Security Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 53–72 | Cite as

The Role of Alarms and CCTV in Detecting Non-residential Burglary

  • Timothy Coupe
  • Satverg Kaur
Research Article


This study is concerned with the role of burglar alarms and CCTV in the detection of non-residential burglary. Funded by the UK Home Office's Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, it involves surveys of police officers, supplemented by police data, site surveys and victim interviews. Alarms and CCTV made important contributions to detecting burglaries, in terms of on-scene capture and arrests due to using eye-witness descriptions and filmed recordings for identifying offenders. There may be potential to increase numbers of detected cases by fitting more of both security devices, but this partly depends on patrol workloads, filtering out the bulk of false alarm calls and minimising the tendency for activated, audible alarms to reduce CCTV suspect recordings by prompting the burglar's flight. This might be best resolved either by fitting delayed-audible alarms or alarms that do not trigger on entry to premises, though this might result in goods being taken at more incidents, or by installing a combination of CCTV cameras on the outside of premises with alarms at entry points. Hidden CCTV also appears to be better than visible cameras for filming and identifying suspects. Implications of findings for research design are also considered.


Burglary detection closed-circuit television (CCTV) alarms 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Coupe
    • 1
  • Satverg Kaur
    • 2
  1. 1.Lecturer, Criminal Justice Management at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology
  2. 2.GE Consumer FinanceLeeds

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