For as long as most of us can remember, Americans have been engaged in a conversation about crime. We have spent a lot of time discussing the causes of crime. But for all our discussions, our collective ability to reduce crime rates ultimate relies on our willingness and ability to protect ourselves.
Residents of La Jolla, California are learning this lesson firsthand. While community leaders and social advocates debate whether homelessness leads to increased crime, La Jolla residents have discovered that the best way to deal with local crime is to protect themselves. It is no different anywhere else. Criminals are people who take advantage of favorable circumstances. Make their circumstances unfavorable and they will move on.
The Homelessness Question
La Jolla residents have differing opinions over whether increased homelessness leads to more crime. A recent article published on the La Jolla Light website proves as much. Some local residents are convinced that crime has increased as homelessness has grown. They say that the local homeless population has become more aggressive thanks to local law enforcement not being able to do much to deter them.
On the other hand, other locals say that the homeless population isn’t bothering anyone. They say that most of the homeless-related crime is little more than petty theft among people who are hungry and cannot afford to buy food. Who is to be believed? It doesn’t much matter from a prevention standpoint.
Security Systems Are a Good First Step
A good first step in preventing crime is installing a security system. According to Vivint Smart Home, both residential and commercial security systems offer dual benefits: deterrence and evidence gathering. Deterrence is achieved by planting a seed of doubt in the criminal’s mind. A criminal who doubts their ability to commit a crime and get away with it will think twice before acting.
We know this to be the case based on research. Numerous studies have demonstrated that burglars avoid homes monitored by video surveillance cameras and active security systems. Given the choice between a home protected by a security system and one left completely unprotected, the burglar will choose the unprotected home.
Unfortunately, there are times when video cameras and security systems do not deter criminals. This leads to the second benefit of collecting evidence. Video footage is evidence law enforcement can use to identify and track down suspects. It is evidence that can be used to obtain a conviction in a court of law.
Keeping an Eye on the Neighborhood
Another thing people can do to protect themselves is band together with their neighbors to keep an eye on the neighborhood. Criminals are more likely to act when they believe that no one is paying attention. Incidentally, this is why most burglaries occur during the daylight hours.
Burglars are smart enough to know that homes are unoccupied when parents are at work and their kids are in school. They are more likely to break in during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon hours. Neighborhoods can fight back by organizing neighborhood watch patrols utilizing volunteers whose second and third shift work allow them to be home when their first shift neighbors are off to work.
Whether you are talking about installing a home security system, establishing a community watch program, or taking any other steps to deter crime, the point is to make crime as difficult as possible to commit. Making life difficult on criminals is the best way to protect yourself while you wait for community leaders to end the debate on the causes of crime. You can bank on it.
Infographic provided by Eye Trax, a provider of security cameras for remote locations