Parking your car under a street lamp at night INCREASES the chance of it being stolen rather than being kept safe

Finding a good parking space can be a chore at the best of times — but it seems sticking it under a street lamp can prove to be a rather costly oversight.

Putting your vehicle in the spotlight greatly increases the likelihood of it being stolen, rather than keeping it safe, new research suggests.

Parking your car under a lamppost could make you a prime target for theft


Parking your car under a lamppost could make you a prime target for theftPhoto credit: Getty

The bomb study found that nighttime thefts were almost halved when streetlights were turned off between midnight and 5am.

Researchers believe “opportunists” are less likely to target engines that are left in the dark than those that have illuminated their contents.

The analysis, published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, shows it makes it harder for thieves to see inside, assess a vehicle’s security, or remove exterior parts.

The team analyzed data from various crimes in Oxfordshire, Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham during street lighting changes between April 2004 and September 2013.

They studied the difference between lampposts burning all night and the gradual changes in their timing and luminosity over a nine-year period.

This included turning off the lights between about midnight and about 5am with white all night lighting and dimming the lights in the early hours of the morning.

It turned out that all analyzed forms of crime occurred more frequently at nightfall – however, the number of offenses fell over the years.

Thefts from vehicles decreased by 44 percent when street lights were turned off between midnight and 5 a.m.

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The study found that the overall nighttime crime rate fell by about a quarter after changes in daytime crime were accounted for.

But research found that stripping streetlights didn’t completely eradicate car thieves in certain areas.

The changes instead triggered a spike in vehicle thefts on adjacent streets, which remained lit throughout the night.

However, researchers believe that turning off the lights in the middle of the night may provide better benefits.

When crimes committed at any time of day were included in the analysis, they found that the lighting changes “were associated with a reduction in overall crime, burglary, and violence on both the main and adjacent streets.”

dr Phil Edwards of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the study, said this would help deter motorists who might catch a glimpse of your car on a well-lit road.

He explained: “It has to do with opportunistic theft.

“Without lights, for example, it’s harder to see the laptop that was accidentally left in the passenger seat overnight.”

But he also acknowledged that the length of time streetlights are left on is a fairly complex issue.

Edwards continued, “Other studies show that people like streetlights, they feel safer when they do.

“But studies like ours show that the impact of street lighting is actually not that clear.”

We previously unveiled the UK’s top ten postcodes most at risk of car theft.

Ford Fiestas, VW Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsas were the most popular cars stolen, according to DVLA data.

And we also shared how high-tech key scammers managed to steal a car in the UK every SIX minutes in 2020. Parking your car under a street lamp at night INCREASES the chance of it being stolen rather than being kept safe

Fry Electronics Team

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