Visibility: Lighting & Its Effect on
Convenience Store Security
In the past, this blog has detailed the importance of lighting in both residential and commercial security. However, the convenience store category is where lighting’s importance as a security tactic may be most prominent. With 24/7 hour operations commonplace, good lighting is simply essential. For example, Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Senior Director Tony Gallo advises running lighting somewhere around 500 Lux in a C-Store environment. A “Lux” is the SI unit of illuminance and luminous emittance, which refers to luminous flux per unit area. In layman’s terms, Luxs are used to measure the intensity of light as perceived by the human eye.
“You want people to feel that if they are approaching the store, someone is going to see them, and that there is a video surveillance system that is going to record them,” Gallo said. “Same thing with lighting inside the store, you’re setting the tone that this is a clean environment, that the lighting is good and that someone could actually see them on a camera system or be able to identify them quickly. Think about the message you send that if you go into a low-light area, it’s kind of like hiding in the shadows.”
According to respected security author Charles Sennewald, a graduate of the US Army’s Military Police School, simple factors like lighting can influence someone who wouldn’t otherwise engage in criminal activity to shoplift. “The people who shoplift are most of the time far from criminals,” Sennewald said. “It’s just a reflection of human nature.” When the “tone” that Gallo referenced is set with low lighting, the thought that, ‘I could get away with this,’ can sometimes arise out of a customer.
The point is, bad lighting can actually encourage theft. As a result, C-Store owners should make sure that there are no low light areas inside of a store to reduce the chance of shoplifting from occurring.
Professional security companies now offer technology that enables a C-store owner or manager to control the lighting of a store remotely. If an owner would like to increase the brightness of the lights during the night, it can be done from a distance. As a convenience store owner, it only makes sense to invest in technology that will both improve security and peace-of-mind.