Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Spotlight on Security

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Spotlight on Security

Article excerpt

It's no surprise that as crime continue grow in our society, many citizens feel confined to their homes, unable to go out after dark. As a result, businesses, schools and other institutions that are normally open in the evening suffer financially from early closing times. And life as it is normally lived becomes disrupted as more and more crimes are reported.

Such was the case in suburban Manalapan, NJ, where carjackings and physical attacks began occurring in one of the community's commuter parking lots. Apprehension spread quickly among those who used the lot. There was, quite literally, a light at the end of the tunnel, however. Installing an upgraded security lighting system has helped the township's commuters feel safer when walking to and from their cars.

There is no question that light is the enemy of those who seek to perpetrate misdeeds. No one wants to be observed doing something suspicious or illegal, and for those who wish to prevent such acts, security lighting is a powerful and economical ally.

Manalapan's parking lot holds nearly 400 vehicles, serving local residents who commute to New York City by bus. Inadequate and outdated lighting contributed to the growing security problems at the lot. When the township learned of the Security Lighting Program, sponsored by Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L), authorities called a meeting to address Manalapan's problems. JCP&L performed a lighting survey of the lot and recommended a system that included installing 15 150-watt high-pressure sodium floodlights throughout the site. The lighting was placed on existing poles, saving the cost of installing new ones. Lights were strategically aimed to illuminate the entire parking lot, with minimum glare on neighboring residences.

"Our parking lot is now safer and brighter," states Mary Anne Ranon, Manalapan Township administrative assistant. "The township residents, commuters, and police are impressed with the positive results of the floodlighting system."

Time after time as JCP&L consults with businesses and other facilities as part of its Security lighting Program, it finds that strategically planned security lighting yields significant benefits in terms of enhanced safety, reduced criminal activity, and, in many cases, increased business.

The lighting program was developed in response to customer needs for safer environments. Under the program, a customer receives a free outdoor lighting survey from a security lighting representative. The utility then recommends a system to meet the customer's specific needs, offering a variety of pole and fixture styles. JCP&L installs a standard lighting system free of installation charges, with the customer paying a flat monthly fee that includes maintenance, lamp replacement, and electricity.

Lighting Factors

When considering a security lighting system, the illumination strength and configuration of the system will depend on a number of important factors at the site. The security lighting survey takes into account the ambient brightness of the surrounding area, the crime status of the area, size and shape of the site, degree of obstruction, and how and when the site is used.

In addition, the relationship of the height of the lighting to brightness and coverage must be considered. Higher mounting of lights will yield a larger area of coverage, but the higher positioning also diminishes the strength of the light. Using higher strength lamps is one solution to this problem, but greater wattage means consuming more electricity and increasing the operation cost. These and other factors, like the type of luminaire and shape of reflector, must be balanced to provide the necessary security lighting at a reasonable cost.

Lamp Selection

The lamps most commonly used in security lighting systems utilize high-pressure sodium, low-pressure sodium, or metal halide technologies. High-pressure sodium lamps are often used in street lights or parking lot lights. …

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