10 Reasons Home Security Systems Are Increasing in Popularity

Holding a smart energy controller or remote home control onlineHome security systems are increasing in popularity throughout the country. What are the reasons for this increase in home security popularity? Certainly home systems have been around for awhile. Why the interest now? Here are ten reasons homeowners are acquiring home security systems to protect themselves, their families and their properties.

1. Affordability.

Home security systems are more inexpensive than ever. Hard wired, complicated and outdated systems have been replaced with digital systems that are more cost effective to install, maintain and monitor. What used to be only affordable for those with expensive homes is now within reach of just about every homeowner. This new affordability has brought new homeowners into the marketplace.

2. Monitored Systems.

Today’s monitored systems provide better protection at more affordable prices. Monitored systems don’t just set off some alarm in the hopes that safety forces will respond. Monitored systems can provide real time information to law enforcement, making them much more effective in fighting home burglaries.

3. Acceptance.

Home security systems have been welcomed into the mainstream. People are not viewed as living in a bad neighborhood or paranoid because they have a home security system. They are viewed as responsible and practical.

4. Insurance Discounts.

Modern monitored home security systems can result in some significant savings on homeowners insurance. There have been cases of savings of 20% or more on home owner’s insurance policies for those with monitored security systems. Contact your insurance company to see if you qualify. If you don’t, shop around. These savings can help pay for a security systems while providing better peace of mind for you and your family.

5. Rise in Home Invasions and Burglaries.

It doesn’t take long to watch the television news or read the newspaper and hear about the increase in home invasions and burglaries. In some circumstances the results are much more tragic. This news has caused many families to seek more protection and many are choosing whole house security systems.

6. Accumulation of More Valuables.

Over the years we accumulate more valuables. These may include jewelry, collectibles, coins or artwork. Many family heirlooms are invaluable to us and no amount of insurance would cover their loss. Preventing their loss may be a better option. Home security systems are being installed by families who won’t be satisfied with monetary replacement of lost heirlooms. They feel it is better to protect these heirlooms from the outset.

7. No Need for Expensive Installations.

In previous years a complete home security system would take a significant initial investment on behalf of the homeowner. Today, many times initial installations are free or very affordable with a security agreement. Many homeowners have discovered this as a barrier-free way to get a full security system without busting their family budget.

8. More Realization that Security is a Personal Responsibility.

More homeowners are beginning to understand that their family’s security is their personal responsibility. In many communities response times from law enforcement are deteriorating.This is in spite of more 911 and smartphone access than ever. For many, this has “turned the light bulb on” in regards to personal security. They have decided that it is up to them to do their best to provide the frontline of security in protecting their home and family. Home security systems are a natural choice for these enlightened homeowners.

9. Increase in Professionalism.

Home security has improved their reputation for customer service and in establishing value. Few homeowners feel “pressured” into buying a security system and are making the choice of their own accord. Hard-sell home security system sales are mostly in the past.

10. Peace of Mind.

With so much else to worry about in the world today, it is nice to know that a small investment can bring so much peace of mind. Home security systems can provide that peace of mind.

Be Prepared, Not Scared

fear decision, businessman with very afraid, man in white shirtLet’s be reasonable: what are the real dangers facing you, as a homeowner?

Are theft, vandalism and home invasions a very real possibility? Of course. Even if you live in a rural area, anyone can become a victim of a break-in or any other crime that might occur on your own property. When facing danger, we essentially have a choice of two different responses: panic, and preparation.

Panic is an emotional response, and it can come in handy when it’s fight-or-flight. The truth is, however, that there aren’t a lot of fight-or-flight situations in modern life. It made sense for our ancestors to run from sabertooth tigers, but in daily life these scenarios are few and far between. More importantly, panic will do you no good whatsoever as a pre-emptive response to danger. Preparation, on the other hand, can help to ensure that those fight-or-flight scenarios are unlikely to happen.

Nobody can eradicate crime. Crime will always exist as long as anyone owns anything worth stealing. We can’t guarantee that we are never affected by crime, but with preparation, we can reduce the damage that crime will do if and when we are affected by it. There are a number of things that we can do to be more prepared for the possibility of crime:

1. Home Security

This one is obvious. A robust home security system means that criminals will be less likely to target your home in the first place. Even having the sticker for your alarm system on the window can make a criminal think twice before breaking in. If they choose to persist, then the sound of the alarm can be a tremendous deterrent on its own even before the authorities arrive.

Some homeowners keep firearms on hand to protect themselves in the event of a break-in, but we should be very cautious about making that decision. A firearm is more likely to harm the owner or their loved ones than it is to scare off an intruder. As far as guns go as deterrents, one of those signs reading “We don’t call 911!” is probably a lot safer than actually keeping a firearm in the house.

If you live in a suburb or in the city, you can generally expect the authorities to arrive in time to prevent a situation from escalating, so anyone considering the purchase of a firearm as part of their home security plan should definitely do the research and be very careful about the decision.

2. Home Insurance

Robust home insurance, including insuring the property inside of the home, means that if your home is broken into while you’re away, you’ll have some recourse whether or not the police catch the criminal before he sells off your big screen television set. If you can’t afford a robust policy, then buy as much protection as you can. The least amount of insurance you should buy should be as much as you can comfortably afford.

3. Neighborhood Watch

If you don’t have a neighborhood watch program in your area, consider starting one. Just getting acquainted with your neighbors can be a tremendous help in protecting your home and valuables. Letting them know when you’re going to be out of town for a few days, letting them know your work schedule and so on means that they’ll be able to identify a problem and contact the authorities if they see something suspicious.

The truth is that there’s no way to be one hundred percent safe from the risk of theft, vandalism and break-ins, but there’s quite a bit that we can do to be prepared, to make it far less likely that we become victims of crime, and to ensure that if we are victimized, that we will have some way to deal with that scenario.

 

3 Common Unsecured Entry Points to Your Home

Back Porch Of Small Grey House With BenchYou lock the front door at night, you keep the downstairs windows locked securely when you are out of the house, and you get lured into the idea that your home is completely safe from break-ins. Unfortunately, if you are missing some commonly forgotten access points to your home, you might be unintentionally inviting burglars into your home.

1. Check the Back

Often, homeowners focus their security on the front of the home, which can leave the rear of their home unprotected. While front doors may have multiple locks and the windows facing the street may be secure, back doors and windows can be neglected. For homeowners with enclosed yards, it is understandable to get lulled into a sense of safety by high privacy fences, bushes or walls. Unfortunately, most of these can be climbed or avoided in some way.

Be certain that your house is thoroughly protected, regardless if a door or window is on the front, back or side. Have sturdy locks that are difficult to pick on all your doors, if you have a sliding door, consider a bar lock for extra assurance, and be certain your windows latch properly.

2. Guard your Garage

If you have an attached garage, then you need to treat that garage with the same level of scrutiny as you would the rest of your home. One of the first steps is always locking the door that connects your garage to the inside of your house. And though this door will not be exposed to the elements, you should still ensure this door is as sturdy as the one at the front of your house. This will be an added deterrent if someone does manage to breach your garage.

Next, make sure your garage door is keeping your burglar out. The first step is shutting your garage door, which many homeowners forget to do. Next, you need to be sure your remote control is doing its job. The very earliest models all opened with the same code, which meant a generic garage door remote could open every garage on the block. That is why homeowners can now set their own codes; unfortunately, if you leave the door set to open on the default setting, you have no more security than you would have had with the old system. Make sure not to leave your remote in your car, as a car theft could soon become a home break-in if a would-be burglar gains access to your remote.

There are added prevention steps you can take to guard your home and car from intruders. If you are going to be gone from your home for some time, lock your outer door with padlocks or C-clamps. If your garage and/or garage doors have windows, frost or cover them to keep burglars from knowing when you are not at home.

3. Focus on More than the First Floor

The lowest floor in your home is the easiest place to enter, but it is not the only way of entering for an opportunistic burglars. Be sure to lock all windows in your home, whether they are on the first or upper floor of your home. Be especially cautious with windows that overlook a lower-level roof, since those windows will be more likely targets. If you own a ladder, be sure it is locked up; do not make the job easier on your would-be burglar.

Do not forget your basement, either. Though some basement windows are too small or open awkwardly for use in a break-in, that isn’t true for all styles, so be certain they are locked and that the windows are not loose in their frames, as can happen in older homes. Do the same inspection for your basement door. It should be as much of a deterrent against break-ins as your front door.

Keep Alert

Keep these problem areas in mind when you go through the rooms of your home. Make sure everyone in the home is locking the doors and windows, do occasional checks of the points of access to your home to be sure they will not give way under force, and replace deteriorating windows or doors, and their frames. If you maintain a proactive approach to your home safety, you can make your home a harder target for break-ins.

 

Latchkey kids – What Parents Can Do to Keep Them Safe

Kids Coming HomeAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 60 percent of families have both parents working. In single parent homes, mothers worked in nearly 70 percent of the homes whereas, fathers worked in approximately 80 percent. Although many schools offer after-school programs, not all parents can afford the fees associated with them. These children have to go home alone and are frequently referred to as ‘latchkey’ kids.

These children may be mature enough to care for themselves, but they may still need some direction. Additionally, there are unexpected situations that arise. If something goes wrong, children need to know how to cope. There are things that a parent can do to keep their children safe.

1. Create a list of rules

Creating a list of rules makes it clear to your children which activities are acceptable and which are not. You can post the rules on the refrigerator so that they are easily visible. Make sure you verbally go over the rules with your children; doing so allows them to ask you questions or talk about their concerns.

Rules to consider include:

  • Should your child let mom or dad know when he/she arrives home via a text message or phone call?
  • Should your child complete his/her homework as soon as he/she arrives home from school?
  • Should chores be done directly after your child finishes his/her homework?
  • Can your child use the microwave, oven and stove? If so, make sure he/she knows the proper way to use them. If not, be sure to have snacks on hand that do not require cooking (fruit, cheese and crackers, etc.).
  • Can friends visit?
  • Can your child spend time outside? If so, where is he/she permitted to go?

Some parents choose to create a timeline for their children to follow. This gives the child structure. Children like structure because it makes them feel more secure.

2. Safety concerns

  • Inform your child that he/she needs to lock the door upon entering the home.
  • When your child is home alone, he/she may have safety concerns. Parents need to go over safety rules related to the kitchen, the telephone, answering the door and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • If you have an alarm system in your home, make sure to show your child how to use it.
  • Is your child allowed to answer the phone/door? If so, what should he/she tell the caller/visitor? Remind your child never to tell anyone that he/she is home alone.
  • Give your child examples of what he/she is to do in a particular situation. For instance, if your child arrives home from school and a window is broken or the door is open he/she needs to know not to go inside. Ask a neighbor that you trust if your child can come to their house in the event of an emergency.

3. In case of emergency

  • Make sure your child knows where the flashlights are located in case there is a power outage.
  • Have a first aid kit and tell your child where it can be found.
  • Your child should know the basics when it comes to first aid. For instance, put pressure on a bleeding wound, how to perform the heimlich maneuver on himself/herself and others, how to treat burns, cuts and scrapes.
  • What should your child do if there is a fire or he/she gets hurt or feels sick?

In case of an emergency, your child needs to know:

  • How to call emergency services by dialing 9-1-1
  • His/Her address and phone number
  • Where mom and/or dad works, and the phone number where they can be reached
  • The name address and phone number of an emergency contact (neighbor, family friend, aunt/uncle or grandparent)

4. Consider enhanced security features

Some parents choose to add security features to their home. The tools available today can provide a parent peace of mind and make a child feel safer. Video monitoring, alarm notifications and live video feeds via the internet can help parents feel at ease.

 

7 Steps to Making Your Home More Secure

Male handyman carpenter at interior wood door lock installationAccording to the FBI, there were more than two million burglaries throughout the nation in 2012. That equals one every 15 seconds. This proves how simple it is for a burglar to enter a home. While an alarm system is always a good idea, there are measures you can take to make your home seem less appealing to a prospective thief.

1. Hold a house meeting to discuss security issues within the home.

Home security needs to become a habit with all members of the household. Implement a routine that includes the simple rules listed below:

  1. Never open the door to uninvited/unwelcome visitors.
  2. Use window and door locks consistently– make locking them upon entering, when leaving and before bedtime a habit.
  3. Secure the home even while doing yard work.
  4. Always close the garage door (lock manual doors).
  5. If you have a home alarm system, use it consistently – even if you are just heading next-door to share a cup of coffee with a neighbor.

2. Organize a ‘mock’ burglary.

Have a trusted friend/family member roam through your home for three minutes, collecting any valuables that he/she finds. This exercise demonstrates how quickly an actual burglar can find your valuables. Take the valuables that were found and hide them in unusual places. You may also want to consider purchasing a safe that can be bolted to the floor or renting a safety deposit box at your bank.

3. Install timers.

Whether leaving for an appointment, heading off to work or going away for a few days, creating an ‘occupied’ look in your home is essential. From timers for lights, to devices that make it look as if the television is on, numerous gadgets are available to help create this ‘someone is at home’ illusion.

4. Never leave the ladder or other tools lying around outside.

Do not keep ladders or other tools in areas that are readily accessible to would-be thieves. Burglars may use the ladder to enter the home through a second-floor balcony or window. Tools could be used to assist the burglar in his attempts to enter your home.

5. Inspect all windows and exterior door locks.

  • Check the windows to ensure the locks are operable. If they are not, they need to be fixed or replaced.
  • A hollow door can easily be breached; thus, all exterior doors should be constructed of metal or wood.
  • Because the locks are actually the weakest part of a door, make sure to install a quality lockset. Besides adding beauty and value to your home, a quality lockset sends a message to would-be burglars.
  • If nothing else, install a grade 1- or grade 2-dead bolt. Make sure that the strike plate, which is the stationary piece that holds the bolt when locked, is heavy duty. The plate should be solid brass or metal and be secured using six screws that are three-inches long; this length ensures that the screws penetrate both the doorjamb and door frame.
  • Use a doorjamb or purchase a floor bolt to secure sliding doors. A doorjamb is nothing more than a wood dowel or metal rod that is cut to fit within the interior track system.
  • Adjust the track clearance of sliding doors to ensure that they cannot be removed from the frame.

6. Secure any air conditioners or fans in windows.

An unsecured window fan or air conditioner provides an easy point of entry for a burglar. All window units need to be secured using a sliding window lock, an air conditioner bracket or corner braces.

7. Consider installing key-less locks.

When you inadvertently become locked outside your home, that spare key hidden inside the hide-a-rock is great. However, this is a great way for a burglar to enter your home as well. For this reason, key-less locks may be the way to go. A key-less system requires a pin-code instead of a key, making it virtually impossible for you to be locked out.