighting and crime

Artificial outdoor lighting: scarcely a cure for crime

Using larger intensities of outdoor lighting does not help to reduce crime, unlike the fear of crime. Just better quality of lighting, avoiding glare (direct light into your eyes) as much as possible may help perhaps.

Dr. Marchant's publications

However, the belief that light reduces crime is widespread and used by the lighting industry as one of its main arguments, sometimes as the only one. If they give any reference, then mostly a 2002 paper by Farrington and Welsh. A short but convincing analysis of it has been published by Paul Marchant in the May 2004 issue of British J. of Criminology, being available at www.maths.leeds.ac.uk/statistics/rss/archive/previous_2004.html, together with a much further going 2004 presentation. I recommend them to all people acquainted with mathematical statistics; they demonstrate examples of fatal mistakes to be avoided (more text then in the presentation can be found in an older reply of Dr. Marchant to Farrington & Welsh, Failing to Measure any Effect of Increased Lighting on Crime, offered to the same journal but not published by it, unlike the thrice longer F&W reply in the same May issue).

A popular echo of the initial Marchant's paper in The Guardian is Bright lights `do not deter criminals'.

Dr. Clark's publications

A large paper by B. A. J. Clark (Part 1, published in November 2002) shows the current knowledge and misunderstandings. It is available as a 0.4 MB pdf or a 0.3 MB html file (zipped just 85 KB), zipped original MSword and files with an A5 brochure from folded A4 sheets, see ev. the printing instructions. The main site for the paper is http://www.asv.org.au.

For a quick look what the paper is about, a in the html tree is available, containing pieces 10--60 KB.

The Part 2 of this work, whose public version has been released by Dr. Clark in May 2003, has a sub-title ``Coupled Growth''.

It is available a 2 MB pdf, as a zipped MSword file and as a large html produced by it. Some hyper-references are still not working yet, but most URLs defunct in May have been updated in the html and MSword version in July 2003. (The same formats as for the Part 1 are still to be made.)

The MSword versions of both parts can be viewed on the screen with ``bookmarks'' at the left side, when an option Display, Layout is chosen, to get a functional analogue of the pdf version.

(The old version of the paper, much shorter, is completely obsolete now. For sake of continuity it is still available here as lp40.pdf. Its Czech translation is available both as a pdf or html file.)

Some other papers of Dr. Clark are available here.

Further information

on quality outdoor lighting is available at http://svetlo.astro.cz/darksky and the links from there. In many cases, light is really needed at night, but ``crime reduction'' should be never used as an argument for it.

Jan Hollan N. Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium in Brno, Nov 9, 2004