The first step to neighborhood security is making sure you have a community that wants to help each other. Consider this the core of your security plan. After that we think every homeowner should take their own security seriously, be it personal cameras or alarm systems. Using our free camera tracker, you can keep track of which neighbors have a personal camera. When deciding what to do as a neighborhood, you have at least five options:
In our research, we have found that only about 5% of neighborhoods are gated — and for good reason. Though a gate does increase your overall security, it comes at a pretty steep price tag - upwards of $80,000 for initial installation of one gate. That doesn't include the additional costs of gate maintenance and privatizing your roads. We have also spoken to several gated communities who complain that the gate is not perfect - deliberately left open when the school buses arrive twice a day, and that functionality was often a challenge.
Patrol services, either by off-duty police or a security company, are a common consideration by neighborhoods. And for good reason. The idea of having an off-duty officer protecting the neighborhood is certainly appealing. In our experience, it is often cost-prohibitive for most neighborhoods costing more than $20,000 / year for just a few hours a day of service. We have found that only very large neighborhoods, with very large budgets, are able to afford patrol. They often face a different problem that the patrol is only able to be in one place at a time and the larger the neighborhood, the harder it is to protect every entrance with a single officer.
3. Traditional Security Camera
Traditional, hard-wired, local storage security cameras are the most affordable option considered by neighborhoods. Many neighborhoods can spend as little as a thousand dollars to put up cameras at an entrance, especially if infrastructure is already in place. So typically a single neighbor will order a few cameras and self-install but is quickly frustrated by the ongoing maintenance of this sort of system. It typically falls on a single neighbor to manage and maintain and to physically visit the camera to pull down footage. Most upsetting of all is learning that your camera has had some sort of issue - dirty lens, power outage, etc. - only when you try to pull down footage after a crime. While this tends to be your cheapest option, it comes with the downside that footage can rarely be used by the police as it lacks actionable evidence.
4. Traditional LPR Camera
Most often purchased by cities or police departments, traditional license plate reading (LPR) cameras are by far the most sophisticated and crime-solving option on this list. These cameras can capture plates on vehicles going up to 100 MPH and up to 10,000 vehicles / day - making them excellent investments for highways and major thoroughfares. Unfortunately, given the sophisticated nature of this technology plus the infrastructure costs of running power and a source for internet, traditional LPR cameras are extremely expensive - costing anywhere from $10,000-$40,000 / camera.
5. Flock Safety
Here at Flock, we believe there were some great elements to a traditional LPR camera - the ability to capture plates - and traditional security cameras - price - that we wanted to combine to create a product that is perfectly suited for a neighborhood. So that's exactly what we did. We started Flock because we faced the same problems, wanting a solution truly built for us. We cut out the infrastructure costs by making a camera solar+battery powered and utilizing a cellular network instead of WIFI. We also have everything upload to the cloud so you can access your footage from anywhere. We built software that monitors the health of the camera so that we know if something is not working properly and can fix it immediately. In the end, we believe Flock fits that “goldilocks” set of price, functionality, and service.
Want to talk about why Flock may be right for your neighborhood?