Neighborhoods with more dogs often have less crime, a new Ohio State University study found.
The study, published in the journal Social Forces, found neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of robbery, homicide and aggravated assault, especially in neighborhoods where people trust each other, according to Ohio State News.
“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, the lead author of the study, said. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”
Researchers compared crime statistics from 595 census block groups in Columbus, Ohio, along with a survey from a marketing firm that asked if people had a dog in their house.
They also looked at data from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context study that asked people if they thought “people on the streets can be trusted” in their neighborhoods, according to The Hill.
The combination of trust between neighbors and more “paws on the street” leads to less street crime like homicides and robberies that often occur in public places, per Science Daily.
“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,” Pinchak said.
The study also found that having more dogs in a neighborhood leads to lower rates of property crimes like burglaries, according to Science Daily. Seeing or hearing a dog in a building can sometimes deter a criminal from entering.