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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.

Home Safety Tips: Summer Guide

Memorial Day is the harbinger of summer. But before you set off on your summer vacation, don’t forget to protect your home while you’re away.  Did you know that Memorial Day is the third top holiday for car thefts, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau?

Your home may also be at an increased risk if you live in or near a tourist town. On Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—a popular vacation spot—saw“hundreds of police reports,” and more violence took place that weekend than Independence Day. According to the report, the top Memorial Day weekend crimes were larceny and burglary.

We’ve outlined some simple guidelines to ensure your home is secure this holiday weekend and whenever you are away:

Call a Friend

Ask a family member, neighbor or close friend to keep an eye on your home for any suspicious activity. If you’re going to be away for more than a few days, discuss lawn care with maintenance company or your house sitter; a lawn that looks unkempt is a sign of vacancy. Place a hold on your mail or have a neighbor collect your mail and any packages for you.  Overflowing mail and packages left unattended are a sure sign that a house is vacant.

Pull the Plug

Unplugging electronics and appliances not only saves you money, but it safeguards your home from an electrical fire or power surge. Unplug your TV, microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, and any extension cords or power strips not being used for lamps. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “an estimated 47,700 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction.”

All Systems Go

Now is the perfect time to install a home security system or home automation system, or upgrade your existing security system to include home automation devices. You’ll see the value of having an interactive surveillance system’s when you’re on vacation, as it offers unprecedented levels of convenience and peace of mind.

You can use your smartphone or tablet to monitor and control your home remotely while you’re away, such as

  • Ensuring doors and windows are securely locked throughout your home.
  • Adjusting the heating and cooling with a comfortable temperature, which saves money.
  • Creating the illusion that you’re home. By programming your lights on an automatic schedule to switch on and off, it makes your home appear active.
  • Keep tabs on visitors with automatic alerts through video surveillance. You’ll know the exact moment when your house sitter, or anyone else, arrives at your home.
  • Check in on your property utilizing remote camera monitoring. Take a peek in or outside your house to ensure all systems are running smoothly, and everything is in its place.

In closing, it’s very important to think through the risks that are unique to your home. Do you have a faulty garage door? Are expensive electronics or other valuable items in plain view from your first-floor windows?  Take a look at your house from an intruder’s perspective: what’s vulnerable and valuable about your property and assets? Take proactive steps to mitigate any risks in order to enjoy your vacation and return to find your home safe and secure.

remote home automation

Remote home control system on a digital tablet or phone.