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Does Regulation of Built‐in Security Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Ben Vollaard
  • Jan C. van Ours

Abstract

As of 1999, all new-built homes in the Netherlands have to have burglary-proof windows and doors. We provide evidence that this large-scale government intervention in the use of self-protective measures lowers crime and improves social welfare. We find the regulatory change to have reduced burglary in new-built homes from 1.1 to 0.8 percent annually, a reduction of 26 percent. The findings suggest that burglars avoid old, less-protected homes that are located in the direct vicinity of the new, better-protected homes. The presence of a negative externality on older homes is ambiguous. We find no evidence for displacement to other property crimes including theft from cars and bicycle theft. Even though the regulation of built-in security does not target preventative measures at homes that are most at risk, the social benefits of the regulation are likely to exceed the social costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 552 (05)
Pages: 485-504

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:552:p:485-504

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References

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  1. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities From Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis Of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77, February.
  2. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  3. Vollaard, Ben & Koning, Pierre, 2009. "The effect of police on crime, disorder and victim precaution. Evidence from a Dutch victimization survey," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 336-348, December.
  4. Peterson, Steven & Hoffer, George & Millner, Edward, 1995. "Are Drivers of Air-Bag-Equipped Cars More Aggressive? A Test of the Offsetting Behavior Hypothesis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 251-64, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Private protection against crime when property value is private information," DICE Discussion Papers 91, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Jan C. van Ours & Ben Vollaard, 2013. "The Engine Immobilizer: A Non-Starter for Car Thieves," CESifo Working Paper Series 4092, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Entorf, Horst, 2013. "Criminal Victims, Victimized Criminals, or Both? A Deeper Look at the Victim-Offender Overlap," IZA Discussion Papers 7686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Cracau, Daniel & Franz, Benjamin, 2013. "Bonus payments as an anti-corruption instrument: A theoretical approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 1-4.
  5. Nicole S. van der MEULEN, 2011. "Between Awareness and Ability: Consumers and Financial Identity Theft," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(81), pages 23-44, 1st quart.

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