Security Sales & Integration

October 2013

SSI serves security installing contractors providing systems and services; surveillance, access control, biometrics, fire alarm and home control/automation. Coverage in commercial and residential product applications, designs, techniques, operations.

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RESEARCH Study Shows Burglars Avoid Alarm Systems By Joseph B. Kuhns, Ph.D. and Kristie R. Blevins, Ph.D. A new AIREF-funded study scientifcally supports the industry's assertion that alarm systems deter burglars. More than four in fve incarcerated respondents say they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary. And the presence of an alarm system would cause more than half the intruders to abort. R   esearch seeking to understand the criminological and deterrent factors associated with burglary and burglars' decision-making processes has been conducted through victimization surveys, interviews or surveys with active or incarcerated ofenders, and analyses of crime, census and land use. While the contribution of knowledge gained through these techniques is signifcant, the number of studies concerning burglary is limited. Further, many studies have been conducted in countries other than the United States, and few examine diferences based on demographic characteristics such as gender. A new, groundbreaking study, "Understanding Decisions to Burglarize From the Ofender's Perspective," used a sample of convicted burglars in North Carolina, Ohio, and Kentucky to expand the knowledge base concerning the motivation and techniques used by burglars as they select their targets and carry out their crimes. Additionally, this research — sponsored by the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation (AIREF) and conducted by Doctors of Philosophy from Eastern Kentucky University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Western Illinois University — examined what factors, such as burglar alarms or locks, deterred burglars from committing the act. Further, data were collected from both male and female burglars, which provided signifcant insight into the similarities and diferences in motivations and actions based on gender. Building on past research, this study closely examined the decision-making processes of 422 randomly-selected incarcerated male and female burglars across the three states based on the results of a self-administered survey designed specifcally for this study. Te central research questions that guided 70 / SECURITYSALES.COM / OCTOBER 2013 the project included the following: What motivates burglars to engage in burglary? What factors are considered by burglars during target selection? What deters burglars from burglarizing specifc targets? What techniques do burglars use when engaging in burglary? Are their gender diferences in burglary motivations, target selection and techniques? By venturing inside the minds of actual perpetrators, this unique study provides fascinating insights. According to the fndings, a majority of burglars considered the presence of deterrents such as alarms, outdoor cameras and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential residential or commercial target. Approximately 83% of the ofenders said they would attempt to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and about 73% said they would seek an alternative target. Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 37% said they would sometimes retreat. WHO TOOK PART IN THE RESEARCH All of the individuals who participated in this study were serving a prison sentence for burglary or breaking and entering at the time of the survey. Of the 422 surveys completed, about 56% were completed in Ohio, 23% were completed in North Carolina and the other 21% were completed in Kentucky. Te inmates who participated in this research ranged in age from 18-64 (mean = 32.9). Approximately 65% of the fnal sample was male. Twothirds (67%) of the sample respondents were Caucasian, 25% were African American, and the remaining individuals were mixed or other races. About 63% reported being single and

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