According to a new study conducted in the US, neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide and robbery compared to those with fewer dogs, at least when residents showed high levels of trust in one another.
The research, published in the journal last month social forcessuggests that people who walk their dogs have more “eyes on the road,” which can deter crime.
“People who walk their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhood. You’ll see when things aren’t right and when suspicious outsiders are in the area. It can be a crime deterrent,” said study lead author Nicolo Pinchak of Ohio State University.
Sociologists have theorized that mutual trust and local surveillance among residents of a neighborhood together can deter criminals.
“We thought that walking dogs probably captured that pretty well, which was one of the reasons we chose this study,” said study co-author Christopher Browning, a professor of sociology at Ohio State.
The researchers assessed crime statistics in the Columbus area from 2014 to 2016 for 595 census block groups (the equivalent of boroughs).
They also examined survey data from a marketing firm that asked Columbus residents in 2013 if they had a dog in their household.
The researchers also used data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study, which asked residents to rate how much they agreed that “people on the street can be trusted” in their neighborhood.
This helped develop a certain level of trust in each neighborhood.
Previous studies have shown that trust between neighbors is an important part of crime prevention, as it suggests residents will help each other when faced with a threat and a sense of “collective effectiveness” that they have a positive can have an impact on their area.
The study showed that high trust neighborhoods had fewer homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults compared to low trust neighborhoods.
But among trusted neighborhoods, the researchers said, those with high concentrations of dogs showed additional decreases in crime compared to those with lower numbers of dogs.
They say that among such trusted neighborhoods, those with high dog concentrations had about two-thirds the robbery rates and about half the homicide rates than those with low dog concentrations.
dr Pinchak believes it’s related to walking: “Trust doesn’t help neighborhoods as much when there aren’t people on the street who notice what’s going on. That’s what walking the dog does.”
Researchers speculate that these factors may give dogs a crime-fighting advantage over cats and other pets that don’t need a walk.
“When people walk their dogs, they talk, pet each other’s dogs. Sometimes they know the dog’s name and not even the owner’s. They learn what’s going on and can spot potential problems,” said Dr. Pinchak.
The presence of more dogs in a neighborhood is also associated with fewer property crimes, such as burglaries, regardless of how much the residents trust each other, according to the study.
Researchers say the protective effect of dogs’ combined powers and trust was found even when a number of other factors related to crime were considered, such as: B. the proportion of young men in the neighborhood, housing instability and socio-economic status.
“There is already a lot of research showing that dogs are good for the health and well-being of their human companions. Our study adds another reason why dogs are good for us,” said Dr. Pinchak.
“This study provides suggestive evidence for the deterrent benefits of local street surveillance and dog presence, and draws attention to the contribution of pets to other facets of neighborhood social organization,” the researchers wrote.
https://www.independent.ie/news/paws-on-the-street-neighbourhoods-with-more-dogs-have-lower-crime-rates-study-suggests-41819395.html Paws on the street: Neighborhoods with more dogs have lower crime rates, the study finds