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Are intruder alarm systems effective as crime prevention measures?

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2 Author(s)
T. Pascoe ; Building Res. Establ., Watford, UK ; G. Lawrence

Intruder alarm systems, IAS, are seen by many as an essential part of the United Kingdom's defence against the crime of burglary. IAS are intended either to deter the potential intruder or detect and give warning of an intruder directly or indirectly to the police. Unfortunately the false alarm rate, at over 90%, is so high that it leads to ineffectual use of police resources and calls into question the ability of IAS to perform effectively either as a deterrent or detector. To try and improve the situation the Police Forces in the UK have in conjunction with the alarm industry, over the past few years, implemented special measures in an attempt to reduce the number of false alarms and improve the effectiveness of the systems. However, from a study of available data on the deterrent effect of alarm systems, the national statistics for all alarm call types, the numbers of arrests arising from the calls, etc., this paper concludes that IAS on their own are not an effective police crime prevention measure. Thus a radical rethink of their use is required. The paper also suggests an alternative strategy which may improve the situation

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 2 )