Leaving On Vacation? Here’s Your Handy Home Security Checklist

 

First – start by creating the illusion that somebody is actually still home!

You can achieve this by:

  • Setting your lights on timers to be set on/off at different times in different rooms
  • Set your radio, sounds system or television to turn on and off; creating the sound of someone at home
  • Leave a car in the driveway – have someone move it from side to side occasionally (close family member, friend or neighbor)
  • If you normally leave a few toys around or hose uncoiled in the yard – do so. The idea is to look like things are as normal!
  • Curtains Closed — or Open?  You may think closing your curtains will prevent people from peering inside your home. However, closed curtains also stop those who aim to help — the police, your neighbors or friends — from seeing inside your house. So, what should you do? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you are at home. Remember – you want to create the illusion that things are normal. You should never leave expensive items, like jewelry or computers, out where they are visible from the window.
  • Arrange to have your landscape trimmed. Nothing signals “not home” stronger than an unkempt yard, especially one that is normally regularly manicured.

Run by the post office (or do it on-line) and cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries. Or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect them for you while away.

Stow away your valuables and important papers. Lock up any valuable jewelry, deed to your home, title to your cars and small electronic devices. Things that are relatively small and easily transported are the main target of thieves. They want to get in and out fast, carrying as many valuables as possible. If you don’t have a safety deposit box, store these types of items in a fireproof lock box. Great places to put the lockbox are in children’s bed or playrooms, laundry room, garage or kitchen. Thieves will always look in master bedrooms and living spaces where adults hang out. 

Remove Your Spare Key(s)  That plastic rock, above the door-frame, under a mat/flowerpot isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that (s)he will first check your porch and obvious locations for a spare key.

Don’t announce you are leaving or your whereabouts right before or during your vacation via Social Media.  Many of us enjoy keeping up with friends and family via social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The perceived anonymity of the Internet can encourage us to share personal information without fully realizing that there could be complete strangers viewing our daily musings. So try to refrain from posting those pre-vacation thoughts and plans and hold off posting pictures and statements showing you at fun or exotic location away from home until later. In addition, be careful what you say on your home, home office answer machine, voice mail or auto email response. People trying to reach you don’t need to know that you’re out of town — they just need to know that you can’t respond right now.

For the highest level of assurance – Alert Your:

  • Home Security Company – Double check that your door and window alarms are activated before you leave. Also, leave a house key and the code with someone you trust and provide the police and alarm company with their name and phone number. 
  • The local Police – Call the non-emergency number and let them know of your vacation timing. Often times they will send a patrol car by you home occasionally to inspect the property for abnormalities. Leave them a number where you – or someone you trust – can be reached. 

Right before leaving – to save yourself and the environment – Pull the Plug!  Disconnecting the power to electronics, like computers, routers, televisions, and other appliances can save you money while you’re gone and eliminate the worry. Turning off your garage door opener is also an effective way to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote. Finally, never leave a portable GPS in your car when parking at the airport. It’ll alert thieves that you’re not home and give them a convenient map to your house.

We at Secur-Tek wish you and you families a safe and worry-free vacation holiday!

For more information about staying safe with a home alarm system while at home or away, call us at 919-387-1800, email  khenke@secur-tek.com or check out our website at  www.secur-tek.com.

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.

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.

Home Security – Systems for Every Budget

First AlertAs a homeowner, the notion of safety and security is one of your top priorities. No one wants to come home to find that they have been burglarized. People who have had this awful experience say they felt their lives were completed violated, as some stranger had gone into their private home and rummaged through their personal belongings.

One way to bring you some peace of mind is to install a home security system to protect your home. There are different types of security packages available that offer various levels of protection. Some systems not only protect the home and notify you of any unwanted entrance or breach, but can alert you if there is a fire or other dangerous situation at the house. Motion detectors can also be installed. In most circumstances, they are effective even in pet-friendly homes.

Other options for home security can include health safety. For example, if you have an elderly family member, a system can be set up to alert you should that person leave the house or get out of bed.

Home security systems today use advanced technologies to protect your property and your loved ones. Alarms are sent to the authorities as well as to you via cell phone. You may have the option to view your home (through the cameras installed) via the Internet from any remote location.

There are many choices out there to accommodate your comfort level.

For more information on home security, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.