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International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Standards

In April, 1996, the International Associated of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Board of Directors adopted the "Recommended Crime Prevention and Campus Protection Practices for Colleges and Universities" which included a provision calling for designed lighting levels above that suggested by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Recommended Practices. The following paragraphs will attempt to explain the issues involved with Guideline 12.5 and offer some insight into some changes in the offing for 1997.

  1. The recommended practices published by IESNA -- in particular, the illumination levels involving parking lots and walkways-have for the most part, not changed -- at least since 1977. When they were first developed, these illumination levels were based upon safety issues (i.e. the ability to see, avoid tripping hazards) and the levels required to conduct the rather limited tasks in these spaces (i.e. walking, driving). Little was known at that time, nor was study effort devoted to, the relationship of illumination levels to crime occurrence. Consequently, it can be assumed that the issue of security is only minimally addressed by the IESNA guidelines.

  2. The IESNA Recommended Practices are intended to apply to all conditions on a national scale; they are not intended to address specific unique crime environments or specific types of operations. Note also that published IESNA illumination levels are MINIMUMS and may not be sufficient to accommodate all situations. This is particularly true of campus environments where students, faculty and staff may be present at virtually any hour, for social as well as business or academic reasons; and we must also keep in mind that our largest campus constituency is youthful and may not always have the maturity level to recognize and avoid dangerous or threatening situations.

  3. At the time the IESNA illumination levels were developed, the climate of litigation was not what it is today. Colleges and universities must maintain a standard of care that may well exceed the norm in some cases, given the nature of our community. From Pine Manner to Lehigh University, we have seen an increasing amount of litigation asserting that an institution was negligent in their efforts to provide a safe campus. Poor lighting or no lighting at all supports plaintiff's efforts because it points to an endemic lack of concern for the safety and security -- even though the case at litigation may not involve a poorly lit area. And we must also remember that the IESNA levels are MINIMUM guidelines; thus, the minimum for one campus locale may not necessarily apply to another -- particularly as it relates to the prevention of crime.

  4. Campus planners are often at odds with those responsible for campus security. Frequently, the issue of esthetics wills out over security because the persons responsible for designing a campus lighting plan use IESNA as the ONLY standard upon which to base their designs. Security personnel are seldom consulted on such matters....sometimes out of fear (assuming planners think to ask) that recommendations will compromises esthetics and increase cost (which clearly they often do). The IACLEA Practices were developed in an attempt to provide another point of view -- another guideline if you will-- that campus security personnel could use as justification for a higher standard of care in the design of campus lighting systems.

  5. The IESNA illumination levels generally assume that proper lighting systems will be provided with proper maintenance. As a practical matter however, this simply does not occur. Most often, lamps are replaced ONLY when they become fully extinguished... and even then, some institutions as a matter of policy do not dispatch maintenance personnel until a fixed number of lamps require replacement. A number of light sources (i.e. mercury vapor, and florescent) deteriorate over the life of the bulb reducing light output by as much as 80% before the lamp ever extinguishes to the level that would generate a maintenance work order. There is also the issue of insect infestation & tree growth which tends to reduce light output. In both cases however, the amount of energy consumed remains constant while the output diminishes. The higher- than-IESNA-levels offered by the IACLEA Recommended Practices tends to offset this problem thus compensating for the depreciation of light output over the life of source.

  6. The notion that lighting reduces incidents of crime is generally excepted. Indeed, there are a number of studies reaching back into the early 1970's that link "improved lighting" with a reduction in crime; but they fall short of indicating how much lighting causes what level of crime reduction. Will a parking lot illuminated to three foot candles have less crime than a lot illuminated to the IESNA level of one? As a point of fact, consider that IESNA standing committees who are currently revising the Recommended Practices do not use crime as a benchmark to measure lighting effectiveness. The primary data for their scientific studies is gleaned from insurance claims-- most of which is related to accidents and tasks (i.e. the ability to discern the face of an approaching attacker) to be undertaken. Clearly, if IESNA finds the issue difficult, then how are we to make this linkage... at least from a scientific perspective? To further complicate the issue, a few studies (i.e. Portland Schools and study programs in the UK) have seen substantial reductions in burglary and vandalism when ALL the lights were extinguished.

    The usual answer to such controversial issues is to "study it more carefully" and as years pass, and more crime occurs in poorly lit lots, the issue is still not adequately addressed. The IACLEA Recommended Crime Prevention and Campus Protection Practices simply are erring on the side of safety-- if they are erring at all.

  7. At colleges and universities, we are also concerned about the perceptions of safety and security. Years of experience tell us that better light increases the feeling of wellness and safety. This has been proven to some extent in a March 1997 article of Security Management, the professional publication for the American Society for Industrial Security. In the article, the author notes that the subject groups reported a heightened feeling of safety and security as the illumination levels "approached three foot candles", but that such perceptions generally plateau at this level. Beyond three foot candles, the increase was only marginal. In the fast food industry, marked increased sales and profitability have been attributed to a substantial elevation of illumination levels. It is speculated that patrons feel more comfortable at the well lit restaurant and thus are more attracted to it...particularly if light levels are substantially higher than the surrounding neighborhood or nearby competing fast food, operations.


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