Study links burglary reduction to increase in alarms systems.
Over the years I've seen results of research studies that have attempted to measure the effectiveness of security systems on crime. Although all of them were probably well-intentioned, none -- in my estimation -- ever seemed to prove definitively that security systems reduce crime. This is because there are many factors that are part of the crime equation -- for example, demographics. A swelling of the teen/young adult population is believed to contribute to higher property crime rates. A poor economy also increases crime rates. There are other factors, as well.
But according to news released this week from Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) in Newark, N.J., a study has been concluded that conquered the challenge of measuring the singular effect of intrusion alarm systems on crime. The result, according to Rutgers: ALARMS WORK!
A comprehensive study of five years of statistics by researchers at Rutgers found that residential burglar alarm systems decrease crime. While other studies have concluded that most burglars avoid alarm systems, this is the first study to focus on alarm systems while scientifically ruling out other factors that could have impacted the crime rate, the Rutgers report stated.
Researchers concentrated on analyzing crime data provided by the Newark Police Department. “Data showed that a steady decrease in burglaries in Newark between 2001 and 2005 coincided with an increase in the number of registered home burglar alarms,” said study author Dr. Seungmug Lee, who received his doctoral degree from SCJ in 2008 and presently teaches at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. “The study credits the alarms with the decrease in burglaries and the city’s overall crime rate.”
In short, the study found that an installed burglar alarm makes a dwelling less attractive to the would-be and active intruders and protects the home without displacing burglaries to nearby homes.
The study also concluded that the deterrent effect of alarms is felt in the community at large. “Neighborhoods in which burglar alarms were densely installed have fewer incidents of residential burglaries than the neighborhoods with fewer burglar alarms,” the study noted.
The study was conducted with the cooperation of the Newark Police Department and reviewed five years of police data. The more than 300-page study was conducted over a two-year period and funded by the non-profit Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF). SCJ Professors George L. Kelling, Marcus Felson and Ronald V. Clarke and Professor Robert D. McCrie of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York were members of the study’s Faculty Advisory Committee. Dr. Clarke served as committee chair.
“This type of study assists police departments to effectively deploy their limited resources,” said Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy. “The School of Criminal Justice provides valuable insight into the positive impact alarm systems can have in preventing residential burglaries.”
“This is the most comprehensive study of its kind that has ever been conducted,” said Dr. Lee. “By using sophisticated in-depth research techniques, we were able to eliminate the variables that impact crime rates and focus directly on the impact alarm systems have on residential burglaries.”
For more information about “The Impact of Home Burglar Alarm Systems on Residential Burglaries” study, contact Dr. Lee at (419) 772-2597, or