Security Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 180–198 | Cite as

Spatial impact of burglar alarms on the decline of residential burglary

  • Seungmug Lee
  • Harry Wilson
Original Article


Private security could be given a greater role in the crime prevention infrastructure. The growth of private security industry has raised new challenges for researchers and policy-maker over years. Its contribution to crime prevention has been under-utilized, under-researched and underestimated. In particular, the deterrent effect of burglar alarms and their impact on crime have not been adequately researched. The data of residential burglary incidents and residential burglar alarm permit records are integrated with a geographical information system program to analyze a spatial impact of alarms on burglary at the city-wide level. The current study focuses on data pertaining to Newark, New Jersey and shows that (i) dense concentrations of alarm installations exist, (ii) these concentrations are in considerable proximity, and (iii) they are isolated from the hotspots of burglary incidents. Such a pattern is taken as evidence of ‘diffusion of benefits’, suggesting that residential alarms have a beneficial impact by decreasing burglary incidents.


private security burglar alarm nearest neighbor index (NNI) displacement diffusion of benefit 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seungmug Lee
    • 1
  • Harry Wilson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Western Illinois UniversityMacomb,USA
  2. 2.History, Politics, and Justice, Ohio Northern UniversityAdaUSA

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