Knowing sheriff's deputies cannot physically be everywhere burglars and thieves decide to strike, La Cañada residents are mounting a solid defense against crime, with a little help from the city.
Since late October, La Cañada Flintridge has offered two rounds of rebates that allow homeowners to purchase video doorbell cameras through Ring.com. The first one, which provided $5,000 in city funding for 100 homes to be matched by the Santa Monica-based company, maxed out in just four days.
So last month, the City Council expanded the program, contributing another $7,500 toward the purchase of units for an additional 150 homes. That rebate lasted six days before being depleted Thursday evening, according to city staffer Christina Nguyen.
Now, with more than 250 video doorbells purchased through the rebate program and many more installed beforehand or made by other manufacturers, La Cañada residents are potentially increasing their neighborhood-watch capacity and awareness by spreading videos of package thieves and potential burglars.
Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station Capt. Chris Blasnek said while there is not yet data on how many investigations may have been aided by the home surveillance devices, their capacity to let homeowners answer their doors remotely via smartphone, and record the footage to share online, provides some piece of mind.
"I find it very useful," said Blasnek, who installed a device at his own home. "It's one more layer of protection for me and it does store videos and pictures very well."
City Manager Mark Alexander told council members last Tuesday, when the second round of rebates was about to expire, that the city Public Safety Commission was considering expanding the program even further.
Public Safety Commissioner Marilyn Smith, who was chair when the first rebate program was recommended to the City Council, said Friday she's thrilled to see how enthusiastic homeowners are to aid in the defense of their homes by expanding neighborhood watch efforts and signing up for the Ring.com rebates.
"We initially wanted as much money as the city could put on it, because we all knew this would be a huge success," Smith said. "This is what we wanted — something tangible. This is something that absolutely goes right to every potential resident in La Cañada."
Smith said the commission hoped to discuss the matter further in an upcoming meeting, possibly as soon as next month.