Study: Alarm systems reduce crime

Feb. 11, 2009
Rutgers University study links decrease in burglaries with increase in alarm system use

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, there is a direct correlation between a reduction in crime and the use of residential burglar alarms.

The report, "The Impact of Home Burglar Alarm Systems on Residential Burglaries," looked at statistics from the Newark, N.J., police department between 2001 and 2005. The study found that there was a decrease in burglaries in areas that had an increase in the number of alarm systems installed.

The author of the report, Dr. Seungmug Lee said that he wanted to focus his research on the residential alarm industry because he felt as though it had been an industry largely neglected by fellow researchers.

"For the last several decades, the alarm industry, together with the private security industry have been forgotten by researchers in terms of their positive contributions to crime prevention," he said. "Overall, this is quite a substantial and important study to look at their positive contribution in the crime prevention circle."

By conducting a spatial or geographical analysis of the data, Lee was able to compare which neighborhoods in Newark suffered the greatest number of break-ins with the number of registered alarm users in the same area.

"When I looked at the distribution of the hot spots of both alarm use and residential burglaries, it’s clear for the five years (the research covers) that the neighborhood or street blocks with the higher number of burglaries tended to have less alarms installed, while the neighborhoods or street blocks with the higher number of alarm installations had less instances of residential burglaries," he said.

Lee was also able to determine through his research, that some people who don’t have burglar alarms receive a deterrent effect benefit from neighbors who do.

"My study did not observe spatial displacement (of burglar alarm’s impact on crime), but did find spatial diffusion of the benefit… and from that, I conclude that an increase of alarm use may have a positive contribution to the reduction of residential burglaries," Lee added.

For more information about the research contact Lee at 419-772-2597 or via email at or

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