Mountain Brook, an affluent suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, is said to have appeared on several lists of America’s wealthiest communities. The town also has the distinction of being one of the most tree-covered communities in the country. But lately Mountain Brook has been in the news for another reason: a rash of burglaries, in which homes without monitored alarm systems appear to have been targeted, as reported in this article.
Burglars in Mountain Brook seem to be taking advantage of a recognized weak spot: the lack and or misuse of home alarm systems. According to Lt. Michael Herren’s weekly report, a total of nine residential burglaries, between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, all occurred under similar circumstances. In each case, the suspect(s) appear to have gained access to residence using a method of forced entry. The lack of an alarm system in each robbery allowed the suspect(s) to get away with an array of valuables.
Burglaries Way Up Over Last Year
February’s number of burglaries have already placed the city on par with the total amount of residential burglaries reported in the entire second quarter of 2012. According to last year’s crime statistics, there were a total of 16 residential burglaries reported in all of 2012; seven in the first quarter and nine in the second.
Wow – that’s a huge increase from one year to the next: but not unlike some spikes we’ve seen reported in other jurisdictions. Some blame the economy, other blame greater use of drugs and the need to feed drug habits… Whatever the reasons, residential crime is definitely up in plenty of cities, towns, and counties across the US.
Local Police Offer Advice on Home Security
The amount of burglaries already recorded this year, as well as the noticeable patterns led Herren to include the following crime prevention tips in his weekly address:
- Alarm System: Arm your alarm even if you are going to be gone for a short period of time. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure you have motion detectors and or glass breakage sensors. The burglars are breaking windows and entering homes in an attempt to bypass the alarm systems.
- Electronics: Please remember that if you have important information on your home computer, back it up on a separate device or use one of the many on-line backup services that are now available and automatically back up all of your information. It is devastating to lose years of family pictures or other valuable information because a thief took your computer and you didn’t take the time to save that information. Keep a file with all serial numbers of your electronics which can help us recover them.
- Flood Lights: Floodlights with motion detectors can be effective in deterring people from wandering around your driveway or around your home. They are relatively inexpensive and can be installed easily. Once installed, the lights will come on immediately if someone enters that particular area near your home.
- Neighborhood Watch: Please watch out for your neighbor’s property and call us if you see anything suspicious. A good rule of thumb is to call if you wonder whether or not you should call. “When in doubt make the call.”
- Inventory of Valuables: There are many thefts where people discover their jewelry missing months after they saw it last. It is a good idea to inventory your jewelry, valuable household items and firearms and put all valuables in a secure location if possible.
- Video Log of Valuables: Many people take a video camera and video everything in their home. This is invaluable after a fire and sometimes after a burglary. Things are taken or destroyed that you may never miss unless you have some kind of inventory available. There are also professional services that will do this for you. Ask your insurance agent about this idea and whether any of your items need a current appraisal in order for you to make a claim if something is lost or stolen.
It still amazes me how many burglars gain entry into homes through unlocked doors and windows. In fact, we know exactly where burglars are mostly likely to break in. But then again, I’m also still trying to figure out why only one in five US homes has a monitored alarm system, with a burglary occurring every 14 seconds!
As done above by the Mountain Brook police, law enforcement professionals regularly remind residents to arm their alarms systems – and lots of police departments suggest getting a system if you haven’t already done so. Since the latest home security offerings (like FrontPoint) include safer cellular monitoring, advanced interactive features, and even home automation, there is more reason than ever to make the modest investment now.
As always, it makes sense to do everything you can so your home is not a target. You’ll see that FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips overlap nicely with the recommendations above – including installing a monitored alarm system. Your peace of mind is worth a lot, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your home and family. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice – all across the US.