Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Inherent Benefits of Neighborhood Watch Programs

Among the many benefits of neighborhood watch programs are that they help reduce crime, bring communities together and create healthy working relationships between residents and local law enforcement. Other benefits include educating community members, keeping them informed and organizing local residents towards accomplishing the goal of a safer neighborhood. In short, neighborhood watch programs raise the collective consciousness of community members with a focus on helping police solve crimes, as well as work toward the reduction of future crimes.

Alert Monitoring

As a concept, neighbors working together to keep communities safe is nothing new. In the United States, however, organized neighborhood watch programs were deliberately formed towards the end of the 1960s and began to grow in popularity during the early 1970s. Since then, programs have been formed in countless communities throughout the United States as members have taken more active roles in improving and protecting the neighborhoods in which they reside. By keeping an alert, deliberate and watchful eye on the goings on within their neighborhoods, residents are able to more quickly recognize and report crimes in an effort to lower the overall number of burglaries, vandalism and other types of illegal activities in their community.

Provide Education and Information to the Community

Local neighborhood watch programs are also useful for the dissemination of official information from law enforcement agencies to residents. Such information works in heightening individual and collective awareness about crimes being committed in an area. Because neighborhood watch programs maintain a close working relationship with local law enforcement, information tends to be more accurate and useful in terms of identifying crimes and likely suspects.

A Systematic Approach to Raising Awareness

Residents who are unaware of crimes being committed in a neighborhood or who are aware, but have received false or misleading information, cannot be their most effective when helping police solve crimes and prevent new ones. Neighborhood watch programs, therefore, serve to raise the collective awareness of local residents by first educating them about recent criminal activity and teaching neighbors how to discern and report crimes in an area. With a direct relationship with police departments, this systematic approach to raising awareness works well in arming residents with the information needed to be more vigilant. Neighborhood watch members are also taught not to intervene with crimes being committed, but are equipped with the knowledge of how to immediately act in reporting such crimes. This type of awareness serves to help community members feel prepared in safely and effectively responding to crimes even before they actually occur.

Programs Create a Sense of Cohesiveness between Community Members

Neighborhood watch programs require close working relationships between individual neighbors. By viewing the community as an entity that each resident owes a commitment to, neighbors tend to feel a greater sense of responsibility toward one another and the community as a whole. As part of the structure of neighborhood watch programs, neighbors are encouraged to volunteer their personal contact information and agree to use that information to keep the relevant flow of information moving. Also, neighbors who are volunteer members of neighborhood watch programs typically meet at regular intervals to discuss information and activity pertinent to the program’s goals. Regular meetings often result in neighbors getting to personally know one another better than they perhaps would otherwise.

Relationships with Local Authorities

As volunteers, neighborhood watch program members rely on local police departments to assist with the information and education needed in order for programs to be successful in reducing crime. Through this effort, community members and local police departments are able to form closer relationships and create deeper understandings of the barriers each group faces in overcoming crime. With the shared goal of eliminating crime, volunteers and local police departments tend to view one another as team members although one group is comprised of paid civil servants and the other of volunteers.

How to Start a Neighborhood Watch Program in Your Community

The precise steps to starting a neighborhood watch program are essentially the same in most communities. To begin with, interested residents should contact the local police department to inquire about starting a new program. Most departments have assigned one or more officers to assist residents with starting programs. Departments may also offer training introductory brochures and information kits to help establish new groups. One or more officers will also usually attend early meetings in order to address residents directly, answer questions and provide guidance in helping a new neighborhood watch program grow and operate most effectively.

While most neighborhood watch programs start with one or more neighbors who share an interest in reducing crime in a community, other neighbors should be encouraged to join the program in order for it to be effective. In addition to addressing recent crime incidents and learning how to work with police to discourage future incidents, early meetings are also focused on organizing residents, sharing contact information and helping to define each member’s role in the group. One or more group leaders are usually selected to act as a facilitator for future meetings, to organize the dissemination of information and to act as a liaison between the group and the police department.

Neighborhood Watch Programs Work

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a neighborhood watch program is that they are often very effective in reducing crime. Members develop habits of paying closer attention to their neighborhood and, in particular, keeping a protective eye out for other neighbor’s homes and personal property. Within these programs neighbors also tend to share home security information and become better educated on security devices and home security options, in general.

Traveling Somewhere? Don’t Forget to Secure Your Home that You Leave Behind

Are you confident that your home is safe while you are traveling? How much thought have you given to outsmarting thieves who are waiting for you to hit the road? Chances are, like most people, you do not think that additional home security efforts are needed when you travel, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Recently, one of my family members had to visit a neighboring state for business. Having just moved into her home a few weeks prior, between working and settling into her new surroundings, she found little time to implement all of the advice offered on our security checklist. Intending to eventually do things like change her locks and install a new security system, she understood the importance of home security, but simply hadn’t taken the time to actually install the equipment necessary to keep burglars out.

Luckily, as she was packing to leave her home for a few days, she was deliberate in taking her laptop and a few other expensive electronic devices with her. When she returned, however, she was horrified to discover that an intruder– leaving no signs of forced entry– had stolen all of the mail that she had neatly stacked in a place designated for such. With a thief now having access to her banking and credit information, utility accounts and other private correspondence, she realized just how vulnerable she now was to the much more sinister crime of identity theft. This is the type of homecoming no one expects, but that too many unfortunate people receive after leaving their home unprotected for days at a time.

Having had my own home burglarized before, I know firsthand the feelings of violation, frustration and distrust that such a crime leaves its victims with. Losing personal items is hard enough to swallow. The feeling of complete strangers being able to so easily and callously invade your personal space, however, is even worse. An important first step in developing better home security is making a shift in the mindset that such a thing cannot happen to you, to believing that it eventually will happen unless you take steps to prevent it now.

The following are just a few tips that everyone can take to assure that their homes are secure before traveling.

1. Install an alarm system and invest in home security monitoring. Some security devices can be programmed to send an automated signal to a homeowner whenever an alarm is triggered, which is a helpful system…unless a person is too far from home to appropriately respond to a security breach or misses the automated message entirely. If an alarm is professionally monitored, however, the homeowner is not only contacted, but local security may also be alerted.

2. Be very careful announcing your travel plans. It’s quite likely that everyone reading this casually mentions their plans to others when preparing for a vacation. While talking on your cellphone in public or discussing your future plans at the barbershop or beauty salon, you probably feel quite comfortable relaying your excitement about an impending trip. As you share your departure and return dates, however, are you aware of others who are within earshot? That guy reading his newspaper next to you at the coffee shop could very well be an off-duty burglar counting on you being distracted enough not to notice as he follows you home and queues your address for his next heist. In addition to keeping mum in public conversations, do not share this information on the Internet either. Be sure to also advise other family members not to mention vacation plans on social media sites or to blog about where they are going and how long they’ll be away.

3. If possible, do not leave valuables in your home while you are away. My relative was smart to take her laptop with her. As she was packing, she also had the presence of mind to take a few other devices that she wouldn’t likely use, but that were too expensive and important to her job to leave behind. If you have items like this that are portable and can be relocated, do so before you hit the road. Also, expensive jewelry and important documents should be stored in a safe or even temporarily placed at the home of someone that you trust. If opting for a safe, be sure it is one that a thief cannot easily haul away.

4. Install a video surveillance system. Home surveillance cameras act as deterrents, which most burglars aren’t too eager to ignore. Upon noting that a property is protected by video cameras, most will skip that home entirely and search for an unprotected one instead. Security cameras also not only record the activity going on in and around your home, but systems such as Visonic IP WiFi Color Camera With IR Illuminator will allow you to log in from a remote location using your cellphone so that you can check on your home while you are traveling.

5. Never leave keys hidden under a mat or anywhere else where a burglar may find them. If you’ve ever been locked out of your home, it is tempting to want to stash a spare key under a flowerpot or somewhere else that gives you easy access while avoiding a call to a local locksmith. Unfortunately, thieves count on homeowners to do exactly that. Curtail their hopes for an easy entry and, instead, leave spare keys with someone trustworthy.

6. If you’ve just moved into your home, be sure to make changing your locks your first priority in home security. Not only do previous occupants have a key to your current locks, but it’s highly likely that random service people, real estate agents and friends or family members of the previous occupant do too. Neglecting to change your locks means that multiple strangers can walk into your home while you are traveling without leaving any signs of forced entry.

By following these simple guidelines, you can drastically decrease the chances of a burglary while you are away from home. Whether for business or pleasure, preparing to leave the comforts of home can sometimes be a laborious task. Neglecting travel security, however, often means returning to find that your privacy has been violated and that your personal belongings are long gone, which can be devastating. Preparing your home’s security ahead of time offers the peace of mind that you need in order to enjoy your time away and is something every homeowner needs to invest in before it’s too late.

Sometimes Homeowners Make Break-ins too Easy

A Consumer Reports National Research Center survey finds that all too often people make it easy for burglars to target their house or car.

“About half of all break-ins aren’t break-ins but walk-ins,” Bob Portenier, consultant, lecturer, and former burglar told Consumer Reports.

Of those responding to the survey, 19% said they do not always lock their doors, 26% stated that their windows are not always locked, and 43% admitted to not always turning on their residential alarm systems when they are away.

“Families get in a hurry in the morning—kids going to school, running late for work, doctors’ appointments, what have you—and forget to take that one or two minutes to check the doors and locks, usually on the back side.  You have a pet, you let it out to do its business—and then forget the security French door or sliding glass door,” said Portenier.

Officials from the Riverside Police Department in Southern California agree, noting it’s no time to be complacent about home and auto security.

“Deadbolt locks are helpful, as long as they are locked,” said Riverside Police Service Representative Nancy Castillo, who meets with neighborhood watch groups, seniors, and business organizations.

In addition to owning a house security system, there are many things you can do to make your home as safe as possible.  Many of the best ways to improve your home security are surprisingly cheap and easy to do, Castillo told Home Security Store.

“A security sign posted out on your lawn is a deterrent; but so is a large dog dish or a man’s boots sitting on a front porch.  No one knows what kind of dog or how large a man goes along with those items,” said Castillo.

Castillo adds the trick is not making your house an easy target.  “There is the ‘broken window theory,’ which is the theory that one broken window leads to another, which makes the bad guy more comfortable because it appears no one cares.”

Castillo is adamant about neighborhood collaboration as well.  “If the bad guy wants in bad enough he will find a way to gain access through the sliding glass door or another way.  This is where Neighborhood Watch comes in.  If neighbors see people or vehicles that do not normally belong in the neighborhood they will pick up the phone and report the suspicious activity, such as people trying house or car doors, people just hanging out in the neighborhood.”

Castillo adds to be aware of your home’s surroundings, particularly the driveway and garage.  “Install lights – bad guys do not like lights, they do not want to be seen.  Trim shrubbery and keep it short, so that the bad guy has nowhere to hide.”

Castillo says that neighbors watching out for each other and paying attention to their neighborhood is one of the most effective ways to increase safety.  “Neighbors just have to be willing to organize and get involved!”

“People call my office on a regular basis asking about criminal activity in a neighborhood.  I may look at the statistics and tell them that it is a very quiet neighborhood and then the bad guy moves in and changes those statistics; and it is no longer that quiet neighborhood.  It can be the other way too, there might be a great deal of criminal activity in a neighborhood and someone moves into the neighborhood that gets involved and organizes the neighborhood to fight against the criminal activity, then it becomes the quiet neighborhood.  Neighbors need to be involved.”

Remember, protecting your home with a monitored hardwired or wireless security system is just the first of many valuable home security precautions.  Using any of the home security tips outlined can help deter burglars and stop home invasions.

About Home Security Store, Inc.

Home Security Store is the premiere online ecommerce website specializing in affordable DIY wireless and hardwired home alarms, security camera systems, fire protection, spy equipment, survival gear, and more.  The company brings together highly-trained, professional technicians and a state-of-the-art product line to provide the most comprehensive security source found online.  The company offers FREE and FAST shipping, plus FREE tech support.  For more go to http://www.homesecuritystore.com

Arming the Security System Before You Leave

Many invest in alarm systems, yet some don’t always arm nor even use them. Hopefully, you are not one of these people, but if you are, we hope that you will correct your routine after reading this. The reasons for neglecting to consistently use a home security system may range from being annoyed by too many false alarms to feeling safe enough at home to develop a relaxed attitude towards security. Regardless of the excuses used to justify not arming a home security system each and every time you leave home, the bottom line is that neglecting to do so makes your home a prime target for burglary.

Attitudes towards Car Alarms and Home Security Systems

Just about every late model car is equipped with an alarm system and, without much thought, most people lock their cars and arm their systems every time they walk away from their vehicle. Why is it, then, that some of these same individuals are so lackadaisical about home security? With the same measures we take to keep our automobiles from being stolen or vandalized, we should make an effort to keep our personal belongings and family members safe while at home.

What’s the Sense In Paying For a Home Security System and Not Using It?

Granted, some people are negligent about security because they’ve never experienced the anger, helplessness and terror of coming home to find that their home has been burglarized. Many of these people either inherited their alarm systems from a home’s previous occupants or bought one on a whim after spending time with a silver-tongued salesman. While either of these scenarios offers no good excuse for not arming an alarm system when leaving home, it is somewhat understandable how security measures can be categorized as such low priorities under these circumstances. However, what is alarming (pun intended) is the number of people who actually take the time to think about home security, research the many options available to them and then pay for an alarm system and a monthly monitoring contract, yet consistently neglect to put a system to use. Not only does this neglect equal a heightened security risk, but it is also a monumental waste of time, energy and money!

The Invalid Reasons People Neglect to Arm Their Security Systems

It is not uncommon for people to skip the arming of their home security systems because of too many false alarms. What these people fail to recognize, however, is that frequent false alarms are actually screeching indicators of a problem that needs immediate correction. Repeated false alarms may be due to faulty wiring, pets triggering motion detectors, battery issues or plain and simple human error on the part of a home’s occupants who may not be using the system properly. Regardless of what is causing false alarms, the wisest approach is to locate and solve the issue, NOT to ignore it and choose, instead, to leave your home and your family unprotected.

Some people are just plain forgetful when it comes to arming security systems before leaving home. While remembering to arm a system can take some getting used to, once you do so it becomes second nature. Residents often remember to arm a system when they are going to be away for long periods of time, but forget to arm systems when they are leaving home to run quick errands. However, arming a system even for such short periods of time is important and making a conscious effort to remember to do so will reinforce the activity until it becomes a habit. Like setting a car alarm (which most of us do with barely a thought given), setting a household alarm can also become second nature with continued practice.

In other cases of people neglecting to arm security systems, the reasons are often due to a false sense of security. People feel that they live in the kinds of neighborhoods where locked doors during the daytime and home security systems are not necessary. The simple truth about most run-of-the-mill burglars, however, is that they are opportunists in search of cracks in a home’s security that are easy to locate and exploit. In short, most burglars intentionally target the homes of relaxed occupants who leave keys under mats, doors unlocked, windows cracked and alarms unarmed. Burglars are also known to target homes in so-called nice areas, since these homes are more likely to have pricey items such as expensive jewelry, electronics and valuable collectibles. The point here is to not assume that your comfortable neighborhood excludes you from burglary since living in a nice area may actually mean that your home is the exact type of target that a burglar is looking for.

No More Excuses

Whatever your reason is for not arming the security system before you leave home, let’s face it– it is a poor excuse. You purchased a system to protect your valuables and your loved ones, but the system cannot do either unless it is activated. Whether visiting a neighbor for a few quick minutes or heading to work for several hours, a burglar can make good use of the time that your home is unprotected. Arming your security system before you leave only costs a few short seconds, which pales in comparison to what not arming your system can cost you if your home is burglarized while you are away.

 

Fascinating Shoplifting Facts

Nearly every business that opens its doors to customers also opens its doors to the problem of shoplifting. Far from being a modern phenomenon, shoplifting has plagued companies throughout time and is one of the largest causes of lost profits. Many different approaches to curbing shoplifting activities exist, whether they’re focused on the installation of physical security systems or are more oriented towards equipping staff members with the knowledge needed to spot and apprehend possible thieves. Though the precise security measures that offer the greatest possible benefit and value are bound to differ from one store to the next, any business can take advantage of organized information about shoplifting and related issues. As thefts are such a widespread problem, they are often the subject of surveys and studies, which can help companies refine their understanding of how shoplifting is planned and perpetrated for the purpose of strengthening their prevention and cessation programs. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, or NASP, has gathered a great deal of data about shoplifting over the years and regularly presents its findings in order to keep businesses informed and up to date. Some of its more fascinating results are discussed below.

Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes on the planet. While individual companies may feel embarrassed or even ashamed about their shoplifting loss figures, it’s important to realize that this type of crime is a problem for pretty much everyone with open interaction between merchandise and the general public. The figures that result from studies of shoplifting losses are astounding, with an estimated thirty five million dollars’ worth of goods stolen every single day. While shoplifting is most prevalent in retail stores, it can also cause serious problems for wholesalers and other establishments, and though tallying up the losses on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis may lead to depressingly large numbers, it may be good to know that no business is alone. Though numerous security measures such as the installation of surveillance camera systems, alarms, benefit denial tags, and so on can help cut back on the frequency and severity of shoplifting incidents, such tools are unlikely to entirely stop the problem.

One way in which many types of crimes are fought by authorities is the creation of a profile that describes the specific sort of person who is most likely to be a perpetrator. Performing this task for the sake of predicting who might be more likely to shoplift isn’t especially easy, however. In fact, surveys have shown that men and women are equally guilty of stealing, and there aren’t many divides in terms of income level, age, or location, either. Though businesses may try to keep a special eye on people who seem more inclined towards stealing, such targeting should be based on a person’s particular behavior rather than their demographic attributes. Spending time in remote, concealed parts of a store, looking around nervously, keeping track of the movements of other customers and employees, and failing to make eye contact even while talking to others can all be signs of a shoplifting incident in progress.

A common mistake that businesses make when attempting to address the issue of shoplifting is to assume that all or most of these incidents are carried out by career-criminals or professional thieves. When reviews of losses show that large amounts of profits have been destroyed because of shoplifting, and when high-priced or especially cumbersome items are found to be missing from inventories, it may seem only natural to suspect that the shoplifting has been the work of experienced and talented professionals. Yet the NASP has reported that a scant three percent of shoplifters are professional; the vast majorities are everyday people, many of whom are otherwise law-abiding. In a way, this is good news for companies. As many instances of shoplifting are not planned with sophistication or expertise, interrupting them or even preventing them altogether with wise security programs may be easier than companies initially imagine.

Fighting back against shoplifting is a goal that all businesses open to the public must adopt in order to keep their stores safe and profitable. The challenge of developing a security system that is able to efficiently and cost-effectively address this problem may seem daunting at first, but there are numerous tools available to help business owners and others involved in the planning process streamline their efforts and maximize their results. Knowing as much as possible about the act of shoplifting itself, including information on shoplifting statistics, perpetrators, and methodologies, is essential for improving anti-theft security systems. Through investing time into the research of studies and surveys conducted by the NASP and similar groups, businesses can get a better handle on how to best address their shoplifting security concerns.

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Installing Wireless Nanny Cameras – For Your Children’s Sake!

Recent news reports that a nanny placed dirty diapers on the face of a defenseless 10-month old baby are not only shocking, but also highlight the importance of installing wireless nanny cameras in the home. This latest horrific event, which was discovered in New Mexico, also revealed the nanny stuffing a baby wipe into the little one’s mouth. The child in this story was only rescued from his nanny’s harm after his parents discovered her deeds on recorded video. Clearly, the use of monitoring devices is an unfortunate necessity in any home where young children reside. For the sake of defenseless children suffering under the supervision of ruthless strangers, we hope that all parents will take heed and make immediate provisions to monitor their children more closely.

The Tale of the Tape

Too often, parents who have installed hidden video cameras in the home are shocked to discover that a trusted caregiver is, in fact, an uncaring monster. Not every nanny who has been fired or reprimanded as the result of video captured on a wireless nanny camera is an abusive one.  However, some are just inept at their jobs and children suffer as a result. The only way for parents to truly know the quality of care their children are receiving is to install wireless nanny cameras throughout the home.

Caught In the Act

Caretakers who abuse, or neglect children, typically do not present themselves as the type of people who are prone to such actions. Parents who have discovered their children being abused by a nanny frequently report that their caregiver seemed to be a trustworthy individual. Appearances can be deceiving, however. Thanks to new technology, parents can now watch their children via recorded or live video feed which is exactly what one concerned mother did in New York last year when she witnessed Anneliese Brucato giving her infant daughter an antihistamine in an effort to make the child sleep while in her care.

Strategic Recording

Wireless nanny cameras can be hidden in plain sight. For instance, some people position cameras in toys, bookcases and other objects in a child’s room in order to secretly capture all of the activities that take place in that room while a parent is away. Surveillance shouldn’t be limited to a child’s bedroom, however, as many instances of neglect and abuse take place in other parts of the home, as well. In order to diligently monitor a child’s care, parents should be prepared by installing wireless nanny cameras at strategic points throughout the home and should either watch a live feed or review the footage on a daily basis.

Devices such as the Self Recording Baby Room Clock Nanny Camera with Built-In DVR are popular among parents with concerns about their child’s quality of care while parents away from home. This particular nanny cam appears to be an ordinary wall clock, but it records up to eight hours of video footage. Data can be stored on the camera or can be transferred to a computer where it can also be viewed and stored.

Other Wireless Nanny Camera Uses

While wireless nanny cameras are a worthwhile investment for parents of young children, many also purchase them to monitor the care of other loved ones. Specifically, adult children caring for aging parents also find benefit and comfort in being able to monitor a senior’s wellbeing. Whether being attended to by a caregiver or whether a senior adult is left at home alone for long periods of time, a wireless nanny camera can help loved ones know when a senior is in danger.

Do-It-Yourself Nanny Cam Installation

Installing wireless nanny cameras may sound like an intimidating project for some. However, many operate on rechargeable batteries or need little more than an electrical outlet for a power source. While there are companies that will sell complex devices and charge additional fees for installation, many parents have discovered substantial savings by installing monitoring devices on their own. By following clear instructions and relying upon useful video tutorials and telephone tech support, parents can install wireless nanny cameras while circumventing many of the costs commonly associated with such a task.

The Danger of Delayed Precaution

Unfortunately, some will still delay making their children’s security and protection a priority by putting off the installation of wireless nanny cameras. Such risky procrastination is of particular concern for children who cannot yet communicate to their parents when a caregiver is abusing them. It may help some parents to remember that not all abuse leaves physical scars and, even in those acts that do, by the time the evidence is discovered a child has already been traumatized. A nanny cam cannot stop abuse from occurring, but it may act as a deterrent and can certainly prevent prolonged abuse.

Each and every time a parent leaves a child in the care of a nanny, a child may be being intimidated, terrorized, neglected, sexually, physically or verbally abused. A nanny may even be kind to a baby, but expose a child to activities that an innocent child should never witness. Without oversights, such as wireless nanny cameras, in place there is just no way to know for certain what a child has to endure or is exposed to when a parent is away.

How Does a Baby Monitor Work?

A baby monitor works by placing a base transmitter in a child’s room, which then delivers messages to a receiver intended to remain in the presence of a caregiver while that adult is in another part of the home. In this way, a parent or other caregiver is able to move about the home while still monitoring a child’s safety and well-being. In the most basic of these devices, audio information is transmitted to one or more receivers by using either analog or digital technology. Certain models can also notify a caregiver of a child’s breathing, movements and general safety by utilizing motion detection sensors and video transmissions. Internet technology also offers advanced features on certain baby monitoring devices.

Analog Monitor

Analog baby monitors transmit messages using the same signals that an FM radio does. Sounds are essentially broken down into smaller bits as they are delivered over radio frequencies and are reassembled once they are delivered to a receiver. This process happens seamlessly so that the sound of a child’s voice is not interrupted. Parents are advised to exercise caution when using these types of monitors, however, since transmissions can sometimes be interrupted by other items such as sounds from neighboring baby monitors or cordless telephone conversations. To circumvent such interference analog monitors are often programmed to operate at higher frequencies and many are specially equipped to scan multiple frequencies in order to find one that is not being used by another device.

Two-Way Monitoring

Similar to a walkie-talkie, sound can also be carried over radio waves to make two-way communication between a baby monitor base and receiver possible. By using monitors that work in this way, parents are able to speak to children from another part of the home as well as hear all of the sounds coming from a child’s room. Features like this are not only found in analog devices, however, as digital monitors are also able to be utilized for two-way communication.

Digital Monitors

In fact, digital monitors are considered to be far more secure than analog baby monitors in that these types transmit information using digital technology, which is not subject to static and interference in the same way that analog monitors are. Digital transmissions work by transforming data into coded information before it is reassembled and delivered to a receiver. Also known as encrypting, this process minimizes neighboring interruptions, as well as keeps information shared between a transmitter and its intended receiver as secure as possible.

Advanced Monitoring Features

While early baby monitoring devices originally only transmitted sound, many modern devices now come equipped with enhanced technology such as video monitoring, night vision and Internet monitoring. Certain monitors also enable parents to record video and take pictures, which can be stored on a memory card and shared with friends and family members. Monitors like the Levana Digital Wireless Video Baby Camera with Online Monitoring even use motion sensor technology to detect and record movement so that a parent can be alerted whenever a child stirs. Another monitor, the Levana Advanced Digital Wireless Video Baby Monitor, can even play soothing lullabies.

Online and Smartphone Monitoring

Internet technology makes it possible for parents to monitor a child from a remote location by using a computer or mobile device that is able to access the Internet. Using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology, parents are able to use popular video-chat platforms to communicate with their children while traveling or simply to check in on a baby while the child is in the care of a sitter. As with other Internet devices, however, these types of monitors can experience communication outages if an Internet connection is disrupted or malfunctions or if a parent is simply out of range for a wireless connection.

Safety First

Whichever type of baby monitor parents choose, all should be advised that the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that children have been strangled by baby monitor cords, which is why most child safety experts recommend the use of wireless monitors instead. If using a monitor with a cord, however, experts advise placing equipment far enough away from a child’s reach in order to prevent injury. Also, while many baby monitors rely on batteries for power, weak batteries may severely hamper a monitor’s effectiveness. However, monitors that feature rechargeable batteries help significantly reduce the risk of battery failures.

Baby Monitors Increase Safety and Home Security

Whether utilizing analog or digital technology, most baby monitors afford parents the luxury of flexibility and mobility when at home with infants and small children. More recent technological advances further offer the opportunity to remain in close contact with children when a parent leaves a child under the supervision of another caretaker. With many highly reliable brands and models to choose from, most parents are pleased with the technology and features offered by baby monitors which help to increase safety levels in the home.

Wired Vs. Wireless Home Security Systems

Deciding between a hardwired alarm system and a wireless alarm system requires research in order to understand the pros and cons of each. After gaining a better understanding of how both systems work, homeowners should review a home security checklist. Upon doing so, homeowners will have a better idea of how secure a home is versus the areas where a security breach is most likely to occur. With this information, homeowners are better prepared to make an educated choice on whether to install a wired or a wireless home security system.

Hardwired Home Security Systems

A wired home security system involves sensors which are placed on doors and windows and are individually wired to the alarm’s main panel. When properly installed, wiring is shielded from view by being placed behind walls, baseboards and under carpeting. Other security systems, such as motion detectors and surveillance cameras, can also be wired to the system’s main panel. Often referred to as a hardwired system, these types of alarm systems also come with keypads and a variety of accessories which can be integrated into a system at a later date and greatly enhance a home’s overall security.

Wireless Home Security Systems

A wireless home security system, on the other hand, sends signals from sensors placed on doors and windows to the main panel via a wireless transmitter. This type of system doesn’t require extensive wiring and, therefore, does not require much drilling through walls or floorboards and some systems may not require any drilling whatsoever. Wireless home security systems also feature keypads and can be used with other security devices, such as motion detectors and surveillance cameras.

In order to decide which system is best, homeowners should carefully study the pros and cons associated with both types of alarm systems.

The Pros and Cons of Hardwired Home Security Systems

Pros:

  • A hardwired home security system does not receive interference from other nearby devices, such as baby monitors or a neighbor’s wireless devices.
  •  A hardwired home security system sounds an immediate alarm whenever wiring is cut.

Cons:

  • A hardwired home security system takes more effort to install.
  • A hardwired home security system involves making holes in a home’s structure in order to insert the appropriate wiring needed for all of the sensors and the alarm’s main panel to work.
  • A hardwired home security system takes more effort to relocate to a new location when a homeowner moves.

The Pros and Cons of Wireless Home Security Systems

Pros:

  • A wireless home security system is relatively easy to install with some who own the SC100-Skylink Home Security System reportedly doing so on their own in two hours or less.
  • A wireless home security system is fairly easy to relocate to a new location whenever a homeowner moves.

Cons:

  • A wireless home security system can pick up interference from other nearby wireless devices and, thus, trigger false alarms.
  • A wireless home security system can be disabled easier than a hardwired system can.

Which Type of System is Best?

While a hardwired system is considered to be the most reliable of the two different types of alarms, it is difficult to identify it as being the best for each individual homeowner. For example, people with older homes may not want to drill multiple holes into a house’s structure in order to install a hardwired alarm system. However, newly constructed homes often come pre-wired for a hardwired system or, if a homeowner is having a home built, pre-wiring can be requested so that additional holes do not have to be drilled into the structure after construction has been completed.

Although a wireless home security system is easier to disable, most thieves are deterred by the mere presence of an alarm and are not interested in taking the time (or the risk) to attempt to disable a system. Unless a thief is a highly trained and experienced professional (which most burglars are not) and is specifically targeting an item of great value, she or he is unlikely to want to put forth the effort of disabling an alarm system. Another major drawback often associated with a wireless system is that false alarms may be triggered by other wireless devices. The strategic placement of sensors, however, can significantly reduce the likelihood of false alarms.

On the other hand, wireless systems may not be the best choice for large homes since sensors that are located too far from the system’s main base may not carry a signal strong enough to communicate a security breach. It is for this reason that a hardwired system may be best for homes with a large square footage.

The pros and cons for each should be carefully weighed before making a decision to purchase a home security system. Each, however, can be self-installed by a homeowner, which can significantly reduce the cost associated with either system. Also, both types of systems can be monitored for a minimal monthly fee, which means that security personnel and local law enforcement officers can be notified within minutes of an alarm being triggered.

The final decision in choosing a hardwired versus a wireless home security system should be made based upon a home’s total square footage and whether or not wiring will cause too much damage to the home’s existing structure. While price is a consideration and a wireless system can, in some cases, cost more money, this should not be a homeowner’s primary consideration. Obtaining the best and most reliable home security should always be a homeowner’s top priority even if the best system may cost slightly more.

Better Communication, Better School Security

Keeping kids and staff safe is a responsibility most schools strive to meet with as much diligence and success as possible, and in many cases, schools are able to enjoy a degree of school security that makes it possible for kids to focus on learning. Still, there are many threats that schools sometimes face, from natural disasters and outbreaks of violence to accidents in laboratories and during various school events. Approaching school security in a way that’s able to address all of these threats without jeopardizing the financial viability of the school is crucial. From the hiring of security staff to the implementation of strict security policies, a range of potential solutions exists for schools interested in amping up their security and preventing injuries and other problems. Some of the most powerful and exciting tools available for school security today focus on communication, whether in terms of providing school personnel and students with gadgets that help them convey and understand messages more quickly and easily, or through encouraging better dialogue between a school’s occupants.

Today, many adults are likely to remember the occasional message being played over their school’s public address system. While such systems have indeed been around for a long time, they can nevertheless be instrumental for quality security at a school. As they allow for the immediate and unilateral dispersal of information, these systems can help school administrators or other officials inform entire campuses about any security threats that may arise, and can also allow users to announce any critical information such as where classes will be meeting to escape danger. Many configurations of PA systems are available on the modern market, and schools can significantly improve their security both on an immediate basis and over the long term by investing in a quality system built and installed by a reputable firm. Along with a great physical PA system, schools must implement a clear and useful protocol for PA use in order for this particular security measure to be truly effective. When users can transmit messages quickly, using abbreviations if need be, and are fully aware of what does and what does not constitute grounds for making an announcement or responding to a message, they’re far more likely to contribute to a solid security system.

Wireless technology may not have the same old roots as the familiar PA system, but it can do a great deal of good for schools interested in improving their overall security. Equipping staff from teachers to office administrators to sports coaches with cellular devices can be a great way to open up the lines of communication between authority figures at a school. Users can quickly and easily get in touch about any suspicious activity they may observe, and can also attempt to contact any missing parties during an ongoing disaster. Cell phones and other wireless gadgets are also useful when used by students. Schools that can transmit text messages to students to alert them to any security problems that may arise and to offer instructions or advice may find that this ability can make organizing kids and safely dealing with security threats far easier. As one of the biggest challenges of practicing quality security in any highly populated environment is effectively coordinating people, schools equipped with the right wireless technology can overcome this common difficulty gracefully and move on to other tasks.

Not all improvements in communication rely on gadget and physical systems, of course. The communication that takes place between school staff members and their students is also crucial for the development of a secure school environment. When disaster strikes or danger is present, many people, no matter their age, are likely to panic and to have difficulty thinking rationally about their actions. This makes the clear creation and communication of safety protocol especially vital for schools. If a school can be sure that it has successfully taught both students and teachers how to respond to a variety of security threats, it can count on a faster and less traumatic escape from whatever peril that may be present. From holding school assemblies to cover such protocol to allowing teachers and other staff to participate in intensive training, there are numerous ways to ensure that this key information is properly communicated –and schools that take such steps are sure to notice the results.

Throughout the spectra of cost and efficacy, schools have many choices in terms of tools and strategies for making security a priority on campus. Some of the best methods for staying safe can be practiced without budget-busting investments, and improving communications on as many levels as possible is among them. With the help of both old and new communication gadgets and quality programs for educating those on campus, schools can make learning and working safer.