Income disparities of burglary risk: security availability during the crime drop

In the past 15 years, volume crimes dropped substantially in most countries with reliable crime-trend estimates. In England and Wales, domestic burglary fell by 58 per cent between 1995 and 2008/09, the trend levelling off after 2005/06. Wider use of more and better security arguably contributed to these drops. The availability of enhanced and especially basic security increased between 1997 and 2005/06, while burglary risk fell for all population income groups. Considering, however, the financial cost of burglary-protection devices, it is not surprising that enhanced security continues to be more accessible to better-off households. In 2005/06, the most affluent households were 60 per cent more likely to have such devices compared to the poorest. This is consistent with the finding that nationally burglary drops have occurred least amongst the poorest segments of the population. The better-off continue to benefit most in terms of crime protection: burglary-risk differentials between the lowest and all other income groups widened during the decade up to 2005/06. Security Impact Assessment Tool analysis, however, shows that enhanced security confers greatest burglary protection for those who can least afford it. These results suggest that making enhanced security available to the poorest would further reduce national burglary rates. © The Author 2011.