Dec. 1—Law enforcement officials are advising residents to equip their homes with security devices, which are becoming more critical in this day and age.
Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King said the number of burglaries and thefts increase this time of year. In January, King said, TPD was kicking off an initiative called Camera Canvas, during which Tahlequah residents were asked to register their security systems.
"We didn't have a real big buy-in from citizens, and we had a few that are registered," said King. "In the end, it doesn't change much on our end; it just takes a little more legwork to find camera footage."
The idea was to have a database to assist TPD in investigating property crimes; officers would not have access to the security system. King said if police can obtain a still shot of a suspect in any crime, the likelihood of that suspect being named is "astronomical."
"Our reach on Facebook, through the media — through the Tahlequah Daily Press, and our Tulsa media affiliates — the majority of all people we post online looking to identify, they get identified," said King.
Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault highly recommends the use of home surveillance devices.
"That's more than likely not going to prevent a burglary from happening, but it's going to give us an exponentially much better chance of catching whoever it is," said Chennault.
While more and more law enforcement agencies are relying on security systems during investigations, Chennault said homeowners need to jot down serial numbers of valuable items, or take photos of them.
"If you don't have serial numbers for your stuff and your stuff gets stolen, there's a very good chance that we've walked over it during search warrants, we've made vehicle stops with your stuff in the back, or we've walked past it in a pawn shop," he said.
Chrissy Turney, sales manager for Security Alarms Co. in Muskogee, said they monitor around 6,000 accounts 24/7. When an alarm goes off, it sends a signal directly to the office in Muskogee, and Security Alarms then will call two numbers the homeowners provide to ask for a password.
If nobody answers, the nearest law enforcement agency will be called.
"Our customers pay for us to monitor their security system, and when it goes off, it sends us a signal here through a cell phone tower. We know it's going off and we know if it's a door, a motion [detector] or a window," said Turney.
Turney suggests homeowners invest in an alarm system before buying a security camera.
"The alarm system is going to protect your video equipment. Let's say that somebody breaks into your house and steals your DVR; then you don't have anything. The alarm system, first and foremost, and the video, is added security," she said.
Security Alarms has an app through which customers can arm and disarm their systems from their phones. It allows homeowners to check the status of their alarms. If they can't remember whether they armed their system or not, all they have to do is check the app and turn on the system.
"A lot of people don't know that [security systems] can help your homeowners' insurance. If you have a home and you have insurance on it, the security system will help your rate and they will give you a discount for having it," said Turney.