Protecting your home from burglars on a budget

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They could be better than a snarling dog.  

Home security cameras are credited for catching criminals in the act and sending them to jail. News 5’s Hayley Minogue found out you can set one up without breaking the bank.

You’ve seen the stories on News 5.  Burglaries on the Gulf Coast often times involve stolen guns, and other valuables.  

We decided to take a closer look at different budget friendly ways people are choosing to protect their homes and belongings.  

Videos of home break ins have gone viral, like one from Central Florida where a man breaks into a home, waits for the woman who lives there to return, then terrorizes her. Video from the incident helped law enforcement catch Clyde Mathis, a career criminal with a long rap sheet. 

“I think that it would have been very hard for me to explain what happened that evening,” said Kristin Barber, the woman terrorized in the video.  

For the first time since that frightening night, Barber is allowing us to identify her.  

“Canary” is the system that Kristin uses in her house.  

There are several on the market for less that $200.  Some other popular monitoring systems are Nestcam, and Ring.

Security cameras caught Lupen Font, who cops say is a prolific burglar who may be responsible for dozens of break-ins.  Cops say he stole stuff at a St. Pete’s home while the owners evacuated for Hurricane Irma. 

“Very affordable,” said Detective Ja’Terio, from St. Pete’s Police Department, of the cameras.  “It doesn’t cost you that much to go out and get a decent camera.”

Home security video is changing the way detectives do their job.  Sometimes, they stop a crime before they happen.  

“When they see the cameras, the majority of the people, when they get ready to commit a crime, they look up, they around,” Detective Ja’Terio said.  “When they see it, they keep going.”

Cameras detect motion or talking, and alert you on your smartphone.  You can start small and add on later.  

“Most of these are all high definition,” said Tom Gray, at Best Buy.  “You’d also be very surprised at the night vision that these particular cameras have.”

For police, video can be the evidence they need to lock up a criminal.  That’s what happened in Kristin’s case.  

“We’re very happy that she did have the cameras in there so we can get this guy identified,” Detective Ja’Terio said. 

Be sure to also budget the cost of recording what your cameras capture.  That can add up, depending on how many cameras you have.  They start at $30 a year and go up to several hundred dollars.

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