Home Security - Protecting Your Home While On Vacation

November 5, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

bahama-vacation-pic1Have you already made travel plans for an upcoming holiday vacation?  Are you going out of town to visit relatives for Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Or have you made some major plans to go to an exotic location - like Hawaii or Cancun - someplace warm and relaxing?

If so, what plans have you made to ensure your home is well protected from a burglary or fire while you are away?

For a lot of people protecting your home sometimes falls last on the list and by then it may be late.  Over my 20 years as a home security specialist with ADT I have met homeowners who put their security system in after they came home from vacation - when they found the door kicked in and their home ransacked.

Therefore, I am a big proponent of encouraging homeowners to be proactive about home security protection.  When you invest the time, energy and resources into building a solid level of protection in and around your home, you stand a better chance of NOT becoming the victim of a home burglary/home invasion robbery crime.

So what should you do to make sure your home is protected not just while you are on vacation but 24/7 - 365 days a year?  For people who have already protected their home with a 24/7 alarm service - I salute you.  You can go on vacation with tremendous peace of mind knowing if something happens help is immediately on the way.   For those who don’t have a security system you must rely upon neighbors, friends and/or family members to come and check your home while you’re away.

Here are some home security and safety tips to keep your home secure while away on holiday vacation:

1.  If you don’t already have one, install a quality home security system with 24/7 monitoring for burglary, fire and low temperature protection. If you already have security but not these services, check with your alarm company tp see about adding.  A fire can devastate a home.  And if the electricity gets knocked out due to weather in below freezing temperatures causing the furnace to go out, pipes freeze and sometimes burst causing flooding.  A low temperature detector would alert someone very quickly that there is a problem.

2.  Tighten up and harden the outside of your home. Look at the deadbolts on each door and determine if they are strong enough to withstand a forced intrusion.  Check the bolt on the deadbolt - 2-3″ bolts are recommended.  If you’ve never changed your locks/deadbolts and they are over 10-15 years, it may be time to invest in solid quality deadbolts.  Doors are usually the first point of break-in.  Make your doors impenetrable to an intruder.  When you leave for vacation, make sure you’ve locked all doors.  Common sense I know, but many people leave doors unlocked.

3.  Check windows to make sure locks are adequate and that they are locked when you leave. Recommendation is to reinforce the windows with dowel rods that can be placed in the track of the windows to prevent lifting or sliding if someone breaks the window to unlock.  If the burglar has to work with any effort at getting into the home, chances are the burglar will give up and move to an easier home.  The key is to make your home impenetrable to an intrusion.

4.  Be part of a neighborhood watch group. It’s a good idea to get to know neighbors on either side of your home and across the street then watch out for one another.  When you get ready to leave, let 2-4 of your close neighbors know so they can keep an eye on your home.  If you’re not expecting anyone other than a family member checking your home, let them know that and give them a number to call just in case anything suspicious happens.  If a U-haul pulls up in front of your home and starts unloading your valuables, that should be cause for concern and to notify police.  When neighbors help each other by keeping an eye out, it helps  reduce crime in your area.

5.  Have the newspaper and mail delivery stopped before you leave or have a trusted neighbor pick these up.  A stuffed mail box or newspaper box is a telltale sign that no one is home.

6.  Install motion sensor lights on the outside - garage, front, back and sides of your home provide the best coverage. When these lights come on at night, it gives the impression someone is home.  My recommendation is to also connect the motion lights to a lamp(s) on the inside which will come on once the motion lights come on.  This looks as though someone really is at home.  Most burglars don’t want to confront the homeowner so if they think someone is home, they may move on as well.

7.  Check your electrical plugs, Christmas lights and all outlets before leaving. Unplug as much as you can to alleviate having a fire while gone.  Check your battery smoke detectors and replace batteries accordingly.  If no one is home and a battery smoke detector goes off, no one knows.  If you have a monitored smoke detector, your alarm company can alert fire authorities and others and possibly prevent a major fire disaster.  Every year we hear of fire destroying homes and families due to negligence.

8.  If you have an alarm system, best sure to test your system from time to time and especially before leaving on vacation. Make sure your emergency contact list is up-to-date and let your alarm company know the dates you will be gone.  That way if they get an alarm they can dispatch authorities immediately.  Anyone having access to your home and your alarm should no how to work the alarm, have the 4-digit code and no the password in case they accidentally trip the alarm system.  That way you avoid a false alarm.

9.  If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you might have someone clear the sidewalk or your driveway if you get a major dump of snow during the holidays. When snow builds up in the driveway or sidewalk, this can give the appearance that no one is at home.  And that’s what burglars really like - no one at home.

10. Pull curtains and mini-blinds so people can’t see inside. Don’t display valuables near windows for burglars to see.  This may be too tempting if someone is really desperate.  Set lights and lamps up on timers to give the impression someone is home.

We all seem to be on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Community Sites.  Be careful how much information you give about being away from home on vacation.  You never know who your “friend” may be on Facebook or Twitter and there have been many cases where a home has been robbed not long after information was “tweeted” or “shared” on a social media site.  Use precautions about what you disclose about being gone, on vacation or personal information.  We don’t always “know” our social media friends that well.

Keep in mind that burglaries tend to increase during the holidays just because people have presents, valuable gifts, cash and other things that burglars want.  But in today’s volatile economic climate there’s more desperation from people who are out of work, don’t want to work, or on drugs.  As homeowners it is up to us to secure our home.  Sometimes that means we have to invest a little more but in the long run keeping your home and family safe and secure is worth the investment and peace of mind.

Your home security and personal safety should become a 24/7 habit - a mindset.  Not that you should become paranoid but realistic in knowing that crime is encroaching upon even the nicest, once the safest neighborhoods.  Being proactive and doing your part to protect your home and family whether you are home or on vacation means you’ll enjoy your vacation more and have a better sense of peace of mind.

Burglars Ransack Home & Kill Family Dog

November 13, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News

The morning South Bend Tribune headline news reads - BURGLARS KILL SHEEPDOG.  The homeowner came home in the mid-afternoon on Monday only to find his home totally ransacked by burglars and his beloved eight year old sheepdog had been shot and killed.

These are the lowest of the low-life criminals who would kill a dog - especially one who was not considered an aggressive animal.  The homeowner stated that his dog was not aggressive and when he sensed aggression in people, he would get a toy to play together with. (Picture courtesy of South Bend Tribune).

Don’t think just because you have a pet dog that you are totally secure.  A good barking dog is definately a part of the deterrent value, but don’t rely solely on your pet.  Violent home intruders can easily disgard your pet with one swift kick or with a single shot. During my 20 years as a security consultant I told many homeowners that a pet dog and an alarm system is actually pretty good protection.

If you haven’t started your security protection, start now before the holiday season begins.  Protect your home by installing a security system and implementing protection strategies that will make your home impenetrable to these violent home burglars and criminal intruders. 

When we leave home, our dog Rocky is always well-protected.  The security system is for him as much as it is for protecting our home.  These criminals are rotten, maniacal low-lifes who don’t care who or what gets in their way. They will use whatever force it takes to do their job and that is usually with a lethal weapon.

If you haven’t installed a security system already, be proactive and protect your home and family starting today.

Burglars Kill Sheepdog…read the story CLICK HERE.  Don’t let your dog or home become the victim of a violent home intruder - protect your home and family now.

Starting today take action and protect your home, family, and pet! 

Get a copy of the Free Report-”HOME  INVASION PREVENTION @ www.homeinvasionfreereport.com.

Does Your Home Security Plan Include A Safe Room? Part I

November 7, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News

pic-of-action-plan-8-19-08rDo you have a plan of action in the event you are a victim of a home burglary or violent home invasion robbery while at home?  I would venture to say that most people don’t!  It is a good idea to have a Home Security Plan that includes a Safe Room in case someone forcibly enters your home while you and your family are there.  The general intent of a safe room is to provide short-term protection for you and family members until the police arrive or the attackers leave your home.

It is a fact of life today that burglaries, home intrusions, home invasions, and kidnappings are happening at an alarming rate.  We are all encouraged to have a Personal Plan of Action in case we are attacked on the street but we sometimes forget to have a well-thought out plan for some sort of attack in our home.

Home intruders want what you have - MONEY!

Right now times are tough.  The economy is in the tank and people are out of work, losing jobs each and every day, and drug-related crimes are on the rise.  Flat out – CRIMINALS WANT WHAT YOU HAVE – and that’s your MONEY!!  And criminals will take it from you easily or with violent force if they have to.  You need to be prepared and make sure that you aren’t the recipient of this violent force.

Are you a “high risk” individual who may become a potential target of a home invasion robbery, a kidnapping, or a home burglary?  There are many professional criminals, thug gangs, or desperate home intruders who may find it “easy” to target a bank executive or manager, high profile personalities, or executives of local businesses.  If you fall into a high risk category or profile, one of your first priorities should be to ensure you have a well-protected home with a quality security system and a designated Safe Room within your home to retreat to.   

The very thought that someone would forcibly enter your home while you and your family members are there means the intruder(s) is serious about robbing your home either of your possessions, valuables, money, or worse yet - kidnapping.   When you are face to face with the intruders and can identify them means there is a possibility you may be harmed or even killed. 

The typical way criminal intruders will enter a home is violently right through the front door in teams of 2/3/4 at a time may.  Once inside and after apprehending family members some intruders have been known to take an adult family member to the local ATM machine and have them withdraw money from a credit card and/or a bank account.
 
Hopefully this situation will never happen to you, but in today’s violent crime ridden society my suggestion would be to take every precaution you can to prevent this crime from ever happening to your family.  Be proactive by having and following a home security plan of action.

You may want to implement optimum perimeter protection strategies for the perimeter of your home - i.e. stronger doors, ultimate deadbolts, solid door frames, windows, etc.  This will make it much more difficult for just a swift kick or a 250 lb shoulder to force in your front door.  

Do you have an Early Alert Warning System covering your outside perimeter?  Wouldn’t you want to know ahead of time that you have unwanted visitors at your front door, back door, or garage entry area?  A   Voice Alert System will let you know when someone is within a certain radius of your home where you have designated outdoor sensors set up.   You might also include an outdoor video surveillance cameras and monitor these cameras with an indoor monitor or via your cell phone or computer.
 
Where is the best location for your Safe Room?

The Safe Room that is part of your home security plan is a defensive core area of your home that is most likely the safest place for you and other family members to escape to in a home break-in or home invasion.  It is vital that you plan ahead of time what you and other family members will do in this situation.  If a break-in occurs while you and your family are home try to remain calm and retreat to your safe room, lock the door, and call the police for help.

The room you select may be the main bedroom in your home.  (Or it couldcw-solid-core-door-safe-roomr be a main bathroom or closet location).  Whatever location you decide, check the doors to this room for strength and ability to withstand a major kick or forced entry.  Believe me it will be the intent of the intruders to find you.  These doors, like your main entry door, should be solid hardwood or metal core doors and should be hung so they open outward.  Replace the wooden doorjamb with a steel one or reinforce the door trim with steel angle iron to prevent the door from being kicked open.  On wood door jams, install three-inch screws in the door hinges and in the heavy-duty, four-screw, lock strike plates that cut deep into the doorframe studs.

The interior doors in most homes are flimsy, hollow-core wood doors so you will most likely need to upgrade these doors.  You will also want to install quality deadbolt locks on the doors to your safe room.

If you have young children, infants or toddlers you may want to make their room the safe room.  It will be easier for you or other adults to retreat to the children’s room rather than to get the children out of their room and into yours.  You should follow the same instructions on their doors if you select your child’s room as the safe room.

If you are in the process of building your home and want to include a professionally designed Safe Room, you may want to check with companies who specialize in “Safe Room” construction.  Depending upon your level of safe room protection they can provide a solid construction with reinforced walls and doors that can effectively stop bullets, incorporate a ventilation system, and provide a much more detailed and indepth level of protection. 

Read Part II - Suggestions for your Home Security Safe Room Plan

Get a copy of the Free Report -“HOME INVASION PREVENTION” @ www.homeinvasionfreereport.com.

Could Social Media Tip Off Home Intruders?

September 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News, Home Security Training

Listen Up - Could your Twitter and Facebook postings tip off home burglars to the fact that you aren’t home?

facebook-pic1When you tweet where you are or Facebook all your friends that you’re having the best cup of coffee at Panera Bread or Starbucks, are you alerting some unscrupulous “friend” that you’re not at home and that may be the opportunity for a home break-in?

Your first inclination may be “NO WAY” - who would possibly do that?  A savvy “professional” burglar that’s who.  Look at the number of burglaries and home invasion robberies that have dramatically increased over the last 18 months.  Anything is possible - you just need to be ahead of the game.

You see “online” child predators disguising themselves as “friends.”   Who’s to say there aren’t “online” local home burglars who carry their cell phones set up with Facebook/Twitter apps so they can keep up with what their “friends” are doing 24/7. 

Someone could potentially “friend” local community peeps on both Facebook and Twitter and just watch the conversations.  When someone is on vacation - talking about how great the oceanview is in Florida or that they are visiting family in California, this may be a great opportunity to checkout the home to see if anyone is REALLY home.  Bingo!! The home is totally empty — AND NO SECURITY SYSTEM!!

My suggestion is protect your home and family right now so you don’t have to worry what you say on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media you use.  What is holding you back?  Taking action now means you’ll spend less money, get a good level of protection without breaking the bank, and have total peace of mind whether at home or away on vacation.

Checkout the great offers through ADT Security.  I’ve had ADT for 23 years and it’s the best peace of mind you can have when you consider your families’ safety and your home protection.

Install your security system today and tweet all you want about the coffee at Starbucks!!

Get a copy of the FREE REPORT-“HOME INVASION PREVENTION” @ www.homeinvasionfreereport.com

 

 

Gun Sales Rise As Home Burglary & Home Invasions Increase!

August 17, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News

Courtesy of WRDW News 12

 

Many homeowners ARE taking action when it comes to protecting their home and families against home invasion intruders.  As crime increases and more and more homes are burglarized and violent home invasions take place, homeowners have decided to protect their families with lethal weapons.  Intruder -  Beware Of Homeowner should be the sign to let intruders know that homeowners aren’t going to be complacent and take it anymore. 

If you are one of the homeowners who is purchasing a firearm to protect your home and family, be sure to follow some common-sense rules.  Become properly trained in how to use the weapon, purchase the right firearm for your needs, keep firearm safety a high priority, and get a home security system too!

If you become a victim of a home invasion crime while sound asleep, you may not hear the intruder get into your home so the firearm is useless.  If you have  no noise to alert you - an intruder can be in your bedroom before you even know it with a firearm pointed at your head.  At least the security system will have protection points that the intruder has to violate or set off as he tries to get into or move about your home.

A really good level of protection is a security system, your personal protection of choice (firearm), and a loud barking dog! 

Take a look at my article Home Security Action Plan for some steps to protect your home and family.

Stay safe & protect your home and family!!  Keep firearm safety a priority.

adt-yard-sign3Protect Your Home with a FREE Home Security System ($850 Value). You pay only $99 Installation Fee + 24-Hour ADT Monitoring Services.  Call  866-755-6137  or Click Here to go to the website.

 Get a copy of the FREE REPORT-“HOME INVASION PREVENTION” @ www.homeinvasionfreereport.com

 

 

 

Tough Economic Times Driving Burglaries

April 27, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Headline News

With the hard economic times driving more home burglary crimes - it’s time to target harden the perimeter of your home to keep the burglars OUT!!! 

Video Courtesy of KRQU-TV

For the past year I have been writing about how the increase in home burglary and home invasion robbery crimes are primarily due to the change in our economy.  It seems even law enforcement is starting to say the same thing.  After spending 20 years as a Security Consultant for ADT - I saw firsthand how the change in the economy can cause an increase in home burglary crimes. 

In the early - mid 1990’s there was an increase in this crime right around the presidential election.  The primary news was the bad state of our economy.  As a security consultant during this time I was extremely busy assisting thousands of homeowners with their home security protection. 

When I look at home burglary/home invasion robbery crimes today, they are different.  I think the word “desperation” best describes the home burglary/home invasion intruders.  These intruders are smarter, more educated, and more determined to break into homes and take whatever they want. 

When you see the violent home invasions and home burglaries blasting the TV news, there seems to be a certain amount of desperation driving these criminals.  Things like job loss, no jobs available, trying to feed a family, and a $500/per day drug habit can make one desperate!

For the criminal with an expensive drug habit, they are going to be very busy breaking into many homes each day.  Not only are they looking at taking your property (computers, TV’s, big screen, stereos), but they are also looking to take your cash, credit cards, jewelry, guns and whatever else they can find that can easily be turned into cash.   

For todays home intruders, installing just a security system may not be enough.  What I mean by that is these criminals realize there may be some things they can do to disable “some” alarm systems.  Many have become educated in how security systems function, while there are still many criminals who avoid a home with an alarm system.  The professional intruder may know approximately how long it takes for the police to respond in your neighborhood.  In some areas it might only be a few minutes for the police to respond to an alarm; while in larger metro cities it could be 5/10 maybe 15 minutes or longer.  The intruders are alert to these response times by the authorities. 

That’s why it is very important to harden the entire perimeter of your home.  You need to buy as much time as you can while the intruder is trying to break in for the police to respond to your call.  You don’t need to go crazy and build Ft. Knox, but take a look at where an intruder might potentially break in and make sure you’ve reinforced that area.  The longer and harder the intruder has to work to break in the more likely he is to give up and go to an easier home.

Here are some security measures you can take to target harden your home’s perimeter.  If you are home when an attempted intrusion takes place, immediately call 911 and activate your alarm system’s emergency panic button.  This will let the alarm company know to dispatch the police immediately that someone is home and needs help right away! 

1.  Install a security system that protects all entry doors, vulnerable windows, with interior motion detectors (depending on home size at least one on the main level and one in a basement location), operating panel at the main entry with an option for one at the front door, and either an operating panel in the master bedroom or at least a wireless remote with a panic button.  Make sure you put your alarm sign in the front and back of your home and put window decals on doors with glass and vulnerable windows.  Click Here for security details.

2.  Reinforce your deadbolt locking system if outdated.  The Ultimate Lock is an excellent deadbolt system that will make it extremely difficult for an intruder to kick in the front door.  This locking system can withstand up to 4,000 pounds of force.  If you have a 250 lb intruder kicking at your front door, be aware you must have a deadbolt system that can withstand that blow.  The Ultimate Lock should be a part of your perimeter security protection - the front door, back door, and garage service doors are going to be vulnerable doors that an intruder will be looking at kicking in.  Click Here for details on the Ultimate Lock system.

3.  Glass can be a weakness in your home’s perimeter, especially if it is single paned glass.  The newer glass sliders/windows use double-paned glass, but even they can still be broken.  If you have a lot of glass slider doors on the rear of your home, protect your glass slider doors with ShatterGARD security window film.  This is a security film that goes on the inside glass that provides a coating like armor in case the glass is broken.  An intruder would have to work extremely hard using a baseball bat to try and break the glass.  The glass may eventually break but will hold together with the ShatterGARD film keeping the intruder from getting through.  Once the intruder realizes he cannot get through the glass without completely exhausting himself, looking for an easier home may be his next choice.  Click Here for details on ShatterGARD security film.

4.  A perimeter alert system that lets you know that someone is breaching the outer area of your home can give you valuable warning that you have a potential intruder on your property and more than likely looking at breaking in.  The last thing you want is to wake up and find the intruder looking down at you and you never heard him get in.  The Voice Alert System can be set up to detect someone approaching your driveway, the front door area, garage door area, and back door area.  If it is 3:00 a.m., wouldn’t you want to know you have an intruder at your backdoor?  Click Here for details on the Voice Alert System.

5.  A reinforcement for your perimeter and interior doors would be the 20-gauge steel door brace.  This is a relatively inexpensive yet strong addition to your doors.  It is placed underneath the front door handle and braces itself against the door and floor.  The harder someone pushes on the door the more the brace takes hold.  Once again, this could slow the intruder down giving you time to alert the police….or grab your personal protection.  I keep a door brace in the master bedroom as part of my safe room protection to reinforce the master bedroom door.  Click Here for details on the steel door brace.

6.  Place motion detector lights around the perimeter of your home.  if you have a dusk to dawn light, that can be an effective deterrent as well.  The motion lights come on when someone or even an animal walks within the sensing unit.  To be most effective I would always recommend to customers to have the motion lights connected to an interior light or lamp so when the outside motion lights came on it would also turn the lights inside on.  That made it look like someone was really home.

7.  Check the list of common-sense products you can purchase from your local hardware store to help reinforce the perimeter of your home.  Click Here for details on common-sense products.

If you setup your security system protection using the above protection plan, you can harden your home’s perimeter making it extremely difficult for a home burglary/home invasion intruder to get through. 

Be proactive and protect your home and family today!!

Get a copy of the FREE REPORT-“HOME INVASION PREVENTION” @ www.homeinvasionfreereport.com