A Message from the Chief...
It is a distinct honor to serve the homeowners of Hilton Head Plantation. I am exceptionally proud of the fine men and women of the Security Department who strive each day to keep the peace and ensure the safety of our community.
As the Director of Security, I am committed to providing efficient, effective, and professional results-oriented service to the residents of our Plantation.
The Hilton Head Plantation Security Department recognizes that no Security Department can operate at its maximum potential without the support of the residents that it serves. Essential to the success of our mission is meeting the needs of our community through: serving our community, interacting with our Homeowners, being community-based problem solvers, adhering to high ethical standards of conduct, and administering not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. I hope this Web page will answer some of the questions you may have about the Department. Should you have any other issues or concerns, please call me at 843-681-3843 or better yet, stop in. The coffee is always on.
Art Benoit, Director of Security
The Department is comprised of 27 full-time armed Security Officers in varying positions. Most have either a law enforcement or military background. Two patrols and the Main and Cypress gates are on duty 24 hours a day. The visitor’s gate is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Dispatch Center services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Security Department is responsible for providing many services to its residents. The most visible are: access control to the Plantation at three gates, traffic control, and enforcement of State, Town, and Plantation regulations.
Security Personnel patrol 72 miles of roads and amenity areas, respond to and complete reports on lost, missing, and stolen property, respond to medical emergencies, inspect homes of residents who are away, animal control, monitor and respond to fire and burglar alarms, jump-start vehicles, assist residents who are locked out of home or auto, provide gas for stranded vehicles, provide security checks of commercial areas after closing, and conduct health and comfort checks for the elderly.
SOME HELPFUL INFORMATION:
24 Hour Roving Patrols – If you have a problem, call our dispatcher at 843-681-2459 andhe/she will dispatch a Patrol Officer to your door.
24 Hour Emergency Service – If you have an Emergency, call 911 and the 911 dispatchers will dispatch our Patrol Officers to your door.
Home Checks – If you are going away, fill out a Home Check request form (Sig. 79 form) and an Officer will check your home the day you leave and periodically thereafter.
Medical Assists – All of our Officers are trained in CPR, First Aid, and in the use of Automatic External Defibrillators.
Alarm Response – Our Patrol Officers respond to all alarms. A Patrol Officer can be at your home in 2-5 minutes. If you are interested in having an alarm installed at your home, listed below are three of the most common alarm companies in the area:
CUSTOM SECURITY SPECIALISTS INC.
HILTON HEAD SECURITY SYSTEMS
843-342-6436 / 843-986-0018
Visitor Passes (Access Control) – Although the requirements for entering our community are stringent (more so than most), we take the necessary measures to ensure that all residents and visitors are treated with the utmost respect and courtesy.
To use our access control system, simply:
Call the pass line and use your personal identification number (PIN) that you received via mail. The Officer who answers the phone will ask for your PIN number and pull up your name on the system. The Officer will ask for the name of your guest, when they are expected to arrive, and the length of their stay. This information will be entered into the system and you’re done!
Your PIN number specifically identifies your household directly to the database. If you do not have a PIN number, please visit the POA Service Center. You may also request passes on this Website by clicking on the icon on the homepage entitled “Visitor Passes.” For more information on how to use the Web-based Pass System, please call (843-681-8800 ext. 0) or visit the POA Service Center (7 Surrey Lane).
PASS LINE # 843-342-9980
Hurricane Coordinator – The Director of Security is designated as the Hurricane Coordinator. If you have any questions on our Hurricane Plan, please call Art Benoit at 843-681-3843. When a Voluntary or Mandatory Evacuation is announced, please take the time to fill out an Evacuation Card and drop it off at the POA Service Center or at any one of the gates on your way out.
Community-policing in our specific environment is the collaborative efforts of the Security Department’s Officers and the Residents by identifying potential criminal situations and addressing them before they rise to the level of a criminal act. This approach combines the efforts of our professional Security Officers, our residents, and County law enforcement to enhance and protect the quality of life we enjoy on Hilton Head Plantation.
Policing concepts in recent years have tended to isolate Officers from the community they serve which can hamper crime control efforts. Security is charged with the responsibility of crime prevention, and is tasked with addressing potential criminal issues such as drugs, DUI, domestic violence, etc. Those are predominately REACTIVE concepts. Community-policing allows law enforcement to get back to the principles upon which policing was founded; to integrate itself, once again, into the fabric of the community so that Residents come to Security for advice and help before a serious problem arises. This allows our Security Officers to provide PROACTIVE solutions rather than reactive.
For any community-policing program to be beneficial, there must be a long-term commitment from all involved. Our goal is to form lasting partnerships between community members and the Security Department. With a combined effort, we can work towards eliminating the underlying causes of crime.
With the surrounding areas building out and becoming more densely populated, criminal activity may become more of a threat. The Plantation’s Security Department recognizes the value of bringing the Residents of HHP back into the policing process. We encourage Residents to express their concerns directly to Security Department personnel regarding crime-related or quality of life issues. We will do our best to work with our community members to become problem‑solvers.
It is our intent to employ the community policing philosophy throughout the Department. Please join us in our efforts to maintain Hilton Head Plantation as a safe and enjoyable community. To contact the Security Department, please dial 843-681-2459. For emergencies, dial 911.
CRIME PREVENTION TIPS FROM YOUR
Let’s make our Plantation safer.
Considering today’s busy lifestyles, it is sometimes difficult to be as neighborly as we would like. Becoming familiar with the neighborhood and being aware of your neighbor’s habits is one of the best ways to prevent crime. Residents are reminded to properly secure their homes when they are out or in another area of the home. The following crime prevention tips are offered for the safety of your family and neighbors:
- Exchange work and vacation schedules with a neighbor you trust in order to keep an eye on each other’s homes. Never tell a stranger or an individual that you don’t know that one of your neighbors lives alone, is ill, or is not at home.
- Report any non-working security lights to the Maintenance or Security Departments immediately.
- Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street to help Security, Fire, and EMS personnel locate you in an expedient manner.
- Install a peephole in all entry doors or always look out a window before opening any door.
- Do not include your address in a classified ad or announce plans for a vacation in the local newspapers.
- Photograph or videotape the contents of your home, writing down serial numbers and values of priceless possessions. Place the above material in a safe deposit box.
- Teach your children safety rules about answering the phone, the door, and how to exit the home in case of a fire.
- Don’t give any information to “wrong number” callers. Always ask what number they were dialing.
- Make sure all downstairs doors and windows are closed and locked when you are not at home and when you retire for the evening.
- Draw window shades and curtains if possible.
- Do not leave any valuables such as purses, wallets, jewelry, or electronics on tables, counters, or open areas that can be easily seen through windows or doors. Leaving items out in the open offers intruders an opportunity for a quick, easy theft.
- If you observe or hear what you believe to be suspicious activity, immediately contact the Security Department at 843-681-2459 and report your concerns.
- Meet and get to know your neighbors and keep an eye on each other's homes.
- Pre-arrange to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped or picked up to reduce the appearance of being away.
- Advise the Security Department when you are away or on vacation so we may conduct vacation checks of your home.
- Utilize alarm systems and timers for your lights.
An alarm system is a device used to detect entry into a structure, give warning of a fire, or is activated by someone who needs Security to respond. Alarm systems offer many things, such as:
- Peace of mind to the homeowner that they are safe.
- Homes with alarms are much less likely to be targeted by burglars.
- The presence of an alarm can be all that is needed to deter the criminal.
- Some insurance companies offer a discount on homeowners’ insurance when there is an alarm.
Our Patrol Officers respond to all alarms. A Patrol Officer can be at your home in 2-5 minutes. If you are interested in having an alarm installed in your home, contact one of the alarm companies mentioned.
Avoid Being the Victim of a “Car-jacking”
While Driving Your Car Remember To:
- Keep windows rolled up and doors locked.
- Avoid traffic routes or shortcuts that are not well traveled or well lit.
- When possible, carpool or share rides. If possible, do your shopping with a neighbor.
- Slow down well before reaching a red traffic light or stop sign and allow your vehicle to roll to a stop.
- If you are involved in a “bump accident”, do not shut off the ignition and do not immediately exit your car to inspect the damage. If the actions or the language of the other driver appear threatening, drive directly to the nearest police station, fire station, or open store and contact the police. If this happen on the Plantation, drive directly to the nearest gate and report it to any of our Security Officers.
- When stopped in traffic you should always leave sufficient space between your car and the one in front of you so that you can turn out and go around.
- If you feel that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police precinct, fire station, or open store and contact the police. Again, if this happen on the Plantation, drive directly to the nearest gate and report it to any of our Security Officers.
- Keep your wallet or purse out of view while driving. Never leave them exposed on the seat next to you.
- If someone attempts to force you off the road, don't panic. Blow your horn constantly to attract attention. If you are forced over to the side of the road, as soon as you stop put your car in reverse and back away. Try to obtain the tag number and give to the Security Department.
When parking your car:
- Park only in well-lit and well-traveled areas. Using your mirrors, examine your immediate surroundings before exiting your vehicle.
- Secure all packages and valuables out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle.
- While unattended, never leave your vehicle unlocked.
- Use extra caution in enclosed parking areas.
Returning to your parked car:
- Have your keys in your hand and ready. Be aware of occupied cars.
- Before entering your vehicle, look inside first to make certain no one is hiding in the back seat.
Going On Vacation?
(Help Burglars Take One, Too!)
- Always give your home the “lived in look” by using inside lights on timers, outside motion lights, and perhaps keep a radio playing when not at home.
- Do not leave notes on doors for deliverymen. This indicates your absence.
- Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are locked.
- Do not leave “hidden keys”.
- By leaving a key with trusted neighbors, they can check your home.
- Have your lawn maintained during extended absence.
- Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers, and packages.
- Do not publicize your absence.
- Inform the Security Department of your plans.
- Arrange draperies, blinds, and shades in normal position.
- If you have an alarm system, set it before you leave.
- Use timers for a radio and lights.
- Inform your trusted neighbor about where you can be reached.
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves, and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.
- Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone down low. If a burglar is around, he won't be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
- Don't announce your absence on answering machine messages.
- Check you answering machine messages periodically. Long waits or tones on a machine full of messages indicate that it hasn't been checked.
- Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.
- Don't forget about your pets and their access to the home (“doggy doors”).
- Replace locks on newly acquired residences.
- Install dead bolt or pin-tumbler locks on all outside doors.
- Install double cylinder locks on all outside doors that have glass panels.
- Make sure all moldings fit tightly.
- Doors that are hinged on the inside prevent removal of pins from the outside.
- Install locks on all windows (and use them).
- Do not keep large amounts on money and other valuables at home.
- Identify person at the door before allowing entrance to your home.
- Keep outside doors, garage, and tool shed locked at all times.
- Remove shrubs and trees next to your house that can conceal a burglar breaking in.
- Avoid revealing your address and phone number to strangers.
- When a stranger requests to use your telephone, make the call for them if you wish (do not let them in).
- Coats and purses of guests should be placed in a well-secured room.
- Keep a written record of all your valuables and include serial numbers.
- Photograph valuables.
DO NOT CONFRONT AN INTRUDER - LEAVE AND CALL 9-1-1.
- Do not enter your house if you see traces of forced entry. Call the Security Department.
- When retiring for the night, do not leave money or personal valuables exposed.
- Use a motion sensor-activated light at all outside entrances.
- Replace locks immediately if you lose your key.
- Separate the keys of your house and auto.
- Do not have any identification tags on your key ring.
The Security Department would like to remind everyone of the dangers of telephone “scam artists”. Frequently, during times of terrible tragedy, thieves will contact persons and attempt to portray a legitimate relief fund. They will solicit for funds and quite often do sound legitimate. The Security Department understands the desire to help others and offer assistance but wants you to take the time to make your assistance worthwhile.
- If a telephone solicitor contacts you, immediately obtain a call back phone number.
- Write down the name of the company soliciting and the caller's name.
- NEVER provide any personal information over the telephone. Do not be tricked into "verifying" information.
- This includes your Social Security number, credit card information, or any financial information.
- If you believe the call is legitimate, ask the caller to mail you an information packet for your review.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a “scam”, contact the Security Department and your local phone company.
There are many legitimate relief agencies currently in dire need of your assistance. Many of these can be found in your local newspaper or telephone book. You may also contact civic organizations or the Red Cross for information.
In closing, I hope you find this Crime Prevention article and the Security information on our Web page informative and I encourage you to contact me with any questions or comments. We offer these safety tips as part of our commitment to help ensure your quality of life.
The men and women of the Security Department wish to thank the residents of Hilton Head Plantation for their continued support. Together we can make a difference.
Art Benoit, Director of Security