Home Security Systems Can Improve Neighborhood Safety in Bridgeport, CT
With a population of almost 150,000, Bridgeport, Connecticut is the most populous city in the state. This urban center is located just north of the New York border and actually forms a part of the greater New York City area. Until the middle of the 20th century, it was a bustling and economically stable city, relying on manufacturing and industry to support its population. But, in the 1970s, it began to struggle with the all-too-common post-industrial blights of poverty and crime as jobs moved out of the area.
Steps are being taken toward redevelopment both in the downtown area and in its many smaller neighborhoods in the 21st century, with factory and office buildings being converted into artists’ lofts and condominiums. Combined with its prolific city parks, this new development has begun to draw new residents to the city. However, the balance of economic power has yet to be adequately restored, with poignant disparities in income and accumulated wealth leading to high concentration of individuals and families living beneath the poverty level while, in 2010, 57% of all wealth accumulated when to just the top percentile of inhabitants.
This wealth disparity brings with it its own new and unique sets of challenges. Unfortunately, it has led to a comparatively high rate of both violent and property crimes. The chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime are more than twice as high as the national average, with one in 110 people finding themselves the victim of robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders each year. On average 346 crimes are committed per square mile within the city limits. The national median is 32.8. Surprisingly, this trend does not show itself as prolifically in the context of property crimes, including theft, vehicle theft, and burglary. Levels of property crime actually hover right around the national average.
One interesting response to Bridgeport’s high level of crime has come from the local police department. Several years ago, steps were taken to increase the number of police officers who were native to the area through creating an intentional selection bias toward members of the community. As a result, the police force much more adequately represents a cross section of Bridgeport’s residents than departments elsewhere. It’s ambiguous whether this is helpful or harmful. Proponents point out that it has improved public opinion of the police force, but those in opposition to the steps that have been taken argue that taking these measures has dangerously lowered the bar in terms of who is eligible to perform police work.
The prevalence of Neighborhood Watch programs represents a more grassroots response to the issue of crime in the community. Citizens patrols work to establish a positive presence in their various neighborhoods, which can reduce criminal activity. If anything questionable is going on, those involved are encouraged to contact the police. Business watches also exist, performing similar functions for small businesses in the community.
In addition to these fairly ubiquitous organizations, several neighborhood reclamation projects exist within city limits that are designed to make the areas they focus on safer for residents. These projects include the boarding up of abandoned houses, which all too frequently end up being used to house criminal activity, and increasing the amount of lighting on streets. They also offer a very useful service to existing residents: security surveys.
By taking advantage of a security survey, any property owner can have their home or business inspected and receive a report within a week that details ways to reduce the risk of burglary and increase the safety and security of both inhabitants and belongings. Many take advantage of these valuable services to ensure that they are doing all they can to promote personal and neighborhood safety.
Residents realize that the ostensibly startling crime statistics do not make up for Bridgeport’s many charms including its many museums, its growing community of artists, a thriving music scene, and its historic charm. For those living in Bridgeport, or those who want to take advantage of historically low property prices and invest themselves in being a part of the city’s revival, it just means that certain safety precautions must be taken.
Installing Home Security systems can drastically reduce residents’ chances of experiencing home break-ins. Almost a dozen different home security companies serve the Bridgeport area, although most of them have headquarters in other nearby towns. Studies performed by institutions as well renowned as Rutgers have shown that property crime decreases in neighborhoods where Home Alarm systems are prevalent, and burglars themselves admit they are less likely to attempt a break-in at a home that has an alarm.
Homeowners can make use of this simple solution to create spaces on their own properties that are all but guaranteed to be safe. Interestingly, neighborhoods in which many homeowners have taken advantage of advances in home security technology see an overall decrease in crime that even applies to the neighbors of homes with security systems installed. This makes alarms a welcome addition to any neighborhood and should encourage individual residents and families to include this important safety feature in their own homes.
Outside of the home, personal safety is in each individual’s hands. Taking basic safety measures such as avoiding known areas of criminal activity, particularly at night, and making plans with others instead of heading out to the bar alone after work can all help. Ultimately, the most important steps to take are ensuring the safety of the household, actively integrating into the local community, and forming good relationships with local police and neighborhood watch representatives.