5 Ways to Stay Safe During a Winter Blackout.

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5 Ways to Stay Safe During a Winter Blackout.

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Winter is a season which many people eagerly look forward to. The first snow fall of the year is a time for excitement and celebration. Once winter has officially set in, it’s time for playing in the snow, watching the beauty of the world turn white, and keeping warm indoors with a warm cup of hot cocoa.

However, winter can have a more sinister side too, one which many people seem to overlook. If you have ever found yourself caught up in a bad winter storm, you know the extent of the damage that it can wreck. Winter storms can wipe out your power source and leave you in what is known as a winter blackout. During these events, you come to appreciate just how dependent you are on the electricity and everything it is responsible for running.

If a winter blackout drags on, it can be dangerous for numerous reasons. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe if you find yourself stuck in a winter blackout.

Make Sure Your Home is Equipped for a Blackout

This is arguably the most important thing you should be thinking about when winter starts approaching. Don’t allow yourself to brush off the possibility of a winter blackout and the adverse effects it can have. Not appreciating the risks in advance can result in you not being equipped to deal with an emergency should it present itself.

Making your home prepared for a winter blackout entails not only fortifying the physical structure of your home but also having all of the resources you might need in a blackout situation.

It is recommended that everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit in their home which is made especially for their specific requirements. For instance:

• If your alarm system in your home can run on batteries, be sure to always have spare batteries on hand

• If you have an electric garage, know how to open it manually. This may entail purchasing a tool which will help you open the garage

• Back up gas supplies

Some of the things that you should have in an emergency kit include:

• A radio

• Walkie-talkies

• Spare batteries

• Blankets

• Battery powered sensors (to keep your home safe from burglars)

• Flashlights

• Non-perishable foods

• Relevant medications (such as painkillers)

• Can opener

• Drinking water

• Tools

• Carbon monoxide detector (battery-powered)

Be Careful About Food

In a winter blackout your food supplies and food itself can be put at risk; when the fridges and freezers stop working, all of their contents will likely go bad. You also need to ensure that you have enough food for you and your family to be able to weather out the storm.

The key to ensuring that you have enough food to last through the blackout is to have a store of non-perishable food items in your home.

If you find yourself in the midst of a blackout, here is what you should be doing with regards to your refrigerator and freezer:

Open them as infrequently as possible to keep their contents cool for as long as possible

Be sure to consume the foods that were already in there first and quickly

Be sure to keep a vigilant eye out for food which may have spoiled in your fridge

If you want to preserve certain foods for longer consider moving them to coolers with ice

Find Ways to Stay Warm

Keeping warm is extremely important. Most homes are equipped with central heating and are therefore kept warm and comfortable during the winter months for their inhabitants. In the absence of power, your home can become a miserable cold cave.

That’s why it’s vital to conserve your body heat as much as possible. To stay warm you can:

Wear multiple layers of clothes such as sweaters and jackets

Bundle up with lots of blankets

Wear a hat because lots of heat is lost through the head

Always wear socks and gloves

Another way you can stay warm is by using your fireplace if you have one. Be careful when lighting the fire and be sure to employ proper fire safety techniques. Always keep a vigilant eye on the fire to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It is also very important to be aware about carbon monoxide poisoning and its harmful effects. Be careful when using anything that poses the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is also advisable to invest in a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.

Watch the Water

You can’t live without water and without power you’ll begin to see how much of a problem having access to water becomes. In your emergency preparedness kit be sure to include extra bottles of filtered water so that you have ample drinking water during the outage.

Without power, the water won’t be going through any filtration process and therefore won’t be treated for any harmful bacteria. Be sure to get in touch with your local water purification officials to determine what the best ways to treat water are in the event of a power outage.

Conserve Your Resources

One of the worst aspects about power outages in the winter is that repairing the damage can take a really long time. Oftentimes communities are without power for days on end and it’s unlikely that you’ll have any clear idea about how long the outage will last.

That’s why it’s important to use your resources wisely to ensure that you don’t run out. Be sure to use everything sparingly and keep a tab on what’s been used. This will give you an idea of when you should be tightening your fist with certain resources. Weathering a winter blackout is all about effective resource management.

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Burglary Prevention: Top Targeted Items

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Burglary Prevention: Top Targeted Items

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According to the FBI, in 2016, there were 1,579,527 burglaries in the United States, causing $3.6 billion in property losses.

When a robber enters a home, chances are they have specific items in mind that they are looking to snatch.

Below, we overview some of the top-targeted items in burglaries and how you can improve home security measures.

Top-Targeted Items in Your Home

Although items may be valuable to you, there are some that are more enticing to burglars. During home break-ins, top-targeted items are:

• Bicycles

• Cash

• Electronic devices (phones, Kindles, cameras, iPods)

• Firearms

• Golf equipment

• Jewelry

• Power tools

• TVs

With a better understanding of targeted items, you can provide extra protection where needed.

Provide Extra Protection for Valuables

Proper home security measures can help protect your valuables. Some security tips:

Lock valuables in a safe with a hard-to-guess code when not using them. For even greater protection, install image sensors near the safe to detect tampering.

Place surveillance cameras in rooms (e.g. the bedroom) where high-valued items such as cash, jewelry or electronics, are stored.

Install an alarm system that connects directly to a monitored alarm center, which will trigger if someone enters your home.

Hide or bring valuable items with you when you are out of town for long periods.

Turn on tracking capabilities on electronic devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones) to locate them if stolen.

Shred receipts and hide packaging (e.g. TV boxes, jewelry store shopping bags, etc.) before throwing away. Don’t advertise how much value is in your home.

Before going to bed or leaving your home, ensure all doors and windows are shut, secured and locked.

Utilize smart locks for increased control over who is entering your home. For example, receive immediate notifications if a door is unlocked.

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5 Common Reasons To Upgrade Your Home Security.

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5 Common Reasons To Upgrade Your Home Security.

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As you move through major life stages, continually reassess your security needs and upgrade your system accordingly.

1. Living Alone

Your social life, work and travel may require you to spend more time away from home. Implement a home security system that monitors your property and supports your on-the-go lifestyle:

• Mobile solutions. Manage your security system from any smartphone or tablet.

• Video surveillance. Visually monitor your property from your smartphone.

• Image sensors. Determine what triggered your alarm with images sent to your smart device. 

2. Living Together


Couples may spend more time relaxing or entertaining at home compared to when they were living separately. Upgrade to a security system that supports your life together:

• Unique access codes. Limit access to your home to only the two of you.

• Home technologies. Control your entertainment system on one device.

• Energy management. Keep utility costs down by controlling the thermostat and lights remotely.

3. Adding to the Family

The safety of a child is top of mind for new parents. Additional security equipment allows parents to monitor their children at all times, and provides a safe environment for infants to sleep and play:

Baby monitors and video surveillance. Respond promptly if your child is crying and visually verify that your child is sleeping through the night.

4. Relocating

Moving into a new home may require additional security equipment or a reconfiguration of existing equipment. Consult a trusted security provider to assess the current security system against your needs. This will ensure your new home is equipped with the appropriate security devices for your family’s lifestyle.

5. Retirement

Create peace of mind as you age by upgrading to a home security system that is responsive, yet enables you to live independently. The following features provide convenience and dependable security to users:

• Personal emergency response system. Dispatch emergency personnel in the case of a medical emergency.

• Mobile application. Control all home security features on a seamless interface.

• Video surveillance. Allow caregivers to check in on you.

 

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Common Social Media Activities That Put Home Security at Risk.

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Common Social Media Activities That Put Home Security at Risk.

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Social media has made our lives comfortable, letting us connect with family and friends all over the world. Facebook and Twitter are just a few of the social media platforms through which we share our interests and events with everyone. But have you ever thought about the drawbacks of sharing information on social media? The openness of social media has made crime more common all over. With a few clicks, burglars and thieves can get the kind of information they need to target homes and plan their next burglary.  According to the Prince William County Virginia Police Department, over 75% of convicted burglars believe that other burglars use social media to find targets. Burglars can use social media to access specific information regarding homeowners and their whereabouts.

If you are wondering how burglars make use of social media, here is the answer:

Burglars can learn a lot about you by reading your status, checked in places, and pictures. They know…

• Where you live

• What you own

• When you are not home

• Where your next vacation is

It may be hard to believe but posting a simple picture of your new Christmas gift on Facebook can put you at risk.

Social media activities that put your home’s security at risk

1 - Posting your vacation plans

It’s exciting telling all your Twitter and Facebook followers about your vacation plans. But the risks that come with this shouldn’t be ignored. Apart from your friends, burglars may also be reading your status updates and vacation countdowns, waiting for you to leave so they can make their move.

2 - Check-ins

Social media websites such as Facebook have special check-in features that allow you to tell your followers where you are and what you are doing. Whether you’re at a mall, hotel, restaurant, or any other place, by checking in, you reveal your location. This can be dangerous and can let burglars know you are away from home.

3 - Pictures of expensive items

Never share pictures of expensive items on social media.  Of course it’s fun showing off expensive items, but is it worth risking your family’s and home’s security? You may simply be tempting a burglar.

4 - Room layout

Sharing pictures that show your home’s interior can be dangerous. This can let burglars easily find out what your home looks like, how the furniture is arranged, and what valuables are inside. Having a picture of your home’s interior can let a burglar plan a route for breaking-in.

5 - RSVPs to events

Public RSVPs to events such as weddings or funerals can let burglars know your home will be vacant. It is recommended that you accept invitations or invite guests privately. You don’t have to use social media for that.

Tips

1 - Manage your privacy settings carefully

Many social media websites offer users control over who can see their statuses, pictures, and other social media activities. You can limit your statuses and updates to a limited audience instead of going public.

2 - Never put up your home address or whereabouts

Avoid posting plans of your vacation, your home address, or other whereabouts on social media. You can always update your followers once you are back home.

3 - Lock up before you leave

Always lock your home before you leave! This means locking up all the doors, including garage doors and basement windows.

4 - Install a home security system

Installing a home security system and burglar bars may also help in reducing the risk of burglaries. You can choose from a wide Range of Security Systems and burglar bars that best match your need and budget.

By simply avoiding the above mentioned social media mistakes, you can lower the risk of being burglarized.  Don’t let burglars use social media information to make you their next target!

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Hackers & Home Security?

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Hackers & Home Security?

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Home security systems are designed to minimize the risk of break-ins and protect families from crime. With home automation, wireless connectivity, and cellular alarm systems, home security technology has reached new heights. From turning on lights to activating the alarm system, now homeowners can manage their security system from anywhere wirelessly. This is indeed great news for homeowners but the latest home security technology is a double-edged sword. Home security systems have a number of vulnerabilities that shouldn’t be ignored.

Imagine coming back to a ransacked home. Your security system is still activated, the alarm never went off and you never received any notification, so what happened?

You’d be surprised to know that burglars can bypass your security system with simple hacking tools. Yes, security systems can be hacked into just like computers. A burglar can hack into your security system, deactivate the alarm, enter your house and get away with the goods without leaving a trace.

According to an article published by Forbes, video surveillance systems and DVRs are vulnerable to hacks. Hackers can easily gain access to the control of surveillance camera feeds and deactivate the system. This calls for preemptive measures.

11 tips to protect your home security system from getting hacked

Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks that can prevent burglars from hacking your security system. Take a look:

Secure passwords

A weak password is like giving a burglar the keys to your home. When you install a security system, the first thing you should do is change the default password. You should choose your password wisely which isn’t easy to guess. Make sure your password is a combination of symbols, letters and numbers.

Secure your router

If you use a WiFi network for your home security system, always keep it protected with a password. Avoid using birthdays and phone numbers as your password.

Install a system with encrypted signals

When purchasing a wireless home security system, make sure you select a system which has encrypted signals. A system with unsecured encryptions can be accessed by external sources easily. You can also opt for additional tamper resistance features.

Install antivirus software

You can install antivirus software on computers that access your security system. Firewalls and antivirus programs can help detect any threat of viruses and malware.

Limit non-approved devices

You can limit the number of devices that can be used to access your home security system. Your laptops, smart phones and desktop computers should be the only devices that can log into the security system.

Never use public WiFi

It is recommended that you use a secure network when accessing your home security system from a remote location. Using a public WiFi network can increase the hacking risk.  Hackers can use public WiFi networks to access personal information such as email IDs and passwords.

Keep a check on your camera logs

If you have a surveillance system at home, protect it from being hacked by regularly checking the IP history of the system. This will help you know if a stranger has tried to access your surveillance system from an unidentified or unknown IP address. Also, avoid purchasing used camera systems as they may carry an implantable device that can be used by burglars to hack into the system.

Regularly change your passwords

To enhance safety, change the password of your home security system regularly. Using an outdated password may make your security system vulnerable to hacks.

Opt for wired security systems

Though this may seem a hassle, there is minimum risk of hacking involved with wired security systems. Installing a wired security system may be a good idea for homeowners who are planning to relocate soon.

Purchase an anti-jammer

Anti-jammers are designed to detect the risk of signal-jamming. You can install this program in your smart phone or any other device that has access to your home security system. The anti-jammer will alert you in the event of signal failure that may be caused by a jamming device.

Always keep your system updated

To be on the safe side, it is important you update your home automation software regularly. Most home security companies update their programs to enhance performance, add new features, and counter any new threats to security systems. If you do not update regularly, your system may become more prone to hacking.

These tips and tricks can help you outsmart hackers and minimize the risk of hacking. Simply installing a security system isn’t enough to keep your home safe. It is your responsibility to regularly update the system, check for flaws and implement necessary preventive measures.

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Power Outage: How Can You Secure Your Home?

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Power Outage: How Can You Secure Your Home?

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An age old adage goes “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”. While power outages are not daily occurrences, nevertheless it is wise to prepare for them. By following a few simple steps, you can make your home, family and valuables safe from burglars in case of a power breakdown.

Have a Plan Ready for Your Family

As in the event of any kind of disaster, you would be better off having a plan ready for emergency situations. This should include taking care of basics such as stocking up on food supplies (unrefrigerated), water, emergency kit including medical supplies and flashlights, extra clothing and bedding and at least one alternate source of power. Having these things handy is your first line of defense against prolonged power outage. In addition, make sure everyone in the family is well aware of what to do in case of an emergency and where to find all the relevant supplies.

Keep Different Sources of Light Handy

A dark house is almost like an open invitation for burglars. It provides the perfect cover and easy entrance to your home and is a dead giveaway that your home security system is down. Therefore, light makes a good deterrent. Keep plenty of alternative lighting sources in easily accessible places at your home – places that every member of your family is well-aware of. Potential sources of light could include long-burning candles, oil/battery operated lanterns, burning fireplace, emergency lights, backup generator and so on.

Install Non-Electronic Defenses around the House

To prevent criminals from breaking your doors and windows, take extra precautions that are not reliant on electricity. For instance, install door chains to limit how far the door can be opened. Make sure that your doors are of a strong material and cannot be easily kicked into. In addition, install deadbolts on all doors and windows for extra protection. Also, erect an adequately high fence all around the boundary wall and don’t leave any sharp gardening equipment out in the lawn – these might end up becoming weapons against you in case of a break-in.

Be Careful with Generators

Generators must be kept with proper precaution. Placing them indoor is extremely dangerous due to their emissions, harming your family’s health. In addition, make sure you follow proper instructions in their installation and upkeep to avoid possible electrocution or damage to the wiring. In any case, never avoid contacting a professional whenever you have a technical concern regarding the machine. It would be better to not try and fix it yourself.

Be Careful with Traditional Heating Methods at your Home

In case of a long power outage, many tend to rely on traditional methods for heating, including stoves, grills and burners. All these equipment run on natural gas, and have the tendency of producing carbon-monoxide, if not used and monitored properly. If power outages are frequent and you typically rely on traditional methods of heating, it would be wise to invest in a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm for added security.

Ask Your Security System Provider All the Questions you Have about Power Outages

To make sure you remain on top of the situation in case of a power failure, it would be wise to remain informed regarding the security equipment you have at home. For this purpose, ask your provider all the questions you have regarding the working of your home security system in case of a power failure. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask:

Is my alarm system’s operation dependent on landline or wireless networks?

This is a relevant question because if your alarm system operates on traditional phone line, it would continue to operate in the event of a power outage. The phone lines typically remain intact and operational during a power shut down and the main security panel in your home would continue to work on backup power for a certain amount of time.

How is a cellular radio relevant in case of a power failure?

A cellular radio is wireless, which operates on a backup battery for several hours. It is pretty much like a cell phone, which remains unaffected when the power goes out.

Can an internet connection be of any help in the event of a power outage?

With electricity breakdown, the internet services could be terminated as well. A security system that is entirely dependent on the internet is therefore most vulnerable. Without an internet connection to the monitoring center, these types of systems stop working until the power is restored.

Keeping these few things in mind can go a long way in preparing your family during power outages. A power outage may not be prolonged and you may not even need these tips, however the peace of mind  that you get from knowing that you have all the potential security points covered, is something you cannot put a price tag on. Once again, talk to your security company advisor as soon as possible and figure out the best plan possible in case of another power breakdown.

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Keeping Your Neighbors Close.

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Considering the fact that societies today are organized into neighborhoods and communities, it’s safe to assume that your home is flanked by other homes. Naturally, this means that you have neighbors.  Human beings have been living in makeshift societies for many, many thousands of years now. At a certain point in time, we realized the importance of living in communities due to the many benefits it provided. One of those benefits was the realization that there is safety in numbers.

While we may no longer live out in the open where the elements, predators, and other clans constitute threats to our collective survival, there are still dangers that we need to be aware of. One of the most pervasive threats to our safety, both personal and for our possessions is burglary.

According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a burglary takes place every 13 seconds in the United States. According to The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, a burglary is defined as ‘the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.’

Here’s how you can reduce the chances of not only your home becoming the site of a burglary, but your neighbor’s home, too.

Neighborhood Watch

A neighborhood watch is essentially a group of citizens belonging to a particular community who come together with the aim of preventing crime in their neighborhood. This crime prevention scheme involves members of a community coming together to patrol the streets and watch out for each other’s properties.

This is an excellent example of when neighbors come together and collectively undertake the responsibility to be vigilant on behalf of the community. There’s an age old saying that goes ‘two eyes are better than one’. A neighborhood watch employs all available eyes to ensure, as far as possible, that no leaf stirs without the knowledge of the whole community.

The communities which have active neighborhood watch schemes also put up signs to indicate that the particular neighborhood is being patrolled and monitored. This is intended to act as a further deterrent to criminals by making them aware of the fact that patrols are out in this area.

Rest Easy on Vacation

Statistics show that many burglaries take place when the home is empty for a long stretch of time, such as when you go off on vacation. Studies have been carried out in which it was found that burglars would actually watch homes and try to determine whether the family in question was off on vacation before deciding to break in.

The eyes of a Burglar Are Well-Trained to spot tell-tale signs of an empty home. Here’s what they may look for:

• Unkempt lawn.

• Piles of newspapers on the driveway.

• Mail unattended on the porch or in the mailbox.

• No lights.

• A general appearance of a place which hasn’t been cleaned in a while, especially from the outside.

If you or your neighbors are planning to go off on vacation, here’s how you can help each other out and reduce the risk of your home being vandalized or broken into:

• Pick up each other’s newspapers and mail.

• Make sure the lights are on, especially at night.

• Keep the exterior looking clean.

• Put the sprinklers on and water all plants.

• Mow the lawn.

• Park one of your cars in the others’ driveway to make the home look inhabited.

In addition to all of these steps, you can also offer to be extra vigilant by keeping a close eye on each other’s properties.

Surveillance Options

Another method to deter any sort of criminal activity in and around your property is by Installing Surveillance Cameras. Any would-be burglar is going to be highly put-off by the sight of an ominous camera watching their every move.

Speak to your neighbor, provided that you trust them thoroughly, about installing cameras in all the most strategic points around both of your homes. This will ensure that both your properties are less likely to become the site of a burglary.

One of the many benefits of living in a community or neighborhood is added safety. As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers. By working together as a community, especially with your neighbors, you can come up with a number of steps that can increase the safety of your neighborhood. Furthermore, since many burglars have admitted to scouting potential targets beforehand, sustained efforts on your part to actively reduce the likelihood of crime in your neighborhood may make your community an undesirable place for criminals to commit any crimes.

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Unknown Door Knocks: The Best Ways To Handle Them

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Let’s face it: being home alone can sometimes be quite worrying, especially when an unknown individual comes knocking at your door. In a situation like this, it’s always better to exercise some caution as opposed to blindly opening the door.

Statistics indicate that A Large Number of Burglars Actually Break-in occur during the day. Another particularly disturbing statistic is that a large number of Burglars Actually Break-in to a Home via the Front Door.

That’s why it’s very important to be wary when a stranger knocks at your door. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you hear a couple of ominous knocks.

Try and get a look at whose knocking

If your front door has a window, avoid looking through that one. What you want to do is get a glimpse of whose outside in order to determine whether or not you know them. Try looking out a window which gives you a good view of your front door without the person whose knocking being able to see you.

If you don’t know the person, you can ask them who they are through the door. You can also choose to ignore the person completely. That’s completely up to you.

Install a door chain

A door chain is a type of lock which is used in conjunction with other locks on a door. The purpose of a door chain is to allow you to communicate with someone on the other side of your door while preventing them from gaining entry into your home.

That way, if a stranger comes to your door and you want to open the door to speak to them, you can use a door chain to ensure that the door only opens a certain amount and you are safe from a forced entry.

Call out to someone in your home

When going to check who’s on the other side of the door or when opening the door to see what a stranger wants, it’s a good idea to holler out to someone else in your home, even if you’re home alone. On your way to the door, just scream out ‘I’ll get it’ or ‘I’m going’ or something along those lines.

The reason for doing something like this is to give the person on the other side of the door the impression that you’re not home alone.

Keep a phone handy

There’s no such thing as being too cautious. When answering the door for a stranger, keep a phone handy. That way, if the situation turns sour and you need to call for help, you have easy and quick access to a phone.

Be careful about what information you give out

If you do open the door for a stranger, be very careful about what information you choose to give out. A burglar could pose as a salesperson and attempt to ask you a number of very personal questions. If you get asked questions like:

What hours do you normally work?

What time are you usually home?

Do NOT answer them!

Answering such questions can give a potential burglar vital information about your habits and your home. This information could help them in planning a burglary.  Always remember that you are well within your rights to refuse to answer any questions you don’t want to answer!

Inquire without opening the door

If you’re uncomfortable opening the door for someone you don’t recognize, you can inquire about who they are through the door. Ask them to identify themselves. If you find them to be suspicious, you can ask them to leave.

If they claim to be there for survey, maintenance, or sales purposes, ask them to leave a card or a phone number and tell them that they need to make an appointment before coming.

Taking precautions for the safety of you and your family, as well as your home is an absolute necessity. While it is true that not everyone is bad or harbors ill will towards you, being cautious is extremely important. Always try and gain a clear idea of whose knocking at your door.  Follow these tips and be smart when it comes to opening the door for anyone you don’t recognize. Just remember – you’re not obliged to open the door for anyone you don’t know or anyone you find suspicious.

 

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5 Worst Places to Hide Your Valuables.

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In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to hide our valuables for fear of them being stolen. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that hiding our valuables is an absolute necessity. When it comes to finding a place to store your valuable items, careful consideration must be made as to what places are best.

As it turns out, there are certain spots that are horrible for hiding your valuables due to predictability and lack of protection. That’s why, when it comes to deciding where to hide your precious items, make it a point to avoid the following places.

Your Undergarments Drawer

One of the most common places for storing valuables happens to be undergarment drawers. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that these drawers are normally in a state of disarray and people feel that their valuables can be safely hidden under all that mess. The only problem is that would-be-thieves are well aware of how commonly people use their undergarment drawers as a hiding spot.

If you want a piece of advice – keep your valuables far, far away from your undergarments.

The Master Bedroom

Burglars know that the master bedroom is the first place where they are likely to find some loot. For instance, if you’ve just come back from a dinner party or a night out with your friends, you may have left the expensive jewelry you wore on your dresser. Alternatively, you may have placed your wallet, expensive phone, or other valuables out in plain sight.

As a hiding spot, the master bedroom is where a potential thief would look first for hidden valuables. This includes the closet, drawers, under the bed, etc.

When you’re thinking about hiding valuables, you have to ask yourself this: “What spot doesn’t seem predictable?”

Your Child’s Bedroom

Although hiding your valuables in your child’s room may once have been a great idea, it is no longer the case. Today, children have a host of expensive gadgets which are left out in the open in their rooms. This includes everything from expensive phones, tablets, as well as other electronic devices. You can rest assured that if a burglar goes into your child’s room to see what they can find, they would have no qualms about digging a little deeper to see if there is anything else which is hidden in your child’s room.

The Freezer

Yes, you read that right. Hiding valuables such as jewelry and cash in the freezer is not something which is reserved only for movies. Many people actually hide their valuables in the freezer and either wrap them in foil and label them as a type of food, or put them in some form of freezer-safe container. Again, burglars and thieves have become smarter about where they choose to look for valuables. Don’t fool yourself; these guys know all the tricks.

Hiding valuables in the freezer is a ploy which has been showcased in a number of movies, and so, the chances of a burglar peeping into your freezer are actually quite high.

The Toilet Tank

The first person who decided to hide their valuables in a toilet tank was probably a genius. Who on earth would think to look in a toilet tank of all places for cash, jewelry, or other valuables. Unfortunately, movies have popularized the use of toilet tanks as a hiding spot for valuables. That means that if you’ve seen a movie where someone was hiding their goods in a toilet tank, chances are, a burglar or thief has seen one too.

Finding the right place to hide your valuables can be a very tricky business. After all, you’re going through the effort of hiding them because you want to guarantee their safety. In today’s day and age, movies and TV shows have exposed quite a few of the more typical hiding spots around the home that many people used to use. The only problem with this increased exposure is that now, thieves and burglars are also familiar with these spots. If they’re going to break into your home, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re going to check out these well-known hiding spots. Therefore, take some time to put in some more thought about where to hide your valuables. Think of the least likely places that you’d expect anyone to look, double check that it hasn’t been featured in a movie, and hide your stuff away with ease.

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The 5 Most Common Points of Entry You Should Secure!

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The Front Door

It is hard to imagine that a burglar would have the guts to walk in straight through the front door of your house. Unfortunately, this is very true. 34% of burglars enter through the front door – a percentage higher than that for any other point of entry. This is not surprising – the spare key you keep under the flower pot near the entrance, is not a wise move, everyone knows about it. And most of the times, burglars don’t even need keys. They are experienced in kicking the door down and entering, or removing the hinges to silently gain access to your home.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your front door:

• Install a Burglar Security door

• Install a deadbolt lock on base doorfor added defense

• Equip your front door with a strong strike plate – to defend against potential kick-ins

• Always ensure that you have locked the door when you leave the house

• Install a door alarm so that you are notified every time someone goes in or out of your house without permission

The Back Door and Sliding Glass Doors

Back entrances are always an attractive option for burglars. They are the ideal entry points since burglars want to avoid unwanted attention from neighbors. Back doors through the kitchen or sliding glass door opening into the deck are vulnerable points from a security perspective. A lot of people leave these doors unlocked or don’t care much for them since they are not used often. And burglars take advantage of this fact. Sliding doors in particular are very vulnerable, even if not smashed. Their standard locks can be opened quite easily and they can be lifted off their tracks even when locked.

Here are some suggestions to protect your back door or sliding door:

• Install durable locks and strike plates for added defense

• A wooden dowel jammed in the track for your sliding door may slow the burglar down

• A sliding bolt to secure the frame might also help in preventing the door from being easily lifted if it is off its track

• Make sure you lock all the doors every time you leave the house

• Install a door alarm or a glass-breakage alarm to ensure sufficient protection for the backdoor

The Garage

Nearly 10% of all burglars gain access to your home via the attached garage. Homeowners who use their garages as the primary entrance into the house typically have a habit of leaving the garage door and the secondary door into the house unlocked for their ease. This mistake is noticed by burglars who scan your house for weak access points before burglarizing it.

Here are tips for protecting your garage entrance to the house:

• Install a sturdy lock and a strike plate for added protection

• Upgrade the lock on the garage door to a stronger, more durable one

• Do not leave the garage door opener in your car

• For increased security, you might want to invest in a padlock with a programmed entry code

• Choose the material for your garage door wisely – fiberglass, wood or metal works the best

• Use timers to close the door behind you, in case you leave in a hurry

The First Floor Windows

When thinking of securing your home, you might not initially give much thought to securing the windows. However, you would be surprised to find out that nearly 23% of burglars enter your home through the first floor windows. Windows are potentially the weakest points in your home and are frequently taken advantage of by burglars. Often, burglars would test every point of entry into your home – if the door does not give them access, they are likely to try and get through the windows.

Here are a few tips you can use to secure your windows against potential break-ins:

• Install reinforced glass – tempered glass, laminated glass or bullet-proof glass can be potential options, depending on your security needs

• Consider polycarbonate and Plexiglas windows – they are of the same thickness as normal glass, but are nearly 10 times stronger and 250 times more impact resistant

• Install window burglar bars – having iron bars on your windows is potentially one of the strongest defenses against burglars. Glass can be broken, but burglars can’t squeeze through iron bars!

• Invest in a window alarm – a window sensor, window alarm or glass breakage alarm can be installed to provide added security

• Install a deadbolt locking system on the window

• Make sure you keep the windows closed when you are not home

The Second Floor Windows

At first, second floor windows might not even seem like potential entry points for burglars. But do not be mistaken. When all else fails, burglars would take measures like climbing up a ladder or a tree to gain access to your house through one of the upper storey windows. Even though this is less likely, there is still a 2% chance of an intruder coming in from second floor entrances. Do not take chances in this regard and make sure you secure your second-floor windows as well. For this purpose, treat them like they are on the first floor and use all the measures necessary to defend them against burglars.

Here are a few additional tips that can help you protect the second floor windows better:

• Do not keep a ladder in an easily accessible place for intruders

• Make sure no trees around the house can be used to gain access to the second floor windows

• Keep the windows locked when you are not in the room

In addition to protecting these five specific points, you might want to invest in installing additional security gadgets. These could include CCTV cameras inside and outside your house, bright lighting for the outdoors, infrared motion sensors etc. These gadgets will only help increase the security detail on your house and give you greater control over every point in your house. Other methods can include getting a dog, keeping the lights switched on even when you are not home (to give the impression of being home) and remotely monitoring your house for any odd activities.

 

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Common Sense Security Practices You Need To Know!

With rising crime rates and an increasing threat to safety, it has become more important now than ever to invest time, effort and genuine thought into your home security. Simple measures taken with the aim of providing basic defenses can go a long way in securing your residence, family members and valuable items. Make these efforts, not out of fear, but out of common sense and as a healthy habit to maintain a sufficient security level. This vigilance and careful behavior might go a long way in protecting what is important to you.

Here is a list of suggestions you might want to keep in mind to protect yourself against crimes:

• Securing the Doors

This is the most common point of entry for burglars into your home. Make sure you lock all the doors at night and when you are away. A lot of people have a habit of leaving the back door or kitchen door open at all times. If you are one of these people, then stop doing this. Since this is such a common practice, burglars and intruders check for these entry points for sure.

Even when you are at home, it is a good practice to keep all doors locked.

If you have a sliding door, you might want to use a long, sturdy plank to block the door so that even if the burglar manages to pick the lock, they would not be able to get through.

Invest in a heavy duty deadbolt lock for additional safety. You can also get a double cylinder door knob which requires a key to open from both ends, giving you twice the security of a standard locking system. However, these doors can become a hazard in case of a fire or emergency, especially if you have a habit of misplacing keys. So make sure you are always aware of where you put the keys.

Get yourself a basic door alarm that can be activated at peak security hours to notify you of any intrusion.

• Securing the Windows

Windows are also a very common point of entry for intruders. And you would be surprised to know that it is not only the ground floor windows that are vulnerable to break-ins, but burglars are known to have broken in through upper storey windows as well, so be careful.

Make sure you lock all windows at night or when you are away.

Air conditioners and fans installed on the windows might give an easy access to burglars into your home. They can simply be pushed in to make way for someone to easily climb through. Therefore, avoid such cooling units or look for better ways to install them.

Invest in fortifying your windows with additional locking systems, such as locking pins or hinged wedges for double-hung windows. Also having a window alarm or glass-breakage alarm that would notify you in case someone tries to break in.

• Lighting

Lighting plays a vital role in your home security practices. The idea is to always keep your house sufficiently lit.

Never make it obvious that you are not home. Keep a porch light and at least one light in the house on whether you are home or not. Not only would this provide greater visibility for neighbors keeping an eye out on your home, but it will also make it look like you are home and serve as a potential deterrent to burglars.

Invest in a few timers. These can be programmed to turn the lights, radio and television on at random times when you are away, to make it look like you are still home.

You might want to purchase a motion sensor light to install at the front and back for additional security.

• Invest in the Right Home Security Systems

Alarm systems and cameras can further beef up your home security. Cameras installed in and around your house with a connection to your smart phone can give you remote access to your home as well – so you can keep an eye on your house even if you are not around. This is also a good way to keep an eye on the kids when you are not around, or on the baby sitter. You can also invest in gadgets such as door alarms, window alarms, driveway sensors, and window breakage alarms etc, as per the requirements of your house.

In addition to protection against burglars and rising crime rates, you might also want to think of investing in temperature alarms, humidity, fire, smoke and even carbon monoxide alarms. These are additional hazards that every household needs to be sufficiently protected against.

If you have valuable items at home such as jewelry or cash, you might want to get a safe with an alarm to keep these items in.

• Other Simple Security Practices to Keep in Mind

In addition to measures relating to specific entry points into the house, here are some general tips that can help with the security:

• Make sure your grass is cut

• Ensure that your newspapers and mail are being collected. If they end up gathering at your front door, it will become obvious to any passerby that you are not home

• Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media. Just make sure a few people such as your neighbors or friends know about it and are keeping an eye on your house

• Don’t leave your valuables in plain sight – This is particularly important if you have maids or baby sitters or any outsider coming into your house on a regular basis. Usually it is the easy accessibility and visibility of high value items that tempt burglars to break in

• Don’t dispose of the boxes of your expensive items right out on the curb. Break them down completely and put them in the trash

• Get a dog for additional security

• Install security company signs in your yard. For example, signs that read ‘Beware! You are being watched’ or ‘Beware of Dog’ etc

• If you have glass doors, you might want to replace them with hardwood. This looks equally good but provides a lot of added security in comparison to simple glass doors

• When it comes to securing your home, even the most hi-tech security systems would not be of much help if you do not use your common sense and remain vigilant at all times. Following these few common sense tips will help you go a long way in keeping your home, family and valuables safe against the ever-increasing crime rates in the country.

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EXTRA STEPS TO SECURING YOUR AC UNIT!

• Add lighting around the unit

Thieves aren't looking to get caught, obviously no arguing on that point.  The more visible they are or inaccessible the unit is during the heist the less likely they will bother your home or office.

• Add Security Camera's near the unit

Not a full proof way but again under the same principles as before.  If they know they are being watched they are less likely to do it AND/OR they are more likely to get caught after the fact.

• Apply Unit Fence or Cage

Of all the options this is probably the most full proof.  Thieves will typically just move onto the next unit that will be much easier than yours.  You can either buy pre-fab cages OR you can have them customer made by an ironworks company.  If someone makes you a cage be absolutely certain that the unit can STILL BREATH.  If you restrict airflow or allow build up of leaves and debris the unit will suffocate and not operate efficiently.  Always consult an ac professional if you are at all uncertain.

• Lock all Property Gates or Fences to prevent easy access throughout the property.

This can easily be overlooked.  Make sure your access points are locked tight when not in use!

• Remove or Secure Ladders to decks or roofs.  

This typically applies to office buildings.  Rooftop package units are stolen when the AC system is easily accessible.  Don't make it any easier on the thieves than it needs to be. 

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What You Should Report after a Break-In & How to Prevent Home Burglary.

Home break-ins are never a pleasant experience, but hang in there. There is light at the end of this tunnel. You can make the situation a little easier by arming yourself with the right knowledge regarding house break-ins. Knowing what to do if your house is broken into can turn a catastrophic event into a manageable complication.

Take safety precautions and look for signs of the intruder

It’s a good idea to wait until officers arrive before even entering your home, if possible.

However, it’s not always obvious that a burglary has occurred. Often, intruders will only disturb things inside the home and you may not realize you have fallen victim until you enter and take a look around. In that case, our source with the police department recommends that you immediately ensure the intruder is gone and the burglary is not still taking place. Otherwise, get to safety.

Report the crime and provide your personal information

Call the police immediately and have your personal information handy. You will likely be connected to a dispatcher. The dispatcher will help determine if there is immediate danger and take your identification information.

When reporting the burglary, it is important that you correctly report the crime. Often, callers use the word “robbed” when they refer to burglaries. 

If you weren't home and someone broke in and took items, that's a burglary.

If you were confronted by a suspect and something was taken from you by force or threat of force, that's a robbery. These are two vastly different crimes.

Look for signs of forced entry

You will want to take note of whether there has been forced entry. Below are a few questions to consider:

Are any windows broken?

Are any locks smashed?

Take a good look around. Are there any dark areas that would provide good cover for an intruder?

Do you have tall shrubs or trees? Do you have any loose bricks, rocks, or tools lying around?

Pay attention to any areas around your home that might have provided cover for a house burglar seeking entry.

Take inventory of stolen items and their value

Try to remember as closely as possible when you left and when you returned. You can report this information to help the police determine a timeline.

Next, you will need to begin taking inventory of stolen items. Our source with the police recommends that you take a look at dangerous items first. Have any firearms or weapons been stolen? Are any prescriptions missing?

Now, start documenting other items that have been taken. Note the approximate value of each item. You should avoid touching things as much as possible. Leave the area as it is until a police officer can come in and evaluate the situation. Try to gather any kind of identifying information about stolen items. Serial numbers for electronics or pictures of any missing jewelry or other valuables is helpful. This information is especially important when firearms have been stolen.

How to prevent damage from a burglary

It’s difficult to know what to do when your house is broken into. Unfortunately, you will likely have to remain vigilant long after the dust has settled. 

Immediately replace any broken locks or windows to protect your home from burglars

Monitor bank accounts and credit cards for suspicious activity

Pay special attention to credit reports if you believe identifying information was stolen

Keep a constant watch for things you notice that are missing and make note of the items

Call and update the police report anytime you notice missing items (even if it seems insignificant)

Eliminate any weak spots in your home security to prevent future break-ins

Purchase a home security system to prevent future break-ins

While break-ins are never pleasant situations, knowing how to report home burglary can help you manage the situation as painlessly as possible.

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Vacation Time? Take These Steps To Secure Yourself & Home!

Approximately 42% of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017. To create peace of mind, travelers must properly secure their homes before heading out.

Below, is a great checklist for homeowners to keep tabs on their property, and to ensure their possessions are safeguarded while away.

1. Secure Entry Points

• Intruders most commonly enter homes through first-floor windows and doors. Take proper precautions to confirm all vulnerable entry points are secured before taking off:

 • Install smart locks and window sensors to deter intruders.

 • Sync your mobile device with smart home equipment to receive real-time alerts in case of an    attempted break in.

 • Verify your security provider’s monitoring service center will dispatch emergency personnel should an intruder gain access to your home.

2. Schedule Lighting

• A dark home may indicate to intruders that you are gone. Leverage smart lights by taking the following steps:

 • Schedule lights to turn on when an alarm or sensor has been triggered or at regularly             occurring intervals to give the illusion you are home.

 • Install floodlights to illuminate your home’s exterior when movement is detected.

3. Set Up Mobile Alerts

• Stay connected to your home and create peace of mind while on vacation with mobile monitoring:

• Download your security provider’s mobile application to keep tabs on your home at all times, and control your smart home devices on a single interface.

 • Periodically check real-time footage from any web-enabled device remotely.

 • Set up mobile alerts to receive immediate notifications if an intruder tampers with a door or window. Use your mobile app to visually verify what has triggered an alarm or image sensor.

4. Adjust Smart Thermostats

• Safely limit the amount of energy used while on vacation, and ensure your home is ready when you return with a smart thermostat:

• Set your thermostat to a minimum temperature of 50 degrees to reduce the risk of pipes freezing or bursting.

 • Use your mobile security app to reset your thermostat to a comfortable temperature before returning home.

5. Take Precautionary Measures

• Burglars may be more likely to target a home that appears to be empty. Take additional safety measures to make it appear as though you never left, and to ensure your property is secure even when you’re not around:

• Halt mail and newspaper delivery, or contact a trusted neighbor to pick it up for you. Accumulating mail may indicate your home is vacant.

• Notify a trusted friend or neighbor of your travel plans and contact information.

• Unplug all appliances and electronics to prevent short-circuiting and power surges, which      may cause damage to your home or start a fire.

• Use social media cautiously, and avoid revealing your specific whereabouts online.

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A Look Into The Future: Artificial Intelligence & Home Security

Home Automation

Geofencing technology already allows home automation functions, such as turning on your lights or thermostat when your smartphone passes a virtual barrier. But, AI presents the opportunity for a home to learn beyond settings. For example, your home could turn lights on automatically based on gestures or movements picked up by ceiling cameras or voice commands.

Amazon’s Alexa® is another AI technology impacting home automation. Alexa’s “brain” can be integrated with other devices that have a speaker and microphone. Integrating Alexa with other technologies makes her smarter, so she can learn new tasks like reading the news or adjusting smart thermostats.

Home Security

Home security is another area ripe for disruption. Facebook uses AI in the form of facial recognition to tag photos of friends with a 97 percent accuracy rate for the 214 million Facebook users in the United States alone. That same deep learning has the potential to work in home security technology to track the comings and goings of houseguests. Just as some phones can categorize a new photo as a cat or a tree, AI paired with security cameras could learn the difference between an intruder and a visitor.

AI powered home security systems can learn a family’s daily routine and identify when an event seems unusual. This is helpful for families who have frequent visitors or travel often, as the home security system reduces the number of false alarms. AI also offers peace of mind to homeowners, because humans have a short attention span, while technology is trained to always be on alert.

Overcoming Concerns

While these innovative tools can be beneficial, turning technology inward is worrisome for some homeowners. Technologies like Alexa are always listening, and some AI cameras are always watching. Fear of hackers breaking into this technology to steal sensitive information and invade privacy tends to be the reason behind slow adoption of these potential opportunities.

As AI makes its way into homes, it’s important to keep safety at the forefront and use trusted providers. While this new technology is exciting, malfunctions could put your family at risk. One AI technology accidentally recognized wrinkles on a shirt as a trusted face to enter a home during a demonstration. Yikes! 

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Tips From A Real Burglar On Securing Your Home!

What better way to learn how to protect your home from burglars than from burglars themselves? Nicholas Kyriazis was a burglar who has broken into and burglarized at least 100 homes. Now he is giving tips on how he did it and how you can prevent yourself from being targeted by other criminals.

(SN: Nicholas Kyriazis has no affiliation with Cage Man Security and these tips were extricated from a previous interview he had given.)

• Have a neighbor collect your mail when you’re away. Uncollected mail in the mailbox signals to burglars that no one is home.

• Leave your car in the driveway or right out in front of your home. “If there are no cars in the driveway, there’s a good chance there is no one home,” Kyriazis says.

• Thieves often strike in the morning.  While most people may think they are most vulnerable at night, while they are sleeping or when it’s dark out, Kyriazis says he typically burgled homes between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. More than half of convicted burglars surveyed by WNBC in New York also said they targeted homes in the morning. This is a great reason to make sure you have an alarm system set before heading off to work.

• Have a neighbor watch your house.  Kyriazis called neighborhood watch “one of the best things they ever started for burglary prevention.” Your home security service will install security cameras around your property, but it isn’t always enough. Having extra eyes watching throughout the neighborhood is key to preventing crime.

Lock up when you leave. “I’ve never carried burglary tools,” Kyriazis says. Many people leave doors and windows unlocked, and thieves take advantage. Prevent anyone from getting easy access to your home by locking up, no matter how short your trip and no matter how safe you think your neighborhood is.

• Dogs can be a good deterrent. Kyriazis says a barking dog would give him pause because he didn’t know what kind of dog he was about to face. This is a potential threat intruders cannot get past and sometimes that’s enough to dissuade them.

• Never engage a burglar. Thieves and experts agree that if you come upon a burglary in progress, the best option is to leave, find a safe place, and call 911 immediately.  If you confront a burglar, he, or she, may panic and attack. Even if the burglar gets away, it’s not worth risking your life.

Keep these tips in mind when protecting your home and prevent your house from being an easy target.  And make sure to contact us today to further protect your home from any unwarranted damage or theft!

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Knowing Your Foes And Their Typical Behaviors.

Most burglaries occur on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Most usually look for homes that appear unoccupied during the day, are dark at night, and display signs of wealth (such as immaculate landscaping, expensive cars and fancy decks). They prefer homes that are secluded or shielded by fences or shrubbery. And they always prefer breaking in through a ground-level side window or back door.

Most burglars don't pick locks or break glass. That takes too long, makes noise and risks personal injury. Instead, they simply kick in a door (even doors with a dead bolt) or pry open a window or sliding patio door. In many cases, they take advantage of a homeowner's carelessness by climbing in through an open window or unlocked door (window screens and storm doors offer no protection). Burglars tend to shy away from homes with dogs, and homes with an alarm system.

Your job is to make your home less target-worthy, frustrate their attempts to break in and limit your losses if they do manage to get inside.

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Home Break In's Don't Only Happen In "Certain Areas".

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - A couple had a terrifying encounter with gunmen outside their home early Monday.

Sandy Springs police said the couple was awakened when their alarm went off just after midnight on Hunters Trace Circle.

The couple’s home security system indicated that a basement door had been opened. While his spouse called 911, the man went down to investigate.

The man then heard the garage door open and went out to see what was going on.

When the homeowner came out of the house, one of the intruders fired a gun toward him. The homeowner ducked and went back to the house. He was not injured.

Demarco Parham, of Atlanta, was arrested and charged with first-degree home invasion, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.

The couple’s blue 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee was recovered.

“We're very concerned about this,” Sandy Springs police Sgt. Sam Worsham said. “We're concerned about the safety of all of our citizens. We're doing the investigation, will try to locate the people involved.”

Via: http://www.wsbtv.com

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Securing Your AC Unit!

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Our cages are built to take care of the unit as a whole, however, a few steps can be taken to help further secure your unit!

Get an A/C alarm

Install a residential air conditioner alarm that contains a siren to alert you if the unit is stolen or damaged. These alarms are designed to trigger if the refrigerant line is cut, as well as if a leak develops in the line and refrigerant is lost. You have the option to connect the alarm to your existing home alarm system, which can use auto-dialing to alert security contacts.

Install motion sensor lights

Purchase motion sensor lights that activate when they pick up movement in your yard. Connect them to a floodlight that illuminates the entire area around the air conditioner for extra security, which will ensure that you can easily see potential thieves near to your home. The sensor lights are inexpensive and simple to install yourself, or you can contact an electrician to handle this for you.

Fence your yard

Erect a fence around your entire yard and install a lockable gate. This will increase your privacy and provide a perimeter to deter intruders. They may still be able to enter your yard, but it will be extremely difficult for thieves to lift the unit over the fence quickly or quietly.

Implement one or more of these measures to protect your investment and give yourself peace of mind that you've done everything possible to prevent the theft of your A/C unit.

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AC Theft Caught On Video | Gwinett County GA

Here we see a perfect example of how quickly AC Units can be taken or vandalized! 

The video showed the suspect vehicle pull into the parking lot of the doctor's office at about 7:30 PM. The vehicle resembled a Ford ambulanceor utility truck with no markings.It had rear swing doors and a low deck. One suspect is seen approaching the air conditioners on the side of the building. He cut through the power lines to both units, throwing showers of sparks. The suspect did not seem affected by sparks or leaking gas and continued to disconnect the units. Two additional suspects (for a total of three) helped the first suspect remove the units. They left the scene less than three minutes after arrival.

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