Understanding Burglars: Media Attention Growing Worldwide on AIREF-Funded Study


The recently-released study on burglars’ behavior that was funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (http://www.airef.org/) under the auspices of the Electronic Security Association (http://www.esaweb.org/) is gaining a lot of media attention. We’re hearing from reporters across the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean. SIAC’s Glen Mowrey helped shepherd the study through a long process, working closely with the University of North Carolina- Charlotte, which performed the study.

We’re deeply pleased with the attention the report is receiving because it has tremendously good things to say about security systems, how they protect homes and businesses, and their effectiveness as a deterrent. These are all big points SIAC has made over the years. To have them reinforced through a major study such as this makes it all the more heartening. And, the more these findings are distributed and shared, the better that is for not only the electronic security industry, but also law enforcement. That’s because alarm systems do protect communities, and hence help serve as a significant law enforcement tool.

The study, “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” is available on AIREF’s Web site, noted above. Download it to read more. Here are a few key findings that we found important for our industry:

• When selecting a target, most burglars said they considered the close proximity of other people – including traffic, people in the house or business, and police officers; the lack of escape routes; and signs of increased security – including alarm signs, alarms, dogs inside, and outdoor cameras or other surveillance equipment.

• Approximately 83 percent said they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site. This was particularly true among the subset of burglars who were more likely to spend time deliberately and carefully planning a burglary.

• Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31 percent said they would sometimes retreat. Only 13 percent said they would always continue with the burglary attempt.

The researchers delved into the decision-making processes and methods of 422 incarcerated male and female burglars selected at random from state prison systems in North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio. Their investigation explored offender motivation; target selection considerations; deterrence factors; burglars’ techniques; and gender differences in motivations, target selection and techniques.

Don’t take our word for how useful the study is. Read it for yourself. Use it in your presentations to potential customers. When you work with law enforcement, share the study so officials understand the value our industry provides in terms of public protection.

This is a tremendously important study, and we all should be proud of the groups and individuals who contributed to make this happen. It was a long time in coming, but well worth the wait.

About justwrite15

Dave's column has run in multiple small town newspapers across the U.S., in Nebraska, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas,where Dave has been able to entice personal friends and editors to run his social commentary. His column has also been picked up by www.coastalmonroe.com. It has appeared in newspapers since 1998, and began in response to one of the school shootings so depressingly familiar in America. His commentary has morphed into a weekly offering of humor, insights and advice on how to find sanity in an insane world.
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