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Effects of Burglary Can Go Far Beyond Material Loss into PTSD

home burglary and PTSD

Anyone who has been a victim of a burglary or home invasion can tell you that the worst part of the experience is not the material loss. It is the feeling that your privacy and security have been invaded. Victims of burglary, home invasion and other crimes can suffer tremendous and long-lasting psychological damage. In some cases, the damage may require professional intervention.

A typical first reaction to burglary or home invasion tends to be shock, and disbelief that something like this could happen. Some victims even try to work out scenarios in their own minds to explain that what they are witnessing is not really what it is. For example, you might wonder if the neighborhood kids broke your back door window rather than first considering that your home might have been burglarized.

Once the shock begins to wear off, victims often become angry and fearful. They realize they have been victimized once, and it is just a short step to living in fear that the perpetrator of the original crime will return for a second shot. Crime experts say that fear and anger can be long-term responses.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

For some people, the stress and fear that comes with being a crime victim eventually translate into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While PTSD became part of the public consciousness following the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, doctors had already known about it for quite a while. That’s because war veterans are not the only ones who often suffer from the disorder.

Any kind of traumatic event that causes extreme levels of shock and fear can lead to PTSD. Experts are now saying that burglary, home invasion and other crimes can be triggers of the disorder. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, a person suffering from PTSD can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Sleeping disorders, including insomnia and nightmares.
  • Flashbacks relating to the original event.
  • Anxiety, tension, and irritability.
  • Mood swings that can include angry outbursts.
  • Self-imposed reclusiveness and isolation.
  • Strong feelings of estrangement or detachment.
  • Moderate to severe memory loss.

The symptoms of PTSD are severe enough that a person suffering from the disorder should seek professional help. Not all victims of burglary, home invasion and other crimes will develop the disorder, but keep an eye out for the symptoms of PTSD if you or someone you know has been victimized by a traumatic crime.

Recovering from the Trauma

Victims of traumatic crimes like burglary and home invasion need plenty of support in order to recover. That support begins almost immediately after the traumatic event and carries through the conclusion of the criminal justice process, and beyond if necessary. Some crime victims may need additional support even after their cases are closed.

Fortunately, counselors and medical professionals are well trained to help victims get their lives back on track. Seek professional help if you are suffering from trauma as the result of a burglary or home invasion.

Don’t wait to be a victim before protecting yourself and your family with monitored home security. While no home security system is 100 percent crime-proof, monitored home security is a very strong deterrent that can go a long way toward preventing victimization – and the potential traumatization – of you and your family.

Texas Senator Credits Justice Reform for Lower Crime Rate

Texas Crime

In 2007, the state of Texas embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce crime rates by reforming the criminal justice system. As a result, crime throughout the state has dropped by more than 20 percent, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Writing in a recent Lufkin Daily News column, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that rethinking how the state looks at crime and sentencing has enabled lawmakers to find better ways to reduce crime and put fewer people in jail.

Texas legislators developed their new approach to crime by first taking a look at mental health, drug treatment, and parole and probation policies, Cornyn said. The thinking was that since the drug trade plays a huge role in fueling crime, addressing drug use would be a far better way to spend tax money designated for crime prevention.

They came up with a plan to invest in drug courts and treatment strategies instead of building new prisons with more beds. They began adopting improvements to the state corrections system that were based on verifiable evidence rather than conjecture. They found ways to integrate rehabilitation, restitution and reintegration strategies so that those in prison would have a greater chance of succeeding once they got out.

Looking at the Numbers

Other states have adopted similar measures with varying levels of success. For example, Pew data showed that Georgia and South Carolina have crime reductions of 11 percent and 14 percent respectively, along with North Carolina at 20 percent.

We imagine the significant reduction in crime in Texas goes a long way toward making state residents feel a lot safer. The same goes for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Whenever crime rates go down, people tend to be less fearful that they will eventually become victims themselves.

Take Personal Responsibility

Lower crime rates are always welcome news, but even the best-laid plans for criminal justice reform can only go so far. There will always be people who choose to engage in criminal activity, so individual citizens must still do their part by taking every step they can to protect themselves.

It all starts with a home security system that includes 24-hour live monitoring. Statistics show that monitored home security acts as a deterrent, since studies show that houses with monitored alarm systems are less likely to be targets of property crimes.

Homeowners can also increase their home security by installing heavy-duty door and window locks, making sure their homes have adequate lighting, and keeping exteriors well-maintained in order to provide a good view from the street.

Crime in Texas and a few other states is falling significantly thanks to a new approach to criminal justice. Hopefully that will continue across the country in the years ahead. In the meantime, Monitronics is committed to keeping our customers safe with the latest in home security equipment and monitoring packages.

Sources:

  1. Lufkin Daily News – http://lufkindailynews.com/news/community/article_f51ea710-3990-11e6-8d6b-7b18e7ca1d9a.html

Miami Crime Spree Illustrates Benefits of Surveillance Cameras

crime-scene-miami

Residents of a south Florida neighborhood in the Miami-Dade area were subject to a string of burglaries by two men who were scoping out properties in broad daylight. According to WSVN-TV news, several of the properties in the area were protected with home security systems that included surveillance cameras. In at least one instance, the home security system scared the burglars away.

WSVN reported that one of the homeowners watched a potential crime unfolding on his surveillance cameras. He said the burglars started by ringing his front door bell; after there was no answer, they walked around the entire house peering into windows and looking for an entry point. After trying to break through a bedroom window and setting off the homeowner’s alarm, the burglars ran away. The homeowner said his 16-year-old daughter had left just minutes before the thieves arrived.

News reports say that one of the burglars attempted to hide his face once he realized cameras were recording his movements. He did the same at other properties in the neighborhood. It is clear that these burglars knew that recorded video could be used to identify them and successfully prosecute them. They were not about to take any unnecessary chances.

Adding Video Cameras to Your System

The burglars in Miami-Dade were still at large at the time of this writing. However, police have quite a bit to go on thanks to video footage from numerous home security systems in the neighborhood. This is why you should consider adding video cameras to your existing home security system. Video evidence can help police identify criminals, and it can also help prosecutors get convictions in court.

Burglars find video surveillance cameras disconcerting because they never know whether they are being watched in real time or not. Then there is the problem of footage being recorded remotely. All of the uncertainty surrounding video surveillance makes the risks too high for the average burglar just looking to make a quick score without getting caught. Video surveillance adds yet another layer of deterrence that can keep your property and family safer.

True, video cameras will not prevent every property crime. But they significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim for the reasons listed above. For the record anything you can do to reduce the risks of becoming a crime victim is worth doing for your own safety and that of your family.

Added Benefits of Video Surveillance

The benefit of video surveillance as a crime prevention tool should be obvious. Still, there are additional benefits that make adding cameras to your system well worth the investment. For example, you can use video surveillance to ensure your kids get home from school on time. Your cameras can give you a means to monitor babysitters, keep an eye on contractors who might be working in your home, and even watch your pets during the day.

Just call Monitronics, and we can easily make video surveillance a part of any new or existing security. For the most effective coverage, you should consider at least one or two video surveillance cameras.

Today’s video surveillance cameras are state-of-the-art products designed to work wirelessly. They can be controlled remotely with the use of a mobile device and an appropriate app. With so much power at your disposal, why have a home security system and not include video surveillance in your package?

Residents in at least one Miami-Dade neighborhood are certainly glad they had surveillance cameras in place. You might want to follow their example.

Sources:

  • WSVN News – http://www.wsvn.com/story/31929600/northeast-miami-dade-serial-burglars-caught-on-surveillance

Crime Rates Continue to Fall in Houston, Texas

crime-reduction

In the 1980s and 90s, Houston was a dangerous place to be. For example, the city reported 608 homicides in 1991, marking the highest annual total since the FBI began keeping records. Thankfully, the city is not nearly as dangerous as it used to be. Crime rates continue to fall in Houston with every passing quarter, and they were down again in 2015.

Through the first half of 2015, Houston recorded an overall reduction in serious crime of 6.2 percent. Burglaries were down 19 percent, and violent crimes were down 2 percent. There were 144 murders through the first half of 2015 as opposed to 100 the year before, marking one of the few disappointments in the 2015 crime statistics. Homicides for the year finished 23 percent higher in 2015.

The downward trend continues, though no hard and fast numbers will be reported until the end of the year. We will have to wait and see what the murder rate is compared to other violent crimes and the overall crime rate. Hopefully, it will fall by double digits to make up for the 2015 increase.

Numbers Go Up and Down

Police officials interviewed by the Killeen Daily News in late April made it clear that crime rates go up and down from year to year. They expect increases in certain kinds of crimes and corresponding decreases in others. The important thing, they remind us, is that the overall crime rate falls from year to year. The story for 2016 is: So far, so good.

Officials wouldn’t speculate or offer any official explanation as to why violent crimes are down overall yet murder is up. But regardless of the reasons, police officials in Houston are undoubtedly doing everything they can to keep the numbers down. They are relying on citizens to help them as much as possible.

Crime Prevention and Individual Responsibility

It is important to look at crime statistics to identify trends in local areas. But statistics alone do not tell the whole story. Preventing crime is as much a responsibility of individuals as it is government officials and police officers. Each resident of the city of Houston – as well as every other city for that matter – has an obligation to look after themselves and their families.

As just one example, home burglaries continue to fall in Houston and across the country. Experts attribute some of it to awareness and diligence, and partly to the growth of the home security sector. As more people invest in alarm systems and home automation that features video surveillance, burglars have fewer opportunities to do what they do without increasing the chances of getting caught.

Home security certainly does not protect a family and their home entirely, but it is the single most important strategy for preventing crime in the home. We encourage every resident of Houston who does not yet have monitored home security installed to seriously consider it.

Along with monitored home security, residents should be diligent about keeping track of one another in their neighborhoods. We strongly encourage solid community relationships that involve everyone in a given area watching out for everyone else and, at the first sign of trouble, notifying the authorities. When crimes do occur, those who have any knowledge should be quick to help police investigators identify perpetrators and solve crimes.

When we all work together to make our homes and neighborhoods safer, we succeed. Undoubtedly such cooperation is one of the reasons crime in Houston continues to fall.

 

Sources:

  • ABC 13 – http://abc13.com/news/hpd-chief-our-gun-violence-is-off-the-charts/870366/

Las Vegas Metro Police Show Strong Response to Violent Crime

The violent crime numbers in Las Vegas are not the kinds of numbers we like to read. Unfortunately, the city known for glitzy entertainment and pleasure is in the midst of a 25 percent increase in violent crimes this year, particularly homicide. This has led the Metro Police Department to present an even stronger presence on the street to curb the troubling violence.

It’s anyone’s guess why Las Vegas is suddenly seeing a spike in violence, but there are a few things the police are looking at in particular:

  • Increased drug use among city residents.
  • Stagnant unemployment.
  • An influx of gang members from the West Coast.

The police response to the increased violence has been to rotate detectives in and out of street patrol in order to beef up police presence. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, some 1,500 plainclothes detectives are receiving a brief amount of training to refresh their street patrol skills before joining 1,300 patrol officers for two-week stints on the streets. Officials with the Metro police believe the strategy is already paying off.

Residents Should Keep Themselves Safe

There is a sliver of positive news: Increases in homicides, rapes, and assaults are not translating to home burglaries and property crimes. Also, if the police continue to address the wave of violence in the city with a stronger presence, it will be good for the average neighborhood that wants to protect itself against burglary and property crime. Still, Las Vegas residents should be taking whatever steps they can to protect themselves, their families and their properties.

A good place to start is with monitored home security, complete with video surveillance cameras. Annual statistics routinely show that homes with monitored security systems are less likely to be victimized than those without. Video surveillance cameras add an extra measure of deterrence by providing evidence investigators can use to catch and convict criminals.

Staying Safe on the Streets

Protecting your home with monitored security is one thing; protecting yourself on the streets is another. Residents of any city should always pay attention to what is going on around them in order to avoid becoming victims of crime. For example, here are a few basic tips:

  • Put away the phone – As helpful as the smartphone might be, it also tends to be a distraction. Put away the phone when you are walking down the street, walking to your car at night, or even sitting on a park bench waiting to meet a friend. Criminals who see you distracted by your phone see you as an easy target.
  • Travel in groups – When you are out on the streets, be sure to travel in groups of three or more. The more of you there are together, the less likely criminals will victimize you and your group.
  • Park your car strategically – You can avoid becoming a victim of crime – especially at night – by parking in a well-lit area away from places criminals could potentially hide, like bushes and shrubs.

We are sure the Las Vegas police join us in hoping that the spike in violent crime is just temporary. In the meantime, do what you can to keep yourself safe.

Sources:

  1. Las Vegas Review-Journal – http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/radio-show-metro-undersheriff-defends-violent-crime-initiative