It is perhaps intuitive that a well-lit area will reduce crime at night. Police departments in many communities in the USA, the UK and other countries have initiated programmes to encourage a reduction in night-time crime by increasing the amount of light in neighbourhoods. Several studies over the past two decades have sought to document the role that improved lighting of urban places can play a part in reducing crime. The theory is that since criminals want to avoid arrest they prefer to avoid detection by working in a poorly lighted area (Page 1977; Painter 1996). The theory is tested in the literature largely by before-and-after field studies, by comparing crime rates in neighbourhoods before an increase in public lighting with the crime rates after lighting was increased, and at least some of the available evidence is reasonably consistent with the theory that improved lighting lowers the crime rate (Ditton and Nair 1993; Herbert and Davidson 1994; Painter 1996). The literature also suggests that people feel more secure at night in better lighted areas than they do in less well-lit areas (Ditton and Nair 1992; Painter 1996).