The latest round of city-sponsored video doorbell rebates — which began June 1 exclusively for La Cañada residents who participated in neighborhood watch programs — opened Wednesday to all residents, providing a $50 per-household subsidy matched by Ring.com.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s officials report the addition of hundreds of surveillance units installed since the rebate program began last October are helping increase residents’ vigilance and participation in neighborhood watch groups.
“They’re getting to know their neighbors and watching out for each other,” said Dep. Eric Matejka, who’s overseen neighborhood watch efforts throughout La Cañada for the past nine years. “I find they often feel more empowered.”
The first $5,000 round of rebates offered last October maxed out in four days with 100 new units purchased, city staff reported. A second commitment of $7,500 was offered two months later and was depleted in six days, funding another 150 units.
Phase 3 of the rebate program allotted $12,500 for the purchase of 250 more cameras, with the stipulation that for the first 40 days, residents would be required to participate in or establish a neighborhood watch group. Nearly 200 rebates are still available, staff reported Tuesday.
Matejka said three new watch groups were formed during the latest rebate period, bringing the city’s total to 46. The groups allow neighbors to meet one another, and offer an additional layer of protection for residents who’ve already invested in crime prevention efforts.
“The whole thing is about layers,” he said, naming alarm systems, dogs, signage and fencing as additional options. “It’s all how much you want to invest.”
During a June 21 budget hearing, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council agreed to continue and possibly build upon the city’s rebate program, committing $25,000 to encourage citizens and local business owners to purchase video surveillance equipment through Ring or another provider.
Councilman Greg Brown said he learned during a ride-along with a Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy that many businesses had no on-site surveillance. Recent public safety figures presented to the City Council earlier in June showed a small spike in commercial burglaries.
“I wonder if we shouldn’t maybe shift the focus, or add to the focus, to see what we can do to support some of the local businesses in getting better video surveillance,” Brown said at the budget hearing. “If the bad guys have shifted to a different target, and it looks like they have, then we ought to harden that target as well.”
The city Public Safety Commission will meet to discuss how phase 4 might be developed, according to city staffer Christina Nguyen, before making a recommendation to the council.