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We live in a very rural part of the local area. I grew up just a few miles from where I now live, but I never knew that my road existed. I thought it dead-ended long before it actually does. However, in the 22 years that I have lived here, there have been some overly curious folks who found the road and assumed that it was nothing but a few vacation homes. A couple of times, they virtually occupied a couple of homes while the owners were away. One home that is occupied year-round was broken into while the owners were away for a weekend. The interlopers prepared some meals there and stayed at least one night.

We’ve had cars abandoned or hidden on our road and plenty of looky-loos casting about for loose loot and unattended items. This is not the wild west, yet a lot of folks on this road keep security measures that they don’t talk about, and they are perfectly justified to do that. Anyone venturing upon us blindly with ill intentions will not like the outcome when caught. On the rare occasion when the authorities were called, the response time was phenomenally quick. That is very reassuring. In recent years many of us have installed video surveillance systems.

This past week I upgraded my system, which now has four highly visible video cameras. The technology has improved, and the prices for the equipment have gotten more reasonable. The cost of digital memory has also gone down, so we can record days worth of motion-detected activity instead of a few hours. The homes on my road may be somewhat isolated, but a number of them are bristling with electronic surveillance technology. This is more widespread in rural Vermont than many folks think, so when some catalytic converter thief decides to hit a back road, becoming a viral internet star is a far more likely outcome. The police always take notice.

One of my neighbors set up a Facebook instant messaging network that most of us joined. Any strange vehicles venturing here are reported to the group quickly. If an accurate vehicle description is lacking, at least a few folks along the road can call up the video and get license plate numbers immediately. It isn’t like everyone here is jumpy and has hair-trigger reactions to the occasional strange vehicle, but it is noted. If there are legitimate concerns, the authorities are notified.

I don’t think that my road is atypical these days. Many surrounding towns have the fastest internet in the country, all fiber-optic and highly reliable. Access to good camera technology is relatively cheap. All it takes is a will to be prepared. Last year there were many catalytic converter thefts in the area. One rural road video camera caught a suspect vehicle trolling the area, and an arrest was made. All it took was a little extra vigilance and some readily available video technology.

I am not a paranoid individual who thinks about security constantly. However, it does make sense to take a few simple measures to keep folks honest. I don’t have firearms lying about or sitting on the bedside table. I don’t have fences or perimeter motion alarms, but a lot of people do. That’s why I find it incredible that some individuals with criminal intentions think that rural back roads are easy pickings. In my opinion, you are more likely to get your backsides peppered with buckshot on a back road if you venture onto a property that does not belong to you. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about the not-too-bright individuals who attempted to walk off with some item they spied in the front yard of a rural home and paid the price immediately. Then there are dogs that country folks will sic onto an intruder. Ouch!

Those kinds of security measures are out there on the back roads in our area. It’s bad enough to have your photo shared on the internet while you were committing a crime, but to have a junkyard dog chasing you down has got to be a nightmare. The old saying about crime not paying is true, and nowadays, it is even more likely that a criminal will at least get caught on camera.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett is heard Monday through Friday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7