Published On: Fri, Dec 8th, 2017

Homeowners Increase Security as Violent Crime Rates Rise

After a number of years, violent crime is still near record lows, but it’s slightly trending upward again. The 2016 FBI annual report on national crime found that while property crimes decreased slightly, violent crime went up 4.1 percent year-over-year. 

There was also a slight increase in violent crime in 2015. It marks the first in over a decade that there were  2 consecutive years with increases in violent crime.

This news only reinforces some people’s fears of social disorder. For others, it’s the catalyst to take action and protect themselves. In neighborhoods across the country, people are being more proactive about home security. Neighbors are also looking out for one another to keep everyone safer.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Monitored Alarm Systems Are Becoming More Common

Home alarm systems have undergone major changes in the last decade. Wireless devices, Wi-Fi enabled, real-time monitoring – homeowners can feel more secure than ever before.

What people are looking for is the ability to be aware of what’s happening at home from any distance. Monitored systems that include real-time alerts are becoming increasingly popular. ADT monitoring packages are among the few systems that send an alert if a burglary, fire or carbon monoxide are detected. It’s comprehensive protection with the added benefit of emergency medical help being a button away.

Inc.com recently reported that the sale of security products is set to be over $100 billion by 2020, and $47 billion of that will be directly attributed to home security systems. The market has been steadily growing for years, even as crime dropped.

There are other factors outside of crime rates at play. Technology has made security products more versatile and less expensive. Homeowners are buying new products and replacing older, less sophisticated security measures.

It may sound surprising to hear that the Millennial generation is surging the growth in security product sales. However, to those working in real estate, it makes perfect sense. Currently, Millennials make up 34% of first-time homebuyers. Homebuyers are a huge segment of the security market since they’re highly motivated to protect their new investment.

Neighborhood Watch Organizations Are on the Rise

Neighbors across the country are banding together to keep the collective group safe. Private citizens are initiating neighborhood watch programs and also conducting regular training sessions for members.

Neighborhood watch programs began to be formed in the 1970s, when crime rates in many American cities had risen to record highs. By 2000, an estimated 40 percent of American households were a part of a watch program.

After the recession, many of the hardest hit areas become the poster child for community watch programs. Detroit, in particular, saw an increase in programs as crime increased around the city. The Neighborhood Police Officer program has also made a positive change. Police officers work directly with community members to build trust and communication.

The primary mission of neighborhood watch programs is twofold. The first is to discourage crime from happening in the first place. Many neighborhoods prominently display watch program signs. The second is to keep an eye out for suspicious activity that should be reported to the police.

Another element of neighborhood watch programs is to identify security weaknesses around the neighborhood. It could be security issue within a public space or a private residence. If citizen patrols are a part of the neighborhood watch program this is when weaknesses can be noted.

Contrary to popular belief, neighborhood watch program members are not encouraged to make contact or try to thwart an apparent crime as it’s happening. Observing the neighborhood activity can help residents spot possible burglars who are casing the area or leaving the scene of a crime.

A residual benefit of neighborhood watch programs is more cohesion within the community. There’s more social interaction between community members, which helps increase the feeling of security.

Members of the U.S. Congress are working on reform bills to curb incarceration and reduce crime, but individuals must advocate for their own safety. If security product sales and neighborhood watch programs are an indicator, more Americans are doing just that.

Author: Jimmy Simond

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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