Blog Archives

Invisible Burglars and Anti-Cloak Technology

invisible burglarsWhile the subject of home security and combating invisible burglars may sound like the plot of a campy science fiction movie, it isn’t. This is because very savvy criminals know how to make themselves invisible or, in better words, circumvent certain types of sensors by camouflaging or “cloaking” themselves in such a way that their radiation is not picked up by these sensors. Rest assured, however, that a number of DIY home security devices are offered with the right technology to combat against these so-called invisible burglars.

Not Your Average Criminals

Burglars who intentionally camouflage themselves so as not to be detected by security devices are not of the everyday variety. As we’ve informed many times before, the average intruder is not terribly sophisticated and many are in the business simply to support a lazy lifestyle, a drug habit or they are part of a street gang or just looking for a quick score for any number of other reasons (including all of the above). This is not to suggest that these ne’er do wells are not dangerous or that homeowners do not have to give much thought to outwitting them, but rather we mean to highlight the fact that most don’t go to great lengths to learn how to bypass strong security systems.

On the other hand, criminals specializing in high-priced burglaries– that is break-ins that will net significant gains such as priceless artwork, expensive gems and rare collectibles are of a different ilk. Some are not average thieves at all, in fact, but specialize in kidnapping wealthy, high profile individuals or worse. These criminals tend to take a considerably more focused approach to learning their craft. They carefully plot their approaches and eventually learn how to circumvent even the most complicated and robust security systems. It is these types who are most likely to go to great lengths to disguise their bodies in such a way that their presence neither registers on nor triggers a home security alarm.

Anti-Cloak Technology

There is a solution to stop these types of criminals, however. Known as anti-cloak technology (ACT), home security manufacturers have designed dual technology devices, which make it nearly impossible for an intruder to go undetected. Take, for example, the DIY home security solution provided by RISCO Group which is also featured in our main store. This sensor features an incredible range of up to 28 by 60 feet and automatically switches between passive infrared and microwave technologies whenever it senses that someone is attempting to mask radiation in order to bypass a security system.

Who Needs Home Security With Anti-Cloak Technology?


Window and Glass Security Tips

Glass SecurityIs every window in your home secure? Do you have windows in your garage or basement? Are those secure, too? If a burglar were to open or break the glass on any window or door at your house, how soon would this be brought to your attention?

Thinking about your home right now, it is important to be honest with yourself in terms of what is needed in order to keep criminals out. It is not unusual for a homeowner to want to ignore potentially weak areas of security for lack of time or to avoid the presumably high cost of new home security. Neither of these is a valid excuse, however, since DIY home security allows homeowners to fortify a home according to their own schedule (often in a matter of hours) and at prices far less than a home security company would charge for equipment, installation and monitoring.

When installing a new security system, special attention should be paid to all windows and glass doors in a home. It is not enough to merely rely on factory window locks to keep an intruder out. Instead, homeowners should take a multi-layered approach to window security by installing specialized locks, window sensors and glass break detectors.

Install New Locks On Every Window

Most factory window locks are not enough to keep a burglar out. While companies that manufacture windows produce them with built-in locks, these devices are not exactly created with the highest levels of security in mind. Also, with enough such windows on the market, burglars have plenty of opportunities to learn how these locks work and, more importantly, how to unlock them. In most cases, the latter does not take much effort as these locks tend to give way with a little extra force or manipulation.

Window Locks and Ventilation

With this in mind, homeowners should stop all reliance on a manufacturer’s window locks and, instead, install new locks on every window in a home. Sliding glass doors should also be fitted with special security locks. For those with concerns about summer heat and who may prefer extra ventilation at times, security locks will allow for such where a manufacturer’s locks generally won’t (or may offer flimsy security when then do). One such security device that we recommend for this purpose is the Lock-it Block-it Home Home Security Burglar Bar for Windows found in our main store. Made of PVC and ABS plastic, this durable but adjustable bar requires no installation and offers a high level security to those who would like to ventilate a room while still presenting a strong barrier against outside intrusion.

Children, Teenagers and Solid Window Security

Beyond keeping burglars out, proper window and glass security also keeps children safe. We’ve all shuddered in horror at news reports of children falling from windows which were not properly secured. Home security window burglar bars and other window locks help in significantly reducing the likelihood of a window being left open wide enough for a child to fit through or even of a young child being able to manipulate a lock on her own in order to open a window.

Window sensors also provide greater security for homes with mischievous teenagers. Once an alarm is armed, parents can sleep peacefully knowing that a teen cannot sneak out of a home at night. Should a teen even attempt to do so, an alert or a full alarm is sounded the moment that a window is opened.

Glass Break Sensors

Whether a home is equipped with casement windows or sliding windows, at least one window in each room should be fitted with a glass break sensor. Additionally, glass window boxes and decorative glass on doors or around a doorway should also be equipped with glass break detectors. Doing so ensures that an alarm is triggered the moment that glass is broken in a home. For the best protection with glass break sensors, shop for one with dual technology so that it can detect breaking glass beyond the window where it is mounted. For example, this one has a 15 foot detection radius, which means that beyond the window it is mounted on, it can detect breaking glass from nearby windows up to a range of 15 ft.

Garage and Basement Glass

Smaller windows in garages, attics and basements are sometimes ignored due to a perception that some are too small for an intruder to climb through or because they have been sealed shut and a homeowner believes that they cannot be pried open. Ignoring these spaces is a serious security breach, however, since intruders are willing to use children, smash glass or use any number of tools to pry these windows open. Do not cut corners by leaving a single window or glass door in any of these areas unprotected.

Your Tips Are Needed

If your home has ever been broken into via a window or a glass door, sharing your experience may teach us all a thing or two. What are your best tips for window and glass security? Help spread the word by leaving your thoughts in the comments section now.


How To Avoid High Alarm Monitoring Fees

alarm-monitoring-feeHigh alarm monitoring fees are a drag. In fact, the avoidance of these fees is one of the main reason that so many homeowners go without home security monitoring. As dangerous and ill-advised as doing so may be, we understand why this happens.

Despite the fact that we are sympathetic to the plight of homeowners when it comes to avoiding high security monitoring fees, we are not content to allow a lack of monitoring to exist with any of our customers. Hopefully, you all feel the same way and will not only take this subject seriously, but will also spread the word to your friends and family members. And by word, we mean the following tips on how to avoid high monthly alarm monitoring fees:

Beware Of Home Security Tricksters

We’ve discussed this many times right here on this blog, but if you are a first-time reader please listen up. Some of the biggest names in the home security business are unapologetic in taking advantage of customers just like you. See, with promises of low-cost or free equipment and discounted installations, these companies gain significant profits by overcharging on monitoring fees. Know this and avoid this tactic by first opting for DIY home security devices and thus rendering these companies both useless and unnecessary for your household’s protection.

Say Goodbye to Monitoring Middlemen

Installing your own home security devices is a good start, but to truly avoid the high cost of alarm monitoring, it will be necessary to cut the middleman out completely. It helps to note that home security companies that attempt to sell alarm monitoring rarely (if ever) actually do the monitoring themselves. Instead, they contract with a professional monitoring company who charges a far more reasonable rate for service. Customers never realize this true rate, however, since the middleman is notorious for inflating the cost of service to the end consumer and pocketing the difference themselves.

The easiest and most cost-effective way of cutting the middleman out without sacrificing quality and professional monitoring is to go direct to the source. We highly recommend Alarm Relay where, as a Home Security Store customer, you can enjoy a rate of just $8.95 per month for professional grade monitoring from a UL certified central station. This low-cost, first rate monitoring is offered at up to a 300% savings of what typical home security companies offer for the exact same service. How’s that for avoiding high alarm monitoring fees?

Consider DIY Remote Alarm Monitoring

Alarm monitoring fees are completely eliminated with DIY remote monitoring devices like the Envisalink Internet Alert Module for DSC and Honeywell Security systems. Anyone with a smartphone can receive instant alerts whenever home security has been breached. Homeowners can also remotely look in on a home at anytime from anywhere they may be. This, of course, is all at no additional cost.

Professional Monitoring Vs. Remote Monitoring

We have to be honest here. While DIY remote monitoring is, by far, the most economical choice for alarm monitoring, it is not necessarily the best. If a smartphone is ever lost or even if a battery is simply low or an owner is in a poor service area, alerts may not be received in a timely fashion. At such times, actual remote monitoring capabilities may be limited or completely nonexistent. This is not to suggest that remote monitoring is not a good option for some, only that nothing beats live monitoring by a professional service provider, such as Alarm Relay. While there is a monthly fee associated with this option, it is far less than what can be found elsewhere for a comparable service.

The Final Word on High Alarm Monitoring Fees

Now that you know why the standard monitoring fees charged by most home security companies are so high, we hope that you will select a better alternative. While alarm monitoring is optional for DIY home security, we hope that you realize that it is still a very necessary component of your overall plan to protect your family and your home. If opting for professional monitoring, for little more than $100 for an entire year’s service, homeowners can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that a professionally trained team of alarm monitors are paying vigilant attention to a security system and are ready to spring into action on a family’s behalf at the first sign of a security risk.

Tell Us About Your Alarm Monitoring Experiences

We are always interested in hearing your take on various home security topics. Do you have direct experience with alarm monitoring? If you’ve encountered excessive alarm monitoring fees or have a story to tell about how a monitored system helped save your family from potential harm, we’d love to hear all about it in the space provided below.


Surveillance Cameras for Everyone?

Surveillance CamerasIncreasingly, neighborhood groups are realizing that 24/7 public video surveillance is one of the best ways to promote the safety and security of local residents. With easy installation, more and more homeowners are also turning to DIY CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment in order to record and remotely monitor what is going on in and around their homes. Some are even allowing local law enforcement agencies access to private outdoor camera systems in order to help solve crimes. As these trends continue, we wonder if there will ever be a time where surveillance cameras become standard safety equipment common to every home much like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.

Cities Under Surveillance

Throughout the United States, city governments and law enforcement agencies are opting to install public video surveillance cameras in order to keep a close watch on their jurisdictions. With 3,000 cameras in action, Manhattan is already under watch. London is also under constant surveillance as thousands of public cameras are stationed throughout that city. While such an enormous presence of security cameras in public may make some individual citizens uncomfortable, there is no denying that these security devices also serve to make criminals even more uncomfortable.

Burglars Aren’t the Only Concern

Thieves aren’t a homeowner’s only threat, nor are they the sole reason for groups coming together in order to place entire neighborhoods under surveillance. Daily, our newspapers are filled with reports of sexual and physical assaults, kidnappings and terrorist threats. These crimes are of enormous concern to everyone and are what drives residents in support of public security cameras to advocate so tirelessly for more surveillance.

Residents of Brooklyn neighborhoods like Flatbush, Borough Park and Midwood have deep concerns about possible threats to their safety. Following the kidnapping and murder of a child in Borough Park (the suspect was eventually caught on camera), neighbors have banded together to install outdoor surveillance cameras throughout these areas. Doing so is no small feat either, as more than 300 public video cameras are being installed throughout those specific areas.

Standard Security Equipment

In some states, working smoke detectors are a requirement in every private household. Few would argue against these devices being a necessity as they provide early warnings to residents as to the possibility of fire and such technology is intended to allow enough time for individuals to escape and call for help. In areas where smoke detection devices are required by law, few have argued against them as many lives have been saved as a result of their presence.

Should we take a similar approach to home security? Imagine if every homeowner were required to install, at minimum, a burglar alarm and a surveillance system. Would people take home security more seriously? Or would such a requirement be going too far?

Cameras For Everyone?

Requirements and advocacy aside, we are of the strong belief that no homeowner should ever choose to be without a good alarm and video surveillance system. Indoor and outdoor cameras, as well as hidden cameras all help strengthen security layers and make it possible for homeowners to maintain better control over their own security. DIY home security manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make it easy and affordable for average residents to benefit from levels of protection that were once only achievable by the very well-to-do. With do-it-yourself DVR systems offering multi-channel and remote surveillance, homeowners have flocked to this technology for good reason. Since top-quality DIY video surveillance cameras are available to the public and since we know that they are such good crime deterrents, why shouldn’t everyone have one or more of these affordable devices in their home?

Beyond Home Surveillance

Crime is everywhere, so it stands to reason that everyone should join in fighting it. We believe this and the fact that you’re reading this blog suggests that you do, too. How far should we take the fight, though? Beyond placing surveillance cameras in every home, should private outdoor cameras be accessible to law enforcement agencies? Should neighborhoods continue to band together in a push to install surveillance cameras throughout entire neighborhoods?

This subject triggers a good mix of opinions including those with valid privacy concerns and who oppose moving beyond home surveillance to also include public neighborhood surveillance projects. What are some good security alternatives to public surveillance cameras? And how might we better protect our city streets against crime? All ideas are welcome and respected, so…

Let’s Talk About It

Do you live in a neighborhood where a high level of intentional security exists? Are you interested in forming a neighborhood group in order to focus on public surveillance efforts? Or are you opposed to widespread video surveillance? Please take a moment to share your thoughts, questions, concerns and experiences in the comments section below.


Home Security Tips for Remodeling Your House

Young man drilling hole in wall while woman standing byIt may not look like it now, but spring is just around the corner. With plenty of sunshine and dry weather, this means that a lot of our readers will be remodeling their homes. Whether adding a single room, upgrading a few fixtures or completely refurbishing an entire house there are certain security precautions that should be taken during and after these projects are completed. If you are among those planning to spruce up a nest this season, know that integrating the following home security tips into the process will save you time as well as help keep your house and your family safe in the process.

A Change of Pace

While much of the country suffered a brutal winter and many of your homes are still buried under layers of snow, know that warmer days are coming soon. Contractors, construction workers and legions of do-it-yourselfers are already rolling up their sleeves to work on special building projects that better weather will soon allow. Unfortunately, some burglars are also looking forward to this change of pace as they know that some of these projects will create opportunities for them to break into properties while work is being done.

The Allure of Tools, Materials and Fixtures

For a burglar, things like copper wiring, power tools and new household fixtures and appliances are a great payday. The very items used to create the home of your dreams may be the same ones that attract a criminal element. Thieves attracted to these items are known to break into construction sites after hours to nab these very items.

The best way to distance yourself from a crime like this is to place all tools, materials, fixtures and other supplies in a secure storage facility overnight and on weekends. Also, your property should be well-protected by surveillance cameras, a security alarm and home security signage should be clearly displayed in order to warn a burglar that your guard is not down just because a little cosmetic work is in progress. Depending upon the extent of construction taking place at your home, you may want to consider placing a temporary fence around it, too.

Keep Careful Watch

Speaking of keeping your guard up, as often as possible, keep a close watch over those hired to help in your home’s remodel. Often, one or two of the very workers used to help create the home of your dreams may also be the very ones to turn your experience into an absolute nightmare. This can be particularly true if hiring people whom you have not vetted and do not have a history with, such as day laborers or random handymen found in places like Craigslist.

To avoid being ripped off by one of these double-agents, install surveillance cameras in and around your home. Don’t stop there, however, as your job is not done yet. Take the time to discreetly check your cameras daily to be certain that their field of vision hasn’t been adjusted or that they haven’t been turned off, disconnected or otherwise tampered with. Also, randomly review the footage from those cameras as often as possible.

Avoid hiring workers who are not licensed or bonded. While the desire to save money is understandable, the price that you may pay for hiring someone with a criminal history may be entirely too high. And even if hiring workers who are licensed, bonded and affiliated with a reputable company, continue to watch them closely as they work in your home. This means that you or someone you trust should remain at the property while work is being done.

In addition to visible security cameras (which are a strong deterrent, even if they are fake), place a few hidden cameras around the inside of your home. While you obviously want to see what is going on in the main construction area, place cameras in other areas where no work is being done. By reviewing the footage– or by randomly watching a remote live stream throughout the day, you can witness whether or not workers are wandering into areas that have nothing to do with the remodel.

Protect the Little Things

Jewelry, emergency cash and small electronics that can be discreetly slipped into a pocket should be tightly protected. If you have a safe at home (and you should) place valuables like these there while your home is being worked on. Small things like this may not be immediately missed, but are pretty easy for a thief to walk away without even other workers noticing.

Have a Home Security Remodeling Tip?

Do you have any tips to share about home security while remodeling a house? Have you ever had anything stolen during a remodeling phase? We’ve left a little space for you here and we hope that you’ll help make this post even better by sharing your own tips and experiences right now.


Home Security Gone Wrong

millionaire’s castleWe are sad to report a severe case of home security having gone wrong. An intruder has managed to break into the second largest home in America. It’s a castle, in fact. He doesn’t appear to have stolen anything, but he did try to murder the unsuspecting homeowner.

Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

When Security Fails

Listen, we’re not going to lie to you here. No home security is absolutely foolproof. We’d like to tell you otherwise– that certain devices and strategies are impenetrable, but if an 84 year old nun can break into a super secure nuclear facility and a millionaire’s castle can be breached,  then a very determined criminal can break into your home. 

An elite class of highly skilled professional crooks know how to override even the most complex home security system while remaining undetected. In fact, in the case described above the intruder even managed to make his way past an actual security guard who was stationed at the entrance of the 23 acre estate. The surveillance cameras apparent on the property didn’t even seem to phase this guy much as he waited more than two hours for Gary Melius to exit his home before opening fire on him.

Right about now, you’re probably thinking that your home doesn’t stand a chance against such a criminal and you are right. Someone like this would break into your home in no time flat. The good news is that a person like this isn’t interested in you or your home.

Elite Criminals Vs. Every Other Burglar in America

To be clear, we are just as clueless about the true identity of the shooter as the police are right now. What we suspect, however, is that this person is a professional criminal of the highest degree and that he was hired for his skill and track record in penetrating such high security in order to harm the castle’s owner. If true, you can rest assured that this person has no interest in you or anything in your home. It would not even surprise us to discover that this person had zero interest in Melius or any of his belongings, as there’s a good chance that this ruthless criminal was simply hired by another to do the job. Authorities believe that his gun jammed making it impossible for him to complete his effort. Thank goodness!

Conversely, the kind of criminal interested in breaking into your home probably isn’t as skilled or brash as the suspect in this case. Someone interested in breaking into your home will likely want to avoid security signs such as an alarm system and surveillance cameras. Unlike the castle’s intruder, an ordinary burglar doesn’t see the reward being worth the risk of getting caught while breaking into your home.

Lessons Learned

There are two very valuable home security lessons to be learned from this unfortunate incident. First, any home in any neighborhood can be burgled. There just is no such thing as a crime-free neighborhood. Second, a good home security system helps protect your house and your family against a break-in, but you still must keep your wits about you. In other words, be ever-vigilant about who has access to your home. In this case, the home is used as an event venue, a hotel and the owner even hosts weekly events where high-profile guests are entertained. This means that there is a lot of foot traffic going in and out of the property. So much so that even a guard stationed at the gate may have simply made a mistake in allowing a criminal access to the home.

Preventing a Similar Event

To avoid becoming a victim of a similar home invasion it helps to strictly limit the number of people allowed into your home. And never ever let your guard down. This means layering your home security and believe that if an intruder has an opportunity– even a tiny one– he will likely exploit it if you are not very careful.

Also, practice common sense security such as not being distracted while walking to and from your home, use security lighting to keep your home’s perimeter well-lit at night, regularly check security cameras to ensure that they have not been tampered with and keep your alarm system armed at all times.

Perhaps thanks to the gun’s misfiring Melius is expected to make a full recovery. Another lesson to be learned here, however, is that guns are not guaranteed protection. Even if you have a gun in your home for protection, take note of this malfunction and take it as a cue to continue to layer your home security and consider a gun only as your last resort.

Your Turn

What do you think of this castle’s intrusion? Does it raise any security concerns or questions for you? Do you have anything to add to this post that our readers might benefit from? We’ve reserved a little space for you below and sincerely look forward to your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.


Bundle Your Home Security for Optimal Savings and Protection

DSCQP63-BUNDLEHave you ever tried to build strong security systems for multiple households? Or have you ever wanted to, but felt deterred after adding up the cost of doing so? If you have more than one household to secure or even if you have a large home that requires additional equipment to complete your security system, you may want to consider a bundled security purchase.

DIY home security is, by far, your best option for saving money and time when securing more than one building, but the a la carte purchase of each device and system can still be quite pricey. Bundling your home security, on the other hand, can help you save a nice sum while affording you the protection you deserve.

What Is Bundling?

Most of you reading this are already familiar with the concept of bundling services in order to cut costs. In fact, you’re probably already taking advantage of bundled packages with things like your cable company or your phone company. For those of you new to the idea, bundling is simply buying combined products or services at a discounted bulk price in order to save money. Companies create specially priced bundled packages in order to entice customers to purchase more than one item or service.

Who Needs Bundled Home Security?

Individuals who own multiple properties, those who wish to help secure a separate loved one’s home in addition to their own and those with larger than average houses may all benefit from bundled security packages. Even those who plan to layer DIY home security by purchasing and installing one device at a time can save money with bundled packages. For example, instead of purchasing a wireless burglar alarm, a separate outdoor siren, a wireless keyfob, PIR motion detectors, security warning signage, and door and window sensors separately, a customer can purchase the DSC Power Series 1616 Wireless Bundle Pack for less and install all of these home security devices at once.

If you or someone you know is interested in bundling home security, we strongly encourage you to visit our main store or call our customer service line now.


Is It Time To Expand Your Home Security System?

home security for saleI’m going to go out on a limb here and say, yes, it is time to expand your home security system. How can I say this with any measure of certainty? Well, for starters, most people don’t have enough and can benefit from additional security. I mean, who are we kidding, here? Burglaries, robberies and home invasions are reported each and every day in America and criminals don’t seem to discriminate when it comes to the victims of these crimes. To state this another way, no one– no matter who you are or what kind of neighborhood you live in– is exempt from a break-in.

Further, of those homeowners who purchase an alarm system, few go any further in protecting their home against intruders. Expanding a system and taking steps to layer security with other devices and strategies significantly decreases the likelihood of a break-in, but how many people actually make the effort to go this extra mile for better home security? The very fact that you’re here today and ready to entertain this question is a good step in the right direction. Continue reading for more information expanding your existing system and which devices are a must-have in order to make your security as tight as possible.

DIY Expandable Systems

Expanding your system involves installing additional zones to your existing alarm unit. This means that you need to first have a system capable of such action. To get a better idea of how this works, check out the GE Interlogix Wireless Security – Concord Kit with 16 wireless zones. Known as a hybrid system, this particular kit can accommodate both hardwired and wireless add-ons, such as additional sensors (for doors, windows, freeze alarms, smoke detectors, etc.), additional keypads and additional motion detectors. For an example of a purely hardwired expandable system, take a look at the Ademco 8 Zone Expander. A variety of other expandable systems are also featured in our main store, but these two will give you a good idea of how an expansion works and what kind of system is needed to make it happen.

Should you find that your system is out of date or, for whatever reason, cannot be expanded any further, then we encourage you to consider replacing that system with one of our affordable DIY options that will not restrict you in such a way.

Why Expand a Home Security System?

If any door or window in your home is not protected by a contact connected to your alarm system, your home is vulnerable to a break-in. As is sometimes the case, existing systems were established before an additional room was added to a home and a zone for that room was never created.

Expanding a system is also the best way to include additional alarms, such as those that provide environmental alerts, driveway protection, glass break protection and so on. While you can add each of these items through DIY home security efforts, in order to control them from your central unit, your system will need to be expanded.

ELK-M1GSYS3_1_Other Ways to Maximize Security

In addition to literally expanding your alarm system, homeowners are advised to always target ways to expand home security, overall. Some of these methods include:

 

  • Adding motion-activated security lighting all around a home’s perimeter (especially around doors and windows)
  • Installing surveillance cameras throughout the home and around the home’s perimeter
  • Monitoring a home’s security system via remote monitoring devices (by smartphone or computer) and a 24/7 live home security alarm monitoring service like Alarm Relay (see our homepage for details)

Of course, it doesn’t hurt (and in fact it helps) to also use a variety of deterrents such as yard signs, window decals and other warnings that tell a would-be burglar that you mean business. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times…burglars are lazy criminals who don’t want to work too hard at what they do. Making your home look as secure as possible tells a burglar that he’ll have to place considerable effort behind a break-in…and that he’s seriously risking capture if he does.

Home Security Store Is Here For You

DIY home security truly is the best way to save money while optimizing the safety of your family and your home. Doing it yourself, however, does not mean that you are completely alone. All of your purchases from our main store come with clear and concise directions, and should you need further technical assistance, we are always more than willing to help if you give us a call.

Any Questions?

Do you have questions about expanding your alarm system? Do you have advice to share with other readers that may help them in expanding a system or installing additional equipment in order to increase home security? If we missed anything important or if you have questions or comments, the floor is now officially yours.


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


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