BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The murder rate in Maine is low, and so are the statistics for violent crimes.
But crimes happen, and if you're going to be a victim of one, it probably will be a burglary or a theft based on the crime stats from 2016.
Normally, when a criminal breaks into your vehicle or your home, they're looking for the path of least resistance.
"These people, what happens is they're typically opportunists," explains Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley. "They look for the easiest thing to get. They want to get in, get drugs, guns, money and go. So if it looks like your home is a little bit more of a challenge than the neighbors, they may go to the neighbors, but at least they're not going to yours."
If they decide to go into yours, know they aren't planning to be there long. Chief Greeley said typically they're in and out in a couple of minutes or less. "Security specialists say sixty seconds, they're going right to where they think the prescriptions are. They're going right to where they think money is. They're not going to search the basement. Typically, they're going to where they think drugs are...bathroom medicine cabinet. They're going to go where they think maybe a safe is, where do people maybe have a firearm or a safe? In their bedroom. So be a little more creative in where you keep stuff of importance because that is where they are going. They're looking and they're grabbing and they're out. Let's stop them from getting in and let's make it harder for them to complete their mission once they're in."
Tom Pasternack of Bangor used his video system that cost about 300 dollars to catch a person stealing packages off the porch, and he doesn't think you need to even spend that much to deter a potential criminal. "At the very least, get a dummy camera, and they come with a red flashing light, not that I mean that right there is going to stop a kind of career criminal. Someone that's going to walk up, they're going to look at it and without getting up close and realizing it isn't wired to the house, they are going to look at it and go, 'Uhh, maybe I shouldn't'."
Chief Chris Greeley says just a camera may stop some people, but where you place that camera is also key. "You want the cameras to be able to capture information unmolested. If they walk up to the door and there's the camera and they can cover their face and just take the camera down, that doesn't really benefit you. So you want it up high enough where they just can't take it down. And you have to think about where is that information stored. If you have great video images but when they break into the house, they see the unit you're keeping everything on and they just take it with them, what good does that do? So you want to have cameras in different locations that are not quickly accessible by someone and secondly, you want where the data is stored to be important. In this day and age, a lot of stuff goes right to your phone and you can save it on your phone or you might get an alarm if there is activity around your home. But where the hard data is stored, if it's not on your phone or not in the cloud, then that unit that records the information needs to be in a secure hidden location."
There's a lot to review if you're looking for a home system, but Pasternack advises to take the time and do your homework. "If you go online and look, you can learn which security cameras, like you buy them and then all of the sudden you are paying a monthly fee, but this Arlo one, there's none. I have like a certain amount of storage, it holds up to 7 or 8 days. If I pay for the membership, then I can have that all stored, I can have 30 days storage, I can have more memory and all that, but the minimal I just want to see what's happening around my house within the last seven days."
If something does happen, and a person goes into your home, Chief Greeley says that video recording gives law enforcement a lot of information. "Immediately we're able to start the process of identifying who it was that did it and we know what time the crime occurred. We know what was taken and that we have a description. Depending on the camera system, it might include a car, we might have seen where they came from before entering your porch and which way they left and then we can share in, at least in Penobscot County. We can share information on our network, so I might not recognize them, but the officer on duty at Brewer PD or Augusta PD or Houlton PD might."