Program Goals/Program Components
In the Netherlands, a large-scale government intervention led to the passage of a regulation requiring built-in home security in all new homes constructed after January 1, 1999. The regulation (which changed the country’s Building Code) requires homebuilders to meet legal requirements for built-in security in order to obtain a building permit. For example, home builders must use certified burglary-proof locks, as well as burglary-proof windows and door frames (certified materials are identified by checking for a punched hallmark showing two stars). The regulation also specifies which areas of the home need to be fitted with secured doors and windows, and excludes those that can’t be reached by burglars. The goal of the regulation is to reduce the risk of property crimes, such as burglary and theft from cars, by requiring the use of self-protective measures in all newly built homes.
Most newly built homes in the Netherlands are part of large-scale housing projects in which homebuilders use standardized materials to meet the legal requirements of the regulation. One option that homebuilders have is to use a package of built-in security measures called Secured by Design (PKVW, which in Dutch stands for Politiekeurmerk Veilig Wonen). The security measures of PKVW not only meet the requirements of the regulatory change, but exceed them by encompassing additional measures such as burglary-proof garage doors, unobstructed views of parking lots, and limited access to back alleys. PKVW was becoming increasingly popular around the time the regulatory change was passed. Some municipalities have encouraged homebuilders to adopt the measures included in PKVW, although there is no legal obligation to do so.
Since 1999, all newly built homes in the Netherlands are required to have high-quality locks and burglary-proof windows and doors. From 1999 to 2010, approximately 650,000 new homes have been built in the country.
The theoretical underpinnings of the regulatory change can be found within the Situational Crime Prevention framework (Clarke 1983). The regulation relies on target hardening measures which offset the balance of effort, risk, and reward as perceived by potential offenders, such that choosing to burglarize such properties becomes undesirable. Although home security is now automatically included in newly built homes as a result of the regulatory change to the Building Code, effort is still required on the part of potential victims in order for the preventative measures to have the desired effects (i.e., individuals must close and lock all doors and windows for the protective features to work).
Vollaard and van Ours (2011) found that the regulatory change in the Netherlands in 1999 requiring the use of self-protective measures (such as better burglary-proof locks, windows, and doors) in newly built homes reduced the risk of burglary by 26 percent compared with homes built in the years prior to the passage of the regulation (a statistically significant effect).
However, there were no significant effects on measures of attempted burglary.