Good Boy!: OSU Researchers Show More Dogs in Neighborhood Results in Less Crime

Baby Girl is a 12 year old dog adopted after 7 years in the shelter. (Winnie Berry Humane Society of Angelina County/Facebook)
Winnie Berry Humane Society of Angelina County/Facebook

A recent study conducted by researchers from The Ohio State University found that neighborhoods with more dogs have lower rates of homicide, robbery, and aggravated assaults when compared to areas with low dog ownership.

Phys.org reports that a new study has found that if you want to live in a safer neighborhood, choose the one with the most dogs. A study conducted in Columbus, Ohio, found that neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide, robbery, and aggravated assaults compared to neighborhoods with fewer dogs. The study also found that neighborhoods with higher levels of trust between residents had lower crime.

A six-year-old dog named “Baby Girl” has been found her forever home after her previous owner tied her to a fire hydrant in Green Bay with all of her belongings in a bag, as she could no longer care for the pooch due to her own medical complications, the Wisconsin Human Society (WHS) announced.

(Wisconsin Humane Society/Facebook)

Silhouette of a dog on the street. (Lisa Galimzianova/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Silhouette of a dog on the street. Nicolo Pinchak, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University, said that the results suggest that people walking their dogs put more “eyes on the street,” and can discourage crime.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Pinchak said. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

Study co-author Christopher Browning, a professor of sociology at Ohio State said that sociologists have previously theorized that a combination of mutual trust and local surveillance among residents can deter criminals. However, researchers had yet to find a good way of determining how residents provide surveillance of neighborhood streets.

“We thought that dog walking probably captures that pretty well, which is one reason why we decided to do this study,” Browning said. The researchers examined crime statistics from 2014 to 216 for 595 census block groups and obtained survey data from a marketing firm that asked Columbus residents in 2013 if they owned a dog.

They then used data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study to measure trust in individual neighborhoods. Results of the study showed that neighborhoods with high levels of trust had lower levels of homicide, robbery, and aggravated assaults compared to neighborhoods with low levels of trust.

But among those high-trust neighborhoods, those with a higher concentration of dogs showed an additional drop in crime when compared to those with low dog ownership rates. Pinchak said: “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.”

Read more at Phys.org here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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