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Old August 30, 2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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Crime in Plesantville

Incident occurred outside our home last night, and I need some input from the combined wisdom here at TFL:
We live in a quiet Surburban neighborhood, I know most of the families on the block, very few teenagers. About 1/2 mile away - shopping center (grocery, video some restaurants), which recently has become a haven for teenagers, and some petty crime.
Last night I was walking the dog at around 10:45 pm, had a funny "gut" feeling that someone bad was going to happen. So when we got home I secured the house, loaded the shotgun and put it beside me. I also opened up all the exterior lighting so that anyone coming in would be siloutted against the light vs a dark interior of the house.
About midnight - heard my dog barking, then some fireworks. Went back to sleep. This morning my fiancee comes back in (right after she was leaving for work) to tell me that someone set off some fireworks on her car's hood. Burned the hood up pretty bad. It was a roman candle type piece that sets off sparks.
Called the police, they came by and took down a report. I emailed the officer some digital pics of the hood. He said the probability of them catching the kids who did it are pretty slim. (Assuming it was some punk kids trying to have fun)
I am thinking of buying some motion activated lights. Might be able to swing some nightvision gear so I can catch the punks in the act, call and police and give up descriptions.

Any suggestions on how to prevent / discourage this in the future?
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Old August 30, 2005, 02:13 PM   #2
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That sucks for you bud.

But all I can think of, is a garage, or a fenced in yard with outside dogs.

(Begin joke.) You may want to consider having two layers of fencing. In the middle section, keep a dozen pitbulls on the loose. Never treat them at all nice, just a random kick every now and then. Don't feed them, toss in a live chicken every few days, but keep them a bit hungry. THAT will keep any kids from causing trouble again. (End joke.)
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Old August 30, 2005, 03:35 PM   #3
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If you're handy with computers, you can pick up some night vision, motion activated cameras that will record directly to a hard drive. The whole setup shouldn't cost more than a few hundred bucks if you already have a decent computer for it. May not stop it from happening again, but next time you'll be able to hand the cops pictures of who did it.

I've been using a system like this for about a year now. Last summer a carload of kids drove down half the streets in town shooting out car windows with b.b. guns. They missed my car, but the local constabulary was terribly appreciative of the photos I provided of the car coming down the street, the license plate and especially of the kid hanging out the back window aiming the b.b. gun.
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Old August 30, 2005, 04:19 PM   #4
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Some punk kid lit some kind of firecracker or something and left it on my friend's ground level air conditioner of his apartment. The explosive stopped burning by the time we got out there. It left a black mark on top, but in general the air conditioner unit was fine.

XDoctor's monitoring system isn't a bad idea, to catch a vehicle description or a picture of their faces. Also, we've had eggings in the neighborhood and mailboxes hit with baseball bats. They have returned several times to egg every so often, so I figure it's the same kids doing this every time. No one is able to catch them.

All I'm saying is, if there aren't many neighborhoods around yours and these kids think they've found a new source of fun, they'll probably be back every so often. All it takes is for one of them to actually get caught and word should spread between them, then they'll move onto another neighborhood or go back to playing their video games at home.
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Old August 30, 2005, 04:38 PM   #5
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That is a very good idea. Do you have any recommendations on the type of camera and software to use? Some websites would be great.
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Old August 30, 2005, 04:40 PM   #6
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listen to the dog...

I also like the external video cameras. You could take the offenders pic give one to the police and another to use photoshop to put a stupid sign around his neck.
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Old August 30, 2005, 08:22 PM   #7
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motion cameras

My father has some of the motion cameras I think they are X10 brand, they can be set up to hook onto computer or video....might look them up, he got a set of 3 cameras for about 200.00 bucks...the company is in Vegas I think.
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Old August 31, 2005, 03:14 AM   #8
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I don't know how much they go for, but I'm pretty sure I saw some sort of outdoor surveillance camera setup being sold at Brandsmart. I don't know what recording devices came with it or would have to be hooked up to it, though.

I think it would be very cool to have not only a set of cameras mounted for keeping watch outside the home, but also a monitor or two in the house that could be viewed at any given time. Imagine being able to sit on the couch or in the bedroom and be able to click a remote control and see a view of who's on the porch or at the back door!

Remember that nasty guy played by Leslie Nielsen in "Creepshow"?

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Old August 31, 2005, 06:13 AM   #9
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What you are doing seems adequate for the level of crime in your 'hood. Since this sounds like an isolated incident, I hardly think going overboard on cameras, Night vision goggles, and the like is cost effective. Insurance will fix the paint on the car.
Unless there is a definant trend, and an escalation in the incidences of vandalism and crime, I would not make any changes in how you go about your life.
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Old August 31, 2005, 04:21 PM   #10
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Good point.
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Old August 31, 2005, 06:59 PM   #11
chris in va
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I forget, do you live in N. Va? If so, it only gets worse man.
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Old August 31, 2005, 09:27 PM   #12
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Yeah Chris. I do. I read in some posts that you moved....Is that right?

I think things are changing for the better. I am planning to organize a neighborhood watch program.
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Old August 31, 2005, 10:30 PM   #13
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for a cheaper solution to the camera thing what about using some of those game cameras from like cabelas. the ones that sit in the woods to scope out deer trails n such. if it really is like $200 for the set of 3 then it might be more expensive. anyways, just a thought.
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