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

B.A. Vollaard, J.C. van Ours

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • victim precaution
  • government regulation
  • crime


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