The literature on fear of crime is extensive (Semmens 1999 [99]), although much of it is not about lighting. Other bibliographies (eg Nottingham 2001 [75]) provide additional material. Sherman et al. (1997) [102] has a critical review, including the use of lighting to allay fear. The widely accepted position is that people tend to fear crime more when they are in dark or dimly lit places, especially if there are no others or a small number of strangers about. In given circumstances, fear of crime is almost universally reported as being greater at night than it is by day, regardless of what the risks of actual crime are. Females are generally reported as being more fearful of crime than males. Survey data (eg Maguire and Pastore 2002, Table 2.4.1 [64]) tend to support these statements. It therefore reasonable to use artificial lighting to reduce fear of crime provided that this does not materially increase the risk of actual crime or cause some other adverse effect such as affecting driver vision or threatening biodiversity.

Caminada and van Bommel (1980) [16] devised experiments based on the observation that people tend to feel safer when there is enough ambient light to recognise faces of others nearby. They found that semi-cylindrical illuminance is a better indicator than other measures, such as vertical plane illuminance, for defining the face recognition distance. The cylinder axis remains vertical. The azimuth of the axial plane can be in either of two orientations, as appropriate: one parallel to the street length and the other normal to it. For face recognition at 4 m and 10 m, the semi-cylindrical illuminance needs to be 0.8 and 2.7 lux respectively, provided there are no sources of excessive glare present. At 4 m, an alert person was thought able to take evasive or defensive action if a threat were perceived. The 10 m distance was considered to provide a greater margin for comfort.

Caminada and van Bommel's work provides an empirical quantitative basis for lighting as a means to reduce fear. The concept of face recognition distance is mentioned in the 1987 to1990 setting of a British code of practice for lighting of roads and pedestrian areas (Ramsay and Newton 1991 [96]), but three levels were set according to the perceived risk of crime. Caminada and van Bommel's values, rounded up to 1 and 3 lux, reappear as the minimum and average illuminances for the lowest perceived risk level. Their preference for semicylindrical illuminances was not adopted at the time, but the lighting profession still discusses the issue.

It is instructive to compare the values just given, 0.8 and 2.7 lux, with the minimum values in UK relighting studies (Fisher 1997 [37]): `before', 0.1 to 1.3 lux, and `after', 2.5 to 4 lux. It is not surprising that interviewed subjects responded favourably about the effect of brighter lighting in reducing fear. But in getting this reduction, average illuminances were increased by as much as 11 times and minimum illuminances by up to 40 times in particular experiments. The practical significance of such increases extends to possible short- and longer-term effects on the actual crime rate.

Nair, McNair and Ditton (1997) [72] described ``unexpected benefits'' to young pedestrians from increased lighting in a Glasgow street. The change in this case involved a 40% reduction in energy use with new high-pressure sodium lamps and a better light distribution instead of older lamps described as of the same SON-T type. Because of commitments of the authors on other relighting projects at the time, the only data available for analysis was interview material collected on two days before relighting and more collected on two days a year later. Analysis of before and after interviews indicated that pedestrian fears were reliably lessened after the relighting. Recorded actual crime results were not available for analysis. In comments printed with the paper, Simons criticised the lack of detail about the quality and quantity of the lighting, and stated that the method was not sufficiently robust to allow firm conclusions to be drawn. In further comments, Painter and Farrington criticised the use of inappropriate statistical techniques to analyse the data and pointed out various numerical errors. They concluded by saying ``in short, this paper demonstrates how not to analyse the relationship between street lighting and crime.'' The absence of reference, either in the paper or in the comments, to any of the prior papers finding no lighting-crime relationship is not good science.

Tulloch, Lupton, Blood, Tulloch, Jennett and Enders (1998) [110] has over 600 pages on fear of crime, not all of them getting to the point quickly. Its references to lighting are often references to Painter's work, which seems to be accepted uncritically as ``an impressive record of achievement.'' Even assertions about remarkably good social changes brought about by imprecisely quantified lighting changes are not queried. The boundary between apparently genuine changes in fear of crime and dubious claims about actual crime as affected by lighting is often indistinct in this report. Although Painter's `euphoric' or worse approach (pp 172, 173, 175) does lead to a warning, pages are devoted uncritically to her `` `enhanced street lighting' discourse... a winner at the conference!'' Despite its publication date, the report does not mention Sherman et al.(1997) [102] or its chapter by Eck (1997) [31], or the book by Lab (1997) [55], both of which deal with lighting and some of Painter's work.

Although the recommendations of the Tulloch et al. report are aligned with common experience that lighting does tend to allay fear of crime, they would surely have been different if the authors had been more aware of the weakness of the case for lighting as a crime deterrent. The report needs to be reissued with substantial corrections or withdrawn altogether so that it will not continue encouraging authorities to spend money on lighting as a supposed crime prevention strategy. Greater caution is also required in advising authorities on the use of lighting to allay fear.22

Boyce, Eklund, Hamilton and Bruno (2000) [14] carried out four field studies on fear of crime in streets of New York City and Albany, NY, and in urban and suburban parking lots. They cited papers by Painter, early and late, as evidence that lighting reduces crime as well as fear of crime, but did not mention papers by others with inconclusive or contrary findings on actual crime and lighting. They did pay heed to the need to reduce lighting energy waste and adverse environmental effects of excessive light.

In the field studies, groups of subjects visited sites and answered questionnaires about perceptions of lighting quality and safety in the night visits and about safety in the day visits. Sufficient good quality lighting allowed the perception of safety at night to approach but not exceed that in daytime: ``lighting cannot make an urban parking lot be perceived to be as safe as a suburban parking lot''. At night, horizontal illuminance of about 20 lux on the ground typically brought the perception of safety close to the daytime value. Some of the areas studied had existing illuminances approaching 200 lux. Good lighting judgements consistently involved attributes of `bright', `even', `comfortable', `not glaring', `extensive' and `well matched to site'. Bad lighting had the opposite attributes. The writer interprets this as supporting a notion that the perception of good (fear-reducing) lighting can be retained while reducing illuminance provided that glare is sufficiently reduced also.

Boyce et al. also studied the effect of luminaire spectral radiance differences on perceived safety and lighting characteristics in a parking lot at night. The perception of safety was not affected by spectral differences. This is tantamount to saying that colour, at least within the range of chromaticities produced by present artificial light sources, has no effect by itself. The extent of special consideration needed for colour vision deficients with the protan defect was not raised.

A lighting company appears to have conducted its own research into the longstanding question of whether the colour of light has any influence on alleviation of fear. The lamp manufacturer has published the company's account of it (Bennett 2000? [8]). The literature review is brief and limited to Pease (1999) [90]. Results of a relighting project were examined by a survey. The method of selection and the number of individuals participating is not stated, just the percentages of responses. The previous lights were high-pressure sodium (HPS) with orange-white light (ie the type described by Painter (eg 1994a [79]) as `white' and claimed to reduce crime and fear of crime). It was claimed that the new (really-) white lights were preferred by 100 % of respondents. The conclusion was that ``the perceived risk of crime can be substantially reduced through the introduction of white light.'' This contradicts Painter's results for the cases where a reduction in perceived risk was claimed when bluish-white mercury-vapour (in Dudley) or warm-white incandescent lamps (in Stoke-on-Trent) were replaced by HPS. There is no mention of controls, reliability of the results or confounding by differences in light distribution or light output.23Brief reports of the finding, mostly with no reference to the source, have been circulating in trade magazines of the lighting industry, which presumably accepts them in good faith as fact. In the normal course of events, the security industry could be expected to accept the relayed information as factual also.

The California Energy Commission is currently funding research on outdoor lighting levels, including fear of crime aspects. Preliminary reports mention some paradoxical results (Lighting.com 2002 [60], NBI 2002 [73]). People ask for moonlight-equivalent illumination and then reject, as too dim, levels hundreds of times greater. Glare and uniformity seems to be a factor in this. White light appears to be better than yellow light. More account needs to be taken of vehicle headlight glare as it affects pedestrian vision and of outdoor lighting glare affecting driver vision.

B. A. J. Clark