Some South Van residents pay extra for security systems, peace of mind

Break-and-enter rates decreasing, hate crimes increasing

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By Sena Law

Break-and-enter rates have decreased since the start of the pandemic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Vancouverites feel safe in their homes.

In the neighbourhood around Langara College in South Vancouver, nearly every house has a sign advertising it is protected by private security. For some homeowners, concern for their personal safety is why they opted for private security.

Denise Lumaj, who recently installed a security system in her home near King Edward Station, said it made her feel more secure, especially during the pandemic.

“I feel much safer now, considering how much I am staying in due to COVID,” Lumaj said. “It just makes sense to splurge a little on home safety.”

Jinny Lai, who lives just a few doors down from Lumaj, said that as a Chinese person she is concerned about recent hate crimes.

“I have heard about the kidnappings and also the hate crimes against Asian people,” Lai said. “It’s truly terrible, I am just glad to feel safe at home with security.”

Lai said purchasing a home security system was one of her first priorities when she moved into her home years ago. She said it is the responsibility of homeowners as a part of a community to take home security seriously.

According to Statistics Canada there were 359 instances of breaking-and-entering in January 2021 a decrease compared to 478 in January 2020. Uttered threats increased from 78 instances to 108 during the same period.

Sgt. Steve Addison, Vancouver Police Department media spokesperson, said that some crimes have gone up in the city during COVID-19, including an increase in hate crimes against people who are East Asian or appear Chinese.

“This is quite possibly linked to some of the racist rhetoric that some people are using related to COVID,” Addison said.

Private security deters break-and-entering

Addison said that private security systems are helpful from a policing perspective, because residents should do whatever they can to feel safe and to deter crime from happening in their neighbourhoods. He added security systems often include cameras which can also benefit police investigations of other crimes.

Ross Hickey, a UBC Okanagan economist who studies crime rates, said having private security increases the chance of police responding to home invasions. It also increases the chances of police being called to a false alarm and could make neighbourhoods without private security more vulnerable to crime.

“There is a benefit people can get from the protection of others at some level, but on the other hand if a bike thief goes to that community where there are bike locks for sure they are going to take the bike that’s not locked.”

Addison agreed that security systems are a deterrent for thieves, and break-ins are more likely to occur in houses without home security. He said the VPD encourages all residents in the city, whether renters or homeowners, to take precautions to protect their property and to deter thieves.

In this video homeowner Jinny Lai demonstrates her home security system.

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