Dogs Make Neighborhoods Safer – Upworthy
Is there anything dogs can’t improve? They make us healthier, happier and even more attractive. It’s true. If you have a photo with your dog in a dating profile, people are more likely to swipe right.
Now, a new study reported by Ohio State News shows that having more dogs in your neighborhood can make you safer by lowering the overall crime rate.
The study, conducted by sociologists from Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.
Dog walking isn’t just about exercise, researchers say, it makes security guards of us all, whether we know it or not.
“People who walk their dogs are basically patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, the study’s lead author, told Ohio State News. “They see when things are going wrong and when there are suspicious foreigners in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.
The study looked at 595 census block groups in the Columbus, Ohio area. He also used data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study which assessed the level of trust people have in their neighborhood.
What’s unique about the study is that it compared neighborhoods that have high levels of trust, meaning residents agree that people on the street can be trusted. High-trust neighborhoods have lower levels of homicide, aggravated assault, and robbery. So it makes sense that people who live in these neighborhoods are likely to be more likely to say they trust the people who live around them.
However, the study found that when comparing two high-trust neighborhoods, those with higher concentrations of dogs had “two-thirds the rates of thefts” and about “half the rates of homicides”. That’s a pretty substantial reduction in crime.
Pinchak says it’s about having boots and paws on the ground.
“It’s not enough for residents to walk around their neighborhood – there needs to be trust among residents to foster deterrence and response standards. Similarly, it’s not enough for residents to trust each other – people must be present to identify problems and intervene,” Pinchak told USA TODAY.
Additionally, regardless of a neighborhood’s trust level, the study found that a higher concentration of dogs is linked to fewer property crimes, such as robbery.
Having a dog is not only good for the safety of your neighborhood, but also for your home. Over the years, several publications have interviewed burglars about the things that deterred them from entering homes and having a loud dog was a major problem.
Although a small dog isn’t physically intimidating, they can be incredibly effective at alerting people to an intruder.
The Guardian interviewed 12 burglars a few years ago and found that dogs, security cameras, heavy doors and the TV on made them less likely to invade a home.
Given the outcome of this study, real estate agents should take its findings to heart and publish the concentration of dogs in a neighborhood in home listings. This way people will know that the neighborhood is safe and that there are plenty of opportunities to rub their belly on the sidewalk.