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Police: Step up your security for the holidays

The city’s top police officer is asking for the public’s help to deter crime during the holiday season.

“We are asking all businesses and homeowners to invest in a surveillance system,” Chief Kenneth Collins said. “If they can. If they can afford it. That helps law enforcement out so much with identifying these criminals. A lot of times people don’t want to talk. The camera don’t lie.”

A popular choice for homeowners is a doorbell surveillance system that can capture high-resolution images that provide vivid details and send out instant phone alerts.

Some systems use night vision and give clear images without a light on and offer 180-degree views to show more of the activity that’s occurring at the homeowner’s front door.

Some of the newer systems also offer two-way audio that allows the homeowner to not just see a visitor — or potential thief — but talk to them as well. The video doorbells systems run about $150 to $200.

Tyler Bridge uses a doorbell system to supplement his regular security system at Brookhaven Music Studios downtown. It’s a motion-activated system that lets him know if someone is at his door, or just walking by.

“You can have it set up where if people just walk by it will notify your phone and it’s being recorded. And if they ring the doorbell, it will notify me that somebody has rung the doorbell,” he said. “It’s on my phone and it’s all instant. It’s one of the best investments I ever made.”

Most doorbell systems have two-way audio that allows pre-recorded messages to quickly reply to visitors. Bridge can also choose to talk directly to whoever rings his doorbell.

Some systems also have tamper detection that triggers a siren if someone attempts to remove the doorbell.

Collins said the use of security systems may help deter criminals during the holiday season when people typically have more packages delivered to their homes.

He’s also upping patrols through neighborhoods and businesses.

“I want the criminals to know that we’re out there, too. They’re watching and they may not commit a crime if they see those blue lights flashing. Whatever they’re fixing to do, they may not do it,” he said.