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Study on benefit of burglar alarms awarded Home Office grant


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A research project on the effectiveness of burglar alarms led by the University of Huddersfield has been awarded a grant by the Home Office.

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Date - 7th April 2021
By - Chloe Livadeas

The research will focus on two force areas: West Yorkshire and Humberside to see to what extent burglar alarms reduce residential burglary.

The three-month project is being led by Professor of Criminology Rachel Armitage from the University’s School of Human and Health Sciences and will be jointly delivered with Professor Andromachi Tseloni and Dr James Hunter from Nottingham Trent University.

Despite studies taking place in the past Professor Armitage argues that it’s difficult to propose the use of burglar alarms as a crime prevention measure as there aren’t conclusive findings on their effectiveness of reducing residential burglary.  

A team of researchers will first analyse properties via Google Street View in Humberside and West Yorkshire.

Each researcher has received training on how to use Google Street View as an information resource and will obtain data on individual homes including whether there is a burglar alarm present, what is the brand, how old does it look, as well as noting other design features that could be associated with burglary risk.

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Professor Rachel Armitage 

Using police recorded crime data, they will then assess whether the presence of a burglar alarm has an impact on burglaries and if the presence of other design features influences this risk.

Finally Police Community Support Officers will visit properties across the two forces to conduct a survey with the residents.

The survey will focus on collecting details on the burglar alarm type, its age and usage as well as details on burglaries that have taken place at these properties.

The university said: “This element of the project will delve into the finer details of burglar alarm effectiveness and assess, not just the presence of an alarm, but also the extent to which different brands and models impact burglar decision-making.”

Professor Armitage said: “In addition to identifying the impact of burglar alarms our analysis will also identify the risk, as well as the protective characteristics of additional factors relating to dwellings, streets and neighbourhoods that could be informative to crime reduction strategies and burglary reduction advice.”

Last month the Home Office awarded a further £20m of the Safer Streets Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities to bid for crime prevention measures and projects eligible for funding include burglary and interventions to improve home security. 

Humberside is also one of six trial areas where burglars and robbers will be GPS tagged following their release from prison. 

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