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Why has burglary declined in the United States? Evidence relating to the security hypothesis

Graham Farrell

No c78wz, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: The 80 percent decline in residential burglary in the United States across the last four decades is a major phenomenon that remains largely unexplained. International research suggests there are grounds for investigation of the security hypothesis. The paucity of general information on household security means the present study identifies and interrogates information from burglary studies conducted in the last 50 years. When such studies are examined chronologically, a fragmented but consistent narrative emerges. It indicates that household security was largely absent prior to the 1970s but has since increased in prevalence, quality and routine use over time, while crime displacement has become less common. The shrinking and aging of the population of burglars, examined via arrest data is also consistent with the effects of household security improvements. The study concludes that there is good preliminary evidence in support of the security hypothesis, and that further research is warranted.

Date: 2020-01-18
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DOI: 10.31219/

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Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:c78wz