Texas sees spikes in burglaries around the holidays. Here are 6 safety tips for your stuff
– Dallas News –
Police and insurance companies say break-ins typically increase in December and January in Texas.
Allstate says Saturday could be a big day for residential burglars. The insurer recently reported that an analysis of 10 years of data showed more claims on Dec. 1 than any other day of the year.
State Farm also says burglaries in the state trend up in December. But the greatest number of claims in 2017 came in January, with 605, the insurance company says.
Dallas police in 2017 also recorded more residential burglaries in January — 634 — than in any other month that year, though there had been 663 in December 2016.
Insurers and police offer six tips to avoid home and car break-ins during the gift-giving season.
1. Assess potential home-entry points
Plano police Officer David Tilley, a spokesman for his department, said homeowners should make sure all their doors and windows are locked properly.
He said homeowners also ought to check the screws in the plates where doors lock. Tilley suggested that if the screws are short, 3- or 4-inch ones should be used as reinforcement to make it tougher to kick in a door.
“It’s cheap and it’s inexpensive and it’s something that any person can do,” Tilley said.
Plano officers offer free home security assessments. Other police departments may offer similar services, Tilley said.
2. Consider a home security system
As security system technology has become more affordable and accessible, State Farm has noted a decrease in residential burglary claims. In 2017, the agency had 6,223 claims nationally, about half as many as the 12,438 in 2011.
Security cameras and loud alarm systems help protect homes, Allstate spokeswoman Katylin Johnson said.
“An alarm system is an excellent deterrent to crime as long as it’s used consistently,” Johnson said in a written statement.
3. Don’t leave signs of a vacant home or new purchases
State Farm spokesman Chris Pilcic recommends getting timers to turn house lights on and off while you’re on vacation or asking a neighbor to house-sit. Before trash day, pick up, cut up or break down boxes from recent purchases.
“The other thing I think is important to stress: It’s a good time as you get new things to create a list of inventory in your home,” Pilcic said.
Include technology as well as valuable jewelry. Pilcic said law enforcement can more easily retrieve stolen belongings if victims provide models, serial numbers and photos.
4. Break up the shopping spree
Tilley said he knows shoppers like to visit multiple stores in one trip, but he said it’s better to take gifts of substantial value straight home instead of stowing them in the car. He said car burglaries in store parking lots tend to increase during the holidays.
5. Keep receipts separate from bags
Tilley said shoppers should get in the habit of saving receipts in their wallets and not the store bags. It’s likely the receipt will have the product’s serial number, which makes the item easier to track down if it’s stolen, he said.
6. Park in well-lighted areas that get a lot of foot traffic
Some may like to park far way to avoid getting car dents, but the more crowded an area is, the lower the likelihood that a thief will try to break a car window. Tilley said it takes only a few seconds for a burglar to smash a window and grab items.
“Sometimes,” he said, “these bad guys are sitting in parking lots. They’re watching people.”
In this day and age, there are many solutions that homeowners can take advantage of in order to thwart burglars. These precautions range from the use of high-security locks to surveillance cameras. The security that you use will definitely depend heavily on the type of home you have and the type of security threats that you face. However, one of the best ways for homeowners to stay protected from criminals these days is through the use of an integrated security system.
Integrated security systems are essentially security systems that allow for communication between multiple devices. This action creates a faster data relay and it also allows homeowners to have central control over their entire home, rather than having several different security devices set up at different locations.
An integrated home security system takes advantage of smart door locks, surveillance systems, motion sensors, and a host of other things, in order to deliver a complete security package that will help homeowners outsmart even the most well-prepared burglar. Let’s take a look at some of the ways an integrated home security system will help homeowners thwart burglars:
Faster Response Time
Integrated home security systems give homeowners the advantage of time. But what good are the methods to secure your home, if no one is going to respond when it is attacked? The time your security affords you can be better utilized by receiving alerts faster, so you will have a larger window to respond to the threat.
For instance, if someone is tampering with the smart lock on your front door, a warning message will be relayed through your integrated system to you, which affords homeowners the time to call the authorities or engage secondary security protocols (if applicable).
In some cases, a burglar might be able to successfully bypass your smart locks without you being alerted, but they will still have to contend with motion sensors, surveillance cameras, and a host of other deterrents.
One of the biggest advantages of an integrated system is that every component is a great backup to all the other parts. Due to the fact that everything will be integrated and connected, you will receive alerts much faster, and this will afford you the time to act accordingly to keep your family and property safe.
In addition to the points discussed above, integrated home security systems give homeowners the ability to centrally control their security devices. Many of these integrated systems allow users to customize their security protocols and tailor them to their specific security needs. This helps keep homes better prepared for all kinds of unauthorized people who may want to gain access.
It also gives homeowners the ability to centrally monitor everything that is going in their homes and get real-time updates in case anything goes wrong. This allows homeowners to engage security protocols or even call the authorities whenever they get an alert, all while receiving information and data at a central location, rather than from 4 or 5 different devices.
It might be hard to figure out how to set up an integrated system with centralized control capabilities, so you should contact the right type of professional to assist you. Make sure that you hire a licensed security contractor to avoid fines and potential jail time. This goes for the other aspects of the integrated security such as tasks like surveillance cameras set up and smart lock installation. If every part of the security is not working properly, the central control will not do much good.
Another great tool that integrated home security systems give homeowners is the ability to remotely connect to their security devices. In most cases, it could be that homeowners might be able to connect to only one of their security devices, but with an integrated system, they have full control and access to every device.
This allows them to safeguard their homes even if they are not around or in close proximity. The simple truth is that most burglars choose to strike when there is no one at home. This is why it is important to have a system in place that allows you to monitor your security at all times, from anywhere.
Remote connectivity will allow homeowners to receive status alerts from their systems, and it will also allow them to execute system actions when they are away. For instance, if someone breaks into your home and you receive an alert, you can choose to call the authorities and alert them to the presence of a burglar within your home.
There are many homeowners who come back from vacations or business trips only to discover that their entire home has been turned inside out. For those homeowners that have integrated security systems, they have an ability to thwart burglars that many are not privy to.
Now, enhanced analytics gives homeowners an advantage over burglars, but not in the way most people would expect. In this context, analytics is simply referring to the information that is garnered from each of the security devices you might have in your home.
This data might seem inconsequential to some, but it helps give you an idea of the state of your devices. It will also give insight into how effective these devices are at tracking movement and people.
The security devices that make up a home security system each track specific forms of data (a smart lock could track the number of people that access the lock on a daily basis), and this data could be used to figure out if there are any malfunctions within any of these devices.
Also, this data can show homeowners the parts of their homes that might be blind spots or the parts that experience a lot of foot traffic. With this information, homeowners have the ability to map out their security ahead of time and make sure that there are no kinks in their system that burglars can take advantage of.
An integrated home security system comes in handy in several different situations and it is definitely an asset for any homeowner. It is nearly impossible for homeowners to have their eyes out in every corner of their home, but having an integrated system will help them cover more ground while doing less.
Ralph Goodman is a security expert and lead writer for the Lock Blog, the #1 locksmith blog on the Internet. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about locks, safety, and security. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, homeowners, locksmiths, and security professionals. Ralph has been featured widely throughout the web on sites such as Business Insider, Zillow, Bluetooth, Apartments.com, CIO, and Safewise.
Did you know that using an unlicensed contractor can cost you up to $10,000 & jail time?
Most people are unaware that in the State of Texas you have to be licensed to perform certain security related jobs such as: armed and unarmed security guards, personal protection officers, private investigators, private security consultants, alarm systems installers and monitors, guard dog trainers, armored car couriers, electronic access control device installers, and locksmiths. Licensing ensures that companies and individuals meet specific requirements in order to serve the public.
How does this affect consumers? Working with a licensed company ensures that each company or individual has undergone an extensive background check, drug testing, have their fingerprints listed with the state as well as have the proper insurance. It also takes the worry away of having trustworthy people in your home and makes them accountable if something is to go wrong.
If you are paying someone to install any kind of security related items in your home or business, that person must be licensed. A license is required even for CCTV (camera system installations). In the State of Texas, to use an unlicensed company or to operate as a security company without a license is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and a Class A Misdemeanor.
To protect yourself in the public the best thing to do is turn unlicensed companies in to the state. You can do so by following this link: Texas Private Security
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call! 806-354-0050
School Time Peace of Mind
Have a smarter, safer home.
With kids being back in school, parents often wonder if their children have made it home safely and when. Because let's face it, sometimes children forget to call! Our smart security can save you the trouble of worrying about those answers and give you the ability to:
What busy parent couldn't use an extra set of eyes or a helping hand? Take advantage of our fall special located below!
Protecting your home and loved ones is a top priority but is your current system really up for the challenge?
Jay Kenny, Alarm.com
When you think about a home security system, do you picture the old, push-button security panel from your childhood home? Or the one that came with your home and still lurks, permanently disarmed, in your hallway?
It’s time to take a fresh look. Home security systems have made huge advances in recent years. With better technology, mobile apps and the ability to power a complete smart home, they’re more secure, reliable and useful than ever before.
Here are four important features that you should look for in a modern home security system if you’re considering one.
1: Control from Anywhere
There’s only one way to interact with a traditional security system: stand in front of it and push a confusing array of buttons. A modern system comes with a smartphone app to control it from home or away.
This lets you use the system in new ways, like securing your home from your bedroom, checking your video cameras from work, and controlling other devices. In fact, a modern security system can be the basis of an entire smart home, with devices like smart thermostats, locks and lights all controlled through your app.
Tip: check out the App Store rating for any system you’re considering. It’s a good way to find out how reliable the entire system is, and whether people enjoy using the app.
2: Better Protection
Traditional security systems are surprisingly easy for an intruder to disable, because they rely on phone lines which can cut from the outside of the house. You’ll also find the same vulnerability in more recent systems which use a cable connection.
Today’s state of the art systems use a wireless cellular connection to communicate in and out of the home. The connection is dedicated to your security / smart home signaling, and not shared with any other service like Internet, phone or TV that could impact performance. It’s always on, communicates when the line is cut or WiFi is down, and will continue to signal through a power outage.
3: Activity Alerts and Awareness
That smartphone app doesn’t just control your security system—it’s also your system’s way of letting you know what’s up.
It can tell you if your kids arrived home safely, when the dog walker showed up, the instant your video camera captured a new clip, or if your office drawer was opened. It can even remind you if you leave your garage door open on your way to work—and then let you close it with the tap of a button. Your system doesn’t have to be armed to do this – these features are always on, armed or not.
4: Proactive Protection
Thanks to connected devices like smoke alarms, CO sensors and water sensors, a modern system can warn you and your family about other home emergencies like a fire, a carbon monoxide leak, and even an impending flood caused by a cracked water pipe.
It can also take action to protect you. In the event of a fire or carbon monoxide leak, it can automatically trigger a smart thermostat to shut down your home’s air conditioning, slowing the spread of smoke and gas through your home and giving you valuable extra time to evacuate.
If you would like information about smart home security, give us a call today! 806-354-0050
Jay Kenny is senior vice president of marketing at Alarm.com, the platform of choice for security and smart home service providers today. With a young family and a busy schedule, Jay’s smart home security system keeps him secure and on top of everything that’s going on at home
Not just a motion detector
Luckily, a motion sensor was able to pick up the burst of heat from the fire erupting from within the motorhome and police were in route. A passerby also noticed smoke coming from the building and called in the fire. By the time Chris arrived at his business, fire fighters had the burn well under control and were able to salvage the building. “It worked out really well and the system did what it was supposed to do”.
After reviewing the security camera footage, fire investigators were able to pin point the origin of the fire within the motorhome. The motion sensor that initially detected the wave of heat was completely destroyed, but the camera which was mounted right next to it was undamaged, only the wiring had to be replaced. The fire department plans to use the video footage for training purposes to show how quickly a fire can spread.
Fire is one of the least common things that is thought about for both home and business when it comes to security. Protecting yourself is very important, because a fire can consume a building within a matter of seconds. Give us a call to discuss your fire protection needs!
5 Ways to Secure Your Home
1. Have a meeting with your family
Having your entire family on the same page about the security of your home should be your most important routine.
2. Check all windows & locks
Are the window locks operable? If not, get them fixed or replace them. Also consider installing aftermarket window locks, which let you open the window a few inches while still keeping it secure (found here). Another alternative is to add glass break detection to your current system.
3. Check all doors
Inspect your front, side, and back doors. Replace hollow (low-quality and easy-to-breach) doors with solid-core (made of wood or metal) or metal-clad doors. Sliding-glass doors have a latch to close them, but are often an easy point of entry for burglars. To make one more secure, place a wood dowel cut to size or an adjustable safety bar in the interior floor track, or consider adding a floor bolt. Electric garage doors are not a common point of entry—assuming they are closed. “I can drive you down almost any street in America and find a garage door that is open and the inner door is unlocked,” McGoey says. “Homeowners have to treat all the doors like the front door and close it.”
4. Replace weak locks
Locks are the weakest point on a door. Make sure you have a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame. It’s not necessary to get one at a specialty locksmith; these can be purchased at a big-box home store. The strike plate—the stationary piece that the bolt enters—must be heavy duty, made of solid metal or brass, with six three-inch-long screws that penetrate the door jamb and the door frame.
5. Consider home automation
Home automation allows you to remotely control different aspects of your home. Lights, locks, thermostats and appliance modules can give the appearance that you're home even when you are away. This is a great option for when you're on vacation or while at work so potential intruders think someone is home.
Summer Door Knockers
To our Valued Customers,
As summer begins, so does an annual sales campaign of door knockers.
A Texas Private Security License is required to enter someones home to sell or install a security system. A Private Security License looks very similar to a Texas Drivers License, knowing the difference between these two is very important. If you are approached by a door knocker always ask to see their license, if they are in compliance with the law this should NEVER be an issue. The city of Amarillo also requires a Solicitors Permit to go door-to-door, you can request to see this as well. If a door knocker refuses to show you this, please contact APD immediately (806) 378-3038 and ask to speak Sargent Barbee (there is an ongoing investigation in to these people).
It has recently come to our attention that some persons/companies are using deceptive practices. They claim to be from our company or with Honeywell, THEY ARE NOT. They will say things like: We are here to check your system to make sure it's up to date, or that they are buying our company. Please protect yourself from these people. We do not send our employees door to door. Please DO NOT let these persons into your home. Our employees will ALWAYS call to schedule a time if any service is needed.
For more information call or go online to Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. (www.tbfaa.org)
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you. We appreciate your business.
Ed & Kristy Landry
Alarm Link Security is a local, family owned company that specializes in residential and commercial security systems.