Improvements to outdoor lighting are frequently mentioned in election promises, the news media and government planning documents as an option or action for crime reduction. Unfortunately, the common interpretation of `improvements' as `more and brighter' in this context is likely to lead to ineffective or even counterproductive outcomes, as will be seen.

At the outset, it is important to appreciate that there is a widespread belief in the effectiveness of artificial outdoor light at night as a means of reducing actual crime as well as allaying the fear of crime. Seemingly regardless of the balance of scientific evidence, lighting for crime prevention has long been incorporated as standard practice in fields such as architecture, urban design, policing, security, and the lighting industry itself.

B. A. J. Clark