The Role of Security in Causing Drops in Domestic Burglary

  • Nick TilleyEmail author
  • Graham Farrell
  • Andromachi Tseloni
  • Rebecca Thompson


This chapter examines the role of security in generating falls in domestic burglary. It begins by briefly outlining some general theories that have been advanced to explain the international crime drop, the basic requirements that must be met by any satisfactory theory and the reason why security improvements comprise the most plausible explanation advanced so far. It then goes on to outline the security hypothesis in more detail and to show how it applies specifically to reductions in domestic burglary. Next, it spells out the data signatures that would be expected were the theory to be adequate and then indicates how the theory fares when confronted by victimisation survey data from multiple sweeps of the Crime Survey for England and Wales going back to 1981. The chapter acknowledges that not all security measures are effective; indeed, it highlights that burglar alarms seem to have lost the crime-reducing efficacy they once enjoyed. It also acknowledges that some security measures have serious downsides and emphasises the importance of designing security measures that are both effective and ‘elegant’.


International crime drop Security hypothesis Elegant security Domestic burglary Data signatures 



British Crime Survey


Crime Survey for England and Wales


Default, aesthetically pleasing, powerful, principled, effortless, rewarding


International Crime Victims Survey


Security Protection Factor


Window locks, internal lights on a timer, door double or deadlocks, external lights on a sensor


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Tilley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Graham Farrell
    • 2
  • Andromachi Tseloni
    • 3
  • Rebecca Thompson
    • 3
  1. 1.Jill Dando Institute, Department of Security and Crime ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.School of LawUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Quantitative and Spatial Criminology, School of Social SciencesNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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