Victims Always Urged To Call Police, Not Security Guards.
Police Officer: “Gates Are For Show.”
BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Security guards are not cops. That’s the message that area law enforcement agencies want residents, whether new to South Florida or those who have lived here for ages, to remember. With real estate sales booming and people moving to Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from places like New York and New Jersey, security experts say it’s important that these homeowners aren’t lured into a false sense of safety by believing that gated communities are any safer than communities without gates.
“Gates are for show,” said one police officer to BocaNewsNow.com. “Gates are a deterrent but they aren’t a mote. If someone wants to get in, they’re going to get in. You shouldn’t let your kids walk around by themselves in a gated community any more than you would let them walk around in a mall. Crime needs one thing. Opportunity. That opportunity can be in your yard, in your club house, or on your street whether there’s a gate or not.”
“You shouldn’t let your kids walk around by themselves in a gated community any more than you would let them walk around in a mall. Crime needs one thing. Opportunity.”
The officer, who asked to remain anonymous as official permission wasn’t given to speak with us, said there is always concern that residents place too much trust in their hourly guards.
“They mean well,” said the officer, “but they’re not police. They have no more power than you do. All they’re going to do in a real situation is call us. You should take out the middleman and do it yourself.”
Teri Barbera, spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, says residents should never think twice about calling for police assistance.
“Law enforcement should be called when anyone believes a crime has been committed or if they fear their life is in danger,” said Barbera. “Private developments that have security officers should have job descriptions for them. The developments should provide a job description to you upon request.”
When do you call private security? For issues like parking problems and for noise complaints. But for anything serious, you should always call law your police department.
Boca Raton Police spokesman Mark Economou says the police welcome calls for service, and that residents shouldn’t think twice about asking for help.
“We advise residents and security personnel in neighborhoods/HOA’s to be vigilant of their surroundings since they are familiar with their neighborhoods,” said Economou. “We ask them to report suspicious behavior and vehicles to police and not to hesitate to call the police if they are unsure.”
Law enforcement experts speaking with BocaNewsNow.com said it’s important that people understand that their home is their home and they have no obligation to announce to a community that they’ve been the victim of crime. The officer speaking with us agreed.
“Don’t call your HOA,” said the officer, “call the police. Make a report. If you choose to tell your community after you receive help, that’s up to you. But your only obligation is keeping you and your family safe. Don’t worry about what your neighbors or community association thinks or wants to know. Assume your Board members aren’t trained law enforcement professionals and have no security training. Bypass your HOA and call professional law enforcement. That’s always what you should do. That’s what we are here for.”
Need to know who to call? First, know where you live. We posted this to help residents during early COVID. It’s a map that shows what jurisdiction is yours. A Delray Beach address doesn’t mean you live in Delray Beach. A Boca Raton address doesn’t mean you live in the City of Boca Raton.
As a rule of thumb, if you are west of Military Trail, you are in “unincorporated Palm Beach County” and serviced by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO). If you are east of Military, you are likely serviced by Boca Raton PD, Delray Beach PD, or Boynton Beach PD. For emergencies, call 911 — they’ll dispatch the correct department. For non-emergencies: PBSO can be reached at 561-688-3500. Boca PD: 561-368-6201. Delray Beach PD non-emergency: 561-243-7800. Boynton Beach Police non-emergency: 561-732-8116.
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