Dr. Travis' Study

Proportion of Burglaries in Houses with Entrances Facing North, South, East and West

Frederick Travis, PhD

Abstract of a presentation in Vlodrop, Holland, April 1998.

The individual lives within a larger system. The level of individual health is influenced by environmental factors—the quality of food, air and water. The level of individual health is also influenced by the buildings in which we live. For instance, improper ventilation (lack of fresh air) and out-gassing from building materials both impact individual health.

The impact of buildings on our lives is delineated in an ancient system of architecture from the Vedic tradition of India, called Sthapatya Veda. Sthapatya Veda reflects knowledge from two branches of Veda—Ayur-Ved, which is the science of health, and Jyotish, which contains the knowledge of man's relationship to the universe and the ever changing effects of the universe on the individual.

There are three fundamental organizing principles in Sthapatya Ved:
(1) optimal direction of entrances,
(2) optimal placement of rooms, and
(3) optimal proportion of the rooms and building.

For instance, Maharishi Sthapatya Veda architecture stipulates that the entrance to the home should face east, because the energy from the sun is greatest and most vital when rising, thus bringing greatest benefits to the health and vitality of the family.

According to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda architecture, an entrance that faces south is inauspicious, bringing negative influences to the inhabitants of the building. Maharishi Sthapatya Veda design recommends refraining from using any southern entrances to your home or office.

We tested this direction-prediction with a descriptive study of crime in Fairfield, Iowa. All burglaries in Fairfield were recorded from the crime section of the local newspaper from April 1995 to April 1998 . After recording 100 incidents of crime in this three-year period, we traveled to each address and identified the direction of the main entrance to that home. Fairfield is built on a grid that is within 7 minutes of the true north/south grid. Consequently, 95% of the entrances were unambiguously facing one of the four cardinal directions. These 95 incidents of burglary were included in the study.

The number of burglaries were summed within each of the four cardinal directions. In this sample, there were 75% more burglaries in homes with south entrances (N=37), compared to north (N=20), east (N=20), or west (N=18) entrances. A chi square goodness-of-fit revealed that this pattern of results was significantly different ( p < .01) than a chance distribution of crimes (equal incidents of crime for each direction of entrance).

In addition, the burglaries were dispersed throughout the city. They did not appear to cluster into specific areas. Also, because the city was built on a grid around a central square, the prevalence of homes facing the four cardinal directions is comparable in Fairfield. Thus, the 75% higher burglaries in homes with south entrances would not seem to reflect proportionally more homes with south entrances in Fairfield.

This was a naturalistic observation study. The purpose of naturalistic observation is to generate hypotheses and to assess the feasibility of conducting better controlled studies. This finding of increased burglaries with homes with south entrances is a first step in this research program. These data suggest that further research into the principles of Sthapatya Veda is warranted, and that this research could transform our understanding of our relationship with the environment.

February 18, 1999


  Main entrance     Number of burlaries in homes of this direction
      South                37
      North                20
      East                 20
      West                 18

Letter from Dr. Travis to S.E.R.F.

Please email with any additional information or comments about this study. - Editor