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5 Important Home Security Facts

A burglary can happen to anyone. There are certain things however that everyone should know in regards to burglaries. This information on Home Security fats will give you an insight into when they happen. Plus it will also show who is more likely to be targeted.

First, homes without alarm systems are significantly more likely to be targeted by a burglar than those without. In a recent survey by UNC at Charlotte, 60% of burglars surveyed said they’d avoid a home with an alarm system. Plus other data shows that homes with alarm systems are 3 times less likely to be targeted than those without an alarm system. Alarm systems work. Burglars know this, which is why they avoid them.

Most burglaries happen during the day. The vast majority occur between 10 am and 3 pm. Why is this? Logic would say because most homes are empty during this time. This is due to homeowners at work and kids at school.

Another important stat is that approximately 30% of burglaries are from unforced entry. This means that a burglar enters the home through an unlocked door or window. This stresses the importance of always making sure your doors/windows are locked. 34% of burglars enter through the front door!

Also, statistics show that break-ins happen quickly. The vast majority of break-ins occur in less than 10 minutes. Burglars enter, looks for valuables and then leave. They know that the longer they stay inside the home, the chance of them getting caught increases.

Also, 70% of burglaries occur when a home is empty. Again this is because burglars don’t want to get caught, and the likelihood of this happening increases significantly when someone is home. This does show the importance of using an alarm when you’re away from your home and also when you’re home. At nighttime make sure your alarm is on. An alarm is the best way to deter and detect a burglar.

 

 

Can My Alarm Company Listen In With Two-Way Voice?

Two-way voice home alarm monitoring means that in the event of a home alarm signal, the home is connected to a central station where the monitoring operator can listen inside the home and voice threaten the intruder out through a two-way voice speaker. This connection provides a verified response, as the operator has instant information on what is truly occurring inside the home.

The big concern for the homeowner though is if the home alarm company can listen to the home when the alarm hasn’t already been triggered. Can this happen?

The answer is no. With live two-way voice monitoring, the connection is only established after the home alarm’s been triggered. If the alarm transmission hasn’t been launched then there is absolutely no way the central station rep can listen into the home. The technology doesn’t allow it, and doing so would be illegal.

Certain companies that don’t offer two-way voice monitoring will say that companies that do can indeed listen inside the home when the alarm hasn’t been triggered, which is a blatant lie. They do this to try to sway the customer to devalue live two-way voice monitoring.

Fear not, companies that have live two-way voice monitoring like AlarmForce, CPI, ADT and Rogers Smart Home Monitoring can only hear what is occurring inside your home after your alarm is triggered – which is where the value of live two-way voice monitoring lies. If your alarm has not been triggered then you have absolutely nothing to worry about, nobody has the ability to listen in on your home.

So, Think Protection when researching home alarms and understand that with live two-way voice monitoring you get a great form of monitoring that provides a verified alarm response.

ADT Buys Protectron

There goes another one….

It’s been announced that ADT, the 800-pound gorilla in the security world has acquired another major security company, Protectron for $500 million USD. A huge purchase for a company that needed a big buy.

Protectron is a Canadian home alarm company, located in Montreal but servicing all of Canada. They protect approximately 400,000 accounts from coast to coast and were the second largest home alarm company in the country (1st is ADT and 3rd is AlarmForce). They provide a standard home security system at a mid-level price, approximately $30/month for traditional monitoring and a few hundred up front for the system. A 3-year contract is required.

Protectron has been on the market for awhile, and ADT was a more than a happy buyer.

ADT is in an interesting position, as with the massive number of accounts ADT has, their organic growth through their direct sales and dealer programs isn’t enough to overcome the attrition numbers. This makes them have to constantly acquire other alarm companies. With that said, Protectron was the perfect opportunity at a necessary time.

What’s going to happen to Protectron after the acquisition is anyone’s guess. ADT is saying they want to keep the Protectron brand alive. I’m not sure I believe this will be the case. ADT has a very strong brand, which Protectron did not, so it makes sense to just kill of Protectron and replace all existing lawn signs and stickers as soon as possible. The Protectron dealer program (contracts with dealers, etc) may prevent that from happening right away. Only time will tell.

For Protectron customers, they’ll continue being serviced by Protectron for the time being. In future, though I’m sure they will transition to ADT, which may not be the best news for customers. I’m unaware if there’s a clause in Protectron contracts saying if the company is acquired customers can get out of their contracts. I doubt that is the case, however, if customers do want to try then this is a valid time to look elsewhere.

The Canadian security landscape continues to change. We’ll see what else 2014 has in store for us….

Simplisafe: Quick Review and Update On New Equipment

Simplisafe, a self-install home security company based in Boston, just announced increased offerings in regards to the peripherals they sell on their website. These new motion detectors, glass breaks and also a new app available on your smartphone where a Simplisafe user can be notified of events that have occurred in the home.

Techcrunch wrote about the new peripherals here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/simplisafe-adds-new-sensors-services-to-their-diy-home-security-system/

Simplisafe sells their product direct to users through the internet or over the phone and then sends it through the mail for the user to install themselves. Packages range from $229 to $540 for the system (each package has increased equipment).

Simplisafe operates through a cellular connection between their unit and the Simplisafe central station. The systems do not have two-way voice or a dual backup network through digital phone lines or the internet.

Monitoring rates range from $14.99 for their basic monitoring to $24.99 for multiple features, which include Simplisafe’s app which allows you to remotely turn on and off the system and “secret alerts” – a gimmick where you place a sensor somewhere in your home for text alerts that someone has done an activity (such as opening a medicine cabinet, etc).

Simplisafe does not require a contract, which differs from other home alarm companies in the self-install space, such as Protect America, Frontpoint, and Lifeshield.

Simplisafe is a good option for a DIY self-install home alarm system, far lower in price than other self-install home alarms, however, the fact they do not offer live two-way voice is a detriment. Perhaps they will at some point, however currently they only offer traditional monitoring.

The other knock on Simplisafe is the high upfront cost of the system. The quality of the hardware is on par with others in the space, however, the upfront cost seems higher than it should be. Perhaps the company wants to limit their risk since they don’t require a contract between them and the customer.

Regardless, Simplisafe is a better value than most companies in the self-install space, and definitely a far better value than traditional home alarm systems, which require an installer, contract, and high monthly fees.

If a Simplisafe customer cancels their monitoring and wants to switch to another company, can another company monitor a Simplisafe system? I’m not sure. This is definitely something potential Simplisafe customers should be asking before they sign up for a system.

Think protection when buying or leasing a home security system. Make an informed decision and remember to spend your money wisely.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself From A Home Invasion?

Home invasions are generally thought of as a premeditated confrontation in the victim’s home with the intent to rob and/or inflict violence.  The impact of home invasion extends beyond the violence of the crime itself; it is particularly frightening because it has a predatory nature and violates the one place that we feel safe: our home.

All homeowners, both Canadian and American, can take some preventive measures to help minimize the risk of home invasion.  Here are some preventive steps that can be taken to enhance your security:

Secure Your Home and Your Surroundings:   This includes reinforcing your doors and doorframes and using deadbolts and sliding door locks.  Keep windows visible from the street and consider the use of bars (ensuring a fire escape route is still possible) and devices such as security film which reinforces the glass.  Have a well-lit exterior and ensure that the lights are not accessible and will not be tampered with.  Consider the use of alarms and identifying valuable property with identification (e.g. engraving).  Do not keep large amounts of money in your home and keep valuables in a safety deposit box.  Also, you may consider having a “decoy” jewellery box with inexpensive yet valuable-looking pieces of jewelry.  It may deter a ransacking of your home.

Do not Allow Strangers in your Home:  Since this is one of the preferred methods of forceful entry (the other is through the garage) be vigilant and trust your instincts.  You will need a good observation point where you can see people outside your door.  You may observe them for a few minutes to try to determine what they want.  You may also want to use an intercom system to talk through a closed door.  DO NOT open the door to people you do not know, no matter how well-dressed they are or how kind they appear to be.  If they claim to be representing a company (such as an electric or telephone company), call and confirm with the company before allowing them into your home.  Any reputable representative will understand your precautions and should have the phone number readily available for you to call and verify.

Know your Community: Have a good sense of your surroundings including your neighbours habits and vehicles.  Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch program.   Suspicious people or activities may be of interest to the police, so write down information that may be useful (description of suspicious vehicles or strangers, phone numbers identified as calls to your home that hang up, etc.).

Don’t Hesitate to Call 9-1-1 :  There are numerous deceptions that can be used to have you unlock or open your door.  Remember, if a stranger at your door needs assistance and asks to use your phone; offer to dial and call for them.  If they claim that damage has been done to your parked car or that they need your signature, trust your instincts and play it safe.  You do not have to and should not open your door to anyone, not even the police, until you have sufficient proof that they are who they say they are. If you are unsure, call 911.  Stay calm and stay on the line.  Give all the information requested and if you are unable to speak, a police unit will respond to your home.

Other Tips: The weakest link in home security is the occupant that fails to lock up and opens the home to strangers.  The best defense against home invasion is education, planning and exercising good judgment.  Practice role-playing different scenarios at the front door to feel entirely comfortable while making someone wait on the other side of the closed door.  Get help from your family or friends to rehearse polite, yet firm responses to all types of potentially threatening situations.  You may even want to deter home invasions by creating the illusion of others living with you.   You may choose to put a pair of large boots out at the front door or a dog toy or drinking bowl.   Finally, you do not want to be predictable.  Vary your outings such as shopping or walks around the block.

If you become a Victim: Remember to stay calm. Further action beyond calling 9-1-1 and fleeing the scene may be necessary. Cooperating with the suspects may be your best option, as no amount of cash or material goods is worth getting hurt over.  Take time to observe the description of the suspects: look, smell and listen to pick up on any identifying features.  The Bulletin: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics claims that 68 percent of home invasion crimes are committed by strangers.  (A further 21 percent were casual acquaintances of the victim and the remaining 11 percent were family, friends and business relationships.)

Although home invasions account for a small proportion of robberies reported to the police, you must raise your level of awareness, rehearse your refusal to open the door, take inventory of the safety aspects of your home and reduce the odds of becoming a home invasion victim.