Monthly Archives: April 2012

Will a Gun Protect Your Home?

Often, in discussions about home security systems, people proudly announce that they protect their home with a gun. Understanding that the issue of gun ownership is a controversial one, we don’t intend to debate the matter here. While legal and responsible gun ownership is a personal choice, we would like to take a few minutes to explore whether or not a gun is the best way to secure a home.

A Gun Sends a Strong Message

A gun can certainly be useful in frightening a criminal away from a home. Many thieves, particularly those specializing in home invasions, knowing that a home’s occupants are armed, will bypass such a home in favor of one where a gun is not present. Not only does a gun send a strong message for criminals to steer clear of a location, but being licensed to own one may also give a homeowner a heightened sense of security especially if properly trained to use a gun. Of course, if a criminal enters a home not knowing that a homeowner is armed, a gun can send an even stronger message provided that the homeowner is able to get to it in time and use it to her or his advantage.

A Gun’s Limitations

While a certain measure of security is afforded in legal gun ownership, we also must consider the realities of using a gun as a primary source of home protection. There are a number of scenarios where a gun isn’t of much use in securing a home. Further, there are also scenarios where a gun can actually endanger members of a household.

One of the foremost risks in relying on a gun for home protection is that a gun is only useful in the right hands. For instance, if a burglar breaks into a home while it is unoccupied, a gun is useless. In fact, if a burglar stumbles upon a gun in an unoccupied home, the gun is likely to be stolen along with other valuables.

Relying On a Gun For Protection Can Be Risky

Using a gun as the main source of protection for a family may also place family members at risk. Consider children who are allowed to stay home alone, but are confronted with an intruder. Most parents will agree that they would prefer that children not be placed in a situation of considering a gun for protection since there are far too many risky variables involved in such an encounter. Even an adult who is trained to use a weapon is often faced with the risk of being overpowered by an intruder and having a gun taken away. In these situations, a gun meant to protect can actually be used to terrorize family members or worse.

A Gun versus a Home Security System

When comparing the pros and cons of a gun versus a home security system, the latter is a far more reliable option for protecting a home. First, burglars who study a residence before engaging in a break-in prefer to avoid those where an alarm system, security lights or video cameras are present. Second, for those who are bold enough to ignore decals, placards and other evidence of a home security system, a piercing alarm is one that cannot be as easily ignored by the intruder or by others within earshot. As such, an alarm system and other deterrents may be far more effective in discouraging crime than a gun might be.

Guns Mainly Offer ‘After the Fact’ Security

For the most part, guns are only useful after the fact…meaning that they are most often effective in stopping a burglary or a home invasion after a criminal has entered a home. On the other hand, a home security system tends to stop criminals before reaching this stage, which automatically increases a home’s overall security. Given a choice, most homeowners prefer to deter criminals before ever having to come face to face with one, which is why home security systems are the best choice for primary security.

Multi-Layered Security

As mentioned earlier, we are not here to debate legal gun ownership. If you are comfortable with a gun in your home, trained to properly use one and are a responsible gun owner, having one is your prerogative. Merely, we would like to point out that a gun should not be solely relied upon for your home and family’s safety. As we’ve stated many times here, there is value in using multiple layers of security in order to protect your home from criminal invasion.

Security vs. Combat

If choosing to have a gun in the home for protection, it might be better to rely on things like a monitored alarm system, security lighting and surveillance cameras as your first line of defense against burglary and other crimes, and only rely on a gun as an absolutely last defense. Deterrents, such as lawn signs, window decals and even fake deterrents like the Global Link Laser Scanner Burglar Deterrent w/Transformer, can go a long way to keep criminals at bay and to reduce the likelihood of you or a member of your family from having to make the choice of engaging in combat with an intruder.

SENIOR SECURITY: Safety Tips For Households With Aging Adults

Senior security becomes increasingly important as families realize that adults of a certain age often require specialized attention and care. Of course, a lot of aging adults are just as able-bodied and energetic as they were in their early adult years, but many are not. Regardless of a senior’s physical and mental abilities, personal and home security is important. For those in need of additional care, it helps to remember that just as parents take measures to child-proof their homes in an effort to protect infants and young children, certain modifications may need to be made in homes where seniors reside in order to make sure that they are safe and secure at home, too.

The following are a but a few of the ways that seniors and their families can increase senior security in the home:

Home Security Systems

Of course, we firmly believe that home security systems should be installed in all homes. Such should be of great priority for senior adults who live at home alone, particularly since burglars and other criminals have been known to intentionally prey upon the elderly. Simply installing an alarm system is not enough, however, as such systems should also be professionally monitored so that emergency assistance can be dispatched immediately if a senior is in danger.

GPS Monitoring

Knowing a loved one’s whereabouts at all times can be comforting, especially if that loved one’s mental capacity has begun to diminish. Few people ever expect an aging adult to wander away from home and become disoriented or lost, but these events do occur and can place a senior in grave danger. GPS technology helps family members and caretakers keep track of an elderly person’s location, which helps to  increase senior security, safety and peace of mind, overall.

Wireless Surveillance Cameras

Whether an aging adult is living at home alone or is under the supervision of a caretaker, installing surveillance cameras inside and around the perimeter of a home where an aging adult lives is a proactive step toward better senior security. For a modest investment, family members can remotely view events taking place inside of a home from a smartphone or a computer with an Internet connection. Video recordings can also be captured on film, saved and viewed at a later date. Sadly, regular news reports recounting incidents of horrible elder abuse abound. A high quality, affordable surveillance camera such as the Atrix Complete 4 Channel Camera Surveillance Kit, however, helps relatives literally peer into a loved one’s household in order to see that she or he is being properly cared for. A good surveillance system with remote viewing capabilities may also help aging adults who are in reasonably good health remain in their own homes and maintain their independence while allowing caring relatives to periodically check on them via video monitoring.

Video Door Monitors

As previously mentioned, burglars often target the homes of senior citizens who live at home. While most burglars prefer to steal from an unoccupied home, many brazen thieves will enter the home of a senior while she or he is inside of the house. In addition to this, con-artists will often pose as legitimate solicitors in order to scam an elderly person out of money and other valuables. One way to deter these unsavory types and better ensure senior security, is to empower aging adults to remain safely behind locked doors while still being able to communicate with visitors who approach their front doors. Models such as the Samsung Video Door Intercom Master Station will even allow a senior to grant access to familiar visitors without having to physically walk to a door, which, in addition to better senior security, can also be a great feature for adults with limited mobility.

Medical Alert Devices

Senior security also includes ensuring that medications are taken in a timely fashion and that an aging adult can immediately access help in case of an emergency situation. Medical alert devices that can be worn on the body are a good solution for this security concern. For instance, the SilverCare Personal Daily Living Assistant - Watch Kit functions as a wristwatch, but also allows an individual to press a single button on the watch’s interface in order to access 9-1-1 operators. This device can also be set to remind adults to take daily medications and can even be used to answer incoming telephone calls when a household phone is not within physical reach.

Making Senior Security a Priority

If you’ve read this far, chances are that you are someone with concerns about senior security. Rest assured that there are plenty of options available to make sure that seniors are consistently surrounded with multiple layers of security. After all, keeping seniors safe should be just as important as keeping children, pets and other family members safe and such is not very difficult to do with affordable do-it-yourself security systems.

Feel free to sound off below with some of your ideas for senior security.

How to Pack for Airport Security

Modern airport security makes a concerted effort to keep travelers and airport facilities and equipment as safe as possible, but it may sometimes seem that this service also plays the role of causing delays and aggravations for travelers rather than providing much in the way of assistance. To be sure, many people have had unpleasant experiences with airport security, whether it’s missing a flight because of excessive time spent standing in lines for screening or having to submit to lengthy or embarrassing searches. Not all aspects of airport security are particularly enjoyable, but with the right mindset and adequate preparation, it’s usually possible to work past the less agreeable parts of airport security and to get through the experience with as little frustration as possible. Just as preparing for the actual trip is an important step in making sure the journey is fun or productive, packing with the requirements and particularities of airport security in mind can help make moving through airports faster, more convenient, and less of a hassle. Packing properly for airport security can be accomplished with just a few extra considerations.

With so many restrictions on what can be packed in checked luggage or taken through security screening and into the terminal with a passenger, it’s always a good idea to check the latest guidelines from security agencies in any countries that will be traversed during the course of a trip. In some cases, items that may seem perfectly safe to some travelers may receive a restricted status because of their involvement in attempts at perpetrating crimes or for less obvious reasons, and getting caught with these items may lead not only to their loss, but to an inability to board a plane and other punishments. It’s also the case that sometimes, items that had been previously banned from certain types of luggage are lifted in terms of their status and can once again be packed. Perhaps most notoriously, the United States’ Travel Security Administration reversed its decision to ban lighters in carry-on luggage after discovering that many millions of dollars and hours of effort were being spent on confiscating the items from travelers’ bags and pockets.

Packing in order to have a more pleasant airport security experience also requires that travelers don’t take any unnecessary risks in terms of what belongings they tuck into their luggage. In some instances it may make perfect sense to pack certain valuables for a trip, but unless these items are really necessary, it’s usually better to leave them at home. Though most airport security personnel make an honest effort to keep belongings safe while they’re being screened, it’s not always possible for workers to prevent thefts and losses, and in some instances items may even be damaged while they’re being checked out by security. Thinking carefully about whether it’s really best to bring expensive jewelry, high-value electronics, and other pricey items on trips is a good way to minimize the chances of sustaining serious financial loss or worry about such losses –though security shouldn’t come between an owner and their enjoyment of their possessions.

Airport security is usually considered in terms of the actions and services of professionals trained to work at airports, but travelers themselves are also responsible for ensuring that they’re safe and secure while traveling. During the process of packing, travelers should always think about their own particular security needs and any products or items that might be required while at the airport or on the plane. This most often includes medications, but can also include contact information and other pieces of data. Though it may seem unnecessary to have such items handy while traveling, they can go a long way towards improving personal security when they’re needed and are also available, and the hassle of attempting to find or replace them if they haven’t been conveniently packed can put travelers and their peers at risk. Keeping important documents such as identification cards and boarding passes within easy reach for use during airport security processes is also a good way to minimize potential frustrations and make the entire experience less problem-prone.

Traveling today can make some people feel especially stressed out as they’re forced to work with various airport security policies and procedures, but in many instances, it’s possible for travelers to cut down on the inconveniences of modern air travel and make the experience a more pleasant and relaxed one. By packing intelligently with a focus on keeping important items accessible and leaving any restricted items at home, travelers can make the process of moving through airport security faster and far more agreeable –not only for themselves and their families, but for security personnel as well as other travelers.

Emergency Preparedness

Tips on emergency preparedness abound on the web and are regularly delivered as public service announcements. Local television news reports often offer tips as fillers or as important reminders accompanying stories of disaster and survival. Most of us can even be found glued to our television sets as we watch miners being rescued or people being pulled from the rubble of devastating earthquakes or sudden terrorist attacks. Still, in the midst of all of the information readily available, how many of us can truly say that we have a sound emergency preparedness plan?

The following emergency preparedness tips are suggestions about items and supplies that you can use to enhance your sense of personal security and survival during a crisis:

Bug out bag

A bug out bag is a survival kit specifically geared for evacuations. In fact, the basic contents of one of these can be started with a pre-made survival kit, such as the Mayday Urban Road Warrior Kit, which includes necessary items such as basic first aid supplies, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, non-perishable food, water, jumper cables, a solar blanket and much more. It is important to note that a good bug out bag should also contain individual survival kits for each member of your family since most are only equipped with supplies for one or two people.

Other bug out bag contents that may need to be purchased separately include things like outdoor cooking equipment, fire starters, a tarp or a tent for shelter and road maps (experts also recommend having more than one predestined location for meeting family or for general safety in case of a natural disaster or urban riot). Cash money or items that can be used for bartering, medications, important records, passports and other identification should also be stored in a bug out bag so that these items are on hand in case you only have seconds to react to an emergency situation and have to flee your home or office.

Emergency Training

Most fire departments offer emergency preparedness training free of charge. Several non-profit agencies also offer different levels of training for free or at a very low cost. Most classes take several weeks to complete, but are well worth the time investment involved. We understand that adding another commitment to your busy schedule can feel like a huge inconvenience, but just think about the confidence you can have in the midst of an emergency if you’ve been trained for things like suppressing fires, organizing a search and rescue team, and know how to give life-saving rapid medical treatment. Not only is this training good for you and your family’s personal survival, but you can also become certified to support government-appointed emergency crews in a time of crisis, which enables you to serve your community during its most desperate times.

Pet Supplies

When purchasing a survival kit for each member of the family or assembling a bug out bag, it is important to remember to make preparations for pets also. Food for several days, water, special supplements and medications should all be safely stored in case of emergency. Even the most lovable dogs can react aggressively when in chaotic or fearful situations, so it is also recommended that a leash, muzzle and a carrier are also stored alongside other emergency preparedness supplies.

Hand-Cranked Radio

When power and cell towers are out the only way to receive updated news and emergency information is by am/fm radio. A battery operated transistor radio can come in handy, but survival experts recommend a hand cranked radio, instead. The Red Cross offers these radios at a reasonable price, as do other online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Solar Energy Devices

Periodically checking your emergency preparedness supplies to make sure that batteries are in working order is a given. We also want to stress the importance of having solar powered devices on hand. Having things like a solar-powered cell phone charger, radio and flashlight are not only earth-friendly, but are very practical in emergency situations that may last longer than 72 hours.

Personal Security

Beyond surviving basic emergency preparedness strategies, it is also important to think about how to protect yourself from animals and other people. Disastrous events can bring out the best in some, while bringing out the worst in others. At the same time, hungry, frightened stray pets can become a danger to you and your family especially if you are without proper shelter. Personal security devices, such as a Family MACE Kit or a MACE Pepper Gun with LED can help arm you and your family against such dangers and should definitely be included in your emergency preparedness plans.

Arm Yourself With an Education

All emergency preparedness begins with education, so wage your own investigation to learn more. In fact, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read our previous posts on this topic to find out how much water you need to prepare for a disaster and other tips on what you can do to prepare for a disaster. And don’t forget to share your additional emergency preparedness tips below.

To Combat Cyber Fraud, Don’t Get Pressured

Each year, scores of people are affected by cyber fraud, an issue that has become increasingly serious as more people work, play, and communicate over the internet. Cyber fraud can be responsible for hustling people out of their money, other assets and resources, and of course, their time and peace of mind. Even when cyber fraud is not successful in gaining financial rewards from victims, it can wreak havoc in terms of frustrating and emotionally tormenting its victims. In order to stay safe from the threat of cyber crimes, people who spend more than a minimal amount of time on the internet or who conduct business such as shopping or banking online should take a closer look at the problem of fraud and how it is perpetrated. While there are many steps that can be taken towards informing oneself about cyber fraud and avoiding some of the most common scams, it’s also important to have the right attitude towards strangers when accomplishing tasks over the internet. In an alarming number of cases, victims of cyber fraud are essentially pressured into doing the fraudster’s bidding –even when victims might otherwise seem to be able to stand up to large amounts of pressure. Refusing to let this common tool work against you online can be a strong and reliable way to thwart a large number of potential fraud attempts.

People hoping to commit cyber fraud to gain access to others’ finances, accounts, or other assets often pose as officials or professionals from companies or government agencies in order to send an intimidating message. Fraudsters might claim to be representatives of a collection company seeking out payment for a certain loan, or might pose as members of an official group with important information they cannot reveal until something from the victim’s end is handed over. The pressure involved in these communications is often quite high, as fraudsters may suggest or even outright state that victims are in a lot of trouble or have very large outstanding obligations or debts. The pressure sometimes not only succeeds in persuading victims to follow along with the fraudster, but can also discourage victims from taking time out to perform relevant research or ask questions that might reveal the true identity or purpose of the other party. By never responding to high-pressure communications that aren’t thoroughly researched, people can avoid many types of cyber fraud. If there is concern over whether the communication is legitimate –for instance, if the victim really does have an outstanding loan but is unaware of a late payment or other problem–, contacting the known, original company or agency directly is the best idea.

Claims are often made in cyber fraud cases that can heighten the pressure on victims and help to create a believable identity for the perpetrator. From coming up with realistic agency names to claiming that a certain medicine purchased online is able to cure an incurable disease, there are many ways in which fraudsters attempt to suspend the disbelief of victims for a short period of time in order to secure money or some other way of wringing value out of the victim’s trust. Just as anyone can claim anything in the “real world,” anyone online can make nearly any claim, and dishonesty can be even more difficult to spot as the online medium allows for multimedia tools and other elements capable of seemingly supporting a claim. No matter the source of a claim or the apparent seriousness involved, it’s always wise for people to take the time to research the validity of the claim and its maker. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to search for a given company, agency, individual, or product, and to find reviews and other relevant information. Often enough, simply searching for the key words in the fraudster’s communication will lead to fraud reports and other complaints, making it easier to identify red flags.

Though some fraudsters will give up when initial communications marked by high-pressure aren’t taken seriously by victims, others are more determined. In fact, some cases have involved perpetrators who have showed up in person at victims’ places of work or secured phone numbers in order to place frequent, harassing phone calls. This type of behavior shouldn’t have to be endured, whether it breaks the boundaries of the online world or not, and reporting it as soon as possible to appropriate authorities is always a wise idea.

Avoiding cyber crime may seem like a serious challenge to those approaching the problem for the first time, but a little thought and precaution can go a long way towards ensuring that one doesn’t become a victim. Looking out for excessively pressuring communications and claims and refusing to play along can help people identify and defeat attempts at fraud online.

Moving Quickly Through Airport Security

For plenty of people, embarking on a trip that involves air travel can be a considerable hassle, at least in part because of the process of going through airport security. As this aspect of air travel has become increasingly monitored over the years, regulations regarding airport security have changed dramatically, and sometimes people who have not traveled recently can find themselves shocked by the difference. Even for regular travelers, airport security can sometimes seem like a burden, especially in the sense that it can cause long delays and may even, in certain circumstances, cause travelers to miss their flights. Whether or not connecting flights are involved, a missed flight can be an extraordinary inconvenience, making it worth most travelers’ while to avoid this situation whenever possible. Spending extra time at the airport to avoid a missed flight may not seem like the most enjoyable way to go about reaching this goal, and thankfully, when travelers plan well and use the best tools at their disposal, they can often move through airport security quickly and make their flights without having to arrive unreasonably early.

Having a basic estimate of how much time will be needed to work through the various layers of airport security and check-ins is a first step towards preventing missed flights as well as excesses of airport time with nothing engaging to do. Factors that can affect the time needed to move through security and other pre-boarding steps include whether a flight is domestic or international, whether the current season is busy or slow, whether any industry-related strikes are currently in place, and the day’s weather forecast. Nearly all of these factors should be known and understood by airlines and airports themselves, making it easy for travelers to get in touch with the services and facilities they’ll be using in order to ask for a guidance time. Though it may be easy to assume standard time windows such as one hour for domestic and two hours for international will be suitable, the degree to which these factors can influence the speed of progress through an airport warrants getting in touch with knowledgeable representatives. It’s also good to keep in mind that time can be lost while traveling to the airport itself. Traffic jams, inclement weather, and special events can all make a travel experience more stressful by lowering the amount of time available to pass through security checks.

No matter the season, the weather, or the type of flight, it’s certain that travelers will need a variety of documents to present to security and other airport staff once they’ve arrived. Picture identifications, tickets or emailed confirmations, passports, and other necessary documents should be kept within easy reach in carry-on baggage in order to make check-in and security processes run more smoothly. In fact, some travelers prefer to work with special pockets or bags specifically designed to keep travel documents quickly available and secure. The more time that is spent rummaging through bags or fumbling through pants or jacket pockets in order to locate travel documents, the longer it will take for a traveler to move from the airport’s entrance to their aircraft’s gate –and the longer other travelers will have to wait, as well.

With frequently-changing regulations and rules, staying in touch with the latest requirements for airport security can be a bit of work, but its well worth the small amount of preparation required ensuring that travel is conducted without ruffling up the feathers of security personnel. When travelers pack items that are forbidden from being carried or fail to comply with security procedures, they can not only slow down the pace of airport security as a whole, but they’re also sure to cause serious delays in their own travel process. While accidentally packing an item in the wrong sort of packaging may not be a major cause for concern, forgetting about a weapon in one’s bag or otherwise displaying a strong opposition to airport security rules can lead travelers to being detained or otherwise experience long and unpleasant delays. A simple check of the local airport security agency’s website or chat with an airport or airline representative is often enough to inform travelers of any new regulations they should consider when packing their bags and preparing for their movement through an airport.

Missing a flight can mean missed connections, long layovers in airports, canceled events, and serious frustration, and failing to pay close attention to time concerns surrounding airport security can easily encourage these potential trip-killers. Travelers who approach airport security with the need for a reasonable amount of time in mind are far more likely to get through security processes without a hitch, allowing them to make their flights and enjoy their journeys.

How to Install a BNC Fitting into a RG6 Cable

Home Security Store Tech Manager and Knowledgebase Host Matt Apperson shows you how to install a BNC fitting into a RG6 cable.  This particular cable may be used for setting up your surveillance system.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Hi I’m Matt Apperson, from SecurityStore.com and today, we’re going to hook up twist-on BNC connectors to RJ6 cable.

So in some cases you probably buy a pre-fabricated cable.  It kind of looks like this.  This is a 25-footer and I already have the ends made on it for you.  It will have the BNC and the power cable, but in some cases the sizes that we carry may not be what you need.  So you may have been got a 500-foot roll of Siamese cable which is RJ-6 and power combined.  The only difference is with the RJ6 Siamese cable you won’t have any fittings on it, so you’ll need to install your own and that’s what I’m going to show you today.

We’re going to do away with this and I’m going to show you a simple tool.  This is a tool that we carry, this is for cutting coax and it makes it real simple.  So all I need to do, is take an end of the cable and you’re going to come back maybe about half an inch and you’ll lay your cutter on the cable, and just crimp it down, and just spin.  Then we’ll take our pair of pliers here and we’ll just rip the end of it off.  Ok, underneath all of this there will be a couple layers here.  So you’ll have your shielded outer core which we’re just going to basically, you don’t wanna cut this off.  A lot of times if you cut this off you’ll end up with a bad ground connection and you won’t get too much video or you may have a jumpy video or a scratchy video.  Also you want to make sure that when you roll it back over the casing that you don’t have any extra braids of this lain into this area here because if it touches this next pin that we’re going to reveal you can end up with a shorted video, video loss or something like that.

We’re going to go ahead and cut this off here and you’re probably going to want just a standard pair of strippers.  What we’ll do is we’re going to cut this about an eighth of an inch right above what we originally had cut off, and sometimes you may need to kind of twist.  This is kind of tough to get off. And this reveals the copper center pin.  Of course this is too much to fit into this, it’s too long, so what we need to do is we’re going to shorten this up and what we want to make sure is that we want to make sure maybe we have about 3/8ths of an inch of it, leaving you with something like this.

What we’re going to do, is we’re going to take this piece here and we’re just going to screw this on.  So again, make sure that you don’t have any copper, you know inside here or touching this pin in any way.  So this is actually just going to split on here like this and you can actually just give it a little twist and it should pop on.  Then you’re just going to screw it down into place.

Now you’ve got that on there tight.  You can take this extra copper here that’s hanging and sometimes it will fall off because it’s been cut by the threads, and then usually what I do is I’ll take the excess and wrap it around.  You can tape this up with like electrical tape if you want or you can just leave it hanging or just tuck it up so it looks kind of like this.  A lot of guys will just cut this off and then run a little piece of electrical tape around it to keep it cover it up, but that’s entirely up to you.  But now, you have your RJ6 with your twist-on connector fitted.  And that should do it.

Apartment Security Tips

Living in an apartment can present unique security concerns. From the servicemen who enter an apartment, but that a renter may never have direct contact with, to the unknown number of apartment community employees with access to door keys– renters must be aware of all possible security risks and create a plan that will keep them at a minimum. While many home security tips are targeted toward homeowners, there are a number of do-it-yourself solutions that can work just as well for renters, too.

Before Renting

In most jurisdictions, the law prohibits landlords and apartment managers from volunteering or answering questions about a neighborhood’s safety. It is, therefore, recommended that prospective tenants contact a local police department to inquire about crime statistics in a particular area. Asking direct questions about the kinds of calls that originate within an apartment community may offer some insight about the building’s overall environment. While low crime statistics do not guarantee the safety of an apartment community, high crime statistics can help a prospective renter assess the risk of living at a certain location.

Door Locks

The very first security defense that all apartment renters should engage in is changing all door locks. Not only might a previous tenant still have keys to an apartment, but there is a good chance that other people in that tenant’s personal circle of friends and family members also have a key. Unless a tenant is absolutely certain that the landlord has already changed the locks, this should be done immediately in order to keep an apartment as secure as possible. A lock that cannot be bumped should be used and installing an additional deadbolt lock should be considered. For added security, a portable device such as the Keypout Lock Bumping/Dead Bolt Protector can be purchased to stop lock bumping thieves from entering.

Window Locks

Sliding glass doors and windows should also be secured with pin locks or some other mechanism that prohibits them from being opened or removed from their respective tracks. Often, people who live in upstairs units think that they are safe from burglary and may feel comfortable leaving a patio door or window open for ventilation while they are away from home. This should never be done, however, as it is not uncommon for apartment burglaries to take place in the broad daylight as bold burglars enter through one of these access points.

Apartment Alarm Solutions

With a landlord’s permission an alarm system may be installed in an individual apartment unit. In these instances, a wireless system is best since there is no need to drill into the apartment’s walls in order to install special wiring. Economical solutions such as the STI Burglar Stopper Wire-Free Home Protection System are not only affordable, but are easy to install and can easily be transported to another location whenever a tenant moves.

Video Surveillance

Though most landlords and maintenance workers are completely trustworthy, every now and then there are news reports of some who are not. In order to assure that no unauthorized entry occurs while a tenant is at work, an indoor video surveillance system is recommended. These cost-effective, easy to install cameras can monitor the inside of a home to record everyone who goes in and out, and can help keep things like expensive home electronic devices, jewelry and other items under close watch whenever a tenant is away. Cameras can be set up to conspicuously record activity inside of an apartment or can be placed in plain view and thus serve as a deterrent to anyone considering committing a crime.

Portable Security Solutions

Understanding that some landlords may severely restrict or even prohibit the minor installation changes necessary for a wireless alarm system; or that some landlords may not be too keen on a tenant changing or installing additional deadbolt locks, there are completely non-invasive solutions to apartment security. We’ve already discussed the Keypout Lock Bumping/Dead Bolt Protector to prevent lock bumping, but tenants may also use the Guard Dog portable door guard alarm or the Techko Safety Entry Alarm to help secure an apartment.

Deterrents

Just as we advise homeowners to consider multiple layers of security, apartment renters should do the same. Deterrents, such as security decals or the Rex Plus Electronic Watchdog Alarm will often make a burglar think twice about entering an apartment. Other deterrents that can be used to thwart an apartment burglary include the Global Link Laser Scanner Burglar Deterrent with Transformer or the Fake TV Burglar Deterrent Device.

Security For Everyone

We live in a time when home security simply cannot be ignored. Fortunately, those specializing in manufacturing home security devices realize that renters and others who may not permanently dwell at a property still need home protection as much as homeowners do. With DIY solutions that are affordable for most budgets, everyone can feel empowered to create multiple layers of protection wherever they may live.

Is Your Child Ready to Be Home Alone?

In today’s world, deciding whether or not to allow a child to stay at home alone can be a tough call to make. Still, most parents must work and childcare can be costly. At a certain age, children also tend to express that they do not feel the need for outside childcare and often ask to stay at home alone, instead. If you are in the position of deciding whether or not your child is ready to be at home unsupervised, know that you are not the only parent faced with this issue and that there are things that you can do to prepare your child to safely do so.

How Does Your Child Feel?

One of the best ways to determine whether your child is ready to stay home alone is to have several very open conversations about her feelings on the subject. Together, review several scenarios, such as a solicitor coming to the door or a service person entering the backyard, and assess your child’s initial response to these hypothetical events. Also, take your child’s past temperament into consideration. If you know that your child tends to be nervous, doesn’t handle stress well or is easily frightened, this is a sign that she or he may not be ready yet. Having several conversations with your child about what to do in uncertain situations or in case of an emergency can help alleviate fears, but it is not a good idea to leave your child alone until both you and your young person feel confident about taking action, such as calling an adult or the police if a real danger is presented.

Unsupervised Trial Periods

When contemplating leaving your child home alone, engaging in a few test runs might be a good idea. Perhaps allowing her to stay at home while you briefly visit a neighbor or while taking a short trip to a corner store is a good idea until you are both comfortable with you being away for longer periods. When engaging in unsupervised trial periods, it is best to also only do so during daylight hours and always be certain that your child knows how to get in touch with you if necessary.

Empower Your Child With Information

Always arm your child with information before deciding to leave her alone at home. Of course, leaving instructions about who to call in case of emergency is crucial, as is giving your child strict  instructions about the ground rules of staying home alone. Some examples of additional precautions that you may want to discuss with your child includes not listening to loud music or not having the television up too loud to hear what is going on around the house. Also, leaving phone lines clear so that you always have an open way to contact your child while you are away.

Is Your Home a Secure Place?

Of course, before actually leaving your child home alone, you should make sure that security measures are in place both in and around your house. This includes an alarm system that the child knows how to operate, as well as security deterrents, such as signage indicating that a security system is installed. Indoor and outdoor security cameras that you can monitor remotely can also help you and your child feel more secure when she is at home alone.

Invest in Your Child’s Security

Security products that are designed especially for your child’s protection are a good investment. One such example is the SecuraTrac SecuraPAL GPS Tracking Device, which helps track your child’s location anywhere in the world through your computer, smartphone or other handheld device. This GPS tracking device further allows you to predetermine virtual boundaries defining where your child can and cannot go. If that boundary is ever crossed, an immediate alert is sent to you via text and email, which tells you exactly where your child is and gives clear instructions on how to get there. The SecuraTrac SecuraPal GPS Tracking Device also comes equipped with a panic button that will allow your child to signal for help if faced with immediate danger. In such an instance, the device will automatically send a text message or email detailing the device’s exact location with directions. This tracking system works anywhere in the world, so it is not only a great device to use for children who are at home alone, but it can accompany you on vacations, weekend outings and anywhere else your child may go.

Making the Final Decision

With the understanding that very young children should never be left home alone, most jurisdictions do not specify an exact age when a child can legally stay home unsupervised. Essentially, it is up to you to decide when your child is ready. While this is not an easy decision to make, if armed with the right information and precautions, it is one that you can make with a good level of confidence that the right security measures are in place to help keep your child secure.

To Protect Your Property, How Important is Closing Doors and Windows?

Many people go to considerable lengths in order to keep their properties secured. Each year, startling amounts of money are spent on advanced alarm systems, video surveillance and monitoring, specialized motion detectors, and a wide variety of other products designed to fend off criminals and keep properties safe from theft and other concerns. Yet often enough, property owners defeat the purpose of the security measures they’ve put in place by failing to practice basic security protocol. Among these mistakes, leaving doors and windows unlocked or open is one of the most common and, potentially, the most serious. While in some neighborhoods this type of behavior is encouraged in order to create a sense of friendliness and safety in communities, the consequences –no matter a property’s location– can be devastating. While leaving doors and windows unsecured may seem like a small matter that doesn’t have much of an impact on the security of a property with quality equipment installed, it is on the contrary a serious security threat that should be reexamined by any property owner concerned about the safety and integrity of their home.

A common belief is that criminals are less likely to act while knowingly in the presence of others, and for a wide variety of criminals and certain types of crimes, this is true. Some perpetrators are highly unlikely to commit an offense if they’re aware that a homeowner is on the premises, which may make it seem relatively safe to leave doors and windows open or unlocked. After all, if criminals only want to carry out their crimes when there’s nobody around, and unsecured doors and windows suggest that someone is home, the safety of the property is actually likely to increase, right? This is not actually the case. Not all criminals will be deterred by the idea that someone is around –in fact, some criminals may see it as an open invitation to commit burglary, assault, or other dangerous and violent acts. Relying on criminals to behave in a very specific way in order to achieve security is a poor choice, as many criminals can be fairly difficult to predict, and the results can be devastating.

Another reason why leaving doors and windows unsecured while one is at home is the likelihood that this type of behavior will become a habit. Though it may seem to property owners that they’ll only occasionally leave a door unlocked or let an unsecured window sit open, not paying close attention to these concerns can easily produce habitual behavior in people, leading them to leave their properties unsecured fairly often, and perhaps even more dangerously, while they’re away. The idea that friends and neighbors can look out for a property whether or not its owner is at home is built on reasonable principles, but in many circumstances, this simply isn’t practical as a security measure, and owners should be highly attentive to the security status of their properties. Making a habit of securing entrances and windows is a great way to create a solid first line of defense against criminals.

An open door or window won’t necessarily encourage a crime on the spot, but it can contribute to a higher likelihood of future crimes on a property. When criminals passing by notice that a home has one or several open doors or windows available, they may be far more likely to take the opportunity to look inside and notice any items that may be attractive targets for theft or vandalism. Criminals can also take stock of any security system controls that may be located within the house, such as the location and operational mechanisms of home alarms. As having this type of information available in advance can make criminal activity much more lucrative and safe for perpetrators, inviting it by leaving doors and windows open is in general a bad idea. Certainly, it’s not necessary for property owners to keep themselves tightly shut-in at all times, but the more opportunities that are provided to criminals to get a good look at a home’s interiors, the more likely it is that that property will become the target of some type of crime. As might be imagined, this is often a bigger issue for street-facing, easy-access doors and windows, as opposed to entryways and windows facing yards and other secured areas.

Thankfully, turning the tide of poor security practices surrounding unsecured doors and windows is relatively easy. Property owners need only make a strong commitment to making full use of their locks and closing mechanisms in order to discourage crime and keep prying eyes from making any criminal plans. When doors and windows are treated with respect by property owners and are kept secured on a regular basis, traditional security systems can be much more effective.