In case you missed it, this past February Rutgers University published a study that credited the drop in burglaries in Newark NJ to an increase in the amount of registered alarm systems, proving something we already knew. What is interesting, however, is that burglar alarm systems did not displace the burglaries to other homes in the neighborhood. Here is the full release:

Study Links Burglary Reduction to Increase in Alarms Systems
NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ — A comprehensive study of five years of
statistics by researchers at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice
(SCJ) in Newark 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.
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 (a.k.a. Zech) 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
The study noted that “technology innovations” have increased the availability
of home security systems to middle-class homeowners and that technology has
made the systems more dependable. “Computers, printed circuits, digital
communicators, and microprocessors have refined monitoring and signaling
technology, and modern electronic sensors now include ultrasonic, infrared and
microwave devices which were formerly available only in more sophisticated
commercial and industrial applications,” said Dr. Lee.
Researchers also pointed to an earlier study based on interviews with burglars
(“Burglars on the Job 1994,” Northeastern University Press) to support their
conclusions. That study concluded, “Most offenders, though, wanted to avoid
alarms altogether and, upon encountering such devices, abandoned all thought
of attacking the dwelling.”
For more information about “The Impact of Home Burglar Alarm Systems on
Residential Burglaries” study, please contact Dr. Lee at 419-772-2597, or
Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) is a major national and international
center for scholarly research on all aspects of policing, delinquency, crime,
and criminal justice administration. This provides a basis for its educational
programs that also fulfill public service obligations by helping to address
the needs of criminal justice agencies within the city, state, nation, and
Based at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, SCJ’s faculty includes some
of the top scholars in the field, and the Ph.D. program in criminology has
been ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The doctoral
program continues to set the standard for doctoral training, and SCJ’s
graduating students are highly sought after by universities recruiting new
faculty. All of the degree programs offered by SCJ provide classroom as well
as research opportunities that prepare students for positions in research,
teaching, and criminal justice system management and policymaking. For more
information on the school, please visit
SOURCE Rutgers University in Newark, Office of Communications
Dr. Lee, +1-419-772-2597, or, for Rutgers
University in Newark, Office of Communications; or Ferlanda Fox Nixon,, or Helen Paxton,,
both of Office of Communications of Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey, +1-973-353-5262, fax, +1-973-353-1050

and the link to the Reuters story:

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