Increasingly, many Americans turn to gated neighborhoods in an attempt to live in a place where they feel safe and secure. The concept of walls, gates and security cameras keeping out invaders and capturing attempted crime before it starts is very appealing to many who are willing to pay more for that privilege. Logically, it seems that such places would have less crime, or even be entirely devoid of crime. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons, and examine whether or not that theory is holding up.
Is the Concept All Wrong?
The basic premise behind gated communities is that by keeping out unwanted visitors, especially those from bad neighborhoods or who have no good reason to be there, crime may be prevented. Logically this makes sense – those who have no good reason to be in a community could very well be up to no good.
Statistically, however, the vast majority of crimes within a neighborhood are committed by its own residents. Criminals of any sort tend to be opportunists, and venturing far from their home “turf” is not something they lean toward. After all, it would not only be harder for them to get there, and they might not know how to get away rapidly. The facts are that most crimes are committed by residents within a community, not foreign invaders.
Are All the Gadgets Doing Their Job?
You might think that at least the presence of guards, cameras and gates would deter any would-be criminals who are living in or legitimately visiting the gated community – but long-term studies have shown that they do not. Criminals are by their very nature not good at making decisions. After all, if they were good decision makers, they would not have chosen to be criminals.
Deterrence like walls, cameras and guards tend to be ineffective at preventing crime, though they might be instrumental in catching and prosecuting criminals after the fact. That is certainly a good thing, but if your sole purpose of purchasing a gated home is to prevent crime, the fact that the people committing crimes are much more likely to be caught is not what you want to hear.
The Bottom Line
The conclusion from various studies and crime statistic surveys concerning gated communities is this: they are no more or less safe than other suburban areas! Certainly, getting away from neighborhoods most plagued by poverty and gang violence increases personal security. Additionally, logical steps like keeping your house locked and secured will equally help prevent crime. But the installation of walls, cameras and guards does little beyond that, since only ‘police-state style’ surveillance (and their methods of immediate removal of persons before they have made their move) is the only way to truly prevent crime. This sort of lifestyle is unpleasant and not what most people want – even if they value security.
If you want to live in a gated community, you certainly have many choices. Gated communities generally enjoy higher home values, better care and maintenance of general facilities (roads, parks, clubhouses) and are tailor-made to the desires of the affluent. They are, however, no more or less safe than other suburban communities.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dist0rtedwave/654905014/
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