The holidays are here, and whether you’re hosting the festivities or going out of town, you want to make sure your home is secure. First and foremost, if you don’t have them already, you may consider installing a home security camera system. A home security system will alert you if and when your alarm system is triggered or motion is detected, and security cameras can record pertinent footage as necessary. Should these alerts indicate criminals are on or around your premises, you can quickly contact authorities. For those of you who will be away for the holidays, an empty home is prime target. You should employ measures to make it seem like someone is home. The following are some security tips and advice to safeguard your property and avoid being targeted by thieves.
Hire a house or pet-sitter.
If possible, and if you feel comfortable with it, hire an overnight house-sitter. Before hiring, be sure to do a background check. Depending on your needs and instructions, duties may include mowing the lawn, taking the trash out, shoveling the driveway, or feeding and walking pets. If you are not comfortable with a stranger staying in your home, you may want to enlist a trusted friend or relative to either stay at your home or stop in regularly to handle these tasks.
Put your mail/newspaper subscription on hold.
Nothing screams “we’re away” more than mail and newspapers piling up. Ask your post office to hold your mail or have someone collect and sort your mail daily. If you have a newspaper subscription, pause delivery or inquire about switching to an online subscription.
Make use of curtains.
As previously mentioned, for burglars, there’s nothing more alluring than an empty home. For small windows, you want to close the curtains to shield your home from prying eyes. But you also want to keep some curtains ajar as curtains closed all day and night may look suspicious.
Set up sensors and timers for lights and sprinklers.
Along the same lines, invest in timers and sensors that can turn on and off at random intervals or that you can control remotely. These can help with the illusion that someone is home and are more cost and energy efficient than leaving your lights on.
Avoid any potential accidents by unplugging your electronics and appliances. That way you can rest easy knowing you didn’t accidentally leave something on.
Leave a radio on.
Much like the lights make it appear that someone is home, the sound of a radio will do the same. An inexpensive, battery-powered radio should suffice.
Turn down the doorbell volume.
Some burglars are bold and will go so far as to ring the doorbell to confirm whether someone is home or not. If you lower the volume of your doorbell, and possibly have a radio on, they might assume the homeowners just can’t hear someone at the door.
Don’t leave spare keys at home.
Hiding keys around your home never a good idea when you’re away. Be sure you’ve collected all your keys before you leave. If you worry about losing them while on vacation, leave them with a trusted family member or neighbor.
Double and triple-check your doors.
You want to check all your doors and windows and any other point of entry before you leave to ensure they are locked and secure. Be sure your locks are working properly. If possible, install two or three locks on your main and back doors for added security.
Light up your surroundings.
Keeping the exterior of your home well-lit will help to keep intruders away. Most like to sneak around in the dark so installing a few motion-sensitive lights around your home should deter them from approaching.
Be wary of sharing information.
Social media is a fun way to keep your friends and family up-to-date on what’s going on in your life. Unfortunately, thieves like to watch social media for any easy targets. Try to avoid announcing when you will be away, constantly checking in and sharing status updates about your trip, especially if your accounts are public.
Invest in a security safe.
A quality safe hidden in your home can keep your valuables (ex. jewelry, important documents) safe. A safe will reduce the chances of burglars making off with anything valuable. A secure combination can stall them until police arrive, and bolting your safe down will add extra security.
Don’t leave a portable GPS in the car.
These days, most cars have built-in GPS systems, but if you utilize a portable GPS, do not leave it in plain sight. This is especially important if you’re leaving your car at the airport or somewhere else. Often times, when thieves break into your car and access your portable GPS, they may figure out how to get to your unattended home.
For a great selection of security cameras and CCTV surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Call 800-203-6294 to speak with a representative and inquire about our free quotes and site surveys.
A comprehensive security and alarm system for your home will help to keep you safe and give you peace of mind while you’re away. If you already have a home security system in place, it is likely that you are familiar with the different devices and security lingo. For those of you who are considering installing a security system, here are a few of the basics you should know about.
This is the component that communicates with all other devices in your system and also connects you to your alarm monitoring company. It is usually a touchpad in which you enter passcodes to arm and disarm your alarm, and is often considered the heart of your system. Some advanced systems enable voice control for the control panel.
Instead of the touchpad, a key fob allows you to arm and disarm your alarm upon exiting and before entering your home, similar to a remote car lock. These may be used at home or remotely. Depending on how many people are living with you or need access to your home, your provider should be able to accommodate the number of key fobs necessary.
These are often referred to as motion detectors and communicate with the control panel to let them know when there is movement. Motion sensors are installed on doors and windows, and when the sensors are touching it is noted as secure. If a door or window is opened while the system is on, the sensor is triggered and communicates the activity to the control panel.
Keep a close eye on everything whether you’re home or away. There are various types of security cameras to suit your needs including Pan/Tilt/Zoom, dome, bullet, day & night vision, and more. In conjunction with a corresponding app, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras can record activity when detected and send you an alert along with footage.
Electric Door Locks
Have you ever been at work or out on the town and wondered whether you remembered to lock the door? Electronic door locks can let you rest easy. You can check your locks remotely, and some even allow you to lock and unlock them remotely via a smartphone app. That way if your kids forget their keys, or you absentmindedly left the door unlocked, you can easily fix the situation.
Panic Button or Pendant
This wearable device is a popular add-on that allows a direct connection with the monitoring company to alert them when help is needed. By pressing the panic button, the monitoring company can communicate with the user and send the necessary emergency personnel. For those who have elderly loved ones living alone, this is a smart device to invest in for them.
If you have any questions about security cameras or surveillance systems, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Security cameras placed outdoors allow you to monitor your property while acting as a deterrent for trespassing. But what happens if criminals proceed anyways?
Indoor security cameras will show you what happens when the intruders get in. Should theft or damage occur, you are left with video evidence of the crimes to assist in capturing the criminals.
For everyday use, indoor security cameras help to monitor daily activities, such as kids returning home from school, or checking in on pets while you’re at work.
While there are several benefits of indoor cameras, it may be difficult discerning the most effective places to install them. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the best locations for your indoor security cameras.
Statistics show that the most common entry points for burglars are through first-floor doors or windows, thus, your main entrances should be your top priorities. The front door, back door, garage door, and other first-floor exterior doors and windows should be equipped with some type of security (ex. locks). If possible, installing security cameras to cover all of these spots would be ideal.
For a great selection on indoor security cameras and more, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information on site surveys and our installation services, please call 888-203-6294.
Smart homes are meant to simplify your life and increase your home security. Unfortunately, if not implemented properly, smart home devices can end up sharing too much of your information. Keep your home safe from hackers with these smart strategies.
Keep It Simple
Investing in all the newest smart devices is enticing, but when it comes down to it, less is more. Think about it – the more devices you install, the more chances hackers have to target your home.
Carefully consider what you really need. Choose the devices that will have the most meaningful impact on your daily life in a positive way. That way you get the most value for your investment while limiting your digital entry points.
Know Your Weak Points
Although hackers can be a nuisance, they also help to make smart homes safer. They allow manufacturers to address weaknesses and vulnerabilities, thus enhancing smart home devices. In addition, there is security software that you can purchase and install to add an extra layer of protection to your system and devices.
Think Analog, But Better
As research suggests, a home that appears occupied is less of an easy target than one that appears empty. When you leave for vacation, you may leave a light on or enlist timers to make it appear as if someone is home, but smart light bulbs can handle the work for you.
Smart light bulbs are easier to use than traditional timers, allowing you to control them remotely and offering other useful features. Depending on the one you choose, features can include smart sensors which will activate in response to open doors or doorbells. This can act as an effective deterrent to burglars.
Don’t Forget The Basics
Despite employing smart home devices, basic security measures should not be ignored. Remember to lock your doors and windows, refrain from announcing vacations or getaways on social media, and be sure your internet connection is encrypted and secure. Forgetting these things can leave your home and belongings susceptible to intruders.
In terms of internet connections, without encryption, your smartphone and smart devices are useless. Because these devices require internet connection, without encryption, you are leaving your home open to hackers who may access your system, change your settings and physically and digitally access your home.
As smart homes continue to improve, they will be able to offer more advanced features along with possible machine learning, providing a more personalized smart home experience. And although the future of this technology is promising, it also brings forth more risks. Combing the use of this advanced tech, as well as basic security tools can provide the optimal security solution.
In addition, the need to educate the consumer is crucial. Before investing in these technologies, be sure that you know what potential threats and risks exist and how to combat them.
For traditional security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Please call 888-203-6294 for more information on our site surveys and security camera installation services.
Concerns about the security of your home and loved ones can be especially high during the holidays. With increased risk of thefts and burglaries, it is important to employ the proper security methods to put your mind at ease. Here are a few ways you can secure your home and protect your assets.
By completing this assessment, you can recognize any threats that may not be detected by even the best alarm system. Some things to consider include who may have access to your home, how prepared you are for a natural disaster or civil emergency, and whether there is any online or public record information that could possibly compromise your security.
A home security system, complete with a backup power source, is a crucial component to protect your property. If you own any vacation homes, be sure to secure and monitor those as well.
If a security system came with your home, you may need to reevaluate how it suits your needs. If needed, invest in upgrades or a whole new system. Assess your risk points and go from there, but be sure that it is user-friendly as well, so that your family members can access and easily operate it.
Annual follow-ups with your security provider are recommended. Update contacts, information and make any adjustments as necessary.
You should be prepared for a variety of emergency situations. While most commonly associated with natural disasters, emergency plans can also be implemented for other situations, such as home invasion, storm evacuations, and other crises.
In case of emergency, be sure to have secure locks and the proper emergency supplies. In the event of your home security being compromised, you should have a rapid response plan. Prepare a “grab-and-go” packed with essentials, including communication tools and meeting information.
Aside from having these plans in place, you will want to rehearse with all family members so that they know and understand their role in keeping everyone safe. Try to practice these at least once a year so that the appropriate steps stay fresh in their minds.
Your biggest threat could be someone you know, who knows your residence and schedule. These people can include domestic staff such as housekeepers or child care providers. Be sure to follow best practices before hiring home employees.
For prospective domestic employees, be sure to do a professional background check – do not rely on a simple Google search. Ask trusted friends or an attorney to recommend a private investigator or third-party service that can pull up critical information using the candidate’s name and date of birth. If you are using a placement agency, be sure their background checks are comprehensive and legitimate.
When hiring, include a pre-employment application which authorizes criminal and credit checks, and always check references and conduct in-person interviews with potential candidates.
Firm employment agreements are important and can protect your security during (and after) a domestic employee’s service. Work with an attorney to draft a secure contract that encompasses, and include the following:
While there’s no obligation, be prepared to provide severance pay upon departure of a terminated employee. Thoughtful treatment at termination can go a long way toward preventing a disgruntled former employee from retribution.
Restrict Access To Bank Accounts
Despite the fact that most domestic employees often need money for home-related expenses, you should never give an employee your personal ATM car or password. Use a separate account for household expenses and designate the employee as an authorized cardholder, or consider using prepaid debit cards, which can put a limit to the amount spent. Both options allow limited access to your personal accounts while allowing you to track spending.
Remember that anyone who has access to your property can present a security risk. This includes any building contractors, landscapers, electricians, and the like. Before proceeding with any services, speak with the principal of the company and find out if they are licensed and insured, whether they do background credit and criminal checks and periodic drug testing on employees, and ask for a roster of people who will be at the property on a regular basis. If any information seems questionable to you, look for services elsewhere.
Despite your efforts to keep your personal information private, there is information about you that is publicly available. One piece of information about you may seem harmless, but when it is combined with other public information, it can be used to gain insight about you (ex. income, properties) which may attract criminals. Luckily, there are ways you can control your public presence.
Responsible Online Behavior
Enlisting an online security consultant should be the first step. They will evaluate your public “footprint” by doing a thorough search of the Internet and present you with the results. From there, you can work together to assess and manage any and all threats. Ensure that the whole family is on board, especially children who are active on social media. Everyone should understand how to engage in responsible online behavior.
Public Institutions, Private Information
Beware of whom you share your information. Your information can still end up online through reputable third parties (ex. charities, schools, civic groups). These public entities often mean well, but most lack strict cyber security systems and protocols to keep your information secure.
If you are going to make a major donation or real estate purchase, use a trust account to protect your identity and any other sensitive information associated with it. Choose a trust name that is different from the family name and associate it with a nonresidential address such as a P.O. Box.
Commercial and public sites can reveal details about your home you would rather keep private. For example, your realtor’s website may still contain photos of your home long after the close of the sale, while other sites may list pricing history of your property. Most of these sites will remove your information per request. You may want to discuss these issues with your real estate agent as they may have more insight on how to keep your information private.
While it is not ideal to think about the possibilities of something going wrong, it is beneficial to be prepared. Aside for the aforementioned measures, what else do you do to ensure your security? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To invest in quality CCTV surveillance cameras and security systems for your home, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294. Inquire about a free quote, site survey or our installation services.
Unfortunately, burglaries happen more often than we would like to think. You may think your home is safe and well protected, but when there’s a will, there’s a way. With the proper deterrents, you could keep your home and your loved ones safe. Review your home security and take heed of these security tips.
You’ve seen it in the movies and on television many times – a swift kick to the door and it swings right open. The weakest point of your door is where the deadbolt lock inserts into the doorjamb. If your locks are poorly reinforced, a forceful kick is all it takes to get into your home.
To properly reinforce your door, be sure that the screws holding the strike plate in place are at least 3 inches long. The longer the screws are, the better resistance from blunt forces.
Another way to protect your door is to invest in a doorjamb and strike plate reinforcement kits. These affordable kits provide steel guards and steel strike plates for more protection.
Are you prone to losing, misplacing, or forgetting your keys? Smart locks might be the answer for you. Smart locks allow you to lock and unlock your doors with either a keypad, finger scan, or your mobile device rather than with physical keys. These smart locks can be costly, but they offer convenience and can replace your current locks with minimal effort.
Loud Peel-And-Stick Alarms
If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to a complete alarm system, you might want to consider loud door and window alarms. While they do not automatically alert authorities, they will produce a deafening sound to alert you or anyone nearby and scare intruders away.
Did you ever add extra protection to your patio door by using a bat or a piece of wood to block the sliding track? Well, there’s an easier way to do that now. Patio door locks act like vertical deadbolts for your sliding doors. Some can even be activated by foot so you don’t have to reach down to manually lock and unlock your door.
Secure Your Perimeter
Keep the perimeter of your property neat and trimmed so that burglars can’t hideout behind trees or bushes. Bright lights can also help to prevent burglars from sneaking around. Place motion sensor lights around your property, focusing on poorly lit areas and points of entry. They will turn on when motion is detected, informing you that there is someone outside and will likely startle any potential intruders.
Mail theft may be the furthest thing from your mind, but the consequences can be quite severe. Because mailboxes are usually easily accessible, thieves can get a hold of your personal information and possibly steal your identity. Security mailboxes are much like traditional mailboxes, but they are usually made of heavy duty steel and require a key to open and access its contents.
Hide Your Safe
Storing valuables in a safe is smart, but it is also what burglars will look for. Be sure that your safe is always locked and not easily visible. It is also wise to bolt it to the floor in an inconspicuous area. You may even want to cover it with furniture to make it even harder to find.
Keep an eye on the inside of your home with indoor security cameras. You can go for a simple and inexpensive webcam, or opt for a more advanced security camera with features like night vision or high resolution.
For a great selection of security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit us online or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.