Blue Light Can Prevent Crimes, Suicides, Car Crashes

Psychologists say it has a calming effect on people

By on 11 Dec 2008, 11:26 GMT
In their strive to curb crimes, suicides and other misdemeanors, police departments from England and Japan have employed blue lighting in some of their worst-famed neighborhoods, as studies show that the color has a calming effect on people, who feel a bit uneasy by the unusual choice of lights and feel like they shouldn't jump out of the crowd by committing offenses.

Railway managers from all around Japan have reported that, since the installment of blue light bulbs in most stations they operate, the number of suicides associated with each year has decreased by as much as 20 percent, which is a very large number, considering that in 2007 alone, more than 640 people tried or succeeded in committing suicide in the country.

Officials say that statistics also show a decrease in the number of car accidents associated with railway crossings, since lights turned blue at over 130 crossings in Japan. Since then, there hasn't been a single incident involving a car ramming into a train or an attempted suicide along the corridor lit in blue. This type of lighting was adopted "as part of our efforts to encourage people to drive safely by instinctively and emotionally appealing to them to calm down," says a Central Nippon Expressway Co spokesman, in a statement.

"There are a number of pieces of data to prove blue has a calming effect upon people. However, it's an unusual color for lighting, so people may just feel like avoiding standing out by committing crimes or suicide under such unusual illumination. It's a little risky to believe that the color of lighting can prevent anything," adds Keio University professor, Tsuneo Suzuki.

In England, street crime rates were noticed to go down 9 percent within a single year, in areas that employed blue lights, police officials reported. Psychologists say that there are a lot of factors that weigh down on people when subjected to this kind of light, including a feeling of loneliness, of pressure, like everyone is watching. Such conditions usually deter criminals and suicidal people.

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Blue light emitters built into the street, in France
   Blue light emitters built into the street, in France