Monthly Archives: February 2014

Combating Mail Theft

Mail theftLooking for an easy score, a lot of criminals specialize in breaking into mailboxes instead of (or in addition to) homes. For one, a lot of mailboxes are of the standalone variety and most are not covered by a security alarm or a surveillance system. Heck, a lot aren’t even secured by a lock. Of those that do lock, most are easy enough to break into within a matter of seconds.

Money Is the Object

One of the best scores a burglar is likely looking for when breaking into a mailbox is money. Not cash, of course, but credit cards, debit cards and checks will usually do just fine. Although mail theft is a federal crime, when considering how easy it is to break into most mailboxes, that a criminal can easily break into several within a single hour makes the risk worth it for some.

Stealing Your Identity

Thieves are also interested in obtaining sensitive identity information when breaking into a mailbox. This information includes things like your name, your date of birth, your social security number or your driver license information, or even banking account and credit card numbers.

Valuable Medications

Increasingly, more people are receiving medications for family members and pets via home delivery. The idea of scoring such meds can be quite alluring to a thief who either has a drug addiction or one who can sell the drugs to someone who manufactures street drugs or who simply sells the drugs outright on the black market.

Protecting Your Sensitive Mail From Theft

Securing your mailbox against this type of theft is pretty easy. By replacing your current mailbox with one like the Secure Mail Vault, you can create a barrier between your mail and a thief looking for an easy score.

In addition to installing a sturdier mailbox, also consider angling a security camera to watch over your mailbox and record any activity in the area.

Your Ideas

How secure is your mailbox? What important information did we miss in this post? We look forward to hearing your thoughts on how to increase mail security in the comments section below.

Ralph Winn

Webcam Surveillance Is a Terrible Idea

WebcamMore than once I’ve seen bloggers and others recommend using webcam surveillance for low cost home security. What people don’t realize, however, is that while this method works in theory, it is still a very flimsy method of securing one’s home. For one thing, a webcam is far too easy to disable. These types of systems are also typically easy for a determined thief to hack into. Anyone serious about home security is advised to invest in a true video surveillance system instead of relying on the hit-or-miss security offered by a webcam.

Taking DIY Too Far

We understand people wanting to save money. Heck, it’s one of the reasons why we are such staunch advocates of DIY home security in the first place. Retail security vendors are overcharging consumers for equipment and services which can be had at far more affordable costs if they are self-installed or if consumers are allowed to deal directly with monitoring service providers such as Alarm Relay. We get it. We also offer the best solutions to this dilemma by bringing you affordable and effective DIY home security options.

There is such a thing as taking DIY too far, however. Attempting to protect a home by using equipment that was not intended for home security falls into this category. A webcam is great for face-to-face conversations, but using one for home security is risky at best.

Who’s Afraid Of a Webcam?

Certainly not a burglar! In part, the purpose of good home security devices is the psychological buttons they push in a criminal’s mind. This is why deterrents are so effective. Home security equipment registers as a threat in eyes of an intruder and, upon sight, most will bypass a home with deterrents in plain view in search of a home which doesn’t appear to be protected, instead. Fake security cameras are even recommended for this purpose since gadgets like the WINN Imitation Dummy Camera look exactly like the real thing to a thief.

A webcam, on the other hand, isn’t likely to trigger much fear or second-thought in a trespasser’s mind. Most know how to easily enough disable such a device and are far less likely to stop their criminal activity in order to avoid being recorded by one. Simply put, encountering a webcam is just too easy for a thief to workaround.

What Would a Burglar Do?

Think about this: what do you think a burglar will do when he realizes that he is being caught on tape by a laptop’s camera? Do you think he will:

A. Slam the laptop shut

B. Add the laptop to his booty

C. Destroy the laptop

D. All of the above

If, by chance, the thief isn’t in the neighborhood for a computer (yes, fat chance, but work with me here). Or if, by chance, he doesn’t notice that he is being filmed…do you still believe that he will remain in one room during his visit to your home? What happens when he leaves a webcam’s limited vision field?

Unless you’re going to set a webcam up in several different rooms, webcam devices simply can’t hold a candle to a multi-channel system like the 4-Channel DVR Surveillance Kit offered in our store. Can a webcam even record outdoor activity even in poor weather conditions like such a device can?

I’ve even seen bloggers recommend using Skype or a similar videoconferencing program to communicate with the burglar to try to fool him into believing that someone is in the home and that help is on the way. Just thinking about such a scenario makes me laugh as I type this. I’m sure it will make a burglar laugh if you try it, too. This, my friends, is no way to secure a home. For real remote surveillance activity, the Lasertech Security System Cameras offer a far superior solution.

Hacking Your Webcam

In addition to being a lousy deterrent and an even worse surveillance tool, a webcam just may work in a burglar’s favor. We’ve explained many times before that a prowler could be the teenager next door or may be someone willing to take the time to stake your house out a time or two before actually burglarizing it. With the right amount of expertise, upon learning that you rely on webcam surveillance for home security, a crook just may hack into your system and secretly peer into your home in order to find out if its occupied, get an idea of your house’s layout or even to scope out the valuables in a room before his arrival.

We Understand– We Just Disagree

Some of the most often cited reasons for using a webcam surveillance for home security is cost. A lot of people just are not aware of the low-cost and effective alternatives provided through a DIY surveillance installation. Where years ago the cost of CCTV equipment and its installation was out of the range of an average homeowner’s budget, this just isn’t the case anymore. Therefore, skimping on something so important and using a method as unreliable as webcam surveillance just isn’t practical to your home security needs.

What Do You Think About Webcam Surveillance?

Do you think that webcam surveillance is an effective home security tactic? Are you currently using a webcam for this purpose? We are always interested in the thoughts and opinions of our readers, so please take a moment to leave yours below.

Ralph Winn