HENDERSON, Nev. -- Homeowners living near I-215 and Green Valley Parkway are worried about several recent break-ins. At least 10 break-ins have occurred in the past month.
Surveillance cameras were rolling inside the upscale Fountains Community at 4:30 a.m. on March 5. Within 30 seconds, a crook casually looked around, broke into an SUV using some sort of keyless entry device and rummaged through the center console. Two more break-ins were reported to police. The case remains open.
A few weeks earlier, resident Linda Staley's home in the Legacy Community was a target. Staley said someone hurled a cinder block through her sliding glass door and ransacked her closet stealing $10,000 worth of jewelry, including her mother's ring.
"They come around front, avoided the cameras of the community, went right back behind the house and came in," Staley said. "I think they've done their homework, but I also think it's not necessarily unique to this community or this part of town. I think it's happening all over."
Henderson Police said they have reports of several burglaries, two of them on March 6. Residents said there have been 10 break-ins in upscale and seemingly secure Henderson neighborhoods.
"I think anytime you're a victim of anything, as long as you don't hurt my family or my animals, take whatever I have, take whatever you need," Staley said.
Staley's home is behind two security gates with community-wide cameras watching the area, but she says there is no substitute for the watchful eyes of neighbors.
"I do think we have taken great strides to make sure that the neighbors are safe, but I would say this -- that if you are a homeowner -- make sure you know your neighbors," Staley said.
Henderson Police did not provide a list of reported burglaries and declined to comment, because some of the investigations are still open.
However, since Metro also has had to deal with similar issues, the department gave 8NewsNow.com eight considerations regarding community entrance gates.
- 1. Un-manned gated entrances limit some vehicle traffic, but not all. It is difficult to prevent all "follow-ins" and it is impossible to ensure that entrance codes are not given out in a way that creates risk. Too many individuals/service providers have access codes. Pedestrian traffic is not deterred by an entrance gate as walking in when the gate is opened is very easy. Also, pedestrian access gates, if present, need to be secured at all times.
- 2. A manned entrance gate allows for more control as to the vehicles entering due to the security person making a visual and verbal contact with those entering. Maintaining a log of those entering by name and vehicle license info is helpful but all companies have a process for personnel assigned entrance gates. Know what process is in place for your community if applicable. Some communities have dated passes or passes that indicate the reason the service provider is inside and what address they are there for.
- 3. Manned entrance gate personnel only have awareness of what takes place at the entrance gate. They are not neighborhood eyes and ears. And, distractions can occur and busy times can get hectic. Do your part to help make their job easier when expecting guests.
- 4. All neighborhoods have multiple entry points. Undesirable people will hop a wall or fence, find pathways or other weak points with the neighborhood perimeter with which to take advantage of. Any entrance gate, manned or not, is not a deterrent to a determined individual – they are simple an obstacle to overcome.
- 5. Residents may develop a false sense of security if they assume entrance gates will keep out undesirables. Residents typically take fewer safety or home security precautions because they feel "protected" by the gate.
- 6. Residents are often inclined to pay less attention to activity in the neighborhood because they feel that if someone is inside the neighborhood they must have been let it or are supposed to be there. Residents are usually less observant and less inclined to pay attention to people and vehicles when they have a false sense of security.
- 7. Criminals commit crimes where they feel undetected, unobserved and at no or low risk for being reported to law enforcement. An entrance gate makes no difference to most criminals and does not serve as a deterrent as much as residents might think.
- 8. Criminals are deterred by effective home security practices, observant neighbors, and the fear of being arrested. Effective home and neighborhood security has more to do with awareness, participation, and consistent safety practices. Neighbors working with neighbors will help to create a sense of community and oversight. Crime can happen anywhere but there is prevention behavior that can make a difference. Always observe and report.