JFF - Outside Light on or off at Night?

Updated on January 27, 2012
H.M. asks from Boulder, CO
37 answers

Hubby says off - leaving lights on make it easy for criminals to "see what they're doing"

I say on - makes it more difficult for someone to break in cause they'll be standing under a very bright light.

Your thoughts?

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answers from Washington DC on

Lights on. Get a motion sensor light.

I read some of the others...seems like all agree - on. I like the crime watch!

Darkness is a criminals best friend!! Remember that! They are pathetic fools who believe they are entitled to things to which they did not earn. Don't give them a chance....be proactive. Don't live in fear either.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

On - because my husband is nearly always out of town for work, and it makes me feel "safer". But, we use the floresent energy efficient bulbs.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Lights on, for the same reason that you have, however, looking to buy the solar ones to save some $$$.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Columbia on


I hate lights on at night.

My sweetie wants to install a motion activated light in the back. I say that the sign on the back door, which reads very clearly in almost no light "No Trespassing. Violators will be shot...Survivors will be shot again." is clear enough.

Missouri is a Castle Doctrine state. Go ahead, criminals...try to break into my little house.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

We use a motion sensor. That would solve your dilemma ;-)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Motion sensor light: problem solved.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Motion sensor lights.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

On. My husband is a cop & says that if your porch light is on, a criminal is way less likely to attempt to break in because they can be seen doing so.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Lights on. Yes scum bucket thieves can see. But you can see them as well.

In our neighborhood we have a crime watch. We actually have a schedule to patrol our neighborhood until midnight. We walk our dogs. We talk. So potential thieves know we are paying attention. We live a nice area. However, we believe due to our efforts in the crime watch, we have had no crime in the 7 years we have lived here.

We lock our doors and our cars.
We lock our windows and close the blinds and drapes.
Common sense works.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

You can put in motion sensor light or install timers on the lights. I live in a develpoment that has street lights and only a few feet between the houses so I turn them off. When I was up north with over an acre of property we used the sensor lights and the front door light on a timer.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Motion sensored. So the bad guys (or me) turn them on when getting too close :).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Most everyone in our neighborhood, including us, leave outside lights on.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

We leave our outside lights on 24/7/365. I do not turn them off and on, they just stay on. I want to be able to see who is at the door without letting the person at the door know anyone is looking, I want to be able to see outside to look for the source of noises, I want to be able to see my vehicles, etc...lights on.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I leave the outside lights on all night, every night. But it's not really a security issue, I just don't like the dark. I mean I like to SEE, you know?

I also have night lights in pretty much every room, and decor type lighting that stays on.

Yeah, ok so maybe I'm afraid of the dark.

But I'm not afraid of someone coming to take my stuff or hurt my family exactly, I just don't like it when I can't SEE.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Porch light off, Motion sensor light in driveway on.

Car break-ins happen in the dark, so a light on the cars is a good idea.

Home Burglary is much more likely to happen in the daytime. Outside light doesn't deter criminals. Inside lights do. They don't want to break-in when someone is home. If your car is pulled into the garage at night, leave a light on somewhere in the house so it's clear someone is home. The monitored alarm sign should definately be well lit up! We get zero reported burglaries onhomes with a monitored alarm.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Off, but we have movement sensors that turn on if anyone comes close to the front porch, the drive way and the back porch.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

On, for the reasons you state. We also have an alarm and a firearm. Nothing is fool proof, but I want the advantage on my side.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Off. Leaving them on just wastes power and lets anyone coming up to the house see better.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

I like the outside lights on at night. It's worth the cost of the electricity. And the police around here tell us that burglars are the opposite of moths - they do not care to flock to lights and fly around. Thieves can see what they're doing very well in the dark, thank you very much; it's the fact that they might be seen by others that might deter them.

I ought to look into those motion sensor lights, though. If I were a burglar and the lights outside a house suddenly went on, I'd be so scared my ears would fall off.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hmmmm...whose opinion to follow: Hubbies who hate lights on or the local police?

I'll go with our police department: Exterior lights ON all night. Motion sensors are the best way to go for those who just loathe leaving the lights on. Our local police strongly advised exterior lights at night when, several years ago, there was a sudden rash of hubcap thefts in our very safe area, due to operations that move throughout the country stealing to order. (Yep, it's true.) In public meetings at that time the police said light deters criminals, period, and they urged everyone to make it a permanent policy to just keep lights on at night. If folks leave lights on especially over driveways and at doors, criminals are less likely to try that door handle on the car to see if it's unlocked, or check the basement back door just to see if it's open. Like I said, our town is very safe, and most crimes are - guess what? Items stolen from unlocked cars overnight, or items stolen from unlocked sheds. So lock up AND keep the lights on in case you forgot to lock up.

Your husband's take that it makes it easier for criminals to "see what they're doing"? I can't buy that for a second!

Someone mentioned loving to stargaze. Well, I do too, but I realistically do not expect to do it much here in the suburbs. Even if everyone kept their houses dark, the streetlights would interfere. I'll go somewhere else to stargaze and keep my car and house safe, thanks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Off! And I hate that the neighbor leaves theirs on cuz it shines in our bedroom so I've had to get black out curtains!!! I think if you leave the light on then its easier for the criminals to see where they are going to break into! Its much more obvious to see someone walking around in the dark with a flashlight looking for trouble. And I think it wastes electricity. I would only leave a light on if someone was coming home after dark. Then I would expect them to shut it off after they came in. =)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Off. If my husband is out of town and I'm alone I will leave lights on inside the house to hopefully keep the bad guys away! :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I didn't read all of the responses, but mine is probably unique. I leave the front outside lights OFF, but the back one is ON 24/7 because we have coyotes in the area and we have a small dog. We have a fence, but that isn't full proof so the back light is on to deter coyotes. The front light might actually shine into our boys' bedrooms so I don't leave that on unless I'm expecting someone to come home late.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Motion sensor!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My hubby agress with your hubby - and I agree with you. Since I am home alone during the week the lights are always on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

We're in the city. There's so much ambient light (light pollution) that the only thing a porch light does is make the house number visable from the street. I can read on my porch at 2am without turning on the porch light.

It's the rare criminal that breaks into an occupied house, however.

Most prefer broad daylight ((homeowners at work, easy to navigate)), or empty houses from people on vacation. Rapists prefer easy targets. AKA NOT houses with spouse and kids... but young single women, and elderly women on their own.

If someone is crazy enough (or high enough) to break into an occupied house in the middle of the night... they'll break a window and care less.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

If I am the last one to bed it stays on. If my husband is the last one to bed it gets turned off. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If it's a safety issue, I would leave them on at night. In my opinion, houses that are well-lit usually drive away would-be thieves; not help them.

For me, I never leave any lights on outside 24/7; I'll turn the back lights on when I leave our dog out but then turn them off when he comes back inside. As for our front lights, they are connected to a motion detector - so if anyone gets close, even animals, they automatically go on. I'm in a rural area so I don't really worry too much about thieves but am aware it could happen. Then, I also have a separate porch light, not connected to the motion detector, that if I want to turn it on/off myself, I can.

I would say it's just what you're comfortable with and makes you feel safe.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

On. We have a light on the back of our building that we turn on at night. Though like mentioned, it blocks the stars, which I also love to look at, it prevents a breakin. We live on the corner and there are several trees that block the street lights so it gets kind of dark under those trees. Plus my husband parks his cargo van on the street and this stops anyone from trying to break into it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

are you my neighbors? both sides have bright lights glaring most nights. even with screening trees it sucks. i love to stargaze and wish other people would understand the concept of light pollution. more towns are getting on board with it, fortunately, but too slow for my tastes.
motion lights are much more effective for security purposes and don't destroy the velvet beauty of the night.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

lights on. Lights deter criminals because they can be seen:) That is my logic (and the police officers who have visited our home, too!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

We are out in the country without any street lights. We leave our exterior lights on at night. I also leave a couple of lights on through out the house. It makes me feel better to be able to see if I get up in the night.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Lights are ALWAYS on at night.

My neighborhood can be a little questionable and we have NEVER had any issues since we bought the house in 1989. My husband works until 1:00 am and really appreciates having some lights on when he's walking in at 1:30.


answers from Dayton on

DH and I are in complete agreement on this.
We are one of the few houses on our street that leaves them on.
Whose house would you try and break into?
The one where your every move can be seen or the one you can hide in the shadows?
I am pretty sure crooks know about flashlights. ;)


answers from Minneapolis on

On the front of our house, 2 on either side of the garage door (attached garage), and one at the front door, are always on. All of the homes on my immeditate street have always left them on, and its been helpful when we have had those little run ins with would be thieves.

I saw someone trying to break into the across the street neighbors motor home one dark summer night when I was still up (its on the far side of their driveway where the 2 side by side houses have garages that meet up...so its "quiet" in between and decent cover for a suburban area). My hubby saw a drunk someone hit a parked car on our street due to all the lights, and others have a few stories from the almost 20 years we have lived here (we were all talking aobut this at a grad party on the block this past summer!)

We have no lights on the back of our home or sides that we leave on (where they might interfere more with neighbors bedrooms or living areas and shining in).


answers from San Diego on

Every exterior light on our house is a motion sensor light. The only solution!



answers from Provo on

ON!! Same reasoning as you. I look down our street and night and see a handful of houses with lights shining bright around their doors and the rest with everything tucked away in the dark. Even looking just across the street you'd never see someone standing in the door way or at a window trying to break in. It seriously shocks me that so many people turn them off! What's the point in having them if you don't use them?

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