1st Alarm, builders take on construction vandals

Saturday, July 1, 2006

LUBBOCK, Texas--To combat an unrelenting wave of vandalism at subdivision construction sites, the West Texas Homebuilders Association has turned to video surveillance with the help of a local alarm company.
1st Alarm recently donated and installed a Dedicated Micros DVR system on the grounds of a new 100-home subdivision called Ravenwood, based here.
"These builders are my best customers. Any time I can help them, it helps me. It's good exposure and it helps the community," said Delton Daniel, co-owner of 1st Alarm, a mostly residential security company that also does guard work.
Daniel's company is one of five Texas 1st Alarm franchises. Other franchises are located in Amarillo, Midland, Abeline and El Paso. Daniel has co-owned his franchise with Larry LeBlanc for eight years. They're a full-service security company, with a 60/40 balance between residential and commercial work.
New home installations such as Ravenwood are important to Daniel's residential business. This particular division includes a "Parade of Homes," 10 model homes built by different area builders to showcase their work.
Most homes also showcase different security system options available from Daniel's company.
Once the homes are built and have their own security systems installed, the vandalism problem goes away. It's during the construction phase that it's a problem.
"We're just so sick of the theft," said Carl Russell, developer of the subdivision and a member of the board of directors of the West Texas Homebuilders Association.
Daniel has provided home security systems in this and other subdivisions that Russell has built.
Vandals will steal "virtually anything": wiring for the copper, tools and they'll also just be destructive, "punching holes in sheetrock," Daniels said.
The developers have hired guards to patrol the site, but needed a "multi-pronged" approach to security, Daniels said.
Shortly after the system was installed in May, a man was caught on camera stealing wiring. Local television stations beamed footage of him during newscasts.
Daniel and Russell were hopeful that tips to police as a result of the footage would lead to his arrest and conviction.
Daniel and Russell believe that the cameras, signs that have been installed alerting thieves to the presence of cameras and the broadcast of the footage of thief will deter other potential thieves.