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Convicted Burglars Confess that Alarm Systems are Effective Deterrent

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July 1, 2013

Convicted Burglars Confess that Alarm Systems are Effective Deterrent

A highly credible alarm industry group has completed a valuable study to determine the effectiveness of alarm systems in deterring burglars, and the findings only reinforce what we already knew: having a burglar alarm makes your home safer.

A recent study funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) found that the presence of an alarm system was a strong deterrent when it came to the selection of potential targets by burglars. The report, "Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective," examined the responses of 422 convicted male and female burglars across three states – North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio.

What Convicted Burglars Said

According to the study, about 60 percent of burglars said that the presence of an alarm would cause them to seek an alternate target and more than 80 percent indicated that they would attempt to determine if an alarm was present before carrying out the crime.  In fact, only one in 10 respondents said they would always attempt a burglary if an alarm was present, but more than 40 percent said that they would discontinue a burglary in progress if they discovered an alarm was present. The vast majority of burglars (80 percent) also indicated that they would never attempt to disable an alarm and only eight percent said that they would always attempt to disable one.

More Details from the Study

  • Nearly 60 percent of the burglars said they would consider the presence of cameras or other surveillance equipment when selecting a target, and more than 40 percent said that would be a factor in prompting them to choose another target.
  • About half of the respondents reported engaging in residential burglary, while 31 percent said they preferred commercial targets.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the respondents indicated their top reason for committing burglaries was related to the need to acquire drugs (51 percent) or money (37 percent), which was often used to support drug habits.
  • Slightly less than a third of the offenders reported that they collected information about a potential target prior to initiating a burglary attempt, suggesting that most burglars are impulsive to some degree. About 12 percent indicated that they typically planned the burglary, 41 percent suggested it was most often a "spur of the moment" event/offense, and the other 37 percent reported that it varied.

You may also have heard of the Rutgers University study that found a home with a monitored alarm system is roughly one third as likely to be burglarized as the unprotected home next door: we believe that stat, and are regularly informed by our customers of incidents where they are passed by, and their neighbors are burglarized – the neighbors who don’t have an alarm system. This new AIREF study adds significantly to the industry’s body of knowledge concerning what works and what does not work in the realm of intrusion deterrents – and will be useful information for the industry.

You might also appreciate our Top 10 Home Security Tips – great advice on how to make your home less susceptible to burglary. With a burglary happening in the US roughly every 14 seconds (according to the FBI), it amazes me that only about one in five homes has such a system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring, such as FrontPoint sells.

FrontPoint will continue to share home security news and tips with you, while we stay on the forefront by offering systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, whether it’s the usual random offense by an amateur burglar, or that rare targeted attack by the “professional.” Either way, you want the odds on your side.

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