News, Transport

Do blue lights REALLY cut crime and suicides?

Blue lights appear to cut crime and suicides, but are the lights directly responsible? If so, why? Or does it merely displace the problem? These are the questions the British Transport Police are investigating.

IN BUCHANAN Street in Glasgow, Scotland, crime fell when blue lights were installed. At one Tokyo railway station with a major suicide problem, track-jumping deaths completely ceased. And at Gatwick Airport railway station outside London, a major trial of blue lights is under way for the same reason.

The apparent success of the installations raises some compelling questions. For instance, are the lights directly responsible for the decrease in crime and suicide? If so, why? Or does it merely displace the problem?

An LED blue light – supplied by Minimise Energy – on trial at Gatwick Airport’s 24-hour railway station outside London

Theories abound: the unexpected colour throws people off guard enough to change their intended behaviour; the blue light has a calming effect; there’s an association with the emergency services and first responders.

The British Transport Police has now taken an interest, and has undertaken its own investigation into the phenomenon.

But it’s not just suicides and crime it’s interested in: UK police and local authorities have been using blue lights for years to cut intravenous drug injection in public places. It wants to understand its effectiveness on this and other applications such as its effect on young people congregating.

Leading the probe is BTP officer Mark Stokes, who has travelled to Japan to research its application on the transport network there.

Of particular interest to the BTP is the effect of lighting to secure maximum quality CCTV images for both investigative and evidential purposes.

Stokes will share his findings and discuss the issue at the Smart Spaces Conference, part of next month’s LuxLive exhibition in London.


  • Human-centric lighting will be explored in the Workplace and Wellbeing Conference at LuxLive 2018, Europe’s largest annual lighting event taking place on 14th & 15th November at the ExCeL London. Featuring eight conference tracks and over 100 expert industry speakers. Entry is FREE – simply register to attend HERE .