7 Ways to Tighten Your Home Security for the Holidays

Every year at this time you’ll read stories about the increase in home burglaries while homeowners are away. Studies show that increase is not always fact. Instead, many factors affect burglaries in different communities and when they occur.

21908228_sStill, it’s smart to play it safe with home security around the holidays. After all, you may have extra valuables inside after buying all of your gifts, and you may be absent more often as you attend holiday parties or head to grandmother’s house.

According to FBI data, in 2010, there were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries in the U.S. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property, an average dollar loss of $2,119 each. In the Raleigh-Cary area, including Franklin, Johnston, and Wake counties, there were 628 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2010.

Keep your holiday gifts and your home safe this season with a few simple measures:

  • Light your home. The strings of Christmas lights may bring good cheer, but they don’t keep burglars out. Mount exterior lights on your home, out of reach. These can be put on a timer or used as motion detectors. Put indoor lights on timers.
  • Burglars don’t want to spend all day trying to break in. Keep your doors and windows locked and install deadbolts on exterior doors, making it tougher to gain entry.
  • Check your doors. Your lock might be amazing, but if your door is weak, a strong kick will give a burglar easy access. Make sure your door is solid wood or has a solid wood core. You can also consider a fiberglass or metal door.
  • Trim the shrubbery. Don’t make it easy for burglars to hide behind bushes as they work to open a window. Keep the landscaping trimmed so it’s easier for a neighbor to spot the suspicious person standing outside your home.
  • Install a home alarm system. More than 90 percent of burglars say they would avoid a home with an alarm, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Effective alarms don’t just make noise, but alert emergency services. Many insurance companies offer a discount on homeowners insurance if you have an alarm.
  • Hide and lock your valuables. Once inside, a burglar doesn’t want to take too long. He or she knows to check the desk and the bedroom for important documents and jewelry. Put your important papers and expensive items in other locations and hide them well.
  • Heading out of town? Be sure to:
    • Have your mail held, or have a neighbor pick it up.
    • Schedule deliveries. Packages are at risk this time of year sitting on your front porch. Try to time deliveries so that they don’t arrive when you are out of town.
    • Leave blinds in their usual positions so it appears you are home.
    • Ask trustworthy neighbors to keep an eye on your home. Letting a few people know you are gone will help keep them on alert for something amiss.

Questions about home security? Give us a call: (919) 387-1800.

5 Technology Upgrades to Home Security

Home security has come a long way since the invention of chain link fences and guard dogs. Today, technology has made it possible to keep an eye on your home 24/7. Whether you’re looking for the latest cool tools in home security or just want an easier way to keep your home safe, here are 5 technology upgrades to consider:

  1. Door locks – Forget to lock the door? If you have an electronic door lock, it’s no problem. You can remotely lock it from anywhere. Electronic door locks work with your entire home security system. In addition to locking the door from your smartphone or tablet, electronic door locks track the history of opening and closing and can send you text message alerts if you want. You can also give visitors an access code that only works during certain times of day, making it easier to keep your home secure when working with household staff. Plus, no more digging around for your keys!
  1. Remote monitoring – Keep an eye on your home from anywhere with videos and photos of what’s going on. Home security systems now offer streaming security camera feeds, the ability to arm and disarm from anywhere, send alerts, and more.
  1. Cameras – Speaking of streaming, home security cameras are no longer for the super-rich mansion owner. Cameras are inexpensive and easy to install. If you don’t want to check the life feed, you can save it for later if you need to — a nice option if your home is burglarized or if you need to check up on working crews.
  1. Home Sensors – Your home is so smart, it knows you’re coming. Home sensors can open and close the door for you. They also work as part of your home security, for motion sensing when you’re away. They’re smart enough to work off of winks or waving and can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.
  1. Garage systems – Many people use a button in their car to open the garage. The latest systems not only open the door when you want, but give you remote control from your smart device, allowing you to let people to enter when you are not home. It can also track how long the door has been open. Systems today also have motion sensors to protect those jetting through the door as it’s closing.

Secur-Tek can help you install a Control4 Home Automation System to help with these areas and more, including lighting, sound, and more. Contact us today to find out more.

5 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money on an Alarm System

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You might be wasting your money on that home alarm system.

That might not sound like something a security company like Secur-Tek should say to potential customers. But yes, we’ll say that. Here is why: We believe in alarm systems as a large part of your home security. While we install high-quality alarm systems, we know that you are just as much a part of your home security as the alarm.

You might be wasting money on an alarm system if …

  1. You don’t set the alarm. About one in every 36 homes in the U.S. will be burglarized this year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, financial losses from burglaries increased between 1994 and 2011. Alarm systems have been proven to decrease the dollar amount of items stolen. But only if you set the alarm.
  2. You don’t use the stickers or sign as a warning. Homes with alarms are less likely to be targets; those stickers and signs are a good way to deter them from even trying to enter your home.
  3. You don’t test the system. Our home security systems are high quality. But technology sometimes fails. Be sure to call us each month using your system so we can run a test and make sure everything is functioning properly.
  4. Your system isn’t monitored. You may have inherited a home alarm system that no longer has a contract for monitoring. Although the noise of an alarm may scare off those who enter your home, it’s vital that you have a company monitor those alarms so that a police officer will check for forced entry. Monitoring is also useful in case of a fire or carbon monoxide alarm.
  5. You leave windows open. Thirty percent of burglars entered a home through an unlocked door, window or other opening — no force necessary. Windows are a favorite, especially those left open in warmer months and obscured by bushes or buildings. Many lower-priced alarm systems do not activate if someone enters through an open window. If you don’t install glass-breaking alarms or alarms on the windows, be sure to at least close and lock your windows while you are not home.

Help us protect your home by keeping your security top of mind. That way your dollars — and your belongings — aren’t going out the window.

Prevent Your Wireless Home Alarm from Burglar Hacking

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There’s a new tool in town.

Protecting your home or business with a security system is an important part of preventing burglary, but those intent on breaking in and stealing your possessions will often think of unique ways to thwart the system. The latest: a software defined radio that connects to a laptop. For an easy $20, a burglar can buy the device and instructions on how to use it.

The device reads the alarm system’s radio signals and can overpower them, allowing a burglar to tell the system a door is closed when it’s open. They could even prevent an alarm signal from reaching your security company.

But there is a solution. It’s called spread-spectrum technology. You can protect your possessions by installing a device that uses S-ST, as its known. Such devices “spread out” the wireless signals in your system, hopping from one to another to avoid interference from outside sources. So if a signal is jammed, it simply chooses another route. S-ST technology can also encrypt signals, making sure a burglar can’t try to send a fake message to the system.

What You Can Do

Secur-Tek is making sure its alarm systems are protected against outside threats. But a home alarm system is only as good as the person using it. Many customers install home alarm systems, but fail to set them. Protect your home and family from smoke, carbon monoxide, burglary, and more by setting your system each time you leave the house. Here are some other home protection tips:

  • Test your system with us once each month.
  • Lock all windows and install deadbolts on the doors.
  • Secure sliding doors with a dowel.
  • Look for other ways to dissuade burglar activity, such as planting bushes below windows, making sure entrances are visible to neighbors

What questions do you have about home security? Send us a message and we can answer them in a future post.

Business Security, Monitoring, and Customer Service

One Stop ShopSecur-Tek provides state-of-the-art business security and home automation services to residential and commercial customers in Apex, Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, and central North Carolina. We provide commercial customers of all sizes with everything needed to minimize risks and keep businesses safe. You can focus on running your businesses while we provide the security expertise and systems you need. We can provide your business with fire protection systems, access control, burglar alarms, security cameras (CCTV and video), and background music.

Fire Protection – Alarms, Smoke, and Sprinkler Waterflow Detectors

Even if you have fire insurance, it’s far better to prevent a fire than to have one, make an insurance claim, and try to rebuild from the ashes. Many businesses never recover from a fire. You can get protected against total disaster with our fire code compliant fire detection systems. Manual pull fire alarms, supervised smoke detectors, and waterflow monitors all work together. Manual pull alarms are like the ones in many public buildings—once pulled the horns go off and the fire department is alerted. Supervised smoke detectors allow a fast response before the fire gets out of control. Water is a fire’s worst enemy but it’s not always your friend. Waterflow monitors minimize the water damage and flooding that happens when sprinklers go off; water can cause more damage than fire.

Access Control Systems

You can get access control systems to monitor your business. You can monitor your property (onsite or remotely) and employees and keep unwanted people from causing trouble. Locks with passcodes or keycards will let authorized people in and keep the bad guys out. Our software can be loaded onto the PC you already have. We have a wide variety of solutions and price points so let us know what you need and we’ll customize a solution just for you.

Burglar Alarms and Monitoring

Burglars are always a danger to your valuable inventory and business property. Our burglar alarms and systems let you know when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can get reports of exactly when your burglar alarm is armed and disarmed as well as who is accessing it. This is perfect for knowing when your business opens and closes. You’ll know if someone disarms the alarm late at night or before regular opening hours.

CCTV Security Cameras and Video Storage

Burglars aren’t the only source of theft. Shoplifters and even employees can be a major problem. Protecting yourself with camera monitoring is smart because it discourages theft; stealing is a lot less appealing to thieves if they know they’re being watched! Security footage is indispensable when you need evidence to show a judge. Camera evidence is hard to deny and will help to convict a thief and protect your business from theft, false claims, and other liabilities. We can set you up with 1 to 100 CCTV cameras, PC-based systems, and remote monitoring. One of our most popular packages is Honeywell’s 4-Camera Internet system—you can even monitor your business on your phone!

Business Background Music Source

Having a safe and secure business is important and it’s also key to provide an environment that makes customers want to spend money. Background music helps you control the mood and image of your business. We can supply all the relaxing and professional background music you need—perfect for offices and stores that need to convey professionalism.

To learn more about how your business can benefit from using security and home automation services, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Don’t Become a Fire Statistic

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the year 2011 brought 364,500 residential fires, which resulted in 2,450 deaths, and 85,400 non-residential fires, which resulted in 80 deaths. In 2012 there were 1,375,000 fires reported in the United States, which resulted in 2,855 civilian deaths, 16,500 civilian injuries, and $12.4 billion in property damage.

fireWhether at your home or your business, a fire can be devastating to your property, possessions and can possibly cause the loss of life. Clearly, fire is a force that should not be taken lightly but should be prevented as best as we can.

Deaths from residential fires in homes where there was an absence of smoke alarms or in which smoke alarms did not operate accounted for 60 percent of those deaths. The National Fire Protection Association says that the deaths occurring in homes without working smoke alarms “emphasizes the importance of taking personal responsibility when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from fire.”

What steps can you take to protect yourself, your family and your property?

Installing and making sure that smoke alarms are in working order could help save lives. As an added precaution, some home security monitoring companies offer fire detection services. These fire detection services monitor for the presence of smoke in the structure or for increased temperature. If either is detected, the local fire department is alerted.

Secur-Tek, a security and home automation company located in Apex NC, offers our own affordable fire detection system. The system includes manual pull stations that allow for the manual activation of the system, as well as supervised smoke detectors for additional protection.

In 2012, a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds, and one civilian injury was reported every 32 minutes while one civilian fire death occurred every 3 hours and 4 minutes.

Having a fire detection system in place could make a huge difference in your life; it could save lives.  It could make the difference between life and you and your family becoming a statistic.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Automation! 3 Ways to Simplify Home and Office with Secur-Tek

Control4When talking about home or business electronic systems, the terms integration or automation may not be especially familiar to everyone.  Secur-Tek of Apex, NC specializes in building system upgrades.  Whether it’s a home, office building or business, Secur-Tek can install and maintain everything from alarm systems to surround sound.  We can set up computer networking, optimize wireless capabilities throughout a building, and even install central vacuum systems to make it easier to keep every room clean and improve the air you breathe!  Technological upgrades are a way to improve the conveniences in any building, and Control 4 automation is the ultimate system upgrade!

What are the benefits of Control 4 automation?

Here are three examples of how automation can make home and office functions easier:

  • Operate appliances remotely from any room.  Turning functions on and off from anywhere in the room or building makes life so much easier.  For example, when having guests over, blinds can be lowered or raised, music can be changed easily and lights can be dimmed, all from the touch of a button on a tablet or cell phone.
  • Total control of electronic functions.  An easy to use application on a cell phone can keep tabs on all electronics.  Having control of the on/off functions of appliances is also energy efficient.  Knowing which appliances are running, and which are off, at all times will optimize the power bill.  This is also a great function to remotely monitor the functions of a Secur-Tek alarm system in a home or office!
  • No more remotes to keep up with!  When everything is synced to a tablet or cell phone app, worrying about finding the remote to the air conditioner is no more a chore!  All home and office functions are controlled by a single unit with a total automation configuration.

Considering these wonderful benefits, what home or business wouldn’t appreciate total electronic integration?  Secur-Tek can configure and maintain Control 4 automation for any size building, from apartments to businesses or office buildings.  Don’t be left in the dark ages!  Call or contact Secur-Tek today to learn more about how automation works, and get an assessment of the possibilities for your home or business!

Also, take a look at this video for a great example of how Control 4 automation can benefit a home!

Three Ways Secur-Tek Can Hook You Up!

Wireless ImageSecur-Tek, Wake County’s premier home and business security company, does much more than   the name implies!  Of course, Secur-Tek installs top of the line security systems at reasonable prices.  We also install central vacuum systems throughout a home or office, making it much easier to keep everything clean thus greatly improving air quality.  Secur-Tek installs custom Bose sound systems, bringing music to any part of the house, inside and out, throughout the office, or anywhere it is needed.  Our sales and design team can create a Control4 automation system, giving clients remote operation and control of electronics inside your home or office from anywhere.  No more driving home to check if the security system is armed or if you turned off the lights!

The number one security company in the Triangle can do even more for homes and businesses!  The most important ingredient in the office or household environment, especially within the technologically advanced world we live in today, is wireless networking.  If there is more than one computer or wireless device, tablet, smart phone or laptop, there is a good chance it has a wireless network connecting all of these devices to the Internet. Especially in an office setting, each employee has a laptop or desktop system which depends on the office’s wireless network for daily functionality and work performance.

Wireless is now the principal “connector” for everything digital, and nothing is more frustrating than a poor or slow connection.  Many homes have a certain area or room where the wireless is strongest.  Maybe there is a better connection on the couch than in the bedroom where most online work or browsing is being done. In the office, the break room may have a better connection than the cubicle. But this problem doesn’t have to be endured.  Secur-Tek is here to help!

Here are three key areas that improve instantly with Secur-Tek processes:

      Install a network.  If wireless is not already installed in your home or office, we can take care of hooking everything up and getting your network connected and running.

     Improve connectivity.  Connection problems are frustrating and can be detrimental to productivity. Secur-Tek will optimize the connection in every corner of the home or business.

     Expand the network.  Many individuals and organizations are in need of greater range and more bandwidth to sustain the proper network connect-ability. We assess the current situation and make the correct changes.

So quit wasting time waiting for more bars on the smartphone, call Secur-Tek today to get the connection you want at a price you’ll love!

4 Ways Secur-Tek Provides Peace of Mind

home security and automationIn this rapidly evolving technology world, new strategies are constantly being presented to make security simpler and safer!  From remote monitoring to total system integration, there are a multitude of possibilities to place your home and business under your complete command.

Locally owned and operated for over 22 years in Historic Downtown Apex, Secur-Tek, Inc. has been installing home security systems and other electronic devices longer than anyone in the area. As a consumer, you may be curious about home security systems and wondering which one is the best.  Maybe you are currently building a new home or considering the upgrade of your current systems.

Our years of experience can guarantee quality installation of a wide variety of security systems, and our trustworthy 24-hour monitoring is established with experience for security and fire alarm systems.  Even if Secur-Tek, Inc. did not install your current system, we can monitor it and make sure your home or business is protected every single day and night.

Interestingly, security is not all we offer!  Technological upgrades to your business, office building or home can help reduce energy usage while bringing both value and safety.  Here in Apex, as well as in the rest of Wake County, we are helping to bring the tech revolution to the home and business owners who want to be more in control.  Operation of everything from appliances to lighting can now be done remotely from a tablet, and we can make this simplified 2013 lifestyle a reality for you, your family or your business.

Here are four key improvements we can install to help you realize the complete potential of your home or business:

Home Security SystemsA sense of security is something everyone wants, especially for their family or investment.  Home security is a way of caring for what you love most, and making sure it’s protected when you’re busy.

Home Automation/Integration– Having control of your television, kitchen appliances, lighting, and alarm system from one single device makes life so much easier, and safer!  Control everything from your tablet, and no longer worry about whether something was left on.  Saving energy is simple when all it takes is the remote click-of-a-button!

Dirt Devil Central Vacuum Systems– Better technology for today’s energy efficient, advanced living spaces. Making house cleaning easier and more streamlined ensures comfort and simplicity.

Bose Music SystemsWe can install sound systems/surround sound for living areas, patios, pool areas, or any other indoor or outdoor location.  Bose is top-of-the-line quality audio with several options to fill any space.

Call us today at 919-387-1800 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We give our prices up front, so you’re never surprised by what we charge for services.  And we keep our contracts simple for all of our customers!  Don’t wait to bring your home or business into the best technology available, our services will bring you security, efficiency, and peace of mind!