What It Means If You See A Home With A Blue Porch Light

Have you ever driven or walked past a home with a shining blue light outside its door? This is a common practice seen in neighborhoods all over the U.S., but these vibrant lights are not for decor purposes; there is a deeper meaning behind this different porch light color at heart. Blue lights, usually attached to the front porch, are often used to show support and appreciation for law enforcement and honor lives lost in the line of duty. 

In 2022 alone, 118 police officers were killed in the line of duty, according to an FBI report cited by Police1, and blue porch lights are one way for the communities they serve to stand in solidarity. Project Blue Light is the name of the phenomenon, giving citizens a simple way to pay homage to friends, family, and other police officers who are currently serving, have served, or were laid to rest. Project Blue Light has been practiced since the 1980s and, today, it remains one of many ways in which communities show their admiration.

How Project Blue Light began

Project Blue Light is a way that law enforcement is honored nationwide, and began back in 1988 in Philadelphia. Dolly Craig started the tradition in tribute to her son-in-law Danny Gleason, who was killed while on duty in 1986, per Historical Marker Database. She contacted the Concerns of Police Survivors organization (COPS) and relayed that she would be placing a blue light in her window over the holidays to honor her late son-in-law after he served more than 15 years as a police officer. This small yet impactful act quickly caught on; now, thousands of homes across the United States pay homage every year.

While it is most common to see communities participate in Project Blue Light through blue bulbs inserted into their porch lights, there are lots of ways families and businesses incorporate blue lights onto their properties. Some place lights in their windows, like Craig, either with lanterns or LED candles, and others will light decorative sconces on trees or line their walkways with blue garden lights. Some people will make this an annual tradition when the holidays approach, in line with when Craig initiated the project, and others keep their blue lights on all year round. Blue is the perfect color for police recognition, not only because of its correlation to officers' uniforms but also because it has long been a color representative of peace and freedom.

How to participate in Project Blue Light

This holiday season, or any suitable time of the year, you can participate in Project Blue Light by showcasing a blue light outside or inside of your home. However, Project Blue Light has grown to be so much more than a symbol, and there are other ways to get involved with the movement. COPS accepts year-round donations and hosts fundraisers to serve thousands of survivors throughout the United States, Canada, and other U.S. territories each year.

Additionally, communities have the ability to focus on making a difference on a more local level and can often participate in neighborhood parades, ceremonies, memorials, and other events. Gift baskets are often gifted to police departments around the holidays, thanking current officers for another year of service and sacrifice. There is no right or wrong way to show appreciation and honor to law enforcement, whether through lighting up your porch or giving to charities. Project Blue Light has simply paved the way for those who want to give back to have the ability to do so even through the smallest of gestures.