Blog Archives

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.


5 Tips to Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

flood damage tipsWhat do you think is the most common natural disaster in the United States? Fire? Hurricane damage? If you guessed flood, you would be correct. Flooding caused an estimated $2.7 billion in damage between 2001 and 2010, according to the National Flood insurance Program. As you likely know, 2014 has been an especially troubling year for floods in America, and without a solid game plan, you could lose much more than just your wall-to-wall carpeting. If you think you’re not at risk, think again. One out of every five floods occurs in areas with low flood risk, so take steps to protect your home today. Here are some tips to get you started.

1) Inquire About Flood Insurance

You wouldn’t drive without car insurance, and you wouldn’t buy a house without homeowner’s insurance. Even our cell phones now have insurance plans. So if you don’t already have flood insurance, speak to your existing homeowner’s insurance provider about the cost of a flood insurance add-on, or check out the FloodSmart website. Even a modest insurance investment can potentially save you millions of dollars in loss.

2) Fix Any Leaks Immediately

Leaky roofs and pipes can cumulatively weaken the structural integrity of your foundation, so if you notice even subtle leaks, it’s absolutely critical that you address and repair any damage immediately. As a preventative measure, also make sure that your roof shingles are secure, and if it’s time to replace your roof, have a rubber underlayment installed with the shingles.

3) Keep Your Gutters and Drains Clean

Storm drains and gutters can pose a serious flood hazard if not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Make sure to keep the drains clear so that they can effectively carry the water away from your home. Don’t let leaves and debris create a flood hazard.

4) Install Flood Sensors

A flood sensor is an invaluable tool for any home, whether you live in the desert or the tropics. You can purchase one as a standalone device, or as an extension of your existing security system. When water accumulation is detected, the sensor will sound an alarm or send an alert to one or more multiple phones, warning of a potential flood. Home Security Store carries a wide selection of affordable flood sensors for every home, and most items ship in one business day.

flood prevention5) Manage Your Septic System

If you live in one of the 30 million American homes that uses a septic system, make sure to take proper care of it. Have septic line check valves installed, in order to prevent sewage from backing up into your primary water supply. Also, have your tank professionally pumped every 1 to 5 years (depending on the size of your tank).

What if a Flood Has Already Occurred?

If a flood has already occurred, the next steps are critical. First and foremost, turn off the electricity at the main breaker, and download a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home, which is available for free from the American Red Cross. This guide contains a wealth of important information about how to safely navigate your home, how to make an effective insurance clean, how to check for gas leaks and how to properly clean your belongings.

Protect Your Home

We can’t always prevent devastation from occurring, but we can take steps to minimize our risk, and to minimize the damage in the event of a disaster. Don’t assume that a flood can’t happen to you. Just be proactive, be sensible, and be prepared.


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.


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

380811_4257

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.


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