Lighting for security



Michael J. Walls, Past President, NALMCO, Member, IESNA, Ohio, USA


Cargo theft on the rise

Mr. Michael Schuler, Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI based in Washington, DC assigned to the Major Theft Unit gave some very disturbing figures pertaining to cargo theft worldwide at a recent American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Convention. He stated that cargo theft worldwide exceeds US$30-50 billion in losses annually. Mr. Schuler feels this number is greatly understated because many cargo crimes go unreported. The good news for ports and terminals may be that the vast majority of cargo losses occur outside of the seaport. Some U.S. port areas hit the hardest in the past 5 years have been Newark/New York, Miami and Long Beach/Los Angeles, with recent increases seen in San Jose, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago. He noted that cargo theft is an international problem that is on the rise.

Perception is reality

The installation of security lighting no mater what type of facility, port, terminal, loading area, storage or even a ships water line, creates the perception of security for the protection of people and property.

Taken directly from the Illuminating Engineers of North America (IESNA) Handbook on Safety and Security Lighting, there are some very straightforward principals to follow:

• Integrate light into the total security system and thereby facilitate the effectiveness of other secur ity devices or procedures. Illuminate objects, people, and places to allow observation and identification and thereby physically reduce criminal concealment.

• Use illumination to deter criminal acts by creating a fear of detection, identification, and apprehension.

• Reduce the fear of crime for the innocent by enhancing a perception of security.

• It is very important to note that the application/design of security lighting in and around ports and terminal must be done with great care as to not interfere with navigational aids. Keeping in mind that security lighting is only one segment of a total security system.

• This article is not intended to make a lighting designer out of the reader but to assist in raising the right questions and concerns pertaining to a given application and the selection of a professional lighting designer as may be needed for new construction or upgrade of an existing facility.

Controlled areas

Areas such as storage yards, container terminals, large open areas, and docks are typically illuminated through the use of floodlighting or roadway fixtures on poles 10m (30’) or more in height. In some specific locations such as very large open areas larger 30m (90-100’), towers are also used with an array of four to five, 1,000-1,500 watt metal halide area style fixture associated with a motorised lowering device to facilitate service. These tall light towers, as they are some time referred to have come under fire from organisations such as “The Dark Skies Organization”. This is due in part to the light pollution that can be produced from these tall poles. Many municipalities have put legislation into place or are pending, which will limit pole heights to 10m (30’) for all areas other than public roadways.

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