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This article was written our valued partner Flock Safety, who helps Innovia Co-op members optimize and enhance security measures for the communities they serve with LPR Camera Technology.

 

We all want to feel safe in our homes and in our community. Unfortunately, crime exists, and law enforcement departments are understaffed. Your community needs to supplement with better tools to deter crime, and if it happens, gather as much evidence as possible. Crime also brings property values down.

The FBI estimates that 1.2M violent crimes occur every year, and in nearly half those incidents, detectives lack sufficient evidence to clear cases. 7M property crimes occur annually, and fewer than 20% can be solved due to insufficient evidence.

But why do most crimes go unsolved? Lack of readily available evidence. 80% of those property crimes go unsolved because they lack a critical piece of evidence — a license plate for the suspect vehicle. 

At the very least, once the police have a potential suspect vehicle, at least make and model, they are more likely to solve it.

It’s vital to discuss with your residents what tools you are using to increase security for the entire community. Not all options are created equal — learn more about what things to keep in mind when choosing and the benefits of the available options. 

Why is it important to consider your options?

When considering security options for your community, it’s essential to keep in mind the following:

  • Actionable evidence: If a crime occurs, what kind of actionable evidence are you genuinely getting from your security solution? 
  • Upfront costs: There’s no free lunch. Cost for security options can not only be upfront but ongoing. Just because it’s the cheapest today, it doesn’t mean it’s the most affordable in the long run.
  • Hidden costs: Hidden costs when it comes to maintenance, repairs, software updates, hardware updates and more can quickly take over your community budget. 
  • Time: Consider how much time is involved in maintaining the solution. From installation to monitoring. If a crime occurs, will you need to scroll through hours of footage? If something breaks, do you have to schedule the repairs?
  • Ongoing upkeep: Who will manage the chosen security solution and keep it working? Specific options require constant management to make sure they’re working correctly. 

Best security options available for your community

Gates

When looking for a home, a gated community may go to the top of the list. Peace of mind comes from an automatic gate and only residents (and their guests) coming into the community. 

A code or a key card lets you in and closes right behind you. The downside? Codes and keycards can be passed around. Even a delivery person that has entered the facilities multiple times could have a code. 

Gates must be replaced due to high usage after a few years. And gates break often. 

When gates break, they stay open while waiting for service. It costs upwards of $80,000 for the initial installation of one gate. This stresses the community budget as costs climb to fix it, there are calls in the middle of the night, and maintenance may take a while. While it remains broken, it remains open with anyone allowed to enter the community and, with that, often petty crime like package theft

Security Patrol

Whether it’s a security guard at the gate or a security patrol that drives around the property 24/7, many communities choose to have security staff to keep crime away. However, costs are extremely high. Full-time guards can cost upward of $40,000 a year. Depending on your local law enforcement, some off-duty police may want to earn an extra $35 an hour.  

But often, this cost is prohibitive to many communities to have an active patrol on site all day long. Criminals may memorize routes, shift changes, or wait until the patrol passes before striking. Patrols often only glance at properties to look for crimes in progress before moving on to their next property. The bigger the property, the less protected you are. It may not be the best solution to keep crime from your property.

Individual Home or Unit Security 

In addition to whichever community-wide option you decide on, individual home security like a video doorbell can help your own home security.

While it may not deter crime, it will catch the thieves in action. The video can help law enforcement find the culprit after the crime with a timestamp. 

However, beyond that, it rarely provides actionable evidence. A recent NBC investigation found that out of 40 jurisdictions across the country, 13 say they made zero arrests due to Ring footage. None of the jurisdictions surveyed had data to link the overall drop in property crimes to their deal with Ring. Plus, these doorbell cameras can be hacked, with hackers downloading videos to the internet. 

CCTV Cameras

CCTV cameras, often seen at retail stores, are usually posted throughout a community but rarely catch or stop theft. Sure, they are the most affordable, but they often only point one way and are far away from the crime itself. Running cables, costly installations, a dirty lens, and even storm debris are some of the cons of CCTV cameras. 

Scrolling through hours and hours of footage to find any evidence of a crime can be tiresome. While some have high-quality video, you may not have the sharpest images to give to the police unless you upgrade your CCTV systems often. You don’t find that the camera has had an issue until you need to pull down footage. The community takes on the cost of the system, plus any future updates and upgrades. 

License Plate Reading (LPR) cameras

LPR cameras like what is available through Flock Safety are affordable for communities seeking a turnkey solution to security. The LPR camera solution features a unique Vehicle Fingerprint™ technology that gathers and categorizes physical descriptions of each vehicle passing the camera. 

Most security cameras cannot capture the license plate on a moving vehicle, a vital part of the evidence in a hit-and-run case. Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras allow law enforcement officers to solve burglaries, car break-ins, and catch repeat offenders. 

The assigned security contact can quickly filter and search within the timeframe a crime occurred and return vehicle details and a license plate number right off the cloud.

In one Memphis neighborhood, an HOA member who installed Flock LPR cameras saw a great benefit to sharing their Flock camera directly with local law enforcement. Connecting them to the network of cameras across the U.S. allows police to respond in real-time to Hot List alerts should an individual wanted for crime enters the community.   

Instead of hiring a gate greeter or security detail for your safety needs, you can place an LPR camera at the entrance and exit points of your community. 

LPR technology stands out

LPR cameras can act as a deterrent and an insurance policy to give you the evidence you and law enforcement need if an incident occurs. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, upwards of 70% of crime involves using a vehicle. Law enforcement can use license plate data to identify the registered owner, get an address, access potential witnesses, and at a minimum, get the first lead in an investigation. Flock helps fill the evidence gap.

  • A gate installation runs about $10,000 on average (with ongoing maintenance costs) 
  • A part-time security officer is about $20,000 per year
  • An LPR camera from Flock Safety is $2,500 per year 

The cost benefits are clear!

Ready to protect your community from crime?

Contact us to learn more about joining Innovia Co-op to take advantage of the exclusive benefits and discounted pricing on services offered by Flock Safety, and all other industry-leading partners our co-op works with to help our members improve efficiencies and generate constant growth.