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8 Vacation Security Tips for your Home

by Cassie July 11, 2016

vacation security

It’s difficult to go away for an extended amount of time and not worry about the security of your home. By taking precautions before leaving, you gain peace of mind and improved home security. Here are 10 ways to prepare your home’s security for an upcoming vacation:

1. Ask a friend to keep an eye on your home
The key objective to finding a house sitter is to continue to make the home appear occupied. If you don’t plan to have someone stay in your home while you are gone, it is a good idea to have someone stop by at least once a day or minimally ask your neighbors to keep an eye out. By asking a friend to remove the mail, adjust lights and take care of the trash pickup, it shows that the home is occupied which can deter an intruder. Of course, make sure you choose a reliable and trustworthy person to monitor your home . Have trouble finding someone to keep an eye on your home? You can always consider adding a home automation system for advanced lighting control, helping to make your home appear occupied with custom scheduling. Make your house a smart home and enjoy the added benefits of climate control as well as state of the art security monitoring with real time alerts.

2. Don’t post vacation plans on social media

Even though you are excited for your upcoming vacation, it’s safest to share your experience after you’re back. If you post about your upcoming trip, you’re sharing that your home will be vacant in the upcoming weeks on public networks, which is a security risk . Also, refrain from posting photos during your getaway, no matter how beautiful, until you return home. Giving away your current status is another security risk for your potentially vacant home.

3. Stop your Mail service
Contact your local Post Office and place a “stop” order on your mail. A few days’ worth of mail piled in your mailbox or at your door step is a clear indication that no one is home to pick it up. The same idea applies to newspapers. If you have a difficult time stopping either service, ask a friend or neighbor to retrieve your mail and papers.

4. Remove spare keys
Make sure you remove spare keys that are hidden on the outside of your property. If they are tipped off that no one is in the house, an intruder will be tempted to look for a spare key. Avoid the risk of someone finding the key by removing it entirely. With digital keypads, you can remove the need for spare key placement, but still enable your pet sitter or neighbor to access your home.

5. Keep the landscape trimmed
In order to keep the house appearing occupied it is important to maintain normalcy from the outside. If you are a diligent homeowner who keeps their lawn in great shape, keep up this routine. If you plan on being away for an extended time period, hire someone to cut the grass while you are away. Leaving the yard untidy is a clear indication that no one is around to take care of it.

6. Make sure you lock up
It may seem obvious, but make sure you lock all windows and doors. If the deadbolt to the garage is usually left unlatched, now is the time to lock it. With the home being fully locked, it becomes less attractive as a target to intruders who are looking for a quick entry point. Double check your windows and doors upon your departure.

7. Protect your vehicle
If you are leaving on an extended vacation and parking your car at the airport or elsewhere, make sure it is in a secure location. Also, remove the garage door opener from your car. This could provide an access point into your house if an intruder gets into your vehicle.

8. Install a home security system
Installing a home security system provides you peace of mind with 24/7 professional monitoring , alerting local authorities to any security breaches. Plus, alarm systems deter potential intruders from entering your home. Additionally, home security systems can alert you remotely if there are any movements or changes within your home, even when the pet sitter does not arrive.
Before you leave for vacation, make sure you take the necessary precautions to prepare your home. Just a few minutes of preparation could save your home from any unexpected visitors and provide you peace of mind for the duration of your tip. Enjoy your vacation and ensure your home will be safe and sound until your return.

From Instant Cameras to Cameras in an Instant: How Polaroid Paved the Path to Home Security

by Cassie November 9, 2015

Polaroid Security Camera

Did you know that the first Polaroid Instant Camera was sold on November 26, 1948? We’ve come a long way in 67 years – from white-framed fuzzy photos to razor-sharp digital video, to be precise.

It was Black Friday 1948, although it wasn’t called Black Friday at the time, and the Model 95 Land Camera, a hefty beast at four pounds, was offered for a pricey $89.75 – more than $1,100 in today’s dollars. But despite its price tag, the camera caused quite the commotion, selling out (including the demonstrator model) and forcing the salesman to retreat to the countertop, in order to escape the crush of buyers. (Black Friday, indeed!)

The point of this story is simple: even in 1948, even with a four-pound camera, and even at an adjusted-for-inflation price of $1,100+, instant photography was an instant hit. One that has also proved enduring, through the evolution and popularity of digital cameras, smartphone photography, and lightweight video equipment.

And today, in the finest Polaroid-would-approve tradition, you can now have your cameras and instant gratification, too: enter easy-to-install home surveillance systems, which secure your family in an instant.

Home Security Cameras in an Instant

Okay, we admit, “in an instant” is a bit of an exaggeration. They’ll take at least 15 minutes to install.

That’s right, thanks to wireless home security technology and ever-improving camera range, you can now equip your home with up to eight video cameras, complete with sharp picture, digital recording, and live streaming. What’s more, your system components work in perfect tandem, simultaneously recording eight live video feeds. Which, thanks to the fluid symbiosis of motion detection, set events, time of day sensing, real time alerts and system automation, you can check via browser or app.

Isn’t it amazing how far instant cameras have come?

Not Your Granddad’s Polaroid: 5 Benefits of Today’s Security Cameras

In addition to being easy to install and providing instant, live picture, a video surveillance system offers incredible benefits to your existing security system:

  1. Deter Burglars: If security system signs deter bad guys, functioning video cameras positively repel them. One look at outdoor security cameras, and potential burglars will likely head for the hills.
  2. FingerPointing with Precision: If the worst were to happen and a thief did break in, a high-quality, well-placed video system can record them red-handed. Hand over the video to police, and a conviction is almost assured.
  3. Save Money: Sure, your system can save you money in the sense of not getting robbed, but did you also know that it can earn you a 15-20% discount on your homeowners insurance? Get your agent on the phone, stat!
  4. Watch Over Your Family: Pets, kids, senior family members – you’ve probably worried about them at one point or another. With video security, you can check in via any web-enabled device, assuring yourself that they’re safe and sound. Or learning that you’ll need a new sofa cushion, thanks to Fluffy.

Thinking about adding video surveillance to your security system? Contact us today.

 

Home Security Cameras and What Has Been Caught on Tape

by Cassie July 30, 2015

Today’s home security cameras are pretty amazing. They can see hundreds of feet. They can pan and rotate. They’re motion activated. They have night vision. They can connect to WiFi, upload to the cloud, and text you with alerts.

And they can capture some pretty amazing video, too.

You guys, we just can’t even. These videos are hilarious, terrifying and awe-inspiring. And what’s even more incredible is that they were all caught by security cameras. Here are 6 of our favorites:

1. A Thief, Caught in the Act

Just try not to laugh. A man’s home security system catches a woman stealing an Amazon delivery right off his porch. Don’t worry; he gets his revenge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWO3zKqm_KI

2. Wind, Rain or Shine… or Hurricane

We may huddle inside during a serious storm, but security cameras are always on duty. This incredible footage captured a boat in North Carolina, torn from its moorings – and then flung skyward – during Hurricane Irene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUFh9XtJoDM

3. A Cacophonous Lightening Strike

And speaking of storms, CCTV cameras once again prove to be fearless. This time, a camera catches lightening in the act. Turn down your volume, folks – this one’s going to be loud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98w55RAleZ0

4. Delivery Gone Wrong

We’ll bet you’ve already seen this classic video, which details a UPS deliveryman stealing an iPad. Makes you think about all those items lost in the mail, doesn’t it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqCzxTB5xto

5. Poor Criminal

This one’s funny enough to almost make you feel bad for the would-be burglar. Almost. Watch as a man not only fails at robbing a building society, but can’t find his way back out to escape. Oops.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgstON22SbY

6. Skirting the Law

A peculiarly skilled criminal in Costa Rica casually walks away with a TV… up her skirt. Despite her slick moves, this security footage was instrumental in catching the thief and her accomplice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_FSZFC4I1c

7. Doing What They Do Best

A North Carolina couple originally installed their cameras to check on their pets, but what they caught on video during a holiday vacation was something else entirely: three thieves, who weren’t aware that their faces had been caught on candid camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxx8YZRhVz4

 

Watching These Videos Will Convince You about the Value of Home Camera Surveillance Systems

by Tammy October 16, 2014

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Ever wonder if home security camera systems are useful in catching criminals? Take a look at these videos and judge for yourself:

Burglar Kicking Door Open

Dallas Burglary Suspect Caught on Camera

Forcible Home Entry in Raleigh, N.C.

Law enforcement and crime prevention officials agree that home camera surveillance systems are quite useful in preventing crime. They also aid in criminal prosecution.

A little known benefit of these systems is that they reduce false alarms and generate faster police department response to alarm activations. The reason is that you or your alarm monitoring company can watch the real-time video to determine the extent of any criminal activity.

We’re interested in learning how home security, home cameras, home automation or home fire detectors have made a difference in your life. Tell us and you could win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Has a security system prevented a burglary in your home?

Do you use home automation to monitor your home or to slash energy costs?

Has a monitored fire detector or carbon monoxide detector helped prevent a disaster?

How else does home security or home automation add convenience and give you peace of mind?

Share your story with My Alarm Center and you could win a $100 Visa Gift Card! Get all the details and information on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MyAlarmCenter/app_451684954848385.

Small Business Owner Benefits from Security Camera System

by Amy June 17, 2014

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Scottsdale small business owner Dave West couldn’t believe what was happening before his own eyes.

 

West, owner of a Scottsdale health club called Koko FitClub, watched two members abuse the exercise equipment at his business.

 

Right in the middle of the day, right in the middle of the club, right in front of his face.

 

“I was stunned,” said West.

 

Although all of this was happening right before his own eyes, West was NOT at his health club at the time. He was observing this abuse in real-time right from his smartphone.

 

“I contacted my manager on duty and he stopped the problem before it got out of hand,” says West. “I saved my equipment.”

 

West is typical of many small business owners who have found security camera systems ideal for their business.

 

West uses his camera system viewed through his smartphone to:

 

  • Determine if an alarm system activation is real or a false alarm.
  • See what’s happening at his club at anytime from anywhere.
  • Determine staffing levels at various times of the day/week.
  • Observe employee behaviors, especially how they interact with each other and customers.
  • Slash theft.

 

“I’ve even looked in on my club when hiking at the Grand Canyon,” said West.

 

If you’d like to bring this level of security and flexibility to your small business operations, contact the small business security experts here at My Alarm Center. Call us at 855-334-6562

7 Safety Tips When Your Home Is For Sale

by Amy June 5, 2014

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Did you know that when you put your home up for sale it becomes more vulnerable to burglaries?

 

Listing a home for sale means lots of strangers in your house, everyone from real estate agents, prospective buyers, neighbors and others. It’s easier for thieves to find out what is in your home and when it might be vacant for them to do their dirty work.

 

Here are some things you can do to keep your home safe from harm while it is on the market :

 

1. Take an inventory | Digitally record the possessions in your home prior to placing the home on the market. Do a room by room inventory of all items so you know what you have. This digital record will be very useful in the event of theft or emergency.

2. Contact your security company | Let your home security company know that you’ll be selling your home. This is a perfect time to verify your contact information should you or your representative need to be reached in the event of emergency. Your security company can also review your options concerning the sale of your home and the home security system.

 

3. Train your realtor | Give your realtor their own code to use the alarm system. That way you can track when they’ve been there and for how long. This code can also be easily deleted when it is no longer needed. Make sure your realtor knows how to properly arm and disarm the system. Your realtor also needs to know how to cancel an alarm with your alarm monitoring center.

 

4. Work in pairs | Some people sell their home without using a realtor. In these instances it is always wise to work in pairs. Don’t show your home alone. This gives strangers a chance to take advantage of you. Always have someone with you when showing your home. To avoid the risk of being attacked from behind, allow visitors to enter rooms before you do.

 

5. Keep a log| Insist that your realtor keep a log of all people that enter your home, especially during open house showings. It’s wise to have your realtor ask to see a photo ID for all who enter during an open house. Don’t allow people to wander unattended through your home.

 

6. Protect the valuables | Portable electronics, jewelry, spare keys, wallets, etc. are all valuables that need to be protected when showing your home. Keep these things in drawers or closets so they don’t become easy targets for dishonest people.

 

7. Inspect your home after each showing | Criminals may use your open house or visit to your home to plan for future crimes. They’ll get to know the home, they’ll check out what you have, and they may unlock doors or windows for use in their return visit. Check your home after each showing. Make sure nothing appears out of order. Check to make sure all doors and window are locked, and that no security system motion sensors have been blocked by something to reduce their coverage range.

 

 

 

Selling your home can be hectic enough without having to deal with criminal activity. Don’t allow your home to be an easy target. Follow these tips for better protection.

5 Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

by Amy February 28, 2014

 

There’s little doubt that America is getting older. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Department on Aging expects the number of citizens over age 65 to double by 2030.

With an aging America comes an increasing risk of injuries. To help keep people safe in their homes, we offer these five safety tips for senior citizens:

Conduct a Safety Inspection

Many senior citizens live in older homes. That’s why it’s important to conduct a home safety inspection. Get a licensed home inspector to look at plumbing, wiring, heating, cooling and other parts of the home that could cause safety concerns. Make sure stairways and handrails are secure. Inspect outside lighting so that it operates properly.

Install No Slip Surfaces

Falling is a big issue in our later years. More than half of all seniors over age 80 fall each year, according to LearnNotToFall.com. Protect against falls by installing no slip surfaces in the home, especially in bathrooms, stairways, kitchens, and hallways.

Get a Home Security System

These systems protect against burglary, fire and life threatening emergencies. Many seniors install a personal emergency response system. These systems are always on and allow a senior to summon medical assistance or help with a simple push of a button on a pendent. They can also bring help if the person does not check in with the monitoring center at regular intervals. You can even hook up cameras to your home automation service so a loved one can easily check in on you.

Have a Visitor

It’s important to the well-being of senior citizens to have regular interactions with others. A phone call or visits several times a week not only ensures their safety, it also allows for deeper, more meaningful relationships. Try it.

Help With Household Tasks

Reduce the possibilities of injuries by helping seniors with normal household maintenance and tasks. Clean the gutters, change the light bulbs and air filters, do the yard work, shovel the snow and help with heavy lifting. Keep seniors off ladders and away from tasks that strain their bodies or balance.

These five basic tips help keep seniors safe. For more ideas on senior safety, keep reading this blog.

5 Big Trends in the Best Wireless Home Security for 2014

by Amy February 18, 2014

A number of best wireless home security trends will make their mark in 2014. Driving these trends are advancing technologies, declining costs and changing lifestyles.

In 2014, home security service means more than just burglar alarms. Here are the five trends in home security systems that impact you:

Home Automation Features in Most Homes

Consumer demand and lower costs make home automation systems practical in most homes. Two driving factors are wireless technologies and increased consumer interest.

With home automation services, lighting, security, heating, cooling and much more can be automated or remotely controlled by smartphone, tablets or any web enabled device. Lower energy costs through automation and lower technology costs make home automation a growing trend. In fact, it’s so big that Google just bought home automation technology.

Remote System Access from Web Devices

You can now perform most home security alarm system functions from any web enabled device from anywhere in the world. Turn your alarm on or off, control your temperature and turn on lighting, all from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Home security camera surveillance systems are often viewed by homeowners through these devices for added convenience and security.

More Home Camera Surveillance Systems

With lower costs, improved appearance and multiple uses, home security camera surveillance systems are prevalent in many homes across America.

Indoor and outdoor home security camera systems reduce crime. They improve police department response times in emergency situations. They can identify intruders and thieves so they may be apprehended and prosecuted by authorities. Home security cameras also offer conveniences like checking in on the kids to make sure they are behaving when you aren’t home.

One of the other big things increasing the popularity of home security camera systems is the improved appearance of the security system cameras themselves. There are camera models to fit most any décor.

Better Use of Interactive Services

Many Americans are using two-way voice communications with their alarm monitoring company. This allows the homeowner to communicate with professional response personnel at alarm monitoring centers. In the event of an alarm, homeowners can tell alarm monitoring personnel what is happening at their home. If it is a false alarm, special codes are communicated by the homeowner to monitoring personnel to cancel the alarm. For a true emergency, response times are greatly improved by this verification process.

Elderly Americans also benefit from this two-way voice interaction process. Many wear pendants with emergency call buttons they can activate when needed, like if they’ve fallen or feel they need medical attention. Once they’ve activated this personal emergency response system, emergency response personnel can interact with them to determine the type of emergency and the appropriate response.

Another example of interactive security was mentioned earlier…remote system interaction from web enabled devices is another example of interactive security features used by homeowners.

Increased Use of Cellular Alarm Monitoring

About 1 out of 4 households in the U.S. have no traditional telephone line in their home. That number is increasing every day as more and more people rely on their cell phone as their only telephone.

The home security industry has responded to that trend by developing technologies that allow alarm system communications via cellular networks. It’s a more secure method of alarm monitoring than traditional phone lines and it’s the perfect solution for homeowners relying on cellular communications. Expect to see much more of it in the coming year.

In 2014, you can also expect to see more calls for in-home fire sprinkler systems and detection for water leaks, carbon monoxide, and temperature control.

How Home Security Cameras Reduce Crime

by Amy February 4, 2014

 

Security cameras inside and outside of homes are becoming quite popular. Once reserved for the rich and famous, home security cameras have become quite an affordable home security option for most families.

So how do security camera systems work at preventing crime? Let’s take a look.

The one thing all home burglars have in common is that none of them want to be caught. They will go to extreme lengths to avoid situations where their risk of being caught is high. They don’t want to be seen, and today’s home security camera technology allows for real-time viewing from any web enabled device if you have home automation services. That means a professional alarm monitoring center or a homeowner using their smartphone could be watching a thief in the act. Check out what happened when this Florida home owner watched people burglarizing her home.

Many home security companies camera systems will cause an alarm when triggered by an intruder. Most police departments respond more quickly when there is visual verification of a crime in progress. Security cameras let police departments know it’s the real deal as opposed to a false alarm. This increases the chances of a burglar being caught by improving police response times to emergency situations.

Celebrities have long recognized the value of home security camera systems. That’s why they make home security cameras a focal point of their personal protection. They make security cameras visible outside their homes to deter crime. They use cameras inside the home to capture and record the activities of household staff and vendors to cut down on theft. Rapper 50 Cent says cameras protect him and look out for him.

Security cameras work well in conjunction with home alarm systems. Watch this clip of a burglar approaching a home using home security cameras and a home alarm system.

Studies show security cameras cut crime in urban areas, which is why cities have been using security cameras to protect public areas for years. And although no studies exist about the impact of security cameras on home break-ins, law enforcement officials will tell you that no criminal wants to be caught on tape.

It’s clear that home security cameras are an affordable and effective home security system. If you’d like to learn more about home security services and professional security cameras for your home, call the experts at My Alarm Center toll-free at 855-334-6562.

How to Protect High Value Art Collections from Thieves

by Amy January 30, 2014

 

If you own valuable art, or a high value collection of other items, it may be more at risk than you think.

Art theft is a multi-billion dollar a year problem world-wide. And according to the FBI, only about 5% of stolen art is ever recovered.

So what can you do to better protect your high value art collection from thieves? Follow these steps:

·         Document your collection. Take multiple pictures from multiple angles of what you have, making sure to emphasize unique features like an edition number. Store purchase receipts in a safe location separate from the collection itself. For those that collect paintings, look into what is called a “DNA thread.” These threads are woven into the back of a canvas without harming the painting in any way. They contain information about the piece, including its current owner and ownership history.

·         Install a great home security system. The system should be able to detect unauthorized entry from all points of entry and exit. Motion detectors should be used as an additional line of defense. Strengthen and use thicker and heavier anchored locks and striker plates on all doors.

·         Attach alarms to high value artwork. These non-obtrusive art security devices can send a signal to an alarm company if artwork is disturbed.

·         Use video surveillance cameras. Security cameras can be used in areas that display your high-value collection, as well as other areas inside or outside your home. Some can be motion-activated and can trigger an alarm to a security company for action.

·         Make security visible. Don’t hide system cameras. Use a yard sign letting people know your home is fully protected. Make sure people know they are being watched.

·         Conduct background checks. In many homes people can frequently come and go. Household staff, repair men, acquaintances and contractors should all be known to you. Make sure you have the names and addresses of all contractors and their employees working in your home. You should conduct thorough background checks on all household staff, including groundskeepers.

·         Stick with fine-art storage facilities. If you store your collection somewhere due to space considerations, use a facility that specializes in storing high value art. They feature better art security and environmental controls than regular storage facilities. Ask them about their security track record, who has access to the facility, the type of security measures they use and the background checks they conduct. Find out if any museums store their art there, as this is a sign of higher levels of security. One other thing to check – find out if they use rental security guards or their own personnel. Experts advise that in-house security guards generally perform better than rental guards.

·         Visit storage facilities regularly. Visit periodically to make sure things are still there. If you discover that something is missing after months go by, the trail gets cold and it’s quite difficult to identify the thief.

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