A gift of security

DALLAS – For the 56 years he has lived in East Dallas, Kenneth Camp acknowledged that he’s been fortunate enough to never have had any break-ins at his home.

But he knows why.

“Some 30 years ago I was involved in criminal activity, so I kept the criminals away because I was one,” Camp said. “But by the grace of God this house has been truly blessed, because nothing has really happened.”

The chances of break-ins at Camp’s home has suddenly been reduced significantly thanks to an initiative sponsored by the Dallas Mavericks, Smith Thompson Home Security and First Responders. Former Dallas Police Department chief David Brown, who works for ABC News and for the Mavs, also played a crucial role in getting this program off the ground.

“I’ve been in the security business for 40 years and we always try to give back,” said Mark Thompson, the president of Smith Thompson Home Security. “People that maybe can’t afford security, we just try to help them out the best way we can.”

“Mr. Camp, we took a look at his house and it’ll take about two hours and we’ll get him fixed up and get him all secured. He’s our first one, he’s a fantastic guy and he’s a fun guy.”

Smith Thompson Home Security donated upwards of fifteen home security systems to families in low-income areas in an effort to deter crime. Rosa Obregon, who lives down the street from Camp, also had a donated alarm system installed in her home.

“It’s a program that serves as an example of the collaboration between the business community, sports entertainment, the Dallas Mavericks, and policing,” Thompson said. “And it really protects all of us.”

Brown pointed out that there was a vetting process to determine which families would ultimately receive the alarm systems.

“Mr. Thompson was provided a list from the Dallas Police Department with areas in the city that had a need for alarm systems,” Brown said. “And through that process officers recommended the recipients, and then there was a vetting process, because obviously we had a limited amount that we could give out. But Mr. Thompson was so generous that fifteen families will receive alarm systems that were recommended by Dallas police officers.”

Also part of the initiative, the Mavs hosted First Responders Night, presented by Smith Thompson Home Security, and honored those who serve as police, fire and EMT with activations throughout a March game against the Utah Jazz.

Mavs forward Harrison Barnes stopped by Camp’s home to congratulate him on his new alarm system.

“Any time you can partner with Smith Thompson Home Security, partner with Chief Brown and the police force to get security systems into this community, I think that’s important,” Barnes said. “Safety, especially in your home, is one of the most important things. That’s what allows you to go to sleep at night and feel comfortable.

“The fact they’re doing this initiative is great. Some fifteen families will be lucky enough to get home security systems, and then hopefully over time they can continue to build and expand from there.”

After what’s been occurring at her home, Obregon sure was glad the Mavs played a part in her receiving a free home security system. She said an unwanted visitor startled her when he appeared on her doorsteps.

“It was a random gentleman who came up and knocked on the door and he was covered in blood and probably needed help,” Obregon said. “But I was afraid to open the door.”

The security system gives Obregon peace of mind.

“I’ll feel more comfortable with this security system,” she said. “I feel like it’s been unsafe, so I’m really fortunate to have a security system.”

“A lot of stuff has been stolen from us in our front yard, so this will be helpful.”

Brown, who was the Dallas Police Chief from 2010-2016, said programs like the partnership between the Mavs and Smith Thompson Home Security, serves as the bedrock of a community.

“This is a neighborhood that’s a very traditional neighborhood,” Brown said. “It’s not a lot of crime, but when your house is broken into it’s a lot of crime.”

“The community, though, is in transition, so there is some victimization of some citizens, so this program is sorely needed for this neighborhood and others. I think the security systems will provide a level of security that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Thompson said his involvement with giving away home security systems to the less fortunate occurred following a meeting with the Mavs.

“We’ve been sponsors for the Mavericks now going on our eighth year, and we wanted to expand our community involvement.” Thompson said. “We had the idea of getting Chief Brown involved to get people that have either been victimized by crime or were in need of security in the neighborhood – and it has worked out really well.”

The program is part of the bigger picture to help build trust between law enforcement and the community.

“I think these small steps like this, it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s building trust. I think people see how we care – from a lot of different levels, not just the police department, but the sports team and with Smith Thompson and the business community,” Brown said.
“Building trust is about showing that people care and hopefully we will continue to build on that trust.”

Once it was presented to him, Barnes wasted very little time getting involved with this much-needed project.

“I’ve partnered with Chief Brown before,” Barnes said. “Obviously we have a really good relationship, and I have a really good relationship with Mark as well.”

“They’re two of my favorite guys, so it only made sense to try to be a part of this. The Mavericks are all about being a part of the community as well, so this is a natural fit here.”