November 17, 2005
There were more than 5,400 burglaries in Aiken, Richmond and Columbia Counties combined in the last year alone, and it can take police as long as 45 minutes to get to the scene. News 12 is on your side with steps you can take to protect your family.
Some criminals keep a lookout for the signs, things like newspapers piling up when you are out of town, no lights, and no cars in the driveway. And it gets worse around the holidays. The key is to appear as if you are always home and that you’re not alone.
This sound is the best way to get a burglar off your property. The sound scares the intruder and clues the neighbors in that something is not quite right. Roger Guerrero says he was led by fate to protect people. He called in air strikes in the first Gulf War and now he’s calling is to save lives.
He does it by putting video cameras in businesses and homes. His eight on staff include several Richmond County deputies.
“If seeing is believing, then it just makes sense,” Guerrero said.
Captain Clay Smith says video surveillance is a good backup in case the alarm does not drive the intruder away.
“If an intruder does get in and they’re on video, and then they leave when they hear the alarm, video surveillance helps catch them,” Smith said.
Dedric Badua from American Guardian Security recommends some other extras, like a broken glass detector.
“Homeowners that have kids, everybody’s worried about kids being snatched out the window,” Badua said.
And experts say you need an eighty-five decibel siren to scare the intruder away. Other recommendations include a wireless key with a panic button that sends all of your information directly to the alarm company, strobe lights in the house to alert the deaf, and sensors that activate the alarm if a window is opened. And put bars on your sliding doors.
Most systems work on a landline, but if yours is cut, having a backup cell line is also a good idea. And change the alarm’s battery on a regular basis.
The first step to preventing a break-in is to discourage the intruder from approaching your house at all. One way of doing this is to put a security system sign in your yard. Another suggestion for single women is to put a pair of men's shoes on your front porch to trick the intruder into thinking you don't live alone.
Keeping the shrubbery short around your windows is another must, because tall plants give burglars a place to hid. Keep your upstairs windows locked and keep ladders locked in the garage. Father of three Carlton Wilson installs security systems for a living.
“Sometimes you’re away, you are working, a lot of times you spend most of your time at your job. You don’t know what’s going on at your house,” Wilson said.
That’s where Roger Guerrero and his cameras come in.
“The world’s not getting any better,” Guerrero said.
Police can respond, but staying alert and going the extra mile to keep your family safe is up to you.
Another way you can protect yourself is house watch. Columbia County deputies will drive by your house twice during the day and night while you are out of town. Richmond County will also drive by during downtime throughout the day. Aiken County does not provide this service, but they do encourage communities to form neighborhood watch groups.
There’s also a little financial incentive to getting an alarm system. People who have a system get ten percent off their homeowners’ insurance rate.