Let’s begin the new year by celebrating the outstanding response and expertise that characterize the security industry.
When crime struck close to home, it was not the Los Angeles or USC Police that came to the rescue; it was Shandon Harbour and the outstanding team at SDA Security.
If you have ever been to the University of Southern California campus, you know it is in a challenging area of Los Angeles. Sort of an oasis fenced in among some of the city’s higher crime areas. The site of the 1984 Olympics, “Olympic Village,” where athletes lived during the games, are now privately owned and managed student apartments off campus, but within the university’s patrol area.
My daughter shared a first floor apartment with two friends during spring semester 2011. Simple enough — three bedrooms, three bedroom windows — but only hers faced the back alley running between the apartment buildings.
The first incident was a lesson on city living about keeping valuables out of sight. Through the security bars, her window was pried open and the thief used something to snag the edge of the blanket on which her computer was placed. By pulling the blanket to the window, the thief was able to reach in and remove the computer through the window.
That was the unfortunate beginning of a thief-turned-prowler routinely harassing and stalking the alley and Lauren’s apartment window. What began as a nuisance quickly escalated. The landlord added mesh to the bars; the prowler cut at it. Motion sensor lighting was installed. The motion sensors were disabled, leading to the incorrect conclusion of “no lights, no prowler.”
When the bars were noisily rattled and pulled in the middle of the night, calls to both the USC campus police and Los Angeles Police resulted poorly. The prowler was long gone when they arrived. Several calls and then visits to the USC police department resulted in note-taking but no action. A scheduled appointment from the USC police to the apartment was a no show.
The prowling and harassment continued. The fear and concern grew.
The solution? It took just one call to Shandon Harbour at SDA. She, like so many security companies that make this industry magic and amazing, took action and solved the problem. First, she contacted Lauren, introduced herself and the company, and assured her all would be well. The SDA team was at the apartment two days later and met with Lauren and the landlord.
They showed the landlord that the lights had been disabled and other damage had been done to the building. SDA installed intrusion alarms and cameras and connected the video to my daughter’s phone. Their expertise in security showed as they put the cameras inside the windows, recognizing that the prowler would be motivated to disable them otherwise. Within hours, my daughter was secure, confident and relieved that someone was in her corner.
By the next morning she had surveillance video of the prowler at her window, who clearly was annoyed by and aware of the cameras. Wow! Video of the criminal. Case solved. Make an arrest. Get her PC back. Make the streets safe, right?
Wrong. Neither the USC Police nor Los Angeles Police Department showed interest in the prowler videos.
In the end, my daughter moved to a higher floor in a more secure building.
While there is a disappointing ending to this story regarding law enforcement, it is also an amazing story as it relates to Shandon and her company. SDA will tell you they pride themselves on service. But until you experience it you cannot understand what that means. Shandon took personal ownership of our problem. She acted as a counselor and calming voice while at the same time transforming her organization’s expertise and energy into immediate action.
As we begin 2012, it is also a moment to recognize all of the great security installing dealers — estimated to be over 15,000 — that typically respond as SDA did. This industry continues to grow and build upon relationships, service and expertise. And while the technology solutions change, the core business, people and commitment do not. Consumers are fortunate to have at their disposal an industry of caring professionals like Shandon, who are at-the-ready for people who truly need security solutions.