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What to Do if a Neighbor is Being Burglarized

neighbor-burglaryIf you have ever been the victim of a burglary, you understand firsthand just how terrifying and traumatic the experience can be. But what do you do if you witness a robbery in progress at a neighbor’s house? The homeowner may be away or unable to phone for help, and if they don’t have a home security system installed, they may have little recourse. You don’t have to just sit by and let it happen, but you do need to be careful about how you proceed.

Remain out of Sight

When you spot the occurrence of criminal activity, the first and most important step is to make yourself scarce. You don’t want to expose yourself to potential danger, because you don’t know if the intruders are armed or aggressive. You don’t want to give the burglars any indication that you’re aware of their presence (such as by suddenly turning off all your lights), but you do want to remove yourself from plain view.

Lock your Doors and Arm your Alarm System

If you don’t already have a home security system installed, you should. There are more than 2 million burglaries in the U.S. every year, and a quality alarm system can quite literally be a lifesaver. If you do have a home security system, arm it as soon as you notice signs of burglary in your neighborhood. Also take a few moments to lock all of your doors and windows if it is safe to do so.

Call the Police

Depending on the circumstances, your neighbors may have already phoned the police, but you can never be sure, so call 911 as soon as you notice signs of criminal activity on your block. Calmly explain the situation to the dispatcher, and explain that your neighbor requires immediate police assistance for a burglary in progress.

Note Any Pertinent Details

If it’s safe to do so, try to note and recall any relevant details about the burglary. For instance, did you get a look at the burglars’ faces? What were they wearing? What kind of vehicle were they driving? Did you happen to get a glimpse of their license plate number. Don’t endanger your safety by running out in search of this information, but write down everything that you can remember, and pass it along to the police when they arrive.

1128279_77303851Remain at Home Until the Police Arrive

When you witness a crime so close to home, you may feel tempted to get as far away from your house as possible, but again, this may jeopardize your safety. Also, the police will want to speak with you after they arrive and the scene is cleared, and the information you provide may very well ensure that justice is served, and that the perpetrators are put away for a long time.

Be a Good Neighbor

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember that your neighbor has undergone a seriously traumatic experience. The best thing you can do at this point is to offer your support and friendship. Even if nothing valuable was taken, and even if the neighbor was (hopefully) away from home, they’re going to need moral support at the very least. So show them that you’re there for them, take them out for a beer or a meal, and just make yourself available. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

If you’re looking for a top-grade home security system at an affordable price, check out the wide selection at Home Security Store. Arm your home with the ultimate protection, and experience renewed peace of mind.  


Apartment Burglary Prevention – What You Need to Know

apartment home securityIs your apartment secure? If not, it’s time to take action. Apartments are every bit as vulnerable as houses when it comes to burglaries, and in fact, many burglars actually favor apartments for the simple fact that these living spaces are far less likely to have a security system in place. Lest you should join the ranks of the more than 2 million yearly home invasion victims, it’s critical that you take steps to protect yourself, your family and your property. Securing your apartment is not only easy; It’s also remarkably affordable.

Go Wireless

Chances are, your landlord isn’t too keen on the idea of you tearing up your walls and installing an intricate, hardwired security system. Therein lies the problem with apartment security. Given your installation limitations, wireless security systems are a real godsend. A few short years ago, it would have been virtually impossible to install a quality alarm system in an apartment, but with today’s wireless technologies, you can easily assemble the system of your dreams without tearing up your walls or infuriating your apartment manager.

Warn Potential Intruders

To the criminal element, apartments are often more difficult to case than houses, due to the enclosed nature of apartment complexes, and the limited visibility of the apartments themselves. As a result, apartment burglars are more likely to invade without adequately assessing the environment. Most burglars won’t know whether or not you have a security system, and you can usually ward them off with a few meticulously placed warning signs. Consider purchasing some home security decals and placing them on your windows and front door.

One Word: Surveillance

Much like the aforementioned wireless security systems, surveillance cameras are now more affordable and versatile than ever before. Wireless cameras can be mounted just about anywhere, and many can even be integrated with your mobile phone for round-the-clock monitoring. Apartment burglaries are often committed by residents of the complex, and if you do become a victim of intrusion, you may catch one of your neighbors in the act. Reliable surveillance is essential for any home security plan, because it puts a face to the crime and increases your odds of recovering your stolen property.

deadbolt home securityImprove Your Locks

Does your apartment door use generic locks? Thieves are using sophisticated devices like bump keys to quickly infiltrate traditional locks, so speak to your landlord about improving the locks. If possible, you’ll want to install a grade 1 or 2 solid metal deadbolt for added reinforcement. Just make sure to clear it with your landlord beforehand, and provide them with a copy of the key. Failure to do so may result in punitive action or even eviction.

Lock Your Windows

Does your apartment reside on the first floor? If so, thieves may target your windows for entry. Far too many apartment dwellers rely on the simple latches that rest on top of each window, without taking the time to reinforce those potentially vulnerable entry points. Use window bars or additional locks to secure your windows in place, and never leave them unlocked. If you leave your windows open for fresh air, never open them more than six inches.

Secure Your Apartment  

If you haven’t yet moved into your new apartment, you can start by researching the various local neighborhoods. Sites like city-data.com and neighborhoodscount.com allow you to view detailed crime indexes not only for cities, but also for individual neighborhoods and even blocks. So do your homework, and be proactive about your apartment security. You can find affordable wireless security systems and accessories (including window bars, security cameras and decals) at Home Security Store. Get yours today, and feel a little safer between those four walls.


80 Percent of Burglars Use Twitter and Facebook to Select Victims

tmi

Social media has revolutionized the ways we communicate in the 21st century, but some of those LOLs and OMGs may be putting your home at risk. According to one survey, a staggering 78% of burglars use social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook to choose their victims. The report was issued by the home security experts at Friedland, and has shed some interesting and unsettling light on how criminals are using high-tech means to scope out potential victims.

Real Burglars Weigh In

In the interest of full disclosure, it’s important to note that the survey utilized a small sample size and was in no way scientific. It does, however, offer some major perspective on how social media is opening sinister new doors for thieves. The survey looked at 50 burglars in the UK, all of whom had been recently incarcerated for burglary. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed claimed to use social networks as a means of locating potential targets.

Are You Inviting Criminals?

The burglars offered some fascinating insight into the mistakes made by everyday people who fail to realize the potential impact of their own tweets and status updates. “We’re living in the age of the digital criminal and people are taking advantage of social media to access information about would-be victims,” said Richard Taylor, one of the convicted burglars interviewed in the survey. “We’ll tell them even when we’re going away on holidays. We will let them know that we’re not in. We’re inviting them round to our house.”

Less is More

The data doesn’t end there, however.  Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said that Google Street View played a role in theft, and 54 percent noted the foolishness of placing one’s whereabouts on social media. In other words, when it comes to social media, less is more, and the best approach is to remain mum on your location at all times. You never know who’s watching, and in today’s digital world, criminals don’t need a van to case homes.

visonicappIf you Check In, Watch out

At Home Security Store, we have often proclaimed that you should never announce your vacation plans on social media. That should go without saying, because there is nothing criminals love more than to learn that a home will be completely vacant for days at a time. But if there’s anything else we can take away from this survey, it’s that all location data can be used against you. So next time you have a family day at Disneyland or the beach, wait until the festivities have ended before you start publishing all of the exciting photos. It takes only about 2 minutes to break into a home, and approximately 10 minutes to complete a robbery, so even your seemingly harmless trip to Jamba Juice may be used against you if publicized.

A Surprising Revelation

Finally, there is one other intriguing detail that we should all take away from the UK survey. Almost 80 percent of the burglar participants said that an alarm system would have prevented them from breaking in to their target homes. Think about that for a moment. Even when the burglar knows that the homeowners are away, he’ll almost always think twice before attempting to enter an armed home. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a quality home security system, and this survey only reinforces that point.

Just Be Sensible

So just to recap, try not to use your social media profiles as real-time travelogues. While you’re living it up in Daytona Beach, the bad guys might be living it up in your living room. And nothing will ruin a vacation quite like coming home to find that your big screen TV has taken a trip of its own (good luck finding that on Twitter).


What to Do During a Power Outage

power-outage-tipsAt one time or another, we have all experienced the sudden and unexpected emergence of darkness and silence stemming from a power outage. Maybe it was a rolling blackout, or maybe it was an electrical malfunction, but whether it lasts for a few minutes or a few hours, it can really ruin your day if you don’t take the proper precautions. Before the lights go out again, here are a few important considerations.

Determining the Cause

Check the circuit breakers to see if you have blown a circuit. If you can’t determine the cause of the outage, contact your local utility company for more information. The problem may be widespread in your neighborhood, or—failing that—it may signify a more serious electrical problem in your home.

Staying Hydrated

Keep a supply of filtered water on hand. A power outage can interfere with filtration systems and compromise the quality of your water supply. It’s best to keep plenty of bottles of filtered water in your emergency supply kit, but more on that later.

Securing Your Data

Keep an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) on hand.  A UPS device enables you to temporarily maintain power for certain electronic devices when the power fails. It’s useful for office equipment, laptops, alarm systems, medical devices and other equipment the failure of which may contribute to data loss or compromised safety. You’ll also want to invest in some surge protection to prevent your important electronics from suffering permanent damage.

Protecting Your Electronics

Unplug major appliances until the power returns. Connected appliances can create a power surge when electricity returns. A surge protector can minimize this risk, but it’s still a good idea to disconnect your major electronics.

emergency-kit-flashlight

Every emergency kit should include flashlights.

Maintaining Your Safety

Make sure your alarm system has a backup power supply of its own.  Since we’re on the subject of uninterruptible power, it’s important to address the importance of maintaining your home security system during an outage. If your system is entirely hardwired and contains no backup battery, burglars may cut off your power supply just to disable your alarm. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your system is equipped to compensate for power outages.

Preparing for Anything

Create an emergency plan. The CDC recommends keeping an emergency supply kit with water, dried and canned food, flashlights, first aid, batteries, medications and a digital thermometer. You should have enough supplies for at least three dadys.

Illuminating Your Path

Install some battery-powered lights. As kids, we all remember our parents breaking out the candles and lighting them during a power outage. Some of us still keep a drawer full of these waxy wonders for just such an occasion, but nowadays you can head down to your local store and purchase light bulbs that run on AA batteries. Keep a few battery-powered lights on hand and you can illuminate your home without exposing yourself to the fire risk posed by candles.

Getting Informed

Keep a battery-powered radio. In the event of a widespread outage or other disaster, you’ll want to keep up with the latest developments, and you may not be able to rely on your cell phone, so keep a quality handheld radio on hand…and make sure to keep an ample supply of batteries.

Preserving Your Health

If the power outage lasts longer than 4 hours, throw out the food in your refrigerator. If it lasts longer than 24 hours, throw out the food in your freezer. It’s no fun having to throw out a week’s worth of groceries, but it’s even less fun to spend your entire night vomiting bacteria-ridden food.

Exercising Good Judgment

Keep all generators, charcoal grills and gas heating mechanisms outdoors, away from all doors and windows. For many frostbitten homeowners, it can be tempting to generate heat by any means necessary, but the carbon monoxide exposure can be deadly.

Preventing the Worst

Install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor of your home.  Even if you take steps to avoid carbon monoxide exposure, you must still be diligent about monitoring your indoor quality, especially when an outage occurs. Move outdoors or near an open window if the carbon monoxide alarm sounds.

And Finally…

Spend some time on non-tech hobbies. Read a book, play games with the family, get back in touch with a world free of pixels, texts and other technological distractions.


Preventing Unlawful Entry – What You Need to Know

preventing-unlawful-entryMovies and television dramas bombard us with depictions of ruthless criminals smashing their way into the homes of unsuspecting victims, whether to commit burglary or acts of violence. It may surprise you, however, to learn that the majority of home invasions occur without the use of force. This is known as unlawful entry, and it’s every burglar’s preferred means of access. It requires no loud noises, it leaves behind very little evidence, and it ensures the greatest chance of undetected escape. Before you start thinking about alarms, surveillance kits and fancy high-tech deterrents, you should begin by focusing on how to prevent this easily avoidable household vulnerability.

Lock Your Doors

It’s absolutely critical that you keep all of your doors locked at all times, and not just when you’re out and about. Nearly two-thirds of burglars enter through the front door, and the majority of them are able to just walk right in. For instance, we recently wrote about a string of dorm room burglaries at the University of Pennsylvania, all of which occurred in rooms that were left unlocked. Many criminals will go from door to door in search of easy targets. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.

Secure Your Windows

When locked doors prove inconvenient, many intruders will opt for window entry. Far too many of us are complacent about our windows, securing them with a simple latch or failing to secure them at all. Furthermore, an open window is like a bullseye to a burglar. Make sure never to leave your windows open more than 6 inches, and secure them in place with a lock or burglar bar. And most important at all, never leave your windows unlocked.

Set up Cameras and Signs

With a couple of strategically placed surveillance cameras and home security signs, you can easily turn your residence into a criminal’s kryptonite. Even a fake camera—if highly visible—will stop potential burglars in their tracks, and an illuminated yard sign announces that your home is armed and secured (even if it isn’t). Just make sure that these deterrents are placed in highly visible locations, both in the front yard and backyard. Many criminals will attempt to enter through the back, and we certainly don’t want them to miss the message.

home invasion robberyInstall a Lock Bump Protector

Okay, so this one requires a bit of an explanation. Lock bumping technically constitutes forced entry, because a criminal must use tools to manipulate the lock on your front door. If you’re curious about how the process works, you can learn more about it here. Nevertheless, we’re including it in this list because the process is relatively quick and leaves no evidence behind. In fact, a criminal can rob a home with a bump key and exit without leaving the slightest trace that he was ever in your home. That’s why it’s so important to install a lock bump protector on your front door.

Educate Your Kids

No matter how diligent we are about securing our homes from unlawful entry, our efforts are all for naught if we fail to instill this necessary wisdom in our children. So make sure to teach your kids about the critical importance of always locking doors and windows, and make family safety a top priority. Finally, if you’re looking to take your home security the next level with an affordable and sophisticated alarm system, check out the selection at Home Security Store. We offer the best value on the most advanced equipment around, and we can help you fulfill all of your home security needs.


Only 13 Percent of Burglaries are Solved – How to Beat the Odds

recovering stolen propertyIt’s true. Only 13 percent of burglaries are ever solved, and only 15 percent of stolen property is ever recovered. When you consider that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S., it’s not difficult to see why law enforcement can scarcely keep up with the demand, but that doesn’t mean you have to become a statistic. There are ways in which you can maximize your odds of recovering your treasured goods in the event of a robbery, but it’s going to require a bit of planning. And sure, it may be no fun to plan for a burglary, but you’re only tempting fate if you fail to take preemptive action.

Keep a Detailed Inventory

First and foremost, your valuables should all be meticulously catalogued.  Keep a log of names and serial numbers, along with photographs and even receipts if possible. The more details you have, the better. In the event of a burglary, you want your stolen goods to be easily identifiable, thereby ensuring the maximum chance of recovery. Certain items can even be registered for additional protection. For instance, if you keep bicycles in the garage, register them with the National Bike Registry.

File a Police Report Immediately

When a burglary occurs, time is most definitely of the essence. The longer you hesitate, the less likely your property will be recovered. The first week is especially critical. So get in touch with police right away, and provide them with all pertinent information. If the authorities fail to follow up with you, then take the initiative yourself (more on that later).

Set Up Surveillance

Anonymity is a burglar’s secret weapon. These crooks go to great lengths to remain undetected, because once their faces are seen, the jig is up. The mere presence of security cameras can act as a powerful burglary deterrent, but even if the bad guys do infiltrate your perimeter, you can help bring them to justice by recording the footage to an external DVR. There are a wealth of affordable security camera kits available, and if you can afford it, more is always better. Place at least one camera outside, and install cameras throughout the home in areas where valuables are kept.

surveillance-camera-benefits-2Go High-Tech

Recently we commented on a story in Arizona that involved a burglar, a stolen laptop and a GPS device. Basically, the thief made off with the laptop and other valuables, completely unaware of the discreet GPS device concealed inside the laptop case. Police located the thief at his home a few hours later, where they promptly arrested him. Small GPS devices are revolutionizing home security by creating a trail of digital breadcrumbs right to the perpetrator’s front door. Certain computers, phones and tablets can even be optimized with GPS software.

Start Looking

A few days after the burglary occurs, start perusing your local pawn shops in search of your stolen property. You may have to visit a few neighboring cities. If you find something that belongs to you, quietly exit the shop and contact the police. Check the local Craigslist classifieds as well, and visit websites like Stolen911, which document recently stolen property.

Follow Up

In cases like these, you have to be persistent. Sadly, police deal with burglary situations every day, and it just doesn’t have the same emotional effect on them that is has it on you. For them, it’s just another day on the job, so don’t expect the police to report to you with frequent updates. Be proactive, and make sure to keep up with the local news. If a major burglary ring is suddenly foiled in your neighborhood, you may be able to find out if your situation is related, and if your valuables have been recovered.


How to Minimize the Loss from a Burglary

burglary-preventionSo you’ve assembled the home security system of your dreams, complete with state-of-the-art motion detectors, window contacts, glass-break sensors and surveillance cameras. Nevertheless, a crafty thief has infiltrated your ostensibly impenetrable fortress and made off with your valuables. Unfortunately, there are two kinds of burglars who will sweep right past a home security system: the smartest ones, and the dumbest ones. The really smart ones can bypass sophisticated alarms, and the really dumb ones will simply set off the alarm and take whatever they can get in a smash-and-grab fashion. But whether your home is invaded by a criminal mastermind or a brainless bumpkin, there are ways in which you can minimize the loss of valuable property.

Which Household Items are Most Likely to Be Stolen?

Before you can effectively devise a strategy for securing your valuables, you first need to understand which household items are most likely to be taken. According to Property Room, a popular online police auction service, the following valuables have some of the highest reported theft rates in the nation.

  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

Invest in a Sturdy Safe

A large safe can be a costly investment, but it may save you thousands of dollars in loss. Use it to secure jewelry, electronics, cash, sensitive files and more. You can also purchase specialized safes for weapons and power tools. Choose a safe of at least 1.2 cubits, preferably with a bolt-down kit. A safe like this will weigh about 100 pounds empty, and most conventional thieves won’t even bother with it.

Hide Your Valuables Like a Pro

For small valuables, concealment can work wonders. The trick is to be clever about it. For instance, don’t hide your spare key inside of a fake rock on the porch. Everyone knows that trick. Great hiding places include hollowed-out books and coffee cans. Home Security Store even sells a diversion safe that looks like—and functions as—a wall clock. These small spaces are perfect for hiding your fine jewelry, cash, spare keys and small electronics.

preventing-burglariesUse Your Kitchen to Your Advantage

While we’re on the subject of concealment, the kitchen is one of the best places to hide valuables. In burglary situations, thieves will typically avoid this room altogether, because it’s inconveniently located and seldom contains desirable goods. As a result, the kitchen is the ideal place to hide those hollowed-out books, coffee cans and diversion safes. Your cabinets and cupboards are useful for more than just storing your Cap’n Crunch (by the way, Cap’n Crunch boxes also make great hiding places for small valuables…just saying).

Keep Records

Even if a cadre of clever crooks does make off with your prized possessions and disappear into the night, you may not have to count it as a total loss. Keep a detailed inventory of all your valuables, including serial numbers, photographs, dates of purchase and original value. Keep this inventory in a safe place away from your home, and add to it as needed. If you provide your insurance with this information in your time of need, you may be able to replace much of your stolen property at little to no out-of-pocket cost.

Set Up Surveillance

A quality surveillance system may not prevent burglars from invading your home, but it may enable you to identify the perpetrators. It’s important to have a combination of indoor and outdoor surveillance, so that you can have the best chance of identifying faces, vehicles, license plates and—most importantly—evidence. This will make it far easier for law enforcement to catch the criminals and possibly recover your stolen items. Home Security Store offers a wealth of affordable, high-quality home surveillance systems that can give you the added protection necessary to deter would-be thieves and place crooks behind bars. Secure your home today.


When a Stranger Knocks – Home Security Tips for Women Living Alone

safety tips for womenLet’s face it, there are some really bad people out there, and tragically, independent women are often the targets of opportunistic criminals like burglars, rapists, and scam artists. A woman who lives alone is often perceived to be an easy target, but with a bit of preparation, you can prove the bad guys wrong. This isn’t about living in fear; it’s about personal empowerment. With a few simple precautions, you can truly take back the night, and greatly minimize your chances of ever becoming a victim.

Lock Your Doors

In today’s world, this is sensible advice for anyone, but independent women should be especially mindful of their door locks. Criminals enter through the front door in nearly two-thirds of home invasion cases, and all too often, the homeowners leave themselves vulnerable by failing to lock their doors. But don’t stop there. Make sure to secure your windows as well. A simple latch isn’t sufficient to ward off intruders. Consider installing additional window locks and burglar bars.

Don’t Open Your Door for Strangers

They may come dressed as insurance salesmen, home security representatives or delivery men, but don’t necessarily assume that they are who they claim to be. Criminals will don a wealth of clever disguises to gain personal information and access to your home, so if strange solicitors come knocking, just tell them to keep walking. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security screen door. This will allow you to communicate with visitors without actually making yourself vulnerable to them. For a more cost-effective solution, consider installing a two-way video intercom at your front entrance.

Install a Home Security System

If you think you can’t afford a home security system, think again. There are systems available for homes of all sizes, and for people of all economic backgrounds. The truth is that you can’t afford to be without one. Homes without a security system are three times more likely to be invaded, and if a break-in does occur, you don’t want to be without that extra layer of protection. The mere presence of a home security yard sign is enough to deter a majority of burglars, so even if you can’t invest in a full-fledged system at this time, you may still benefit immensely from a simple sign, decal or dummy camera.

Install Motion-Activated Lights

motion detection lights

Motion-activated lights make powerful burglary deterrents.

While we’re on the subject of burglary deterrents, it’s worth noting that motion sensor lights are extremely useful for warding off potential home invaders. The vibrant light robs them of the darkness that they rely upon and exposes their clandestine activity to the world. You can even find affordable, eco-friendly solar lights that have zero impact on your electric bill.

Don’t Go to Sleep

Okay, so obviously we don’t mean this literally. After all, we all need our 8 hours (well, we try anyway), but you don’t need to make your sleeping habits apparent to the criminal element. There are simple and innovative ways in which you can give the appearance of activity at all hours of the day and night. For instance, with a fake TV light, you can project images that perfectly resemble the glow of a television, but without using any more electricity than a standard nightlight. While you’re at it, consider keeping a couple of pairs of dirty men’s shoes on your porch. This will give the impression that you’re not alone.

Carry Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a bit of a paradox. You hope you never have to use it, but you don’t want to be without it when the need arises. If you should find yourself in the midst of a dangerous confrontation, pepper spray can quite literally save your life, and now it’s easier than ever to keep it handy. For instance, a few companies are even making pepper spray iPhone cases in a full range of colors. Even if you never need to incapacitate an attacker (and hopefully you won’t), just having the weapon at your disposal will greatly enhance your peace of mind. So take control of your personal safety and security, and live with the confidence of knowing that you will not be a victim.


Dorm Theft Prevention – 7 Tips to Protect Your Stuff

dorm safetyLast week we reported on a recent series of dorm room burglaries at the University of Pennsylvania. It was the second string of burglaries to occur at the famed Quadrangle dormitory since December, and it resulted in the theft of cash, laptops and other valuables. Dorm life already has enough pitfalls of its own: cramped spaces, constant sleep deprivation, and roommates who perhaps don’t shower as often as they should. You shouldn’t also have to worry about losing your MacBook to a sticky-fingered thief. Heed the following tips to prevent becoming the unwitting victim of another dorm room bandit.

1. Lock Your Doors

Don’t roll your eyes at this one. Yeah, it might seem a bit overly simplistic or obvious, but most dorm prowlers will go from door to door in search of those easy marks. Case in point: the recent UPenn burglaries. All 5 victims had reportedly left their doors unlocked prior to the robberies. When you get caught up in the communal buzz of dorm living, it’s easy to become complacent and assume that you’re constantly among friends. But it only takes one sinister sneak to ruin your whole day. We’re not saying that you should be cynical about dorm life, but you shouldn’t be naïve about it, either.

2. Install an Alarm System  

Very few dorm dwellers actually stop to consider the merits of a reliable alarm system, because on paper it sounds like overkill. But you don’t need complicated wiring and invasive installations to secure your space. Even a compact wireless alarm system, like the iSmartAlarm, can protect your dorm room as effectively as any hardwired system, and it’s no more difficult to configure than an X-Box. It can even communicate with your smartphone, sending you instant alerts whenever your security is breached.

dorm theft

It looks like an ordinary book, but it’s actually a clever hiding spot for your valuables.

3. Get Creative

Even without an alarm system, you can still take steps to discourage thieves from pilfering your valuables. For instance, no college student can function without a laptop in today’s academic environment, so secure your workstation with a simple laptop lock. If you have cash, jewelry or other valuables lying around, you can conceal them discreetly in a clever diversion safe. And with a simple decal on your door, you can deter would-be filchers before they even step foot into you room. You have a wealth of creative options at your disposal, so don’t be afraid to use the full arsenal.

4. Claim What’s Yours

While we’re on the subject of laptops, have you engraved your name onto yours? Many universities recommend that you engrave your portable electronic devices and other valuables. A simple personalized etching can act as a powerful deterrent to potential crooks, and in the event that someone does make off with your hot new tablet, your chiseled signature will greatly increase the likelihood that your stolen property is returned to you when the thief is inevitably discovered.

5. Consider Renters Insurance

Insurance isn’t just for cars, houses and lives. Many major insurance companies offer renters insurance packages designed specifically for college students. These affordable plans offer protection not only against theft, but also against the damages that occur as a result of water, fire and vandalism. It’s a great way to secure your peace of mind and establish an invaluable safety net for this unpredictable period in your life.

6. Empty Out your Car

If you’re using your car as a storage unit (as so many college students are inclined to do), it’s time for a bit of spring cleaning. Don’t leave any valuables in your car, because opportunistic criminals can and will seize upon the opportunity. It’s also a good idea to protect the vehicle itself, using an alarm system and/or steering wheel lock. A skilled car thief can bypass any deterrent, but the vast majority of car thieves are amateurs in search of an easy target. So don’t make it easy for them.

7. Familiarize Yourself with the Dorm Rules and Security Procedures

Last (but certainly not least), take some time to study and learn the rules and procedures. Get acquainted with the RAs and other dorm representatives, express with them any concerns that you may have, and be mindful of any safety recommendations made by your dorm or university. Securing your property is actually quite simple, but it does require you to be proactive. So lock up that laptop, secure your dorm room, and make some college memories.


Penn Basketball Player Accused of Dorm Burglary

door room burglaryUniversity of Pennsylvania freshman basketball guard Tony Bagtas was reportedly arrested last weekend on burglary charges, stemming from a recent string of dorm room invasions at the university. In all, eight burglaries have been reported, but as of this writing, Bagtas has only been charged in connection with one of the invasions at Penn’s renowned Quadrangle dorm. The news was initially reported by the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Surrounding Details

According to reports, all eight burglaries occurred on Saturday, and stolen items included electronics and cash. There were no signs of forced entry in any of the incidents, leading investigators to conclude that the thief or thieves targeted unlocked rooms. Maureen Rush, the school’s Vice President for Public Safety, has since urged students to keep their doors locked at all times. “By leaving the door unlocked, people are tempting someone to come in and take what they don’t have,” she said in a statement.

Rush also noted that burglaries in the area are extremely rare, although another string did occur in December of 2013. Those four burglaries remain unsolved. As for Bagtas, he was charged with two felonies (burglary and criminal trespassing) and two misdemeanors (theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property). He has been removed from the dorm and is scheduled to appear in court on April 8 for a preliminary hearing.

The #1 Rule of Dorm Security

Dorm burglaries are a very real concern for today’s student population. When you consider the lack of privacy and internal security, it’s not difficult for opportunistic thieves to treat the dormitory as their own personal buffet line. As previously emphasized, it’s extremely important to lock your door at all times. Don’t get so caught up in the vibrant communal atmosphere that you forget to exercise common sense.

dorm room security

Tony Bagtas

If you’re taking in the full college experience, complete with ramen noodles and dorm living, consider protecting your space with a quality alarm system. Many college students don’t even consider the value of a security system for their dorm room, because the technology just seems so expensive and complicated. After all, is it really worth it to hardwire a full-fledged security solution in what essentially amounts to a closet-sized room? Well, no, but believe it or not, there exists a wide range of reliable systems designed specifically for simplicity and affordability.

When it comes to straightforward security on a budget, we like to recommend the iSmartAlarm, an innovative security kit designed especially for the millennial generation. It comes with all the essentials, including a control panel with built-in siren, a motion detector, and door/window sensors. But unlike the traditional alarm system, this one communicates directly with your mobile device. It’s perfect for the savvy student on a budget, and if you’re looking for a combination of security and surveillance, there’s even a premium package that includes an iCamera. It starts recording whenever a security breach is detected, and then sends the footage directly to your phone.

Protect Your Dorm

Please stay tuned, because next week we’re going to follow up with a more comprehensive post that delves into much greater detail about dorm security, with a series of simple but highly effective tips on how you can masterfully burglarproof your dorm room. In the meantime, remember to keep that door locked. There is nothing that thieves love more than an easy target, and as a college student, you already have enough financial burdens to worry about.


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