Recently, a Las Vegas crime ring was broken up thanks to a perfectly placed security camera. According to police, 19-year-old Vallin Fontani and 20-year-old Jhamari Cangas are responsible for at least five break-ins across Las Vegas — including a forced entry at an upscale gated community.
Security footage shows the burglars entering the home by breaking a sliding glass window. However, before they even got inside, the exterior security camera told police who the burglars were.
According to Las Vegas Police Captain Peter Boffelli, one tiny detail helped investigators track down Fontani and Cangas. As the burglars approached the home, one of them said the other’s name. On the security footage, you can hear Cangas whisper, “Vall!” before they go inside.
This single clue helped detectives look at similar crimes and connect the name to previous burglaries. The fact that this homeowner had a security camera placed at a common entry point helped crack this crime ring.
The thing is having a security system with cameras can be a huge deterrent for criminals. But your system is worthless if it’s not set up properly and the devices are not placed in the right areas.
This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised at what I’ve seen people do. That being said, here are a few tips on how to place security equipment around your home for maximum effectiveness:
According to the FBI, the most common entry points for criminals are the front door, back door and first-floor windows. In fact, in roughly 80% of burglary cases, the suspect enters through the front door.
With that in mind, I recommend placing cameras above each door and window frame facing down so that they cover the area a few feet in front of the doors and windows. Where you place the camera will depend on the camera’s range of view. For example, with a focus range of 45–75 degrees, the camera should point directly at a specific area (such as a front door).
Place your outdoor cameras at least nine feet high, which should stop criminals from reaching up and tampering with them. Make sure your outdoor cameras are waterproof, have night vision capabilities and aren’t pointed directly into the sunlight. Indoor cameras should also be pointed at entryways such as doors and first-floor windows.
Lastly, remember to install a camera inside your garage. Many criminals break into garages because typically there are expensive items that are easy to grab and the risk of running into someone is low. In fact, a neighbor of mine just had his garage broken into two weeks ago.
Motion sensors are most effective when they cover the widest area possible. In other words, place a sensor in the corner of a room where it can cover multiple entry points such as doors and more than one window.
Since criminals like to target the master bedroom, this is another room where I would put a motion sensor. But don’t place the sensor directly above the door to the bedroom — it’s best to place it in an area that the burglar would have to walk past to get to the master bedroom. Motion sensors work best when they detect motion from side to side rather than head on.
Remember, burglars are usually in your house for one specific reason: to steal your valuables. So if you have a room or area in your home where lots of electronics or other valuable objects are located, be sure to place a sensor near this area as well.
GLASS BREAK SENSORS
I also recommend putting window sensors on all your first-floor windows where someone could enter. Many burglars these days, such those in the Las Vegas crime ring mentioned above, gain access to homes by breaking a glass door or window. This is why a glass break sensor is critical to your security system.
The way glass break sensors work is they are tripped by a specific acoustical frequency — that of breaking glass. Most glass break sensors work in a radius of about 20 feet. Typically, they are activated whether your alarm system is in stay mode or armed for away.
Now, if you happen to drop a glass of water and it shatters, it could in theory set off the sensor. Depending on the size of each room, you should install one glass break sensor per room to alert you if anyone tries to break in through a window.
These days there are so many options when it comes to security systems — from professional companies to DIY systems. Whichever one you choose, make sure you have your security equipment properly set up to prevent a break-in or catch any intruders after the fact.
Also, make sure you have visible alarm signs in your yard and stickers in your windows to make criminals think twice before trying to get inside in the first place.