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More Dogs in the Neighborhood Could Mean Less Crime, Study Finds

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” says one researcher.

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Neighborhoods that have lots of dogs as well as high trust among neighbors tend to have less crime, a new study has found.

Such locations “had lower rates of homicide, robbery and, to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs,” according to a post from The Ohio State University.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” said Nicolo Pinchak, a doctoral student in sociology at OSU and lead author of the study. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

The study was published in the journal Social Forces.

The researchers looked at crime statistics from 2014 to 2016 for 595 census block groups (neighborhoods) in the Columbus, OH, area. They also used survey data from a marketing firm as well as data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study.

“When people are out walking their dogs, they have conversations, they pet each other’s dogs,” Pinchak said. “Sometimes they know the dog’s name and not even the owners.  They learn what’s going on and can spot potential problems.”

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