JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Willie Evans Jr., a Jacksonville artist, was not at his home on Jacksonville’s Westside on Nov. 19 when his security cameras appeared to capture a group of at least three young men breaking in and stealing valuables.
“It’s a violation. It’s just me and my two kids here,” Evans, a professional name, told News4Jax Wednesday. “My whole thing is about them being safe and feeling safe and this instantly breaks that.”
Evans said he returned home that day to find his home ransacked, electronics, and valuables missing. He called police who collected his home security footage to conduct an investigation.
At the time, Evans said the burglars also made off with his extra set of car keys, but he didn’t realize that until they returned late Tuesday night and stole the vehicle from the driveway.
“I saw that they were pulling off and I instantly realized that they had taken my spare key,” Evans said. “By the time I had gotten out here into the driveway, they had gone.”
While home security camera systems are useful in providing evidence to police after a break-in, News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said they do very little in preventing those break-ins in the first place.
“They’re a great tool for law enforcement to be very helpful,” Jefferson said. “I would never talk against having home security systems or surveillance cameras, because they do help, but they do not prevent those crimes from happening.”
Jefferson advises homeowners to keep curtains closed, valuables out of sight and all doors and windows locked when leaving a house. He also discourages residents from discarding the boxed or packaging of big, expensive items on your curb with the trash pick-up, as it can tip off burglars to the valuables inside the home.
Friends and family of Evans launched a Go-Fund-Me campaign to help the single dad replace some of the items lost in the burglaries.