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NCJ Number: 48179 Find in a Library
Title: ALARMS DETER CRIME
Journal: POLICE CHIEF  Volume:45  Issue:6  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:43-46
Author(s): G F DISTELHORST
Corporate Author: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CRIME DETERRENT EFFECTIVENESS AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF ALARM SYSTEMS ARE DISCUSSED, AND MEANS OF REDUCING THE NUMBER OF FALSE ALARMS ARE DESCRIBED.
Abstract: SCARSDALE, NEW YORK AND MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON ARE CITED AS AREAS WHERE STUDIES HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED TO SHOW THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALARM SYSTEMS IN REDUCING BURGLARY. IN 1967, THE SCARSDALE POLICE ALLOWED ABOUT HALF OF THE CITY'S 900 HOME ALARM SYSTEMS TO BE CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO THE STATION. ACCORDING TO THE UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS, BURGLARY STATISTICS OVER THE 5-YEAR PERIOD, FROM 1967-1971, SHOW THAT BURGLARIES IN SCARSDALE RANGED FROM 58 PERCENT BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE IN 1969 TO 23 PERCENT BELOW IN 1971. THESE STATISTICS ARE SIGNIFICANT SINCE SCARSDALE IS BELIEVED TO BE A LUCRATIVE TARGET COMMUNITY FOR BURGLARY, WHERE THE AVERAGE FAMILY EARNS ABOUT $40,000 A YEAR. DURING THE 3-YEAR PERIOD 1975-1977, 392 BURGLARIES OCCURRED IN SCARSDALE, BUT ALARMED HOMES WERE BURGLARIZED ONLY 24 TIMES, AT A YEARLY RATE OF 8.4 IN 1,000. IN ANOTHER STUDY OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON, ABOUT 5,200 ALARM SYSTEMS WERE MONITORED FROM MARCH 1976 THROUGH FEBRUARY 1977. COMMERCIAL PREMISES WITHOUT ALARMS WERE BURGLARIZED AT A RATE OF 80 PER 1,000, WHILE ALARMED PREMISES EXPERIENCED EXACTLY HALF THAT RATE. IN THE CASE OF RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES, ALARMLESS HOMES WERE HIT SIX TIMES AS OFTEN AS THOSE PROTECTED BY ALARM SYSTEMS. THE COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF ALARM SYSTEMS IS EXCELLENT BECAUSE IT REDUCES THE MAN-HOURS OF POLICE WORK THAT OTHERWISE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO INVESTIGATE THE BURGLARIES. IN ADDITION, ALARM SYSTEMS OFTEN ENABLE POLICE TO CATCH BURGLERS IN THE ACT, THUS REDUCING THE COURT COSTS OF A LENGTHY TRIAL NECESSITATED WHEN EVIDENCE IS CIRCUMSTANTIAL. FALSE ALARMS ARE A MAJOR PROBLEM TO POLICE, HOWEVER, THE VALUE OF ALARM SYSTEMS OUTWEIGHS THE PROBLEMS. EFFORTS PROPOSED TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF FALSE ALARMS INCLUDE: IMPROVED SYSTEMS; BETTER TRAINING OF INSTALLERS; EDUCATING OWNERS IN METHODS OF AVOIDING FALSE ALARMS; AND, IF NECESSARY, ORDINANCES TO PENALIZE CONSISTENTLY NEGLIGENT OWNERS AND INCOMPETENT ALARM COMPANIES. THE OUTLINE OF A FALSE ALARM HANDBOOK TO BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL BURGLAR AND FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION IS PRESENTED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Alarm systems; Cost effectiveness analysis; Evaluation; False alarms; New York; Oregon; Physical crime prevention
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