TYLER, Texas — Every homeowner has to live with the possibility of their residence being burglarized.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a home burglary occurs in the United States. Without any protections, a homeowner is as much as three times more likely to fall victim tot this crime.
However, there are ways to fight back.
Each year, more and more technology is developed, specifically to help homeowners ward of potential burglars. This technology goes far beyond traditional security cameras.
Door bell cameras, from companies like Nest, Ring and Skybell, are allowing homeowners to have more control over their privacy and safety. For homeowners, the cameras provide an extra sense of security, particularly when they are away from home.
"The peace of mind of knowing that like my husband, and my dog and my parents and the people that are close to me are safe and just doing well," said Leila Rouhi, who is the president of Ring.
These technologies are not just securing one home, but the neighborhood as well.
"Something as simple as a video doorbell could really help bring safety and security to communities," Rouhi said.
Because of their potential benefit to communities, authorities find doorbell cameras invaluable in helping fight crime.
"That's a big help to us because, number one, it's a deterrent to crime," Smith County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Larry Christian said.
In 2017, the FBI reported roughly 1,800 property crimes in Smith County including:
- 609 burglaries
- 996 larceny thefts
- 224 vehicle thefts
Last year, the number of property crimes decreased to about 1,300 including:
- 409 burglaries
- 747 larceny thefts
- 189 vehicle thefts
Christian says the county also saw a 72% drop in crime-related incidents, which he attributes to people helping law enforcement fight crime.
"They're getting out there and they're seeing things," Christian said. "They're reporting them to us."
Gary Hodge, owner of East Texas Alarm Inc., says technology is only getting better with time.
"It's amazing," Hodge said. "Technology has really changed a lot. In the old days, we dealt with just basic security where we had security on doors and windows, and we maybe had some motion detection. And today, our industry's expanded into home automation systems."
The technology Hodge sells goes beyond the high-tech doorbell cameras.
"We're now we're controlling air conditioners, overhead doors, lights," Hodge explained. "We're controlling deadbolt locks."
Even if homeowners do not have the money to invest in these new technologies, there are a number of low-tech steps that can be taken to protect their homes.
Homeowners should always ensure doors, windows and garages are not just locked, but secured.
Another low-tech solution is having a dog that can bark to scare off an intruder, as well as warn you or a neighbor.
Some home protection experts recommend turning on a radio and tuning it to a talk station to fool potential burglars into thinking you are still home.
Homeowners can also time their lights to turn off at a certain time to make potential burglars question whether or not you are home.
Most importantly, it is imperative to get to know your neighbors.