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Department of Security and Crime Science

Crime and Terrorism

Crime & Terror CS 1

Urban lighting

The right lighting can deter criminals, reduce fear of crime and encourage legitimate use of urban spaces. The Urban Lights project, undertaken by UCL’s Bartlett School, recently led to a change in the standards for pedestrian lighting in the UK. The project, which compared white and sodium (yellow) lighting, demonstrated that sodium lighting was less effective than white light at allowing easy facial recognition at a given distance, a key factor in reducing crime and fear of crime.

Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, Director of Environmental Design & Engineering at UCL’s Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, explains: “Yellow lights, which are generated from high pressure sodium lamps, are perceived to be energy efficient, but the truth is you need more yellow light to be able to see other people’s faces properly in pedestrian areas. We found that you need about half as much white light as yellow to be able to recognise faces at a given distance, with an energy saving of between 40 to 45 per cent.”

Crime & Terror CS 2

The new car crime

A study in the JDI is undertaking a systematic analysis to identify patterns of car crime. The JDI research is drawing on recorded crime data for Sandwell in the West Midlands, and the larger West Midlands area, in order to investigate the theft of cars during residential burglaries compared to the patterns for cars stolen in traditional 'vehicle crimes'. The study will look in particular at the age profile of cars stolen, their expected level of security (electronic immobilisation), the proportion stolen with keys and the proportion of cars recovered.

Professor Gloria Laycock, Director of the JDI, explains: "The majority of writing on this topic has been confined to the popular media and anecdotal police 'evidence'. The findings of our research will form part of a wide-ranging project aimed at helping Sandwell Crime and Disorder Partnership and West Midlands Police to target their resources towards effectively reducing burglary and vehicle crime. The full West Midlands based study is a more detailed, empirical investigation than has so far been possible, and it will further inform the debate on the nature of car burglaries."

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