Christmas Home Safety Tips

Don’t Let Burglars Ruin The Holiday Season

For many families, the holidays are known as the season for giving. But for burglars, it’s the prime season for taking—stealing from you not only your hard-earned money, possessions, and new gifts, but also all the joy and sense of goodness that the holidays are supposed to be all about.

Protecting your home from burglary is a necessity during any time of the year. But when burglars know that holidays such as Christmas are when homes are likely to be filled with brand new gifts—MP3 players, computers, flat screen TVs, jewelry, cash, and other expensive items—extra security measures need to be put in place.

The following are a few important tips that can go a long way in protecting your home during the holidays and decreasing its chance of being selected as a criminal’s next target.

The Home Security Onion: The More Layers The Better

  • Burglars prefer to break into homes that are unoccupied. You can give the appearance of being home by installing two or three light timers inside your home, and use timers to turn on a TV or radio while you’re gone.
  • Burglars look for homes that allow for easy access. So avoid placing your Christmas tree and the surrounding gifts in front of an accessible window. This will only invite burglars to break the window and reach in and grab the gifts.
  • If you are going to be away for several days on vacation during the holidays, ask a neighbor to collect all newspapers and/or ads left on your driveway, doorstep or doorknob while you are gone. Doing so will give burglars one less visible tip that your home is unoccupied.
  • Extension cords running through a window for Christmas lights can create a severe security hazard, as this usually prevents the window from being closed and locked. If you enjoy displaying Christmas lights outside your home but don’t have an exterior electrical outlet, have one installed by a professional.
  • NEVER leave a message on your answering machine that notifies callers that you are away on vacation. There are some burglars who are in the business of calling homes to check for these types of messages as a way of finding their next targets.
  • All accessible windows and glass patio doors that slide sideways should have a metal rod or solid wooden closet dowel inserted into the track. Windows that slide up and down should have an anti-lift mechanism installed on the interior of the window.
  • The holidays should be all about sharing happy times with your family and friends; so don’t let the bad guys stop you from enjoying your holiday season. Instead, protect your home with multiple layers of security and stop the bad guys in their tracks!
  • Most burglars force their way into homes through a locked door or window. You can significantly decrease a burglar’s ability to break down the door to your home by installing a high-quality security door brace at the base of the interior side of entry doors (the brace must be able to withstand at least 1800 pounds of force).
  • Treat all accessible windows and glass doors with glass protection film. This protective layer of security will make the glass extremely hard to break through without a significant amount of time and noise-producing effort. This will give a burglar good reason to stop and flee the premises rather than continue and risk being caught.
  • Do not place empty boxes from expensive gifts such as computers, stereo equipment, DVD players, etc., out on the street with your garbage after the holidays. This may indicate to burglars on the prowl that you have something worth stealing. Break down the boxes, cut them up, and conceal them in plastic garbage bags before placing them in your garbage cans.

We encourage homeowners to consider upgrading their home security as a way of safeguarding their possessions this Christmas. It can also reduce home insurance costs, as installing properly-fitted alarms and locks can lower home insurance premiums.

For a free onsite home security evaluation, call the professionals at Smart Security Camera at (954) 925-2127. We serve all of Broward, Miami Dade, and Palm Beach County.

Thanksgiving Home Safety Tips

Have a safe holiday with these Thanksgiving safety tips

To ensure a worry-free holiday, Smart Security Camera offers these simple, convenient travel and Thanksgiving safety tips to keep your family and home safe for the holidays:

  • Remove fall-related objects that might allow access to your home. For example, ladders for cleaning leaves out of gutters can be used to enter a window or scale a fence
  • Don’t post Thanksgiving travel plans on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram letting people know that you will be out of town
  • Turn your telephone ringer down so no one outside can hear repeated rings; and review your answering machine message to make sure it does not imply that you are away
  • Make sure to have all mail, newspapers, and deliveries stopped or picked up by a neighbor, friend or relative
  • Never leave a key hidden outside. Burglars know all the best hiding places
  • Secure all windows, including those upstairs and reduce the chance of easy entry by cutting tree limbs away from second-story windows
  • Have a friend move your car occasionally if it is parked in the driveway
  • Use timers to operate lights
  • Have a Smart Security Camera home security system installed
  • Consider installing a security system that has remote viewing that allows you to check on your home while away and even arm and disarm your system from any laptop, cell phone, PDA or other Web-enabled devices

Also, according to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the leading day for home-cooking fires. Smart Security Camera suggests these fire-safety tips to ensure everyone has a safe and healthy Turkey Day:

  • Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency, and teach your family how to use it
  • Be cautious when using turkey fryers as they pose a number of distinct safety concerns, including burn and fire hazards
  • Never wear loose fitting clothing when cooking. Long, open sleeves could ignite and catch fire from a gas flame or a hot burner. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking

Utilize these Thanksgiving safety tips this holiday season, and be thankful for your home and family’s safety.

 

Ways to Make Your Home More Secure

Your home is your safe haven. It is a place where fond memories are made and relaxing evenings are spent after a busy day.  If your home is under-protected or you’ve had a recent burglary, this may compromise the security you feel in your own home. Using a few simple home security tips and tricks, you can protect your belongings, thwart would-be thieves and increase your feeling of security while home and away.

Prevention begins outside your home from the minute it comes into view. Take a walk around your property with a critical eye to see what changes it needs. Here are a few you may have missed:

Don’t provide places for thieves to hide

Trim trees and bushes that may give someone a place to hide or unnoticeable access to your windows. You should trim back any shrubs that are high enough to block a window.

You will also want to consider the lighting of your property. Look for places around your home that are very dark and may allow a thief access to your home under the cover of darkness. Consider installing lights in various places that can light up entrances. Motion detection spotlights are the best option to conserve energy and not annoy your neighbors or yourself with the bright lights.

Don’t let thieves know you are not home

If you are planning to go on vacation, never announce it beforehand. We are a society that likes to share, and thieves love that about us. Sending a tweet that you’ve arrived at the airport or posting a status update on Facebook indicating that you can’t wait to leave for your cruise is a great way to alert thieves that your home is empty. Save all updates about your vacation and picture sharing for when you return.

In addition, if you are planning to vacation, have a trusted friend or neighbor stop by every day to pick up the mail, newspapers and any fliers that may be left at the door. If a flier has been sitting on your front door for days, a thief could take notice and know you are on an extended leave.

When you leave for work or appointments or go on vacation, you can create a “someone’s at home” look using timers on lights and TVs. No surprise, there are lots of gadgets available. Fake TV, for instance, simulates the flickering lights of a television, and from outside, it appears that someone is watching TV.

Keep your yard clean to prevent giving thieves an advantage

Many times, thieves will gain access to your home through a window they have broken. It is best that we don’t give them a tool to do that. Clean up your yard of broken tree limbs after a storm. Ensure your kids put away their toys after playing outside. Never leave a ladder outside in the yard; a thief could use your ladder to gain access to a higher window that is more likely to be unlocked. Use the same precautions for tools, whether they are gardening or for the barbecue; lock them up when they aren’t in use.

Install a home alarm system

While an alarm may not keep burglars from getting inside your home, it will deter some and bring the police to your home quickly, limiting what a thief is able to take. Home security systems will only work if you always remember to engage the alarm. You should have your alarm engaged while you are away or while you are at home as many thieves will attempt to break into one part of your home while you are busy in another. Also, some insurance companies may lower your home insurance premiums for having a home alarm system installed.

Take precautions to protect windows

If you are purchasing new windows for your home, it might be worth the upgrade to buy shatterproof glass. This would prevent anyone from breaking a window to gain access to your home. If new windows aren’t in the budget, consider adding a security film to windows. This will prevent the glass from shattering upon breaking and may deter thieves from continuing their attempt to break in.

Are the window locks operable? If not, get them fixed or replace them. Also consider installing aftermarket window locks, which let you open the window a few inches while still keeping it secure. Another alternative is to use inexpensive window-break alarms.

Secure sliding glass doors

Sliding glass doors have incredibly flimsy locks. A thief can easily pop them in an instant, giving quick access to your home. Installing a security bar for sliding doors would make gaining access to your home more difficult. This measure of protection is a must-have for all sliding doors and windows.

 Always lock doors and windows

 Keep windows locked when you are not home, when you go to bed at night and when they are not in use. If you like to sleep with a window open at night, install window locks that only allow the window to open a few inches.

You should also keep your garage door down, even during the day. Having the garage door open invites thieves inside to look around. It gives them quick, easy access inside your home. Even if they can’t take something at the time, they can get enough of a look to see if your home is worth a visit later.

 Change the locks as necessary

If you’ve just purchased a home from someone, your first order of business should be to meet the locksmith at your new home. You have no idea who is out there with a key just waiting for the moment to use it. In addition, if you’ve had a breakup recently, it is time to change the locks. The person may give you the key back, but you have no idea how many copies are out there. Having the locks changed is good for the peace of mind.

Keeping your family, your belongings and your home safe and secure does not involve a lot of money. A few simple changes such as the home security tips mentioned above can protect everyone and everything for years to come.

Effective Home Security Tips for On-the-Go Moms

As a mom, you probably worry about a lot of things in your home, especially if you are working or away from your home part of the day.  Setting up CCTV cameras at home to provide you with a set of virtual eyes that will keep an eye on your home and your family when you’re away is one of the sure-fire ways to have that precious peace of mind.   Not only does it help you with intruders, but it also alerts you of fires and can help in a medical emergency. A home security system does a great job deterring burglars when they see the equipment or hear the siren going off. To deter the burglar, even more, place motion sensor lights around your home so when one is triggered it brings the burglar unwanted attention. The burglar will most likely leave the area.

In addition to having a good, reliable home security system installed, there are other practical things you can do to make your home a safer place for your children when you need to leave them alone or with a caretaker, or just when you are leaving your home empty when you need to go someplace.

Below are some of our security tips for busy moms on the go:

Invest in outdoor lighting.

Sufficient outdoor lighting is an effective intruder deterrent.  Your home’s doors, windows, and dark corners should be illuminated with outdoor lighting to make it impossible for would be burglars to hide.

Be social media safe.

Use social media responsibly.  It’s quite a common pitfall among active social media users, but posting your work schedule or the times when you’re not a home on Facebook is something that is so tempting for intruders.  Someone could already be keeping an eye on your social media status updates for any information that could give your whereabouts away.  Similarly, never live post photos of yourself at your kids’ events. Social media is a powerful and useful tool, however, it can open your home up to vulnerability if a potential intruder is receiving confirmation that you’re not around. You can always post photos and thoughts once the event is over.

Remember to lock your windows.

Some suggest that you should keep ground floor windows locked, but what about the windows upstairs?  Skilled intruders can easily climb up and sneak in through the windows upstairs.  It’s fairly easy to slide a window open even for a small child.

Trim the bushes and trees around your home.

Bushes and trees and lovely. Burglars think so too.  They are perfect hiding places for intruders.  Trim the bushes around your house or replace them with bushes that do not grow very thick.

Keep the doors locked.

This is a no-brainer, but something some moms tend to take for granted or forget, especially when they are in a hurry.  Invest in double locks for all your doors if possible.  This makes your home more “un-inviting” for would-be intruders.

Hide your keys in places only you should know

Hiding keys under the flower pot, beneath the door mat or on top of the door frame is very obvious.  Everyone does that and it’s the first place burglars will look.

Home Security and Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

As more and more seniors choose to live in their own houses instead of living with children, safety in the home for seniors has become an important issue.   We are sensitive to the home security and safety issues that are unique to senior citizens. In addition to the increased risk of age-related injuries and illnesses, seniors are increasingly susceptible to burglary and other cold-hearted crimes. Here are some of our top home safety tips for older adults, to help make sure senior citizens are safe in their home.

Basic Home Protection Tips

There are several important precautions you can take that will help keep you safe and secure in your home:

  1. Even when you are at home, make sure all doors are locked. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, have a peephole installed in your front door. If you hear a knock at the door, first identify the person and then decide whether you want to be home for them or not.  Remember, be suspicious of anyone who asks to enter your home for any type of “maintenance” reason. There are numerous cases of impersonating electricians or gas line inspectors who turn out to be dangerous. Always demand to see an official company ID.
  2. Always choose solid wood or metal for any door that has access to the outside. The frame of the door needs to be strong, so either have the current frame reinforced or have a metal one installed. Reinforcing your front door with a security door brace is an effective and inexpensive way to protect your home against a forced entry.
  3. Install proper exterior lighting. The outside of the residence should be properly lit so as to ensure minimum cases of fall. Falls are one of the major reasons for accidents. Proper lighting also deters would be intruders.The purpose of your home’s exterior lighting should be to detract criminals, not attract them. So while too little light allows intruders to hide, too much light gives would-be intruders easy viewing of the various entry points into your home. To avoid both mistakes, equip your home with outdoor motion detection lights that shine nice and bright only when the sensors detect movement around the perimeter of your home. Such lights can serve as an early warning as well as startle and give a would-be intruder a reason to flee the scene.
  4. Windows need protection too. Place Plexiglas or security film on the inside to increase safety and make it more difficult for the glass to be broken. The best option is to have an alarm system installed with window and doors sensors.
  5. When you hear a knock at the door, bring your phone with you in case you quickly need to call for help.
  6. If you live in a house with a gate, always keep your gate locked.  If you live in an apartment complex or condo, don’t buzz in anyone you don’t know.
  7. Never leave the door key under the mat. Instead, give copies of the key to family members and a trustworthy neighbor.

Extended Home Protection Tips

  • Have a security system installed.  They will not only help thwart thieves but are invaluable tools in medical and fire emergencies. If you plan on spending a period of your retirement traveling, then a security system is a must have.
  • Install motion sensor lighting. These lights are a great way to know when somebody is outside your door and they will help prevent vandalism, too. The lights can be installed on both a house and in a hallway of an apartment or condominium building.
  • If possible, restrain from having any regular monthly checks (such as social security) mailed to you. Thieves can figure out dates and time of their arrival. The best way to receive money is through direct transfer to your bank account.
  • Protect yourself from Internet scams and identity theft by following these tips:
    1. Personal and bank information should never be included in emails
    2. Password changes should be done frequently- monthly or quarterly
    3. Shop online only at reputable websites with secure checkout shopping carts
    4. Don’t click on any links from random companies. They usually steal your information through phony emails that appear to come from reputable businesses.
    5. Never give anyone your personal information over email.

Home security is a priority for senior citizens. To help prevent being targeted, take the advice of an experienced home security expert, and take responsibility for your safety and security today. For a free on-site security estimate, contact our office at 954-925-2127 or email us to schedule an appointment.

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Condominium Safety

Living in a condo in South Florida is very different than living in a single family house, and although some safety tips are the same there are some differences that should be addressed to keep yourself, and the entire building, safe. Here are our 10 simple safety tips specifically geared to condominium owners.

  1. Perhaps the most obvious and easiest action you can take towards safe condo living is to be aware of your surroundings. Acquainting yourself with your neighbors will give you a better idea of their regular arrival and departure times so you will be better prepared to notice anything suspicious in the building. Take note of all the fire exits and stairwells in your building as well as the parking structures and storage areas.
  2. Have a clear understanding of the “access control” devices. Access control systems are not the same as security surveillance systems.  Access control systems selectively restrict entrance into a building. Look for doors propped open or left open longer than the allotted time.If you notice an exterior door being propped open notify the property manager or security about a potential breach.
  3. When entering, or exiting the garage always make sure that the garage door is completely closed before driving away, or parking, to thwart unwanted visitors from gaining access to the building.
  4. Keep your unit locked at all times, not only when you are gone, but also when you are home. Always make use of your peephole; if you do not have a peephole talk to management about getting one installed. If you do not know the person on the other side of the door take precautions before opening the door to a stranger. Accessible windows and openings should be secured against forced entry.
  5.  Personal safety is extremely important in condominium and apartment living. Prior to moving into a condo make sure the locks have been changed since the previous tenant or owner. If you make copies of your keys keep track of how many there are and who is in possession of them. You should never hide or leave a key outside of your unit.  Secure all windows in your condominium. Test each lock monthly to make sure they are functioning well.
  6. As a new tenant or owner, you should take the precaution of not putting your full name on your mailbox. Instead, you should only use your initials or your last name. This will prevent unwanted people from trying to trick your neighbors into believing they know you and thus letting strangers into the building.
  7. Be extra cautious if you live on the lower floors of your condo building. Make sure you do not leave your valuables on display, particularly when you are not home. Also, make sure to keep the balcony doors locked when not in use, even if you are home.
  8. Install a home security system in your condo.  You can prevent crime from happening because the mere sight of cameras and the thought of getting caught are intimidating enough for potential robbers.   We do not recommend that you buy dummy cameras. Real cameras offer protection and they provide a lot of help in monitoring the activities of people in your condo.  In addition, criminals can usually tell dummy cameras as they can give themselves away so there really is no point in having them.
  9. Report to your property manager any burnt out lights in entry ways, hallways, stairwells and parking garages. Lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest deterrents to crime. By notifying the building manager about dimmed or burnt out lights you are increasing the safety of the overall condo.
  10. Regularly check if the smoke alarms are properly installed and in working order. There should be smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the common areas of the condo.

By following these low or no-cost simple condo security tips you will significantly deter a would be thief from targeting your personal condo residence and your building.  The goal in condo security is to make it so that the casual burglar will be deterred, it’s impossible to make your condo perfectly secure, but there are low-tech measures that will do 90 percent of the job.

For a free on-site security estimate, contact our office at 954-925-2127 or email us to schedule an appointment.

 

How to Move Your Home Alarm System

12 Tips for Moving Your Home Alarm System

As long as your home security provider services your new neighborhood, your security system can move with you! Moving policies vary by provider.  Contact your security provider at least eight weeks before your move. This will give you both ample time to coordinate logistics. Know you are protected from day one by squaring everything away before you move.

What to Do Before You Move

  1. Keep the original packaging for easy re-repacking
  2. Evaluate your home security needs in your new home
  3. Call your monitoring company to request a moving packet & discuss your schedule
  4. Remove adhesive/hardware from your former home’s walls
  5.  Make sure you have a local to secure your moving truck
  6. Turn off your systems back up battery during the move

What to Do After You Move

  1. Do not delay in setting up your new home security system
  2. Find a safe location for the control pad
  3. Install the new sensors in high-risk areas
  4. Introduce yourself to your new neighbors
  5. Know where the nearest fire station is located
  6. Contract your renters or home insurance company for a discount

Do You Need a Security System if You Live in a Condo?

Do you live in a South Florida condominium and are you considering getting a home alarm and security system? Are you thinking to yourself, “My building has a security guard, do I really need a home alarm system?” Whether it’s a condominium or an apartment, owned or leased, the truth is you should always be protected with a home security and alarm system, whether you’re in your home or away.

condo alarm system

Here’s why:

1. Protection from the Unknown.

Yes, your condo may have a security guard, but the truth is they can’t monitor your condo or apartment at all times. Living in a condo or apartment does not exempt you from burglars or break-ins. A condo security and alarm system will bring you peace of mind when you are not home.

2. Know Who is Entering Your Condo.

Every condominium has maintenance workers as well as outside contractors and vendors they work with. Although advance notice is commonplace in most associations, sometimes when work is being done on the property, they don’t always schedule work around a unit owner’s schedule. Installing a home security and alarm system can let you rest easy knowing that you’ll be notified if someone ever enters your condo without your permission.

3. Wireless Home Security Options.

Whether you are a renter or a condo owner who rents their condo to tenants, you don’t have to worry about wiring and drilling through the walls. There are many professional-grade wireless security systems on the market that do not require hardwiring or drilling into your walls, making alarm systems accessible for all renters. Wireless systems are a snap to install, and they work just as well. In fact, many proponents consider them safer than wired systems, since an intruder cannot cut vital communication lines.

4. Volume Control.

Many condo boards are very concerned about the loudness of an alarm siren, fearing it will disrupt other residents and cause complaints. Many alarm systems give you the ability to adjust the volume of the alarm, so as not to disturb other residents of your building.

5. You Do Not Need an Expensive System

Most condominiums have fewer entrances than single-family houses, so you probably need only a few sensors to monitor the unauthorized opening of doors and windows or motion sensors. A reputable home security firm can work with you to set up a reasonably priced plan with minimal equipment, but enough devices to note if anyone tries to break in.

DIY Condo Security

There also are a few simple steps to help you protect your condo that does not cost much but go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones safe.

Install fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors.

These are readily available through many retail stores and all operate on batteries. These devices save lives and are well worth their purchase price and the annual cost of batteries.

Request permission for a front door with a viewing hole.

Ask your condo association to let you install a door with a small peephole so you can see who is at the door. This is a simple and reasonable safety precaution, and you should not be met with resistance if you cover the cost.

Get automatic timers for lights.

If you are away from your condo, automatic timers can trick would-be burglars from breaking in, since they would suspect someone is at home. The key is to reprogram them often so that they turn lights on and off at different times.
As you can see, if you are a condo owner or renter you have some relatively simple and inexpensive choices for securing your unit and giving your peace of mind.

 

Smart Security Camera listens to the unique needs and expectations of each customer, then tailors the security solution which will best align with our customer requirements in today’s environment and achieves security solutions that are industry best practice. Our aim is to deliver our projects professionally, within contractual timeframes and budgets, and to adopt the best security solution for each of our customers.  Smartsecuritycamera has developed strong long-term customer relationships with some of South Florida’s premier corporations by understanding their security and operational needs and objectives. We carry security products from top rated manufacturers to suit all types of surveillance purposes. Security systems that we carry include trusted brands such as Samsung, Bosch, Digital Watchdog, GE, and Geovision to name a few. Contact us for a free security analysis. 

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