By: Diana Bello Aristizabal
In recent weeks, Doral has been the target of criminals who have vandalized 20 vehicles and stolen two, of which 19 cases were attributed to four individuals who are already behind bars due to being identified on camera by the authorities. The good news is that these incidents can now be counteracted thanks to the Connect Doral camera integration program.
“Connect Doral officially began the first week of February,” Edwin Lopez, Doral Chief of Police, said to this journal, in view of the recent crimes committed in residential areas, which are considered to be isolated events since vehicle burglaries have decreased this year by more than 20 percent compared to January 2022.
However, this program is intended to help meet the police’s goal of continuing to make this community one of the safest in the county. “It is impossible to guarantee that 100 percent of criminal acts will be eliminated, but we have a team to deal with them,” explains Lopez, who adds that, unfortunately, throughout Miami-Dade County, crime rates have increased.
The hope is that every day more associations and businesses join this initiative so that Doral doesn’t become part of these statistics. Those who join will be able to connect their security cameras of common areas with the Police Department so that they can monitor them.
“In those residential units or businesses where this connection is made, there will be a notice warning placed to let people know cameras of said complex are connected to the Police Department, which helps prevent more crimes,” says Chief Lopez.
And how can residents join this system? Just by going to connectdoralpd.com and then click in the ‘register your camera’ link. Subsequently, users will be asked to fill out a form with their personal information.
This process takes less than one minute, and proceeding with this doesn’t mean the police has access to the user’s live feed but rather allows them to know if their camera is present at a certain location so that they can easily request a video evidence if a crime were to occur that not necessarily has to be a robbery but any event that threatens security.
After this step, businesses and residents can give the Police Department direct access to their security cameras by clicking on ‘camera integration’.
“People who need advice on this issue can contact the Doral Police Department,” warns Chief Lopez. So far, more than 32 businesses or residential units have joined the program since it was launched.
It should be noted that residents who have a ring surveillance camera at their doorstep can contact the police so that they remain in their database, which would allow their videos to be analyzed if necessary.
Despite the fact this public safety program is the last bet of the Police to keep the streets free of crime and to respond promptly to emergencies that arise, there are many things that Doral residents can do to contribute to this cause.
“In the recent cases, the owners of the stolen vehicles had left them without lock, which is why these are considered to be opportunity crimes,” adds the Chief of Police, who explains that criminals normally roam residential units early in the morning looking to obtain expensive objects easily.
“Most don’t want to make a lot of noise but rather to make the most of it. Some try to start the vehicle or steal it completely when the owners leave the keys inside,” he says.
For this reason, the main recommendation is that if you’re not used to lock your car, set the alarm on your cell phone every night to remind you to do this simple task that can save you a lot of headaches.
On the other hand, it is also recommended to change the passwords to enter garages, monitor social media because important information for the community is posted there, improve lighting in condominiums, cut down trees that are blocking security cameras, and have a fence high enough to make it more difficult for criminals to gain access to private property.
It is also vital for parents to monitor their children’s social networks and instill in them values ??such as respect for others’ belongings and honesty since many criminals are underage. This was the case of one of the people linked to the 19 robberies that took place in the city, who was barely 17 years old.
“All of this helps us prevent further incidents of this nature from occurring. We have active patrols at night, and our goal is to add more police officers to the department in the coming months, but it is impossible for us to be everywhere in a city that already has almost 80,000 residents,” says Chief Lopez.
Finally, communities that require it are urged to request the presence of the police within their residential units and immediately call the authorities in case of suspicious activity. “No one knows the streets and their communities better than residents,” concludes Chief Lopez.