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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STUDY PROVIDES INDUSTRY INSIGHTS by crow bars and hammers. Once inside their targets, most burglars (79%) reported an interest in acquiring cash, followed by jewelry (68%), illegal drugs (58%), electronics (56%) and prescription drugs (44%). Interestingly, only one respondent expressed an interest in taking weapons. About 65% of those who stole items worked to dispose of those items immediately. For those that held onto items, most were usually stored at a friend's house or, Perception of Effectiveness of Burlary Deterrants According to Burglars: FIGURE 1 % of samples identifying factors that would cause them to avoid a target PHOTO: ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM Steel bars Dog inside Car in driveway People walking nearby Limited escape route Traffc nearby Cameras / Survellance Seeing neighbors Alarm Noise inside Offcer nearby People inside 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Generally, the presence of residents or workers (or noises indicating that someone was there), visible police offcers, neighbors, others walking nearby, and dogs are primary deterrents for burglars. In addition, alarms, outdoor cameras and other forms of surveillance often deterred potential offenders from a specifc location according to these offenders. less often, stashed somewhere else including a storage unit or an empty building or vacant house. Ultimately, most of the respondents said they would sell the items to strangers, pawn shops or second-hand dealers, or friends or trade the items for something else. Smaller numbers of burglars reported selling items online, to family members, or at auctions, and still others reported trading the items directly for drugs. GENDER DIFFERENCES IDENTIFIED There were some broad similarities between male and female burglars in this study and some substantial diferences as well. In terms of past criminal involvement, males and females were fairly equivalent. Male burglars, however, often planned their burglaries more deliberately and carefully and were more likely to visit a potential target ahead of time to gather intelligence. Signifcantly fewer female burglars were likely to spend time planning, more females were likely to report engaging in burglaries on the "spur of the moment," and more females were likely to complete a burglary that day if they did spend any time planning. Female burglars appeared to be more impulsive overall, perhaps as a result of being more involved in, and possibly motivated by, substance use problems. T is idea is supported by that fnding that drug use was the most frequently report- 74 / SECURITYSALES.COM / OCTOBER 2013 ed reason given by females (70%) for their engagement in burglary. Te top reason cited by males was money. Tere were also some diferences in males and females in regard to deterrent factors. Specifcally, male burglars reported being deterred from targeting a particular location by a lack of potential hiding locations, steel bars on windows or doors, proximity of the target to other houses or businesses, availability of escape routes, and distance to the nearest road (which is consistent with their interest in nighttime ofending). A larger proportion of females than males indicated that alarms, outdoor cameras, outdoor lighting, and indications of neighborhood watch programs were efective deterrents. Although the impact of alarms and surveillance equipment on target selection did not vary signifcantly across gender, male burglars were less often dissuaded from attempting a burglary if they noticed signs suggesting that a particular location was protected by alarms. Further, male burglars who tended to plan more carefully were also more willing to attempt to disable an alarm that was found at a target location. Other gender diferences concerned time of ofense, criminal partners, and items taken during burglaries. For example, females clearly preferred to burglarize homes and residences in the afternoon timeframe, while males preferred to focus on businesses in the late evenings. Also, signifcantly more females reported engaging in burglaries with spouses/ signifcant while signifcantly males reported doing so with friends. Finally, were more likely to steal illegal drugs, cash and jewelry during burglaries while females were more likely to seek out prescription medications. POSITIVE OUTCOME FOR SECURITY INDUSTRY Overall, the results of this study of incarcerated burglars in North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio are consistent with various samples of burglars in other states and countries as found in prior research. Still, it is not known if these fndings can be generalized to the total population of burglars in these and other states. Te patterns established from this sample might vary compared to incarcerated burglars in other states or burglars who have not been caught and/or incarcerated for their crimes. If possible, future research should investigate possible diferences among burglars who have and have not apprehended. Tat acknowledged, the results of this project (see Figure 1 above) are vital to further supporting the value and merit of security systems and providers. Imagine the powerful impact these statistics could have on anyone from end users to law enforcement to insurers — even those working in the security industry itself as tangible proof of their meaningful contributions to public safety. And it may be just the ticket to tip the scale in favor of the industry in instances when the false alarm issue heats up. Joseph B. Kuhns, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at UNC Charlotte's Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology. He can be reached at Kristie R. Blevins, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Eastern Kentucky University's School of Justice Studies. She can be reached at

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