Alarms As a Valuable Deterrent to Crime


    The Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice recently completed a 5 year study crediting the increase in burglar alarms with the decrease in burglaries and a lower overall crime rate. The study, conducted over a two year period and funded by the non‐profit Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF), centered on the value of burglar alarms in residential areas while scientifically removing all other potential variables.


    The researchers focused on 5 years worth of data provided by the Newark Police Department, and over the two year study concluded that “Neighborhoods in which burglar alarms were densely installed have fewer incidents of residential burglaries than the neighborhoods with fewer burglar alarms.” Installing a burglar alarm in a building more secure and less likely to be a target for crime. The study also reported that on top of lessening the potential crime for the dwelling with the alarms it also did not displace potential burglaries to other nearby buildings. Researchers said that the mere presence of alarms is often enough to deter the would be burglars.


    The head of the study, Dr. Seungmug Lee, stated that “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.”


    “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.”


    The study also credited it's outcome partially to the drastic increase in the technology in the past decade. Homeowners that were previously unable to afford or install these crime deterrents no longer have this problem, and technology has gotten many times more effective and much less expensive. For example, “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.”