Finding the best parking spots can be challenging but parking your vehicle under a streetlight is a costly oversight. You would think that shining a spotlight on your vehicle keeps it safe, unfortunately, studies show lighting increases the chances of theft rather than boosting security.
According to a recent study, car theft between midnight and 5am are reduced to half when lights are off. The study reveals that opportunistic thieves are less likely to steal a car in the dark, turning off streetlights makes it impossible for thieves to check for valuables inside the car, assess the motor vehicle’s security, or vandalise exterior parts.
Why You Shouldn’t Park Under a Street Light
Many people intuitively park their cars in quiet residential areas under streetlights which are believed to dissuade thieves from breaking into vehicles. Nowadays, thieves want to assess the security features and quantify the number of valuables they can get in the car.
The new study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology reveals that crimes have reduced in areas that switch off streetlights at night. The darkness dissuades criminals from stealing cars, the research team analysed crime data while changing the street lighting in Oxfordshire, Wokingham, Reading and Berkshire between April 2004 and September 2013.
The study investigated the differences in crime rates, with gradual changes to the lampposts’ timing and luminosity over the nine years. During the study, the researchers switched between leaving the lights on all night, dimming them in the early hours and switching them off between midnight and 5am, Vehicle thefts dropped by 44% during this period when the lights were off until 5am.
For decades, researchers have been focusing on reducing crime by improving street lighting conditions. However, the growing environmental concerns led many local authorities to adopt part-night lighting schemes to minimise their carbon footprint. The research arose from the attempt to understand the impact of part-night light plans on crime.
The Impact of Overnight Parking on Insurance
For example, if you work in the motor trade and have an insurance policy with a motor trade broker, you probably answered the question of where you park the car overnight, parking usually impacts your insurance cover since it determines your car’s potential risk.
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For instance, parking it in a garage at home can reduce your premiums due to the security and safety in a closed garage, however, street parking usually increases costs.
Parking your vehicle overnight on the street poses a threat to its safety due to the risk of damage by other motorists, vandalism, and theft.
When you are away from home, you need to park at a secure location, you should also inform the insurance company if you move, discuss the impact of different parking locations with your insurance broker.
While streetlights make people feel safer on the streets, keeping them off after midnight is a great idea for reducing vehicle thefts and vandalism, however, studies also conclude that the effects of street lighting aren’t exactly clear.