Residents of Devereaux Commons neighborhood are taking a harder look at the people coming into and out of their quiet Brookhaven neighborhood after a recent series of break-ins.
One of the ways they’re keeping tabs may soon be a trend for local neighborhoods: security cameras.
Two high-definition cameras are attached to a pole at the main entrance of the neighborhood, a loop of more than 50 brick homes lining both sides of Wrights Mill Circle. It’s located off Wright Avenue near Cross Keys High School. One camera records the cars and people walking in and the other records images of license plates.
The neighbors are also on guard. A reporter taking pictures of the security cameras attracted the attention of Chad Farmer. He said people are taking a different approach to strangers in the neighborhood.
“Anybody soliciting is greeted a little differently,” Farmer said through the rolled down window of his black SUV.
Homeowner’s association president Linda Potter said two break-ins occurred during the daytime in November. In one incident, someone ran off with one resident’s laptop computer after an alarm went off. In the second incident, someone went into a home that did not have an alarm installed. The couple living there lost a large amount of jewelry and electronics, Potter said.
Farmer said the brazen nature of the break-ins unnerved residents. He said none of the neighbors had any reservations about the cameras, which the homeowner’s association purchased for about $5,000.
“I don’t think it’s pretty, but I’m glad it’s there,” he said.
Other communities continue to step-up surveillance efforts. The Buckhead area will soon have cameras watching its commercial districts. Some Buckhead neighborhoods also have considered installing cameras.
Camera companies say they’ve noticed an uptick in requests for security cameras from homeowners and neighborhood associations. Steve Detro, owner of 4Max Videom which installed the camera system at Devereaux Commons, said he went from receiving one or two requests per year to six last year. He said since Jan. 1, he’s received at least eight proposals.
“It has to do with the economy,” Detro said. “People get desperate when they don’t have food on their plate and they start stealing.”
Bob Carter, general manager for the Decatur office of Texas-based Iron Sky, said the improvement in video quality increases the effectiveness of surveillance. The company installed its cameras in Sandy Springs and is in the process of doing so in Buckhead for the Buckhead Community Improvement District. He said his company has received requests for neighborhoods as well.
“I think the value of video information has increased,” Carter said. “We recognize that video information provides police departments [tools] to help solve crimes … The video resolution have grown so much. The amount of video you can capture and transmit over a network is just so much greater than it was a few years ago.”
When Daniel Thompson answered the phone at his Devereaux Commons residence, technicians were there installing personal cameras around his house. He’s also purchasing guns, he said. Thompson said he lives in a “good neighborhood” and said the break-ins are atypical.
“If you’re going to live in the city, you’ve got to expect some of this and take steps to deter it, like the cameras and alarms,” Thompson said.
Residents said there haven’t been any complaints regarding the extra set of eyes watching their comings and goings. Glenn Dedeaux said homeowners examined the cost and benefits and felt cameras were a good fit for the neighborhood.
But he said residents aren’t naïve.
“We also recognize this is not a silver bullet and this is not going to prevent or deter all crime from happening,” Dedeaux said.