ADT Montebello, California

Montebello Communities Take Active Steps Toward Deterring Crime
Montebello, California is a Gateway City in Los Angeles County. Roughly 60,000 residents in 15 different constituent neighborhoods enjoy relatively low crime rates for the area, and high levels of community involvement. However, its proximity to many other more crime-ridden cities in the Greater Los Angeles Area play a role in defining how public safety matters are handled. Many residents of Montebello are commuters, which places them outside the home for an average of a little over an hour a day more than residents who do not commute. These commuters appreciate the better than average public transit system, often choosing to leave cars sitting in the driveway while taking buses to work. The high number of commuters that take buses rather than personal vehicles help to contribute to its comparatively high air quality and low pollution levels. The city’s residents are an ethnically diverse group, with almost 40% of current locals having been born outside of the United States. It’s common to hear many languages spoken and see people with a wide variety of ancestral backgrounds coming together to encourage the development of cohesive communities. One example can be seen in the community’s response to a string of burglaries along the northern edge of the city several years ago. For almost a year, break-ins were a regular occurrence. Just about every home in the neighborhood experienced at least one break-in attempt. These burglaries were attributed to gangs known as “flocking crews” from South Los Angeles, who targeted the neighborhoods based on both actual household income and the appearance of comparative affluence. The city’s almost 100 police officers provide extensive preventative services. These include free security inspections for both residents and commercial businesses to evaluate the risk of home invasion and burglary, and a “Citizens on Patrol” program that seeks to encourage active community participation in fighting crime. However, little progress was being made toward stemming the rash of robberies in these communities. As a result, the community itself took action by establishing a Neighborhood Watch program. Over 300 local community members came together to help facilitate the arrests of several of the individuals responsible. Two were members of a gang from a neighboring city, while another pair of adults had grown up right in the neighborhood. It is ambiguous whether these individuals were all working together, but either way, the arrests put a stop to the frequent burglaries in the area. The neighborhoods located along the northern border of the city are now some of the safest. It is community action like this that helps to explain Montebello’s comparatively low rates of crime. Rates of violent crime are well below both national and state averages, although property crime still lingers right around the national average of 25 per 1,000 residents. While maintaining active community watch programs, and good police-civilian relations, can go a long way toward preventing crime, it is unlikely to eradicate break-ins completely. Those interested in taking further measures to aid both police and community groups in preventing crime and apprehending suspects may want to consider home security technologies that can help. Home alarms are only as effective at stopping burglars as the police is at responding to them, but luckily for residents the police force in Montebello is fairly on-point. Their typically lower than average response times make it more likely that they will respond to a home alarm indicating a break-in in time to stop the suspect. Even if the suspect is not apprehended at the time, having a home security system installed can help police to investigate after the fact. Surveillance cameras have long been relied upon by commercial businesses to capture footage of break-ins and other illegal activities. It used to be the case that the associated technologies were cost-prohibitive for many homeowners, but recent technological advances have helped to open up this option for more individuals. Even one well-placed security camera can both help to deter criminals from entering the property, and help to catch them after the fact if they attempt a break-in despite added security measures. Often criminals are caught thanks to surveillance footage even from neighboring homes. When used in conjunction with a well-established Neighborhood Watch, home security technology can form a very effective deterrent to crime. It lets criminals know that their actions will not go unnoticed, and the community will not stand for their unwanted presence. Unfortunately not all criminals will be deterred. Montebello sees its fair share of gang violence and related crime, including both robberies like those described above, and even occasional murders. Typically this kind of deadly violence is confined to inter-gang conflict, making it fairly easy to avoid violent confrontations. However, many residents underestimate the prevalence of gang members in the area. One recent inter-agency sweep led to the arrest of almost 40 Southside Montebello gang members on charges as diverse as drug possession and distribution, to money laundering, to outright murder. Sweeps such as these go a long way toward providing for resident safety, but it’s best not to wait until shots are being fired to report suspicious activity to police. This is another way that installing adequate security measures and participating actively in Neighborhood Watch programs can help to deter even these kinds of serious crimes. It sends a message to unwanted criminal elements that they are not welcome, and their presence will not go unnoticed. Even in a relatively safe city such as Montebello, residents must work with local officers and regional task forces in order to keep their homes and streets safe from violence and crime.