After a violent home invasion rocked their usually quiet neighborhood, the Homeowner's Association at Pablo Bay knew they had to take some extreme action. The neighborhood is located off San Pablo Road in between JTB and Beach Boulevard, right near the Mayo Clinic. They installed a high-tech system that drastically cut crime.
From stolen vehicles, break-ins, burglaries, even a bank robbery that happened at the financial institution next door, the high-tech security system in the Pablo Bay community has captured all kinds of crimes on camera.
"With the bank robbery, the fourth person involved had the getaway car in our neighborhood," HOA President Mark Toutain explained. "The cameras caught it and it led to several arrests."
The system was first installed about three years ago. At the time, some neighbors weren't sure it would make a big difference.
"At first I didn't see why it would be so important to have information after the fact of a crime," resident Mark Pierce said. "Yes, I could see how it's good to go and get someone after the fact, but to protect us as it happened, a camera wouldn't do much. But now the word is out."
Pierce recalled the time shortly after the cameras were installed that he became a victim.
"My cable TV box was missing, the TV was still there and that confused me and I thought why wouldn't they take the flat screen?" Pierce said.
He called Toutain, the HOA President, who was able to provide some immediate answers.
"He emails me literally 30 minutes later this young man on a BMX bike with my direct TV box. That's what cured the mystery of why didn't he take the TV. He couldn't ride a bike and carry a 30 inch flat screen," explained Pierce.
The picture of the youth on his bike with the cable box was posted in a public area within the subdivision. 24 hours later, the box and the cables were anonymously returned to Pierce's backyard. While this didn't warrant an arrest, other incidents certainly have.
"We've had six felony arrests since we installed those cameras," Toutain said. "Our crime has gone down by at least 80 to 90 percent. It's been very significant."
In addition to always watching and recording what happens all over the neighborhood, the cameras record who is coming and going and how often. The license capture technology enables the user to zoom in on the tag close enough to see the registration tag, make, model and color of the car. It also provides clear, HD images of the people inside of the vehicle.
"It's very refreshing to see a community embracing technology," Channel 4 Crime and Safety Analyst Ken Jefferson said.
We asked if he thinks it's worth the investment for this neighborhood. The cameras cost around $1000 each.
"It's worth every dime you invest into this particular type of system because this the wave of the future," Jefferson said. "You will eventually see a lot of other home owners associations go to this simply because of the results this association is getting."
The system has also had a ripple effect on how residents implement the neighborhood watch program in Pablo Bay.
"We really pay attention now. I think once everyone saw this elaborate camera system being installed, we all realized we had a problem. I think if anything, people look out for each other even more." Pierce said.
He believes to message they're sending to criminals is very clear.
"You might think you will get away with it for a minute, but they're coming to get you cause those cameras can read the hairs on the back of a gnat. Stay away from Pablo Bay. We do not mess around and we are ready," warned Toutain.
If you would like more information about how you can install a system like this in your community, contact Pablo Bay HOA President Mark Toutain at 904 -200-2995 or Mark.Toutain@pablobay.com.