Seven million American households, about 6 percent of the nation's population, live in gated communities, often in the hope of avoiding crime. A recent study suggests that gated communities do in fact serve that function, at least with respect to burglaries.
In the Spring 2013 issue of Justice Quarterly, two criminologists, Lynn Addington of American University and Callie Marie Rennison of the University of Colorado in Denver, consider data from the National Crime Victimization Survey for 2009 and 2010. "All other things being equal," they report, "households in gated communities have 33 percent lower odds of being burglarized than a similar housing unit in a non-gated community."
About 1 percent of residents in gated communities are burglarized annually, compared to 1.3 percent of those living in nongated neighborhoods. Addington and Rennison say more research is needed to determine if other crimes are also reduced by gates.