Keeping burglars out of your home is just a flip of a light switch away, says a home lighting security specialist.
"Police figures indicate that nine times out of 10, burglars will hit homes they believe to be unoccupied," William Rogers said in a recent interview.
It is "pretty well accepted" that a lighted home is an unlikely target for burglars, he said.
Rogers has worked for the General Electric Co. lighting division more than 30 years.
He said proper lighting both indoors and outdoors can be used to deter crime.
For example, when leaving the house at night, it's wise for you to leave a light on and a radio playing. In most parts of the country it would cost about a dime to operate four 55-watt bulbs for four hours, Rogers said.
Timer Turns On Lights
Another way to make a home look occupied: Use a timer system to turn lights on and off in several rooms throughout the evening. A timer can be bought for less than $10.
Outdoors, floodlights placed at corners of the house and a lamp post on the lawn make it difficult for anyone to hide in the shadows, he said.
He said most homes can be equipped with floodlights for $25 to $30, while post lights are about $50 each, plus labor costs.
"These lights are not only for security, but make you enjoy your place more. The more attractive things you do with your house, the better you feel about it," he said.
An apartment dweller should leave a light and a radio on when not at home, Rogers said.
"In some apartments, light does not escape, so leaving a radio going would be very helpful to make it sound as if someone were there."
Overall, he said, studies have shown nearly all homes could use more lighting.
"Lighting is a relatively small expense, about 12% of the average electric bill."