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

33 Pages Posted: 19 May 2010

See all articles by Jan C. van Ours

Jan C. van Ours

Tilburg University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2010

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.

Keywords: crime, government regulation, victim precaution

JEL Classification: H11, H23, K42

Suggested Citation

van Ours, Jan C. and Vollaard, Ben, Does Regulation of Built-In Security Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment (May 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7817. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1611513

Jan C. Van Ours (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2880 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010
Australia

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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