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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • van Ours, Jan C & Vollaard, Ben, 2010. "Does Regulation of Built-In Security Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7817
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    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. Marco Gonzalez-Navarro, 2013. "Deterrence and Geographical Externalities in Auto Theft," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 92-110, October.
    4. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77.
    5. 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 251-264, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Private protection against crime when property value is private information," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 73-79.
    2. Salm, M. & Vollaard, B.A., 2014. "Individual Perceptions of Local Crime Risk," Discussion Paper 2014-044, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    3. Jan C. Ours & Ben Vollaard, 2016. "The Engine Immobiliser: A Non‐starter for Car Thieves," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1264-1291, June.
    4. Draca, Mirko & Koutmeridis, Theodore & Machin, Stephen, 2015. "The Changing Returns to Crime: Do Criminals Respond to Prices?," IZA Discussion Papers 9109, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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.
    6. Songman Kang, 2016. "Inequality and crime revisited: effects of local inequality and economic segregation on crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 593-626, April.
    7. Aydin, Erdal, 2016. "Energy conservation in the residential sector : The role of policy and market forces," Other publications TiSEM b9cedba8-1310-4097-90fb-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Songman Kang, 2016. "Inequality and crime revisited: effects of local inequality and economic segregation on crime," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 593-626, April.
    9. 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).
    10. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2014. "The deterrence of crime through private security efforts: Theory and evidence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-75.
    11. Depew, Briggs & Swensen, Isaac D., 2016. "The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications," IZA Discussion Papers 10236, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    13. Cracau, Daniel & Franz, Benjamin, 2013. "Bonus payments as an anti-corruption instrument: A theoretical approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 1-4.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; government regulation; victim precaution;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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