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Personal Opinion: Declining Residential Burglary Rates in the USA

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 12 Issue: 4 Dated: 1999 Pages: 59-63
Richard M. Titus
Date Published
5 pages
This paper discusses declining residential burglary rates in the United States.
The decline in violent crime rates in the US began in the early 1990s and continues to the present. Attention from the media and from scholars has focused on drops in the homicide rates. In contrast, there has been an almost complete lack of attention to the 25-year decline in US residential burglary rates, to current levels which are well below those of some other western democracies. Explanations for the decline in burglaries might include the fact that users of crack cocaine, who need quick access to cash, find robbery a better solution than burglary. In addition, the 1990's has seen increased numbers of stable and legitimate opportunities to acquire money; migration out of cities has put greater separation between "people with stuff to steal and people who steal stuff"; trafficking is seen as a more attractive source of income than burglary; and the disproportionate number of burglaries committed by youths should decline as the population ages. Finally, American residences now have more security devices, alarms, etc., and stealing from cars, stores and other non-residential sites may be seen by criminals as less risky and more lucrative. Notes


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