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Does Regulation of Built-In Security Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • van Ours, Jan C.
  • Vollaard, Ben

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

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7817.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7817

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Keywords: crime; government regulation; victim precaution;

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References

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  1. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," NBER Working Papers 5928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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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. 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.
  3. Ours, J.C. van & Vollaard, B.A., 2013. "The Engine Immobilizer: a Non-Starter For Car Thieves," Discussion Paper 2013-004, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  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. 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).

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