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Study Finds that Neighborhoods with a High Concentration of Dogs Tend to Have Less Crime

A new study published in the journal Social Forces and conducted by Christopher Browning, a professor of sociology at Ohio State, and Nicolo Pinchak, a doctoral student in sociology found that dogs make neighborhoods safer. They found that residential areas with high concentrations of dogs had about two-thirds the robbery rates of those low in dog concentration and about half the homicide rates. They attributed the result to dog walking which they describe as a type of unofficial block watch program.

Pinchak: “Trust [in your neighbors] doesn’t help neighborhoods as much if you don’t have people out there on the streets noticing what is going on. That’s what dog walking does. And that’s why dogs have a crime-fighting advantage over cats and other pets that don’t need walking."
“When people are out walking their dogs, they have conversations, they pet each other’s dogs. Sometimes they know the dog’s name and not even the owners. They learn what’s going on and can spot potential problems.”

The study found that a high concentration of dogs in a neighborhood is also related to fewer property crimes, like burglaries, even in neighborhoods where there isn't a high level of trust between residents.

Pinchak: That’s because barking and visible dogs can keep criminals away from buildings where the dogs are found." "The protective effect of dogs and trust was found even when a wide range of other factors related to crime was taken into account, including the proportion of young males in the neighborhood, residential instability and socioeconomic status."

So, if you are in the market for a new home, don't just check the schools; count the dogs in the neighborhood.


By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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