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Installing Alley-Gates: Practical Lessons From Burglary Prevention Projects

NCJ Number
Shane Johnson; Camille Loxley
Date Published
July 2001
6 pages
This document discusses the benefits of an alley-gate to prevent burglary.
Alley gating is the installation of security gates across footpaths and alleyways. It is a form of situational crime prevention that attempts to reduce the opportunity to commit crimes such as domestic burglary. Alley gates can control access to vulnerable target areas, such as paths or alleys at the rear and to the sides of houses, when installed and properly used. Although there is little hard evidence that they prevent crime, the promise of alley gating is enough to persuade many partnerships and local authorities that they are worth installing. The 1998 British Crime Survey results showed that 55 percent of burglaries with entry occurred through the rear in terraced and detached/semi-detached houses. Another analysis of crime data showed that this pattern was particularly evident for terraced housing, with entry being gained via the rear of the property for 72 percent of burglaries. The main steps found by most schemes to help expedite the alley-gating process include surveying the area to be secured, consulting with local residents and homeowners, consulting with the local council Planning Department, holding consultation meetings to inform homeowners and residents, and organizing a committee that will be responsible for the maintenance of the gates. Once gates had been installed, residents said they felt more comfortable walking in the alleys and this led to the added benefit of increasing informal surveillance. Other benefits were decreasing the opportunity of setting fires to rubbish bags piled up in rear alleyways, increasing community involvement, and improving the environment. The type of gate chosen should meet the requirements of the area in which they will be installed. Public liability insurance, key handling, and locking devices also need to be considered. 2 footnotes, 8 references