Monthly Archives: September 2013

Panic Alarms and Why You Need One

Panic Button - Home Security StoreKeeping abreast of local and national headlines, I’m frequently reminded that none of us are safe from criminals.  Not even while relaxing inside of our own homes. Security alarms are a necessity no matter where you live in the world and it is becoming increasingly clear that no homeowner can afford to stop at a single alarm system. Criminals use all sorts of sneaky tactics to gain entry to homes and, therefore, it is necessary to also invest in the deeper security provided by panic alarms.

A Simple Burglary vs. a Home Invasion

It saddens me to hear story after story of home and office burglaries. The loss of personal property combined with the cost of structural damage (such as broken windows and doors) is a frustrating reality for many burglary victims. As disheartening as these events are, they cannot be compared to the physical trauma, the emotional despair and the loss of control often experienced during a home invasion robbery.

All Control is NOT Lost

Just this week alone, I find myself mulling over the details of three different news events and I cannot help but imagine what a difference the installation of a DIY panic button may have made in each scenario. After all, once someone has been able to access a home’s interior without sounding an alarm, anything is possible. While the occupants of a home may feel a complete loss of control, a panic alarm can help restore some of that control and may even prevent bodily harm or worse.

Recent Headlines Confirm the Need For Panic Alarms

In one local news story, I read about the unfortunate rape of an unsuspecting young woman who undoubtedly thought she was completely safe while sleeping alone in her bed, especially since other family members were also in the home. Unfortunately, this false sense of security lulled her into believing that it was okay to leave her window open as the weather has not completely cooled off here in California, which can make sleeping in humid temperatures quite uncomfortable in some areas. Just before 4 a.m. her sense of security was shattered as she was hit in the head and raped by a sick individual who’d managed to climb through her bedroom window. Though she was able to make enough noise to awaken other family members, the rapist still managed to harm her before escaping and later being apprehended by the police.

This story should serve as a reminder to all not to leave windows open (which often renders security alarms pretty much useless unless two window contacts have been installed in such a way as to allow a window to be left slightly ajar, yet still sense when it is being opened beyond the allotted space, but I digress). This unfortunate story should also illustrate the need to sleep with a panic alarm next to the bed at night just in case an intruder manages to make his way inside during the wee hours. The Visonic Wireless Emergency Push Button is ideal for these types of scenarios.

The Cable Guy Or a Devious Lie?

Another local story also stirred a warning that many who regularly read this blog are familiar with. Two men wearing service uniforms and claiming to be with a cable company were brazen enough to knock on a woman’s front door claiming that they needed to come inside in order to service lines inside of her house. Luckily, this smart homeowner listened to her gut which told her that something wasn’t quite right. As she pressed them for information, she was handed a business card that looked a bit worn and which further added to her suspicions that this was not an actual service visit. Turning them away by refusing access, she also noted that they exited in a van which did not bear any of the company’s branding. Sure enough, after phoning the cable company, her suspicions were confirmed in that the company knew nothing of a service visit and never dispatched anyone to her home. What were they really planning?

Now, whether she’d had a security alarm or not it wouldn’t have made much of a difference in this case. I say this, of course, because there was no breaking and entering involved, but she opened the front door for them, instead. The homeowner was quite lucky in this instance, but other homeowners may not be since criminals have been known to produce a weapon or even aggressively push past someone once a door has been opened. This is why we so often recommend two-way video intercom systems in order to safely communicate with strange and unexpected visitors through a closed door (with alarms on!). A good panic alarm such as The Honeywell Two-Button Panic transmitter is recommended for instances like this woman’s experience since it can be conveniently worn on the wrist while at home and will alert an alarm monitoring company as soon as it is activated so that officers can be dispatched even if a homeowner is unable to get to a telephone in order to call for help.

Everyone Should Be Armed With a Panic Button

Scenarios like these can happen to anyone. Most of us feel safe enough in our own homes to the point where we actually place ourselves in jeopardy even when we don’t intend to. This is not about blaming victims (or would-be victims) because we understand that even with locked windows and security alarms, determined criminals often find a way around these barriers. It is for this reason that we cannot drive home enough the importance of security layers and, in particular, installing affordable and easy-to-operate panic alarms.

Ralph Winn

What to Do When Your Home Has Been Burglarized

burglarThere are few events worse than coming home and discovering that your personal and private space has been violated. No one ever expects that a break-in will happen at their home and when it does many are caught so off guard that they are not certain of what to do next. In the event that you are the victim of a break-in, the following are just a few of the things that you should do as soon as possible in order to secure your home, allow a proper police report and ensure your family’s safety.

Make Sure No One is In the Home

Whether family member or criminal, try to determine if anyone is inside of the home. We don’t suggest checking closets and under beds by yourself as this may lead to a confrontation if a thief is still inside when you arrive. You’ll have to rely on your instincts here in order to determine which approach is best for your safety, but if you suspect that a criminal may be inside of your home it is best to exit right away. Also, call other household members from outside the home to check on their whereabouts if you are uncertain.

 Immediately Call Law Enforcement

The moment that you realize your home has been burgled, call the authorities. While you’re probably thinking that this is a no-brainer, this needs to be made clear as some people may figure that the event is over and that they’ll call law enforcement after investigating the scene on their own. You are ill-advised to take this route, however, as it may be possible that someone is still inside the house or that a neighbor has called the police already, which may lead to you be mistaken for a criminal when officers do arrive.

Do Not Attempt to Clean or Straighten Your Home

Burglars have a tendency to leave a mess behind as they ransack a victim’s home. Upon walking into your house, you may immediately notice papers, books, furnishings and other items strewn about. As tempted as you may be to begin immediately restoring order, it is important to first let the authorities do a thorough inspection of the crime scene as it is.

Notify Your Neighbors

Thieves will sometimes hit multiple homes in a single area at the same time or within a few days of each crime. It is, therefore, a courteous idea to notify your neighbors of your misfortune so that they may increase their security vigilance and possibly avoid becoming victims themselves. Notifying your neighbors may also uncover information useful to your own investigation as neighbors may share having seen someone around your home just prior to your break-in. As we’ve stated in previous posts, criminals don’t always look suspicious, but will sometimes appear to be a teenager selling magazine subscriptions or an ordinary service man. Talking to neighbors might help jog someone’s memory about strangers in the area just prior to your event.

Assess Your Home’s Security

If you did not have a security system in place, don’t think that it’s too late to explore your options now. Considering that your home may have sustained some damage as a result of this incident in addition to the items that you may now need to replace, shelling out more money on a home security system may seem like an expense that you can’t afford right now. Truth be told, however, this event should highlight the fact that you can’t afford to put off investing in your home another day.

Fortunately, there are options beyond the expensive quotes provided to you by other vendors. Of course, we’re referring to do-it-yourself systems which include alarms, surveillance cameras, security lighting and a broad array of deterrents. Each of these can be secured at affordable prices and installing them is something that can be done without terrible difficulty. It will even please you to know that your system can also be monitored for less than nine dollars per month, which is a mere fraction of what some of the most popular names in home security will offer you. For more information, visit our main page or contact our customer service department today.

While you’ll likely feel somewhat uncomfortable at home for a while, know that your break-in was likely a one-time event. Knowing that a criminal has spent time exploring your private space can be unsettling, but in time this feeling will fade and you’ll eventually be able to relax again.

 What’s Your Story?

 Have you or someone you know recently experienced a break-in? Did you learn anything from this event that you wish you’d known sooner? What tips might you add to our list of things to do after a home has been burglarized? Home Security Store sincerely hopes that you do not have a story to share…but if you do, please take a moment to enlighten our readers on some of the lessons learned through your burglary experience.

 Ralph Winn

College and Dorm Security Tips

CollegeSafety_FeatureWhether you are a student entering college as a freshman or a returning student working on a post-graduate degree, one thing is for sure: college campuses aren’t the safest places in the world these days. From mass shootings and campus rapes, college and dorm safety is a topic we can’t afford to overlook. Fortunately, DIY solutions are available and are also more affordable than ever…even on a student budget. Let’s explore some of the ways that you can maximize security while learning to maximize your human potential through higher education.

Campus Safety

One of the first tips we want to share involves assuring one’s personal safety while on campus. Perhaps the most important advice we can impart is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whether walking across campus during daylight hours or sitting in class with 50 other students, pay attention to who and what is around you. Other campus safety tips include:

       Keep your hands as free as possible while walking to your car or between classes. A good sturdy backpack will help with this endeavor. Should you ever need to defend yourself from an attack, your hands are your best weapons.

       Avoid being distracted by a mobile device while walking. That email, text message or score update can wait until you arrive at your destination. Not only might the distraction of eyeing a phone while walking cause you to be targeted by a criminal, but it’s also a pretty good way to injure yourself by tripping, walking into someone or into some thing.

       Have your keys out and ready to use whenever approaching your car, apartment, dorm, etc. The last thing you want to do is fumble around searching for keys before entering your car or your home. Doing so gives a criminal lurking in the shadows time to pounce and possibly force his way inside. We also suggest having something like the police model MACE Triple Action pepper spray on your keychain. Used correctly, this security tool not only pepper sprays an offender, but also disburses a good whiff of tear gas and even marks an attacker with dye to make it easier for the authorities to identify him.

Dorm Room and Off-Campus Apartment Security

College students may not have a whole lot in terms of material wealth, but most still have things that attract burglars (including other sticky-fingered students). I’m talking, of course, about computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and video games. Avoid losing these items by taking a few extra security precautions, such as:

       Immediately change the locks on all doors before moving into a room or a new apartment.

       Install an affordable alarm system like the iSmartAlarm iPhone Controlled Home Security System (available on our main site). Just as the name suggests, this system can be remotely controlled from the palm of one’s hand using an iPhone.

       Set up an indoor DIY surveillance system to monitor who comes in and out of your space while you are away. You may be surprised by the low sticker price for a good surveillance camera, but even if you can’t afford one at this time, you at least want to invest in a fake surveillance camera.

       Be sure to install pin locks or some other locking mechanism on all sliding glass doors and sliding windows.

A Special Word About Campus Shootings

It pains us to even have to think about the possibility of another shooting on a school campus. Unfortunately, they do occur everywhere from preschools to universities, however, and we have to take measures to protect ourselves in these places. One of the best things that we can recommend on this front is to invest in one of the armored backpacks as found under the ‘Survival Kits’ section of our main page. Made for children and adults, these packs are comfortably designed to be fully functional as backpacks, but can also be used as an upper-body shield in case of a shooting. Made of special materials used to stop bullets, these packs are still lightweight and attractive enough to be used for everyday purposes without drawing attention to their true purpose.

Keep Your Wits About You

Despite the dangers which sometime lurk on school campuses, everyone at Home Security Store hopes that this year is an uneventful one in terms of crime. If, however, you do find yourself in a threatening situation, remain as calm as possible and remember all of the advice you’ve learned from this blog. You are strong, intelligent and capable of defending yourself despite any odds that you may face. Remember that topics like this aren’t meant to frighten you, but are meant to help you stay a step ahead of the criminals in our society.

Have a Tip to Contribute?

Don’t hold back, now is your time to be heard. What you share in the space below may literally save someone’s life. So, tell us, what is your best personal and home security advice for students this school year?

Ralph Winn

Let’s Talk About Burglary Deterrents

Burglar DeterrentsHome security alarms certainly present a strong barrier to entry for intruders. They don’t (and shouldn’t) stand alone, however, as there are a number of additional things that homeowners can do to actually deter burglars. An array of excellent tools and electronic devices also exist, which can serve to enormously decrease the chances of a break in.

The Importance of Deterrents

When it comes to security, a deterrent is essentially any object or situation that dissuades a criminal from entering a property. Utilizing a number of deterrents is important as each one helps in strengthening a message to intruders that a homeowner has taken steps to prevent a break-in and that ignoring such messages may result in being captured. While an alarm system sends a loud audible warning, it only does so after a break-in has been attempted. Often, these attempts result in broken doors and windows even if nothing is actually stolen from the home. Deterrents serve to prevent this from happening as before a thief even approaches a home a deterrent should serve to turn him around.

Common Sense Deterrents

Some of the most effective deterrents don’t cost a lot of money to implement. In fact, many don’t cost a single red cent. For example making a habit of closing windows and doors, turning perimeter lights on at night, keeping shrubs trimmed (especially around windows and doors) and making a home appear occupied while away by parking a car in the driveway and asking someone to gather newspapers and mail are among a few common sense deterrents that can be used to keep burglars at bay.

Deterrents Are an Important Security Layer

Layering your security is all about creating multiple barriers in an effort to deter criminals and keep them out of your home. With this in mind, using as many deterrents as possible just makes sense, doesn’t it? In addition to the common sense security deterrents described above, here are a few that can be installed as part of a DIY home security project:

Fake security cameras – These look just like the real thing, but they’re not. Some, like the SVAT Imitation Security Camera offered on our main site even feature a flashing LED light. Positioned properly around your home’s perimeter and even used indoors…how many burglars do you think would take the chance of being caught on tape?

Security signage – Lawn signs, window decals and placards all help tell the story of a home’s security. With a number of these placed in plain sight, the message is clear that your home is well protected by a solid security system.

Laser scanner – Among home security deterrents, the laser scanner is one of my personal favorites. You may have never seen one in person, but you’ve undoubtedly seen one or two in movies where expensive galleries and stores are protected by light beams which project across a room. Of course, anyone crossing a beam’s path immediately sets of an alarm (silent or very loud) and is then pursued by authorities. While many reading this have never seen a laser scanner in action, the good news is that most burglars haven’t either. Being confronted with one, I would think, would be enough to send any thief in the exact opposite direction. If you like this deterrent idea, I strongly encourage you to check out the Global Link Laser Scanner Burglar Deterrent w/Transformer at our main store.

A barking dog – No, not a real one, but a fake one as in something like the Rex Plus II Electronic Watchdog. While an animal isn’t a surefire method of keeping an intruder out, remember that we’re talking about deterrents and security layers here and a barking dog does help in that effort. As a person approaches your home they are met with the sounds of a barking dog. With the Rex Plus II, in particular, the barking becomes more urgent the closer a person gets to a house and decreases as they retreat.

Deterrents Are a Necessity

Whether using common sense or DIY deterrents, let’s be clear that they are a necessity when it comes to building a security shield around your home. Many homeowners erroneously believe that a burglar alarm is all the home security they’ll ever need. Again, a reliable security alarm is a good start, but as any security expert will tell you, optimal home security is all about layers, which include deterrent protection.

What Do You Think?

So, what are some of your thoughts about home security deterrents? Do you believe that they are useful in building a strong defense against theft and other crimes? Which deterrents do you use and which have you found to be the most effective in preventing break-ins at your home? Is there a particular DIY deterrent that you’ve used or heard of, but that you don’t see featured at our main store? Your input is the lifeblood of this blog and we look forward to you sharing your thoughts below.

Ralph Winn

Important Facts About Hybrid Alarm Systems

KIT16-QP63CP01In a nutshell, a hybrid alarm system is one where hardwired and wireless devices are both utilized in order to create one whole security system. For example, a home’s security alarm may have been installed as a hardwired system when the home was built, but has since been expanded to include a wireless surveillance system and a wireless intercom system. Conversely, this home may even feature a wireless alarm system and a hardwired surveillance kit with remote capabilities. As both of these scenarios feature both hardwired and wireless devices, either would be considered a hybrid system.

Why Would Anyone Need a Hybrid System?

Technically, as long as a home has a security system, no one needs a hybrid system. A homeowner may choose to go completely wireless or with a complete hardwired system. We recommend both according to a home’s structure and its owner’s preference.

Some may want a hybrid system, however, as it increases one’s options when choosing to expand an existing system. While Home Security Store sells a healthy number of devices in each category, some of our customers may prefer one type of system over another but when building a hybrid alarm system, there isn’t any worry with sticking to hardwired devices or wireless ones. A lot will also depend on a home’s structure and aesthetic. It is not uncommon for hardwired systems to have been installed during a home’s building phase. Once the home is completely finished, however, some homeowners simply do not wish to drill through walls or floorboards in order to add more devices to a home’s existing security system.

Why Expand a System To Begin With?

If you’ve only a single alarm system, you may believe that it is all that is needed. In actuality, however, a lone alarm is simply a very good first step in the right direction, but you’re not quite there yet in terms of fully protecting your home. An alarm system may keep intruders out or it may alert you to when an intruder is trying to break in, but it will not give you live video of an event, nor will it provide photographic evidence like a surveillance system will. You may also want to consider automatic security lighting, a video intercom system and a driveway or a garage alarm in order to be notified as soon as someone approaches your home. All of these devices can be added to an existing alarm system and every homeowner should consider increasing security in these ways and more.

Considerations Which May Lead To a Hybrid Security System

Some of the things that you may want to consider when deciding between a hardwired, wireless or hybrid security system include:

       How hard are the walls where wiring may be hidden? If very hard (such as stone or brick), you’ll definitely want to consider a wireless device.

       How large is the home where the system will be expanded and how far away will devices be from other parts needed for reliable communication between devices? If a home is particularly large in terms of square footage, a hardwired device may be a better option.

       How old is the original security system currently being used? Some systems may be much older than new components being added. In this case, it may be necessary to update the original alarm system altogether. A hybrid system may still be a good choice, but it really depends on whether the original system can be expanded to accommodate these new more modern devices or not. If you’re unsure of whether this applies to you or not, our support team is more that willing to answer any questions that you may have.

Expanded Options

So if you’re thinking about expanding your home security system as part of a DIY project, we want you to think about expanding your options to include a full array of devices whether hardwired or wireless. In our main store, you’ll find devices that can easily be part of a hybrid system like the GE Security NX-8 Wireless Ready Kit, the Honeywell Security System and the Ademco Vista Talking Alarm Kit. Remember that all of our devices come with detailed instructions, as well as tech support.

Sound Off

Do you have a hybrid system? What does it consist of? What made you opt for this type of system? If you do not currently own a hybrid security system, but you’d like to, what are your questions or concerns about this type of security? What sort of device(s) are you considering adding to your existing system? As always, we welcome your thoughts, concerns and questions below.

Ralph Winn

What Does a False Alarm Cost In Your Area?

Berndt Schleifer of Northern California was recently fined $84 for a false alarm at his home. What made this story newsworthy, however, is that this event was the first false alarm his security system had ever offered in 19 years. That’s a pretty stiff penalty to pay for a single alarm mishap, but, luckily, his alarm monitoring company (who called the police when they were unable to reach the homeowner) was kind enough and pay the amount on his behalf. Still, I can understand his anger at even being fined in the first place.

This story left me wondering how many other police departments have similar rules in effect and how many homeowners are aware of them (this guy wasn’t). Do you know how many false alarms can occur at your house before you are fined? Do you know what the exact fine amount is? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, now is as good a time as any to call and find out, don’t you think?

What Were His Options?

Making the point that the police can’t be everywhere at once, Schleifer has taken special precautions to protect his home against intruders. Not only does he have a security alarm installed, but also glass break sensors and surveillance cameras, which are positioned around his home’s perimeter. He has also taken the time to hire a monitoring company to keep watch over his security whether he is at home or away. While the police are always on-call to protect and to serve 24/7, Schleifer understands that, realistically, he is the first and best defender of his castle. Everyone could stand to take a few notes from this guy because when it comes to home security, he more than gets it.

Upon reading his story and the efforts that he’s successfully taken in protecting his home for nearly 20 years, there’s only one thing that I can see that he could have done differently and which could have spared him this aggravation. Schleifer could have checked all of his sensors to assure that they were working properly. See, it was a glass sensor which mistakenly triggered the alarm while he was away. This is not to suggest that he wasn’t properly maintaining his system, just a suggestion to those of you reading this to be aware of in the future.

False Alarms Are Preventable

Homeowners sometimes avoid arming their home security systems due to problems with false alarms. We’ve discussed as much on this blog before, but from time-to-time we like to remind you that false alarms are completely preventable. Often, false alarms are caused by one or more of the following:

       An improper installation

       Loose door or window sensors

       Batteries that need replacing

       Human error

If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to read our previous post on this issue entitled: Is Your False Alarm Trying to Tell You Something?

Alarm Monitoring Can Prevent Fines

Even though Schleifer’s monitoring company were the ones to call the police about his false alarm, readers should take note that monitors also called the homeowner first and even attempted to call neighbors to determine if the alarm was false or if there was a real break-in in progress. The police were called as a last resort. Had they been able to reach him, Schleifer could have remotely disarmed the alarm and the ordeal could have ended there. This is assuming, of course, that he had an alarm system with remote capabilities like, the Honeywell Vista 20P Security System Kit.

Monitoring an alarm that can be remotely operated, not only gives homeowners an additional layer of protection against burglars, but can also help in preventing hefty fines.

What Does a False Alarm Cost In Your Neck Of the Woods?

Seriously, we want to know. If you don’t know offhand, please take a moment to inquire with your local police department about false alarm fines and how many false alarms can take place at a residence before a fine is assessed. Please, use the space below to share what you learn about fines in your area.

Tell Us What You Think

We’d also like to know what you think about Schleifer’s incident. Do you think that the alarm monitoring company should have called the police? Do you think that the fine for a first-time false alarm was justified? Do you think that the fine should have been paid by the monitoring company or should the homeowner have been the one to cough up the penalty? Further, besides checking the reliability of his sensors, what could Schleifer have done differently to avoid the false alarm in the first place?

 And, lastly, do you have any false alarm stories to share? If so, the floor is now yours and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Ralph Winn

Surviving an Armed Robbery

armed robberyA guy’s got a gun at your back and he’s demanding your wallet, your smartphone and your jewelry. In an unfamiliar part of town, even though it’s broad daylight and you can hear traffic sounds just a few feet away, your mind is reeling while trying to decide what to do. Which way do you run? Will he really shoot you? Disheveled and wild-eyed, you’re sure that this guy hasn’t slept in days.

Hands shaking and shifting from one foot to another, he tells you that he doesn’t intend to ask you again. You’re not too worried about his obvious want of cash, since all you carry is plastic anyway, but there’s a greater concern here. Your wallet contains information about where you live, where you work and pictures of your family. In your phone, you’ve also got all sorts of sensitive data stored. What do you do? Do you give this thief what he’s asking for or do you try to fight for what’s yours and take a chance with your life?

Confidence When Cornered

On this blog and in the information we freely disseminate on our main site, we’ve repeatedly offered you advice on how to deal with an intruder in your home. Armed robberies in public, however, are a different story. While at home, you may be able to reach for a hidden weapon or for a panic button. At the very least, you know the layout of your home better than the criminal does and may derive some confidence in being able to survive this type of situation in such a familiar surrounding. Alone on the street, cornered on public transportation or while facing a robber in a commercial setting you are likely to feel a lot more vulnerable.

According to the Office For Victims Of Crimes, in 2010 an armed robbery occurred every 1.4 minutes in the United States. Of these violent crimes, an overwhelming majority of men reported being robbed by a stranger and slightly more than half of all female victims reported the same. Clearly, this crime is one to take seriously and one to give serious thought to before you become a victim. As usual, we aren’t here to frighten you, but we share such thoughts in an effort to help you prepare yourself for survival should such an event ever happen to you.

Always Carry Cash

While you may be concerned about photos and personal identification, the main thing that a mugger wants from you is cash and items of immediate value. These days, however, a great deal of us only carry plastic, as in debit and credit cards. And some of us don’t even carry plastic since mobile applications can now be installed, which function the same way that a credit or debit card does.

Years ago, my husband lectured a group of us on this very topic and we thought he was just being old-fashioned. Just about everyone in the group was sans cash in a situation where we needed paper bills and had to search for an ATM in a pretty rough part of town at about 2am. His contention then was that it was dangerous for us to be out in the streets without cash. He told us that if we were robbed at gunpoint that an assailant just might be angry enough to want to hurt us out of frustration caused by our lack of cash. We laughed his lecture off and thought nothing more of it then.

Later, however, I began noticing news reports that seemed to confirm his thoughts. One instance is branded in my mind forever as a thief in San Francisco threw a woman’s dog into busy traffic. Her assumption was that she hadn’t given the thief enough money as she only had a small amount on her, which angered him into taking it out on her defenseless companion. The lesson here, is always carry a little extra cash “just in case”. Some people even advise carrying a “dummy wallet” which contains a little cash, while a second wallet is stashed elsewhere on your person or in your vehicle.

Arm Yourself

Make no mistake about it, while most muggers are primarily interested in a quick score, they are armed and dangerous nonetheless. Giving a robber what he asks for isn’t always enough to keep you safe. For this reason, we recommend investing in a pepper spray product like Spraytect Pepper Spray for iPhone, which is designed with public assailants in mind. Basically, it is pepper spray that is attached to an iPhone case. Like a lot of people, you probably carry your phone in your hand while walking or, at the very least, in a pocket where it is easily reached, so this product literally places protection at your fingertips.

Slow and Steady

Often, muggers are drug users who are coming down from a high and are hungry for their next fix. The good news is that these types often just want your goods and not much of a scene. But the bad news is that they can be wildly unpredictable, so take it slow and easy with these types. Really, with any mugger, let him believe that he is in control and that he holds all of the power. Verbally assure him that you are cooperating with his every demand. As you hand over your items, tell him that you’re reaching for your wallet (if it’s in a pocket or purse) so as not to alarm him about you reaching for a weapon. While handing your goods over, slowly step away from him to send the message that you’re not interested in a confrontation.

Avoid a Mugging!

Of course, the best advice on surviving an armed robbery is to avoid being the victim of one in the first place. To do so, pay attention to your surroundings, do not text or otherwise be distracted by a device while walking in public, stay out of desolate areas and always ask for an escort to your car if you don’t feel safe leaving a location at night.

Your Advice

What tips would you like to share with our readers about surviving an armed robbery? Have you ever been the victim of a mugging or armed robbery? How did you survive? Please take a moment to share your wisdom with us in the space provided below.

Ralph Winn

10% OFF All Survival Gear for National Emergency Preparedness Month

When I was a kid, every September meant the beginning of a new school year. The summer heat was starting to burn off, back to school sales were pulling my family to the mall every weekend and life was returning to normalcy.

Something I had forgotten about those days though, until I was recently reminded, was the first week of school and how we used to have to pack plastic bags full of soups, juice boxes and crackers for storage. As a kid, I never really wondered why. All I knew was that on the last day of school I was going to get my plastic bag back—and you best believe that all those juice boxes, soups and stored up snacks were finding my belly before they ever got home.

Thinking back, I now realize that this was a contingency plan for my elementary school- we were stocking up for an emergency situation. Come to think of it, we did an awful lot of earthquake drills those first couple weeks of school too. As a kid you tend not to realize danger unless it looks you square in the eye- this was my experience. As an adult though, you prepare for it.

It seems like every storm season we’re waiting for the next big natural disaster. All different parts of the United States are constantly pulverized by hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and earthquakes. You would think that we would be prepared for them, but death tolls argue otherwise. Here are the amount of deaths from weather-related incidents in the US in 2012.

Flood: 29              Lightning: 28       Tornado: 70        Hurricane: 4

Heat: 155             Cold: 8                  Winter: 28           Wind: 104

If you would like to see up to a 30-year average for weather fatalities, visit:

I totally understand and am sensitive to the fact that sometimes nothing can be done to save a life. Storms are fairly unpredictable and leave many of us helpless. It’s a sad truth of this life on earth. But in most cases, we have the opportunity to prepare and should take full advantage of it. You have to admit, when our government announces an entire month for emergency preparedness, we should probably pay attention.

This September, as the seasons begin to change around or beautiful country and life seems to come back to that normalcy- I have a challenge for you. Look at your family. Think hard about the weather patterns in your region in your lifetime. Are you still waiting for ‘The Big Quake’ to hit you in California? Did Super Storm Sandy remind you that even the biggest and most powerful city can’t escape the wrath of God? Look at your family again. Now ask yourself: Are you prepared?

If you’re not- then stock up. More than anything I hate to see lives lost because of carelessness and ignorance. This is your wake-up call. Need a survival kit? The SKTK Guardian Elite Survival Kit will take care of you. Want that just-in-case survival food? Get the Wise Food Supply- nutritious and plentiful. Whatever you think your needs are- get them now. The summer heat is fading. Storm season is approaching. What was the point of doing all that preparation in elementary school if we’re just going to ignore it?

In honor of National Emergency Preparedness Month, Home Security Store is offering 10% OFF ALL SURVIVAL GEAR in the month of September. Take advantage of it.

Ralph Winn