San Jose residents overwhelm alarm company with requests

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Parke Young is now armed with a state-of-the-art alarm system. It's the first time he has owned one and feels it is an unfortunate sign of the times.

"A lot of neighbors have gotten alarms. Cars have been broken into just this week. A car was broken into on the street," said Young.

According to the San Jose Police Department in the first two months of 2012 there were 811 burglaries. During the same period this year there were 918.

Meantime, in the first two months of 2012 1,191 cars were stolen. And in the first two months of this year there were 1,827, which is a 53-percent jump in vehicle thefts.

"It's concerning because as a profession, our job is to drive those numbers down and keep crime low and have people be able to walk down the street or live in this city without having fear," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

Police blame staffing cuts as part of the problem. Most of the burglary unit has merged with the patrol division, which they say is still too small. And so many residents are turning to home security systems.

"Alarms used to be a luxury, I think now it's a necessity," said The Alarm Company president Larry Walker.

The Alarm Company can't keep up with the demand in San Jose. There's a month wait.

"It's pretty amazing. We haven't seen anything like this in my 30 years. It's like every day we are getting numerous calls and they want the systems installed now. People are scared," said Walker.

According to the Silicon Valley Alarm Association, just posting a surveillance or alarm system sign can deter a burglar by 15-20 percent.

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