A burglary occurs every 14 seconds somewhere in the United States. In Pinecrest, home and vehicle burglaries are a crime of opportunity. Criminals many times target affluent communities where resident’s possessions are more desirable than in other less affluent areas.
Home burglary prevention has been the Pinecrest Police Department’s main focus this year and explains the increase in our neighborhood crime watch areas. Updated policing strategies and tactics support our ongoing programs to inform residents how to reduce chances of victimization. It is projected that non-violent crimes in 2014 will remain low, as in 2013, which had significantly fewer crimes compared to 2012.
Being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity is essential to deterring crime. Advances in wireless technology now make it very affordable to remotely monitor homes and receive alerts when strangers approach or enter a home. More importantly, these systems deter criminals, help reduce financial losses by hastening the burglar’s departure when they do make entry and assist detectives in solving cases because images captured by the security system often lead to identification of the suspect.
Home security systems of today are much different and much more effective than those of just a few years earlier. Major alarm companies, as well as big name communications and internet providers, offer advanced systems that combine security with home automation.
When shopping around for a home security system make sure that it includes the following features:
Cellular communication as the primary connection — Modern systems now use 3G and 4G cellular interfaces exclusively and are completely self-contained. All communication is accomplished via the internet through the cellular module, so cutting electricity or physical phone lines will not disable the system from communicating with the monitoring station. Motion Detectors/Contact Sensors — Contact sensors on windows and doors are an essential part of a system. But if the window or door is not opened, the contact sensor will not trip the alarm. Windows can be broken without opening them, allowing an intruder to enter a residence without setting off the alarm.
Motion detectors, strategically placed throughout the residence, will ensure that the alarm sounds if an intruder is able to make entry through a broken window without breaking the contact. Strategic placement of these sensors is paramount. Make sure there are enough sensors throughout the residence and if an intruder is able to break the perimeter, they don’t get more than a few feet into the house without crossing a motion detector. Have a small pet that roams free in your house? No worries, there are detectors that allow for pets under a certain weight limit.
Video cameras —The main goal of a home burglar is to get into a residence quickly, take valuables and get out without being seen. Video cameras are the eyes of a residence when no one is at home. In the event of an intrusion, well placed video cameras can gather the evidence needed to give police investigators a good lead to catch the culprit. Visible perimeter cameras also act as a deterrent.
Remote Arming/Remote Alerts/Remote Control — Current advanced security systems offer accompanying smart phone apps and web interfaces that allow you to take complete control of your home security. Arming, disarming, locking and unlocking doors, viewing cameras and receiving video alerts are just some of the features that these systems allow you to control from your smart phone, tablet or PC.
Gone are the days where one would have to leave a key under the mat for a visitor without setting the alarm. Remote arming and disarming coupled with video cameras allow one to remotely disarm an alarm and unlock a door.
The smart phone app also allows one to view a residence in real time. If the alarm is activated, a homeowner receives a text and is able to view cameras live. You open the app and view your cameras live. One can confirm if in fact it is a real burglary in progress or just a false alarm before the alarm company even calls the homeowner. Should it be an actual burglary one can instruct the alarm company to send the police or the homeowner can call police to report the burglary. Other features like lighting control allow for endless programming to give your house the appearance of being occupied.
The Pinecrest Police Department urges residents to take action to improve current security systems. If a system is more than five years old or lacks these advanced features or, if one does not have a security system, we highly recommended researching alarm systems and either purchase an advanced system or upgrade the current one.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE
In the last two years, 32 percent of Pinecrest auto thefts involved vehicle keys or special smart keys being left inside vehicles. Additionally, 52 percent of these auto thefts involved unlocked vehicle doors.
Some manufacturers of luxury and hybrid automobiles offer a security feature known in the auto industry as a Smart Key, which provides keyless entry and a push button start. This technology provides an added convenience for vehicle owners when entering and starting their vehicles, but it can also become a convenience for auto thieves if care is not taken to safeguard the Smart Key.
Smart Keys are part of a computerized system that utilizes sensors and microchips to conveniently unlock doors and start the engine. Owners can unlock and start their vehicle without ever removing the key fob from their purse or pocket. All that’s required for these features to work is for the Smart Key to be within close proximity of the vehicle. Simply touching a special sensor on the door handle will unlock the doors and, once inside, the push of a button will start the engine. In addition to providing a convenience for owners, Smart Key systems also provide enhanced security through use of rolling codes or encrypted microchips that must be verified by the vehicle’s onboard computer before unlocking the doors or starting the engine.
Remember, you can prevent an auto theft by keeping keyless entry and push-buttonstart technology out of the hands of opportunistic criminals, who sometimes rummage through cars looking for something to steal. For more information on how to further reduce your chances of becoming a victim, contact theVillage crime prevention unit at 305-234-2100.