Does improved lighting reduce levels of crime? What do the strongest evaluations tell us? These questions are answered in this systematic review, which examines the strongest available research to date.
Darkness in built up areas can contribute to feelings of personal insecurity, and can produce favorable conditions for vandalism and theft, including bicycle thefts and thefts from vehicles. The crime preventive effects of improved lighting in public places are therefore often discussed, and measures to improve lighting are often implemented as a means of combating crime.
The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) has commissioned distinguished researchers, led by Professor David Farrington at Cambridge University, to conduct a series of international reviews of the research published.
In 2007, Brå published a systematic review on the effects of improved lighting. The publication was based on the 13 studies available at the time whose methodology was sufficiently rigorous to meet the inclusion criteria for a systematic review. This report comprises an updated review, which now includes a total of 21 studies. The study follows the rigorous methodological requirements of a systematic review and statistical meta-analysis. Even though important questions remain unanswered, the study provides a vital and far-reaching overview of the available evidence on the preventive effects of improved street lighting.
Brandon C. Welsh is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University (USA).
David P. Farrington is Emeritus Professor of Psychological Criminology at Cambridge University (UK).
Stephen Douglas is Doctoral Student at Northeastern University (USA).
Crime prevention work
Author: Brandon C. Welsh, David P. Farrington and Stephen Douglas
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