Spatial impact of burglar alarms on the decline of residential burglary

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Seungmug Lee.

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Lee, S., Wilson, H. Spatial impact of burglar alarms on the decline of residential burglary. Secur J 26, 180–198 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/sj.2012.8

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Keywords

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