Rutgers Study Showcases the Effectiveness of a Home Security System

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How effective are home security systems? Do they really deter burglars from your home? These are common questions when it comes to home security systems, and deservedly so, since these systems are going to be protecting you, your loved ones, and your home. Even though convicted burglars have admitted that security systems are effective deterrents, sometimes it helps to see cold, hard facts before making a decision. Whether you’re a prospective buyer of an alarm system, or a current system owner that wants to know more, we are here to help.

In 2009, Rutgers University concluded a 5-year study – the first of its kind – which focused only on the impact of a home security system on residential burglaries, while scientifically ruling out other factors that could have influenced burglary rates. Here are three points from the study that we think you should know:

1)      The presence of a home security system will decrease the chance of a burglary.

“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 (a.k.a. Zech) Lee.

Right off the bat, the study confirms the effectiveness of home security systems as a deterrent to burglary. The data show that with the increase in the number of home security systems, there was also a decrease in the number of burglaries.

But how do burglars know that a home is protected? From Dr. Lee’s statement, it can be inferred that the public display of your home’s protected status plays an important role in deterring burglars as well. Yard signs and window decals should be the first line of defense, while the alarm system should be the last. After all, you want burglars to know that your home is protected and should be avoided. But does this mean that they’ll just move on to your neighbor’s home, though? There’s evidence that suggests that’s not the case:

2)      Your neighbors are also protected when you own a home security system.

This showed that there was no indication of any spatial displacement of residential burglaries from protected houses to nearby houses and indeed that burglar alarms tended to provide protection to these other houses. In short, a burglar alarm, as a target-hardening measure of situational crime prevention, not only protects the home without displacing burglary to nearby houses, but, in fact, also provides these other houses with protection from burglars.

Even if your neighbors don’t own systems, the study shows that they can still benefit from the fact that you own one. If one house is protected, burglars may avoid the surrounding houses as well. This does not mean that your system has the ability to protect multiple homes, but rather that your system does provide a potential benefit for your neighbors. Burglars will probably avoid a group of homes upon seeing that one of them is protected, but there is nothing to stop them if they target a house that doesn’t have a security system.

3)      Communities with a higher density of security systems will be safer as a whole.

City-wide spatial analyses showed that, (1) dense concentrations of burglar alarms existed, (2) these concentrations were in considerable proximity, and (3) they were isolated from the hotspots of resident burglaries. Such a pattern was taken as evidence of “diffusion of benefits,” suggestion that burglar alarms had a positive impact on the immediate neighborhood by decreasing residential burglaries.

Since protecting your own home has the potential to also protect your neighbors’ homes, it’s only logical that a greater number of protected homes would have the same effect on a larger scale. A neighborhood would benefit from having more residents with security systems in their homes. Think about it from a burglar’s perspective: Is it worth the risk of trying to enter a home that’s located in a neighborhood with a high density of protected homes?

Home security systems are a welcome addition to any neighborhood. They provide security and most importantly, peace of mind. We’re thrilled to see that more and more people are choosing to have security systems in their home. Remember though, a security system should be your last line of defense. There are many steps you can take to further increase the safety of your home, such as the ones listed in FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips.

As the evidence on the effectiveness of home security systems continues to grow, we hope more people agree that having their own security system can offer significant benefits. We also hope customers choose a company that is committed to their safety and security – like FrontPoint. FrontPoint strives to provide the best home security service available, while offering systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. If you want to see why we’re the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US, just check the reviews. You could be the start of a safer neighborhood.

Comments (6)

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  1. Ron Watkins

    Hi, Do you have any studies or information on how alarm systems, cameras systems, written policies, or any other things can help to reduce crime against church? If you do, can you please send me the information or links to it? Thanks so much for your help. Ron

  2. Umar

    It would be useful to post a link to the study. I would be interested in reading the finding.

  3. Alan

    Interesting Rutgers study, Peter. I initially wouldn’t think the neighborhood effect would be as strong, but upon reflection (putting myself in a burglar’s shoes), I think it makes a lot of sense.

    Nice touch adding the reminder at the end that the alarm system is just one (important) part in a comprehensive security and safety posture. Defense in depth is key… Having good locks, doors, hinges, strike plates, low shrubs/no hiding places, maybe window film, a safe room in the house, alarm&life safety system, alarm signage, etc etc are all important.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan. It’s the old maxim, “deter, delay, detect.” We want to be the last line of defense – although we do know that a yard sign is a great deterrent!

  4. Alan

    Interesting Rutgers study, Peter. I initially wouldn’t think the neighborhood effect would be as strong, but upon reflection (putting myself in a burglar’s shoes), I think it makes a lot of sense.

    Nice touch adding the reminder at the end that the alarm system is just one (important) part in a comprehensive security and safety posture. Defense in depth is key… Having good locks, doors, hinges, strike plates, low shrubs/no hiding places, maybe window film, a safe room in the house, alarm&life safety system, alarm signage, etc etc are all important.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan. It’s the old maxim, “deter, delay, detect.” We want to be the last line of defense – although we do know that a yard sign is a great deterrent!

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