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How to Tell if Your Security System is Outdated

A home security system is supposed to provide peace of mind. A quality security system can alert the proper authorities in the event of a break-in, fire or other emergency. Furthermore, the very presence of an alarm system can deter criminals from even setting foot on your property. Unfortunately, if you have an outdated system, your property may not be adequately protected. Here are some signs that your home security alarm system is outdated and needs to be upgraded.

home security alarm systemNo Access to Remote Access

Remote monitoring is one of the biggest trends in home security technology. Essentially, remote access allows you to operate your home’s security system from a computer, smartphone or tablet, even if you are not on the property. Remote monitoring is ideal for times when you have forgotten to arm your system, want to turn the lights on to make it appear as though somebody is home, or simply want to see what is going on in your house.

If your current security system does not have remote monitoring capabilities, it may be time for an upgrade since the technology can greatly improve the security of your home.

No High-Resolution Cameras

As part of their residential security systems, many homeowners ask security companies to install surveillance cameras on their properties as a way to further boost safety and security. In addition to being a great deterrent for would-be criminals, security cameras can provide evidence against burglars and vandals when the time comes.

If the resolution on your home’s security cameras is so low that it is difficult to see the details of a human face, then your cameras may not be able to do much for you in the event of a break-in or other crime committed on your property. Having alarm monitoring companies come out and install new, sharper image cameras would be a wise decision.

When in Doubt, Ask a Professional

If you have any reason to believe that your home security system is truly outdated, the best thing you can do is call a reputable home security company to assess the situation for you. This way, you can receive a fair assessment of your current system to determine if upgrades are warranted.

By choosing the right security company, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will get a great deal on any further services or upgrades that you wish to have done to your existing system.

What To Do After a Burglary

Despite the increase in home security monitoring by homeowners today, the number of burglaries and attempted thefts in the U.S. has remained exceptionally high in recent years. The FBI suggests that 2012 saw over 2.1 million burglaries occur in that year alone.
home security monitoring
Although strong residential security systems will cut down on the potential for crimes of opportunity, all homeowners should know what to do in case of a burglary, however unlikely. Homeowners tend to put a lot of emphasis on keeping burglars out, but they don’t always have a plan for what needs to happen after a break-in.

Grab the Phone First

A full-scale burglary may look like a tornado whipped through the home and tossed everything on the floor. It’s difficult not to become emotional in such circumstances, but it’s important to keep a level head and grab a phone to call the police.

Sometimes, evidence of a burglary might be apparent before a homeowner even steps over the threshold of his home. In such cases, it’s best to call the police immediately before entering the home. The burglar could still be at work inside the residence, and entering the home could impact the integrity of evidence.

Find a Camera and Call the Insurance Company

Whether a person has renter’s insurance and lives in an apartment or owns a home and has standard homeowner’s insurance, calling to make a claim should be a top priority. Remember, insurance companies often request a police report, so talking to the police first is recommended.

Take pictures of the damage after the burglary, so you will have a permanent record of the crime. Remember to take close pictures of any actual damage as well as pictures that feature the entire room or areas where items were stolen or broken.

Tip: Take pictures of the home and all valuables before a burglary occurs. A visual record of items stolen may be the best tool law enforcement has to recover stolen property.

Repair and Update the Security System

Thieves commonly disable security systems on their way into a home. Broken surveillance cameras might be a sign that an upgraded wireless system might be needed. Older cameras with wires are easily disabled while new cameras are tiny, efficient and wireless.

Sometimes, a burglar will find a way into the home that the homeowner never considered. No window or door is safe from possible intrusion. Make sure every potential entrance is protected. Consulting with a security professional should help eliminate vulnerabilities in the home’s security.

Making Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again

Home security monitoring from a remote company helps reduce the likelihood that a thief will be able to loiter in the home and look for valuables at his leisure. A security company will be able to let the homeowner know that a break-in is in progress and will also be able to notify law enforcement of the potential crime.

Reducing Holiday Theft with Residential Security Systems

Tens of millions of Americans travel during the holiday season, and that means an incredible number of vacant houses over the November and December holidays. Homeowners and apartment dwellers need to take active steps to reduce the likelihood of burglary or theft during an absence with smart practices and residential security systems.

Travel and Empty Homes

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) suggests that over 43 million people will drive, fly, or travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holidays. Many more families are also expected to travel during December and into January as the country celebrates the arrival of 2014. Empty homes and increased purchasing activity for the holidays create a significant lure for thieves and require residential security systems to work overtime.

Creating an Illusion and Theft Deterrent

For families that plan to be away for the holidays, there are some easy ways to reduce the potential for theft, and most of these methods cost very little or are even free. Ensuring that an empty home is less attractive for burglars starts with making it appear as though the home isn’t actually empty. This might mean installing timers on the lights. Today’s timers can also be hooked up to items like the television or the radio that should improve the illusion that someone is at home.

It’s also essential that the home looks no different from the way it does when the family is at home. Closing all the shades and blinds isn’t a good idea unless that’s something a homeowner does regularly. A thief will often observe a home before attempting a burglary, and any change in behavior, such as several days of closed drapes, may indicate that no one is home.

Additional protection is available from a home security alarm system that includes glass break detectors that will notify a homeowner or the security monitoring company of unauthorized entry.

Keep Maintenance Schedules Intact

An overgrown lawn and a pile of unread newspapers sitting at the door are one of the most visible signs that there is no one at home. For any absence that may last longer than a few days, make sure that the mail and newspapers are put on hold. Most homes won’t require lawn maintenance during the winter; however, for anyone who lives in a warmer climate, ensure lawn care schedules remain active during the family’s absence.

Don’t Broadcast the Absence

The internet and social media have made it easier for families and friends to remain connected despite large distances, but it’s also made it a lot easier for thieves to figure out when a family might be gone from their home. Never broadcast the absence to everyone through Twitter or Facebook and only let close friends or family know about the travel before it begins. In addition, never post pictures during the vacation. Wait until the vacation or holiday visit is over to share those holiday adventures with friends.

The best defense against holiday burglaries is attention paid to a variety of home security rules and devices. Ensure the home security alarm system is active by testing it before departure and make sure that items like surveillance cameras and locks are in working condition. As an added layer of protection, let close friends and family know about the absence so that they might keep an eye on the residence.

Holiday Safety and Home Security Monitoring

Holiday celebrations may increase the likelihood of fire and security problems for homeowners who aren’t careful with winter activities. Hanging lights, using the fireplace, and putting holiday decorations around the home offer opportunities for mishaps. Keep family and friends safe and secure during the holiday season by using these simple safety tips:

Reduce the Chance of Fire

The United States Fire Administration says that danger of fire due to electrical problems, lighted candles, and Christmas trees increases dramatically during the holiday season. Dry Christmas trees that sit too close to the fireplace can catch fire if not properly monitored. Use simple common sense when decorating. Keep the tree away from the fireplace and place burning holiday candles well away from decorations that may catch fire.

Smoke detectors are an absolute must. Batteries in smoke detectors should be checked a few times a year, and there should be a detector on every floor of the home and in every bedroom. Smoke detectors connected to the home security monitoring system offer an added level of protection for our family. In case of fire, make sure you have a meeting spot outside the home to gather in case evacuation is required.

Perform Seasonal Maintenance

A third of the fires that begin with a Christmas tree stem from electrical problems like faulty strands of lights or an over taxed home electrical system. Older homes may have a delicate electrical system that can’t handle multiple strands of lights hung outside the home.

Always check each strand of lights to make sure that all the bulbs work and that there are no cracks or worn spots in the wires. Never use indoor lights on the exterior of the home and make sure that strands are plugged into ground-fault circuit interrupter(GFCI) outlets, which will cut the power to the lights if a problem occurs. Additionally, consider a professional inspection of the electrical system if the house is over 20 years old.

Beware of Theft or Burglary

UPS, FedEx and USPS employees work overtime during the holidays to deliver Hanukkah and Christmas gifts on time, and thieves know that the holiday season is a perfect time to burglarize family homes. Residential security systems that offer proximity alarms and intruder detection are exceptionally valuable; however, any type of home security monitoring can help reduce the chances of theft. The system doesn’t have to be state-of-the-art to be effective.

Long nights and the lure of holiday gifts are a significant temptation for thieves, and the home security system may be bolstered by using a few simple techniques to make it more difficult for thieves to gain access to the home. Locking the doors is a significant deterrent to would-be thieves. The installation of an extra lock or a deadbolt may discourage more ardent burglars.

The holiday season should be a time when families get together for celebrations and not a time to worry about whether the tree might catch fire or whether the security system will detect unlawful entry. Take extra precautions each holiday season to reduce fire danger, improve security, and increase the safety of the family.

Scam Artists Target Owners of Residential Security Systems: What Can You do About It?

Your home security alarm system is essential for your peace of mind. However, take precautions when it comes to home security scams—they can come in the form of a door-to-door salesmen or of deceiving deals and contracts. Heed our advice when you’re confronted with the possibility of a scam and keep the following tips in mind.

Play it Safe When Meeting with Representatives

When a representative arrives at your door and wants to talk about home security, ask for a business card and have the person wait outside. Check credentials by calling the number on the card and perform some online research before an involved conversation takes place. If you do agree to talk with a representative, have to conversation outside and do not allow them in your home. Home security professionals consider this common practice. You do not want to take any risks with someone who might be planning a home invasion. Be suspicious of anyone who hasn’t made a previous appointment to meet with you, especially if they say they need to inspect or upgrade your residential security systems—even if they claim to be from your company.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Beware of door-to-door home security alarm system representatives who promise you the moon and the stars. If they are making an offer that seems absolutely phenomenal, don’t jump on the proposition. Ask for a business card and a website. Do thorough research and investigate their claims. Whatever you do, don’t ever sign a contract on the spot. Take time to read all of the fine print and look at every angle.

Be Firm; If You’re Satisfied, Say So

If you’re pleased with your residential security systems provider, tell the competitor. Be absolutely clear about your intentions to stay with your current company. Ask the visiting representative to kindly leave or hang up the phone if you are on the receiving end of a telephone sale. If it is a legitimate company making a fair offer, sales people should still respect your wishes. If you are dealing with someone who simply won’t accept no, is harassing you, and keeps pushing the issue, a red flag should come up. Trust your gut and don’t make any changes if you are uncomfortable with the situation.

Ask For Information and Time to Reflect

Get details about the company and request time to think about the matter. Inform the representative that you will call when you are ready to discuss home security systems of interest. If the representative disobeys your wishes and continues to call you, you can complain about harassment.

Report Suspicious Behavior

If you think you may have been a target of a scam, report it to authorities and your home alarm company. Without a report, it’s hard for enforcement and security companies to do something about the threat.

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