We took the plunge this week and bought a safe. In some ways, I don’t like it at all. It’s reflects an admission that the routine security of everyday life is more fragile than we like to admit, and in our neighborhood has been disrupted by the recent string of break-ins.
Not knowing anything about safes, I started with the Yellow Pages and checked with three dealers, narrowing down the selection to what seems like a reasonable compromise between cost, size, and the ability to withstand fire and “attacks” by thieves. I also visited Fisher Hawaii, and looked at several sources online.
And, just fyi, I didn’t consider buying a Costco safe, since getting it home and properly installed would end up being a nightmare, I’m sure.
We decided an AMSEC safe providing some degree of both fire and burglary resistance. We paid a little more for an electronic lock, since I can imagine twirling a combination lock would eventually get frustrating. While only an ultra expensive safe is able to offer total security, most will defeat the average residential burglar, and at least deter even a more sophisticated and better equipped thief. AMSEC seems to be one of the big American manufacturers and distributors, with several different product lines offered by a number of different dealers locally.
After comparing prices, we bought the safe from Senetics, a local company near the Dole Cannery in Iwilei. Mike Sen said his company sells safes and related security products to financial institutions and businesses, but also stocks safes suitable for residential use. The one we chose was available for quick delivery, and the price, while not inexpensive, was reasonably priced compared to the competition. Overall, I would give Senetics a good rating. They had the product in stock, offered a reasonable price, and installed it in a timely and professional manner.
It was promptly delivered to Kaaawa on Friday morning, put in place, and then bolted into the concrete floor. Building its use into our routines will be the key.
Yesterday a friend told me about the neighborhood security system recently installed along their street in upper Manoa, which already has a well organized Neighborhood Security Watch. I believe he said there are 9 outdoor cameras on homes along the street, all accessible via an iPhone app for quick checks. Video is saved to multiple locations. I’ll have to find out more about the cost and how the whole system works.
And I should note one perceptive comment posted by a reader yesterday:
It seems that the community and the department need to come to an agreement on the function of a police department. The community thinks HPD exists to prevent and solve crimes. Some few in HPD (not all!) seem to think their function related to theft is to do documentation for insurance claims.
Perhaps the paperwork required of them is too onerous. Whatever the burdens are on them that seem to make regular police work impossible, let’s get it in the open and rethink.
Maybe they need more funding. One detective told me how many cases he had, and he was one of only two for a huge region. That is a system that is designed to fail, whether intentionally or otherwise.
It is a small miracle with this kind of responsiveness that we haven’t been taken over by crime completely.
We need to get the police and the community together to have shared expectations. The gap between what is said to be their function and reality needs to be closed.
Do you think the neighborhood boards could be a venue to work on this issue?