Monthly Archives: February 2014

The 25 Most Burglarized U.S. Cities

top cities for burglary

The FBI maintains comprehensive crime data for major cities across the U.S.

What are the odds that you’ll become the victim of a burglary? It depends largely on where you live. Each year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation collects and organizes data on a variety of criminal behaviors (violent crime, murder, assault, property crime…) in major cities across the nation. Burglary is one of the crimes assessed by the bureau, and it may surprise you to learn where some of our most popular cities rank on the spectrum.

The Top 10 Cities

The data below is from 2012, the most recent year for which we have comprehensive statistics. You can view the complete list at the FBI website, along with detailed numeric breakdowns. The FBI measures crime rates as rations per every 100,000 citizens in the population, since cities can vary dramatically in population size.

  1. Cleveland, Ohio (2,473.5 per 100,000)
  2. Toledo, Ohio (2,352.6 per 100,000)
  3. Memphis, Tennessee (1,912.7 per 100,000)
  4. Detroit, Michigan (1,907.5 per 100,000)
  5. Cincinnati, Ohio (1,851.1 per 100,000)
  6. Indianapolis, Indiana (1,761.6 per 100,000)
  7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1,654.4 per 100,000)
  8. St. Louis, Missouri (1,564.6 per 100,000)
  9. Tulsa, Oklahoma (1,563.0 per 100,000)
  10. Oakland, California (1,544.0 per 100,000)
  11. Buffalo, New York (1,515.0 per 100,000)
  12. Kansas City, Missouri (1,500.6 per 100,000)
  13. Stockton, California (1,476.4 per 100,000)
  14. Atlanta, Georgia (1,416.8 per 100,000)
  15. Bakersfield, California (1,404.0 per 100,000)
  16. Dallas, Texas (1,296.0 per 100,000)
  17. Baltimore, Maryland (1,242.3 per 100,000)
  18. Minneapolis, Minnesota (1,225.4 per 100,000)
  19. Houston, Texas (1,223.1 per 100,000)
  20. Greensboro, North Carolina (1,211.4 per 100,000)
  21. Albuquerque, New Mexico (1,205.9 per 100,000)
  22. Phoenix, Arizona (1,205.8 per 100,000)
  23. Fresno, California (1,166.4 per 100,000)
  24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1,164.0 per 100,000)
  25. San Antonio, Texas (1,135.3 per 100,000)

Some Interesting Trends

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Cleveland, Ohio ranks #1 in the nation for burglaries.

  • Ohio holds 3 of the top 5 spots (including the number 1 and number 2 spots) for burglaries, with Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati.
  • Among the top 50 cities for burglary, California is ranked 6 times: Oakland (#10), Stockton (#13), Bakersfield (#15), Fresno (#23), Sacramento (#38) and Long Beach (#47).
  • Only Texas has more cities than California in the top 50, with 7 in total: Dallas (#16), Houston (#19), San Antonio (#25), Fort Worth (#27), Arlington (#39), Austin (#42) and Corpus Christi (#50).
  • New York City, which was once a bastion of criminal activity, actually ranks at #74 for burglaries in major cities. In cities with a population of 250,000 or more, the Big Apple ranks at the very bottom.

America’s Safest Cities

Now that we’ve discussed some of the nation’s most crime-ridden cities, what are some of the safest places to call home? Despite all the doom and gloom, America is actually becoming much safer overall. For instance, robbery rates dropped 38% between 1992 and 2011, according to the FBI. Last year, Business Insider compiled a list of America’s safest cities, also based on FBI crime data. Here are the top 10:

  1. Irvine, California (robbery rate 86% below average)
  2. Fremont, California (robbery rate 47% below average)
  3. Plano, Texas (robbery rate 65% below average)
  4. Madison, Wisconsin (robbery rate 11% below average)
  5. Irving, Texas (robbery rate 47% below average)
  6. Scottsdale, Arizona (robbery rate 55% below average)
  7. Boise, Idaho (robbery rate 73% below average)
  8. Henderson, Nevada (robbery rate 43% below average)
  9. Chandler, Arizona (robbery rate 46% below average)
  10. Chula Vista, California (robbery rate 20% below average)

Protect Your Home

Your geographic location may impact your likelihood of being robbed, but a burglary can happen anywhere, and it’s important to protect yourself and your family. If you don’t already have an alarm installed in your home, it may be time to invest in a quality home security system. By taking simple steps to secure your family and belongings, you can prevent the unthinkable from happening, whether you reside within the low-crime borders of Irvine, California, or within the burglary-prone reaches of Cleveland, Ohio.

Florida Burglar Found Napping on Victim’s Couch

duane-immichAs the nightly news often reminds us, burglars aren’t notable for their exemplary intelligence. Case in point: Duane Immich. This would-be car burglar was found napping on the living room couch of the very home he was trying to rob in Mount Dora, Florida. Apparently, robbing houses is very exhausting work, but fortunately Mr. Immich will have plenty of time to catch up on his shuteye from within his cell at the Lake County Jail.

An Unpleasant Awakening

According to a report from WFTV, Florida homeowner Judith Smolinski awoke one morning to find the 26-year-old snoozer. Not only was he sound asleep on her sofa, but he had even helped himself to a beer from the fridge. “I was in my kitchen going to make coffee and I heard snoring,” Smolinski told reporters. “I walked in the living room and there was a strange man on my couch curled up, covered up with my blanket.” Smolinski also noted that the burglar was holding one of her kitchen knives when she found him.

A Burglar with a Past

As you can probably guess, the terrified home invasion victim called the police. The authorities immediately responded, and Immich was then taken into custody and held without bond. According to investigators, Immich had broken into the house after a long burglary spree, and was in possession of evidence that linked him to three other burglaries and a car break-in. Furthermore, it turns out that Immich has a lengthy arrest record that includes grand theft, drug possession and aggravated assault.

The Takeaway

Sure, the headline is rather amusing, and the story makes for some great late-night talk show fodder, but there is a chilling underlying element. This criminal had entered Ms. Smolinski’s home in the middle of the night and remained there completely undetected. Burglars (well…skilled burglars, anyway) excel at slipping in quietly. You can forget about the dramatic Hollywood depictions of aggressive home invaders who enter with crowbars and ski masks, because real intruders almost never smash glass or break down doors. They just don’t want the confrontation. If a professional makes his way into your home, you probably won’t even know about it until it’s too late.

Protect Yourself

1424795_74178082Once you understand the craftiness of these ne’er-do-wells, the next step is to take action to avoid becoming a victim. If you don’t have a quality home security system, consider investing in one. With so many options available, great security is more affordable than ever, but even if you can’t afford a full-fledged alarm system, you can still improve your home security. For instance, Home Security Store sells dog bark alarms that accurately mimic the growls and howls of real-life watchdogs.

One Final Thought

Even a simple yard sign can prove highly effective for deterring burglars, but if you decide not to secure your home, please remember to leave a warm blanket on the couch and some cold beer in the fridge. After all, you don’t want to be impolite to your late-night guests.

Protecting Your Church from Burglary

protecting your churchIt’s hard to imagine that someone would actually rob a church, and yet it happens every day in the U.S. In fact, one recent ABC report noted that church burglaries are on the rise in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this trend is being echoed in other parts of the country as well. It must require a lot of Hail Mary prayers to be absolved from burglarizing a church, but that’s not stopping would-be thieves who take to the sanctuaries in search of tithes and valuables. If your own church has fallen prey to the sinful acts of a thief in the night, or if you’re just looking to prevent such an occurrence, there are some simple steps you can take to secure your temple.

One Pastor’s Advice

Pastor Jim Hunter is just one of the Albuquerque clergy leaders whose church was targeted by burglars. Thieves damaged his gold-plated chalice and stole two musical instruments after breaking into his church two years ago. Now Hunter is speaking out and encouraging other churches—as well as homeowners—to get serious about their security. Hunter recently shared some of his tips with ABC, which include installing lights with motion sensors and trimming trees to provide extra visibility. As we always say at Home Security Store, even the smallest improvements can have a monumental impact when it comes to deterring criminals.

Protecting Your Church

Far too many churches are under-protected, and criminals know this. It’s especially common to see lax security in smaller churches merely due to a lack of funds. Security systems can get pretty expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of highly affordable DIY security systems out there, with 24-hour monitoring offered for less than $10 a month. And even if you’re not ready to invest in an entire security system just yet, you can still improve your security tremendously with a couple of strategically placed security cameras. If you’re on a budget, you can ward off burglars using dummy cameras and yard signs.

Practical Tips

Don’t leave money on site. It’s the first thing that criminals look for, and it’s the easiest thing for them to steal. Burglars have even been known to walk off with 200-pound safes, so don’t leave cash unattended. Take it to the bank. Also, remember to always lock up the facility. This may sound like common sense, but so many churches overlook this critically important step. After all, churches are meant to be welcoming, but unfortunately, criminals perceive a welcoming atmosphere as an opportunity worth taking advantage of.

Protecting the Kids

church safetyIt’s not just burglars you need to watch out for. In today’s unpredictable world, we must all contend with the tragic reality of child abduction. Churches make ideal targets for child predators, and that’s why it’s so important to implement a plan for releasing children into and out of childcare. Make sure that each parent signs their children in and out of Sunday School, to ensure not only that each child is accounted for, but that each child leaves with the same adult(s) with whom he or she arrived.

Background Checks

Do you know who has access to your church? I mean, do you really know? Church-related burglaries and crimes are quite often inside jobs, so it’s important to perform background checks on everyone who assumes a position of responsibility and authority within your church – especially those who work with children. You don’t just want to go for the simple background checks, but complete background checks. Again, if you’re concerned about budgetary issues, there are services that will do this online for free.

Have a Little Faith

By taking a few simple steps to secure your sanctuary, you can enjoy added peace of mind when your church is unattended. That frees you up to focus on more important things, like organizing all of your important sermons, events, studies and ministries. Home Security Store offers a wide array of security essentials suitable for any house of worship, and with our same-day shipping, you’ll be enjoying that added safety in no time.

Protecting Children From Predators – Part II

childIn part one of our series on protecting children from predators, we covered a lot of ground. Specifically, we offered information on protecting children from familiar threats, on how to use home security technology to increase child safety and information on special GPS technology specifically designed for child tracking. If you haven’t done so already, we strongly urge you to read that post and use that information to increase the safety of your own children.

Continuing in this same vein, we now present you with more advice for keeping your children safe from predators:

Track Internet Usage

Young children’s Internet usage should always be strictly monitored. In addition to direct adult supervision, specialized software can be installed on your computer, which will block access to sites and advertisements that are not intended for children.

For teens who are allowed to use the Internet unsupervised and who have smartphones with internet access, you may find it necessary to take a more covert approach to their protection. Of course, doing so is up to your discretion as a parent, but those concerned about who their son or daughter may be communicating with online (and meeting offline), often use spy products to keep a watchful eye from a distance. From software that records keystrokes to equipment like the Recover It All-In-One Smart Phone and PC Monitoring Software (which gives access to a phone or computer’s history, including deleted files and messages), there’s no need to be kept in the dark if you believe that your child may be engaging in dangerous Internet activities.

Protect and Arm Your Children

By any means necessary, it is your job as a parent to do your best to keep your children safe from every possible danger. We all know this and we do our best to accept this responsibility, but there are situations which may cause us to feel powerless against outside forces. Especially since we live in a time where public mass shootings are happening far too often and where school safety means a lot more than the fire or disaster drills that we grew up with. In an effort to protect children from gun-wielding criminals, note that shielding your child with an Armored Youth Ballistic backpack may be your best effort. Created to protect children from bullets, this backpack is also every bit as useful for carrying books and school supplies, too, which means that it can safely and discreetly be worn everyday.

Older teens may also benefit from personal protection items, such as pepper spray or kubotan items like the United Defense Pen featured in our store. These items, of course, are only intended for individuals mature enough to safely handle them and adults are advised to have strong conversations with teens before allowing them to carry either one of these items. Used correctly, pepper spray and kubotan sticks can help give a targeted victim the upper hand in a physical struggle and possibly create an opportunity for them to safely flee.

Keep Communication Open

As mentioned in part one of this series, predators are not always strangers lurking in the darkness. Too often, they are people familiar to their victims, such as teachers, neighbors or even other family members. The ways in which these people harm children are not always readily apparent, either. Evidence of their crimes can be hard to detect and may continue over long periods of time. Often, the only way to rescue children from these predators is through clear communication from children, themselves.

Some of the ways in which you can help children expose these predators include:

  • Creating an environment where children feel safe enough to speak up. This includes taking the time to listen to children without exhibiting anger, judgment and other negative emotions that may frighten, shame or intimidate children.
  • Encourage children to always come forward with truth, even if they have been led to believe that they have done something wrong. Assure children that honesty is valued and reassure them that your love for them can never be lost or damaged– no matter what.
  • Create an environment where children feel confident about discussing their feelings, even if those feelings include discomfort or the outright dislike of another adult.
  • At appropriate stages in a child’s development, have open discussions about instances where you may have been harmed as a child or share the experiences of other children. In this way, children may discover that they are not alone in their own experiences and that these events can be discussed openly and without shame.

What Do You Think?

Did we miss anything in our series about protecting children from predators? What would you like to share with our readers on this subject? Which personal or home security products do you recommend? Are there any that would you like to learn more about in the future? Home Security Store blog is a place for us to come together to share ideas and advice on a variety of different subjects, including child safety. We hope that you will take the time to use the space provided below to discuss your important thoughts on this matter.

Protecting Children From Predators – Part I

childNothing in life is more urgent than the personal security of our children. When plotting to protect your valuables– before anything else in your home– the safety of your little ones is certainly a top priority. And while teaching children not to talk to strangers is a good first step in protecting them from predators, there’s so much more that can and should be done. From using surveillance cameras for keeping a more vigilant watch over them to teaching children the ins and outs of household security, continue reading for worthwhile personal and home security tips aimed at keeping your children safe from predators.

Track Your Child’s Whereabouts

Thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to know where your child is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This becomes even more important since the first three hours of a child’s disappearance are the most crucial in terms of eventually locating her or him.  Many school-aged children carry smartphones that feature GPS technology which (if turned on) may offer information on the phone’s general vicinity. If the phone operates on a major carrier, third-party GPS applications can also be added to the device. Even with such smart technology, however, this sort of tracking only goes so far in providing security since the phone is all that is being tracked via GPS. If a child and phone are to somehow separate, how can the child then be found?

A simple and far more effective way to track a child’s whereabouts is through devices specifically designed for that purpose. Our best recommendation in this market is the SecuraPAL GPS Child Tracking Device, which features a variety of useful functions that are not found with other GPS devices, such as the ability to receive text alerts anytime a child strays outside of a predetermined route or area, and a panic button which can be activated anytime a child is lost or faced with a dangerous situation. This device also sends location information, which includes directions, thus making it one of the best GPS child safety devices to be found anywhere.

Keep an Eye Out For Every Possible Suspect

Unfortunately, dangerous strangers are not the only threats to children. They are not even the most prevalent. According to a 2002 report from the Department of Justice, nearly 800,000 children were abducted in a single year, yet only 115 of that total were believed to be stranger abductions! Instead, the majority of abductions involved family members and nearly 60,000 involved someone who the child was familiar with, but was not related to. When advising children to beware of strangers, how many parents ever imagine that a friend, a casual associate or another family member may actually prove to be a larger threat to a child’s safety?

To help keep children safe from predators– including those predators in the home, close to the home or with access to the home– it is necessary to employ surveillance in and around the home. No matter the child’s age, we strongly encourage the use of devices like nanny cams and other video surveillance systems. We even suggest the placement of a few hidden cameras around the home just to outsmart those predators whom you might never otherwise recognize. As uncomfortable as you may be with spying on people you know, just remember that a great number of adults who harm children intentionally build trusting relationships with the child and the child’s parents first and then use that friendship as a foundation to subtly lure children into secretive and harmful situations.

Teach Your Children About Home Security

Every home should offer safety from the outside world. While this is an ideal sentiment, a hard cold reality of life is that some children are assaulted at home or even abducted directly from the home. What might parents do to reduce the likelihood of a predator stealing a child from this safe haven?

For starters, every home should be equipped with a burglar alarm which should be kept armed at all times. Every member of the household, including children, should understand how the alarm system works and know how to arm it, disarm it, use the alarm’s panic button and how to input a panic code that sends a message to a monitoring company if a danger exists. And, of course, every alarm system should be monitored by a dedicated monitoring service.

Homeowners are also advised to install two-way video intercom systems such as the SVAT Video Intercom System found in our main store. Doing so ends the need for anyone in the home to ever open the front door for an unexpected visitor. With such a system, residents can see who is at the front door and verbally communicate with them through the device without having to unlock or open the front door and without ever having to disarm the security system. Used correctly, a two-way video intercom greatly reduces the likelihood of an intruder forcing his way into a home and harming anyone inside.

Stay Tuned For Part II

Protecting children from predators is not an easy topic, nor is it one that we can explore in a single post. Stay tuned into the Home Security Store blog for part two in our series on keeping children safe from dangerous criminals at home and in public. Until then, please take a moment to share your best tips on this subject in the space reserved for you below.

Additional Reading:

Key Facts About the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children

Missing Children Fast Facts

Home Surveillance and Big Brother?

SurveillanceDaily newspapers are filled with accounts of people expressing their serious concerns about privacy issues in America. From social networks to Internet searches, our lives can sometimes read like an open book and we are constantly being reminded about protecting personal and sensitive information. When it comes to home security, however, most tend to think that certain specialized devices are designed to protect our privacy and control who has access to the more personal things that we value. Yet, right now, some are issuing strong words of caution about privacy as home surveillance cameras, in particular, may soon be used by law enforcement agencies in order to electronically peer more closely into streets and neighborhoods.

Private Home Surveillance in the Fight against Public Crimes?

Soon, law enforcement officers in San Jose, California may be able to use home security cameras in their fight against crime. As I write this, a proposal is set to be addressed at a city council meeting in early February. Under this proposal, residents would voluntarily register their own home security cameras on a police database which would allow officers to immediately access data from those systems whenever a crime occurs in a particular area.

While some citizens do currently volunteer footage that may be helpful in solving crimes, the process of identifying who has cameras, determining where cameras are located and asking for permission to review footage takes additional time and effort during an investigation. Having cameras already registered in a database and permission granted, however, helps to accelerate this process and allows officers to have immediate access to registered video feeds. It should also be noted that the proposal does not request access to live feeds, only those that have been pre-recorded in an area where a specific crime has occurred.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy activists have taken real issue with the potential misuse of cameras registered in such a database. Some do not trust agencies to not use cameras outside of the proposal’s intended purpose. More specifically, some citizens have outright questioned whether this sort of voluntary access is nothing more than a step in the direction of neighborhoods eventually being under 24/7 live surveillance. Opponents have even been very candid in questioning whether certain rogue individuals would misuse the system to tap into live feeds despite policies in place that would limit or otherwise forbid them from doing so.

Could Police Access to Private Surveillance Cameras Become a Trend?

Officials in San Jose are not alone in their proposal to allow law enforcement access to private security cameras. For example, since private surveillance cameras were used to capture the culprits accused of initiating the Boston Marathon bombings, support for a private surveillance camera database has grown in places like Worcester, Massachusetts. While ACLU Senior Policy Analyst, Jay Stanley, criticizes this type of filming as ‘little brother’ surveillance, others prefer for law enforcement to have access to such footage if it will derail similar incidents or result in the capture of criminals. In some places, like New Orleans where the SafeCams8 project is in full effect, private citizens have been eager to lend a hand (or lend a cam…as in footage) in order to help reduce crime. Cities with similar programs or initiatives include Philadelphia and Chicago.

How Might Criminals Respond?

As our longtime readers already know, home surveillance systems are effective burglar deterrents. Even at the sight of fake cameras like the Bullet Dummy Camera which looks exactly like the real thing, criminals are likely to avoid committing a crime where evidence is being recorded on tape. Just as they do when realizing the presence of other security devices such as burglar alarms, and security lighting, criminals would rather bypass a home equipped with one or more cameras in order to find an easier target with no security whatsoever.

What, then, might burglars make of surveillance cameras that offer police immediate access to their criminal evidence? Is it possible that databases like these might help reduce crime, overall? At this time, no agency is able to tap into the live feeds of a private outdoor home surveillance system, but what would happen if they could? Might this be an effective way to reduce crime? Especially in high incident areas?

Useful Surveillance or Big Brother?

As with the capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, we know that private surveillance footage can be useful in solving crimes. What are your thoughts about the long-term implications of giving government agencies access to private home security cameras for this purpose in the future, though? Undoubtedly, everyone reading this would be open to volunteering their footage on an as-needed basis if it could help solve a crime, but can you ever imagine yourself registering your outdoor cameras with a local database? Why or why not? We’re interested in hearing your take on this and look forward to the discussion below

 

Tips on Where to Install Your Wireless Alarm System

L5000PKPlace your control station in an area of your home that is centrally located to where your sensors and contacts will be. Doing so will help ensure that each one will be able to communicate with the main station. Also do this in an effort to make it easier for the system’s alarm to be heard throughout the home if it is ever triggered.

Door and Window Sensors

Place door contacts and window sensors at or close to the top of each of these locations. Doing so helps keep them out of the way of locks and latches, and reduces the likelihood of accidental contact while opening or closing doors and windows and that may dislodge a contact or sensor.

Other Devices

Avoid placing your base station too close to other devices, such as computers and cordless telephones. While technology has advanced to the point where interference between wireless devices is rarely (if ever) an issue, keeping a safe distance between all is still a good practice to avoid interference just in case faulty equipment with any of your electronic devices becomes an issue.

Always Read Your Instructions Carefully

Depending upon your system, the manufacturer may have additional ideas about where to install your wireless alarm system. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and remember that our tech support team here at the Home Security Store is happy to answer any questions that you may have.

We Want to Hear From You

Have you installed a wireless alarm system lately? Where did you end up placing your main station? Do you have any helpful tips or advice you’d like to share with our readers?

Ralph Winn

Is Your Home Security System Truly Secure?

improve home securityThere is a famous series of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons, which begin with the family’s return from a relaxing vacation. Calvin and his parents learn that their home has been burglarized, and understandably, they’re quite startled. As the husband and wife assess the damage, the wife says to the husband, “This is one of those things you always figure will happen to someone else,” to which the husband replies, “Unfortunately, we’re all someone else to someone else.” Truer words were never spoken.

Far too many of us are blasé about our security systems, because we have simply become complacent. We think it won’t happen to us.  The fact is that a quality home security system can save you thousands, sometimes millions of dollars in stolen property, and in some cases, it can even save your life. But it’s not enough to just slap a control panel onto your wall. How do you know that your home security system is truly up to the task? Burglars will exploit even the most subtle vulnerabilities in an alarm system, and it’s important to ensure that your security is actually, well…secure. Have you taken the time to put your system to the test?

Cover Up any Wiring

If you have a hardwired alarm system, and you have loose copper wires hanging anywhere indoors or outdoors, take some time to cover them up. Burglars will often cut the wires immediately upon finding them, not only because copper is so valuable, but because hardwired systems are pretty useless without a solid wired connection.

Test Your System

When is the last time you actually tested your system? Six months ago? A year ago? Five years ago? You should periodically test the alarm in order to ensure that it’s actually functioning properly. Call your monitoring company (if you pay for monitoring services) and let them know that you want to test your system. Then begin accessing and triggering the various functions of your security system. In most cases, everything should be fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When testing your glass-break sensors, you don’t actually have to shatter glass. You can use a glass break sensor tester to simulate the sound of shattering glass.

Back Up Your Power

What happens if your power goes out? Whether due to a power surge, a blackout, or the malicious actions of a skilled burglar? Your alarm should always have a backup source of power, whether in the form of a backup battery or an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).  Never rely on a single source of power to breathe life into your security system.

home surveillance kitAccessorize

What does your security system include? A control panel? A keypad? A siren? A couple of motion sensors? Door and window contacts? We all know what to expect from a typical security system, but there are a lot of components that you won’t find in your typical kit, which can nevertheless take your security to the next level. For instance, window bars can provide much needed reinforcement to your windows. Driveway alarms can provide advance warning whenever an intruder inches toward your home. Motion sensor lights can ward off burglars by shini0ng a spotlight on their covert intrusion.

Add Some Surveillance

Does your home security system include surveillance cameras? If not, it should. DVR-and-camera surveillance systems are now more affordable and easier to operate than ever before, and they can prove invaluable in prosecuting the criminals when an invasion occurs…or if an invasion occurs in the first place. After all, the other benefit of having surveillance cameras is that they make powerful deterrents. Even a really good dummy camera mounted on your front porch will often keep the burglars away.

Let the World Know

You might have the greatest security system in the world, but if crooks are unaware of it, they’ll still attempt to break into your home. Since prevention is the best cure, you’ll want to ensure that any would-be intruders are made well aware of your high-end security before they even attempt to force their way inside. Make sure to post yard signs near the front as well as the back entrance to your home, and place decals on your windows. If you don’t have any decals or yard signs, you can find them all at Home Security Store.

Don’t Take Chances with Your Home Security

Even a simple home security system can offer an unprecedented level of protection, but only if you’re proactive about keeping your ship in order and equipping yourself with the accessories needed to secure your fortress from all sides. So here’s a challenge for you. Put yourself in the mindset of a burglar, and take a stroll through your home. Walk the perimeter, look inside the windows, and then move from room to room. Determine where your security falls short, and then do something about it.

And finally, always remember what’s truly important…

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The Top 10 Most Commonly Stolen Items

most stolen items What kinds of goods do thieves target? It’s important to educate yourself on this subject, because as the cliché goes, knowledge is power. If you own a shop, you’ll want to have a firm understanding of which merchandise bears the greatest risk of theft, and if you’re a homeowner, you may want to put yourself into the mind of a potential burglar as you organize your household essentials. Securing your valuables can save you tremendous heartache and frustration in the event of a burglary, and some of the most commonly stolen household items may surprise you.

The Top 10 List

In 2012, Property Room (a popular online police auction service) compiled comprehensive data about the most stolen goods in America, and they published their results on their website. Property Room’s entire inventory is made up of stolen goods recovered by police departments across the nation. The items go up for auction when nobody claims them. According to the company’s own data, here are the biggest targets of theft:

  1. Bicycles
  2. Power Tools
  3. Gold Jewelry
  4. Laptops
  5. Cell Phones
  6. Hunting Equipment
  7. Small Electronics (especially Apple products)
  8. Decorative Weapons
  9. Lawn Mowers
  10. Small Boats

Don’t Become a Victim

So how can you secure your personal valuables? You don’t want your jewelry to go missing while you’re on vacation, and you certainly shouldn’t have to replace your $1500 laptop due to the selfish actions of a sneaky crook. Once you determine which valuables are at risk, you can take steps to protect them, even if you do become subject to an intrusion. Here are just some of the things you can do:

Place your valuables in the most inconvenient locations. Burglars like to slip in and out as quickly as possible, so don’t leave your valuables out in the open, within easy reach of an exit. Hide them if possible, and lock them up. For instance, rather than just placing your bicycle in the garage, lock it up as though you were locking it at a public bike rack.

Invest in a safe. A large, heavy safe may make for a costly investment, but it can also go a long way in protecting some of your most treasured valuables. If you keep hunting weapons, especially guns, you’ll want to have a reliable safe on hand anyway, for your safety and for the safety of your family.

Invest in a diversion safe. If you’re looking for a safe on a budget, consider a diversion safe. Perfect for concealing small valuables like gold jewelry, these unassuming devices are designed to look like everyday objects: hairspray bottles, books, even clocks. But in fact, they’re just hollow storage spaces designed to hide all of your small treasures.

Use GPS. Recently we wrote about a case in Arizona involving a burglarized man whose valuables were recovered thanks to a GPS device attached to one of the stolen goods. Miniature GPS units can be discreetly concealed on laptops, PCs and other desirable objects, and they can prove invaluable in catching criminals after your home is invaded.

Use burglary deterrents. A good offense is the best defense, and ideally, you’ll want to minimize the odds of your home being targeted for intrusion in the first place. Even if you can’t afford a full-fledged security system, you can use simple burglary deterrents to send criminals running before they even attempt to enter your home. Dummy cameras, fake TV lights, yard signs…these are just some of the effective but affordable tools that you can use to better secure your home.

Secure Your Valuables

The world can be an unpredictable place, and a home is burglarized every 15 seconds in the U.S. alone. It’s important to be prepared, and fortunately, preparedness doesn’t have to be costly or difficult. So if you love your electronics, your bikes and your hunting gear, it may be time for a bit of fine tuning on the home security front. Spend a little now, save a fortune in the long run.

Singing Fish Prevents Burglary in Minnesota

Burglary DeterrentsThe headline pretty much says it all, folks. A Big Mouth Billy Bass has reportedly stopped an attempted burglary in its tracks, at a store in Rochester, Minnesota. According to a report from the local NBC affiliate, shop owner Tom Allen arrived at work one morning to find that the door was open. At first, he thought that perhaps an employee had entered before him, but then he noticed the novelty singing fish on the floor.

Shop Owner Notices Fishy Activity

“When I saw Billy Bass on the floor, I knew something was really up,” Allen told reporters. “And when I tried to close the door and it wouldn’t close at all, I just knew that Billy Bass had done his job, and let somebody know that it wasn’t just empty or something.” Allen believes that Billy’s heavenly vibrato served to frighten the would-be burglars away, and he’s probably right.

The Phenomenon that is Billy                             

For those unaware, Big Mouth Billy Bass is a popular animatronic fish, which pivots its head back and forth and sings fun, classic songs like Don’t Worry Be Happy. Billy is mounted to a plaque like a real game fish, and is activated by buttons as well as motion detection sensors. Unless you’ve been living in a cave since 1998, you have most likely seen Billy in action at one time or another. And while he may be popular as a novelty gift, you probably never realized that he could be used to stop burglaries.

Billy’s Lesson for Us All

Burglary deterrents come in all shapes and sizes, and while we can certain enjoy a few laughs over this unusual tale of a heroic toy fish, there is a more serious underlying takeaway to consider. As stories like this remind us, burglars are easily startled. They don’t like to get caught, and they don’t like to put themselves in situations that can draw attention to their presence. That’s why even the most seemingly innocuous deterrents can go a long way in warding off intruders. Bright lights and loud noises are like kryptonite to a tiptoeing crook.

Don’t Let Your Home Security Flounder

At Home Security Store, we haven’t quite tackled the singing fish market, but we do have a number of extremely effective burglary deterrents, including motion-activated dog bark alarms, fake TV lights, dummy cameras and solar-powered lights. Securing your home or business can be extremely simple and affordable, and the little touches can make a big difference.

Give the Fish His Due

So if you’re ever in Rochester, Minnesota, stop in Hooked on Fishing and thank Billy the Brave Bass for saving the day. Billy probably won’t understand a word you’re saying, but he just might serenade you with a spirited rendition of Blue Suede Shoes.