With the burglariesjust recently reported to the Sheriff‘s office that occurred on the North side as well as repetitive acts of vandalism at the golf course on the South side, are we really safer or do the gates just offer a false sense of security?
The gating of a residential area is not a new phenomenon. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, kings and other royalty provided gated enclaves for their families and loyal followers during times of siege and pestilence.Fortified with towers, moats, and drawbridges, they stood as formidable reminders of class distinctions.“
In the late nineteenth century, St. Louis developed a large network of private gated streets for its beer barons, most of which still exist today. Since the real estate boom in the late 1980‘s, this rapidly growing phenomenon of gating off communities has become more prevalent in today‘s society.
The United States is being transformed into a nation of walled-off enclaves, or gated communities. These new residential communities are being built at record rates. More than 10 million Americans live behind gates designed to wrap their neighborhoods in a blanket of security waving to the friendly neighborhood gate attendant to access their community.
But are gated communities safer? Or could gates have the opposite effect: serving as a status symbol that attracts thieves convinced the homes have more expensive items to steal?
Gates can serve as the first line of defense against crime. But they are by no means foolproof, and gated communities may lull residents into complacency making the homes inside targets for burglars.
Built on the promise of a safer neighborhood, the number of gated communities in the U.S. has exploded since the late 1980s, especially here in the South.
A study mentioned in the “Gated Communities and Crime in the U.S.” report found that homes in gated communities experienced 33 percent fewer burglaries than non-gated neighborhoods.
But two other national-level studies conclude that gated communities offer no particular protection against crime and tend to slow police response times. Those theories are supported by a study utilizing a cross-section of National Crime Victimization Survey data, which found that gated communities do not significantly impact the number of break-ins.
And a fourth study asserts that homes inside gates experience more crime a theory that’s sometimes supported by news reports of criminals preying on these neighborhoods.
Working gates can reduce unauthorized vehicle and foot traffic on a property, especially late at night and early in the morning.But gates alone aren’t enough to prevent property crimes.
Here in Seven Lakes, we pay a premium to live in neighborhoods with gates, and the gates make a big statement. They broadcast, “this community has money and enterprising thieves may see the development as a lucrative target.
Not only is there more likely to be a rewarding haul, but thieves understand that people with more money tend to go out more often and take more vacations, leaving their homes unprotected.
Criminals generally bypass homes with visible home security systems, however. Homes without security systems are 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to be targeted by burglars.But many homeowners or renters who are lulled into a false sense of security don’t install security systems.
Even though a majority of convicted burglars say they avoid homes with security systems, only about 17 percent of U.S. households have them. I,ve been told by law enforcement even if you don’t have a system buy ADT signs at Amazon so burglars think you have a system.
New security system alerts prompt users to review real-time footage from their home security cameras. If an activity is suspicious, they can call for help. If the system is armed and an intrusion sensor is breached setting off the audible alarm homeowners can quickly check the camera feed to confirm the presence of a threat.
This vital information can be provided to the police and the system’s professional monitoring service. And the monitoring service will call the police if the homeowner or renter can’t be reached after phone calls.
Unauthorized cars can get past some gates by closely following the person before them, slipping inside before it closes. Lax gate attendants may admit cars without checking their credentials.
Law-abiding citizens may not be the only ones who live or work in a nice neighborhood. Burglars and other criminals may very well call gated communities home making it easy to learn people’s habits and case the area for the best targets.
Our actions and those of our neighbors play a critical role in preventing crime in a neighborhood. Keeping a vigilant eye out for suspicious people and activity, establishing relationships with neighbors that enable you to look out for each other, and taking steps to secure your home are key to mitigating crime.
The concept of neighborhood watch has proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce crime. The idea centers on neighbors recognizing suspicious activities and reporting crimes to police. Through Neighborhood Watch techniques, neighbors can help police catch those who pose a danger to the safety of their community. And, most importantly, they keep an eye out for each other.
“The Neighborhood Watch Program fosters collaboration and cooperation with the community and the Sheriff’s department by encouraging citizens to be aware of what is going on in their communities and contact law enforcement if they suspect somethingNOT take the law in their own hands.”
Seven Lakes News will be assisting the Sheriff’s Department and our Seven Lakes Deputy Monique DiLorenzo in implementing a community watch program in the following week.We will be giving the times and dates as well as locations in our upcoming newsletters that are delivered to your e-mail every Thursday.