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We’ve written in the past about burglars/home invaders cutting your phone lines.  Well, I am sitting at home today, working of course, watching a foot of snow build up outside on the driveway that I have to shovel.

We’d like to add one wildcard to the story that we didn’t elaborate on last time.  Read on for an effective way to eliminate the possibility of your lines being severed.

Getting back to the snow, sleet and storms which bring about other concerns besides burglars with wire cutters, home security system owners need to take caution when it comes to their phone lines.

We’ll talk about solutions in a little bit, but for now, just know that you should seriously consider cellular back up. 

While it’s true that burglars will often avoid your house and move onto the next one if he sees security stickers in your windows and yard signs on your lawn, according to a news story out of Texas on WWL-TV, these warning signs didn’t stop one home invader who was intent on entering alarmed residences.

It still baffles me why he just didn’t move onto the next house—guess there was something in these two houses that he really wanted.

Your solution to the worry that stems from using your phone lines with a home alarm system?  Cellular backup.  Or don’t even use it for backup…avoid wires altogether and use it as your primary transmitter.

If you’d like to take advantage of many security companies’ relatively lower rates to monitor solely via your phone lines (i.e., your system’s panel will alert the central station of an alarm trip by transmitting through the phone lines), feel free.

But know that you can add cellular backup so that if the lines are cut, your alarm transmission will still occur via a cellular signal.

Or, you can install a completely wireless system.  I mean completely wireless—you don’t even have to run power to your panel.  Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about this innovative system.

This system not only transmits via cell, it also uses IP.

In fact, if you already have a traditional hardwired system, you don’t have to start over.  You can actually “piggy back” this system on top of your current system. It even provides a redundant back up in this case via wireless.

But back to burglars cutting lines and storms downing those same lines.

It really happens, so don’t think that it wouldn’t happen to you.  Please consider paying a marginally higher monthly monitoring rate and add cellular backup.  Or, contact us to learn more about an exciting new system we’re working with that avoids any lines or wires altogether. 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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I sent a tweet out recently.  To paraphrase (using more than 140 characters this time), it was an analogy that addressed the massive use of cell phones to take pictures in recent times.  But would you use a cell phone to take the picture of your precious child for his or her school yearbook?

Maybe, but a great deal of people would use a professional, even though cheaper and easier methods exist.

I wondered if that held true with Security Systems.  There are so many Do It Yourself systems on the market, there are more and more ways to save money.

But do you really want your main goal in a security system to be to save money?  Think about that.  Maybe you have two children, a spouse, pets, family heirlooms, decades of irreplaceable photos and much more. 

Maybe you’re a doctor and you’re really good at what you do, but you’re not necessarily a security “expert”.  I understand you could mount a motion detector to the wall—that’s not what I’m talking about.

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I thought I’d relay a story from the sleepless night I just experienced and use an analogy which relates to security if I could.

My dog “Pepper” woke us up at 12:30am.  I thought she had to relieve herself, so I brought her outside.  I noticed her head was bobbing rapidly and continuously and she was sort of dry heaving when I got her back in.   She then got sick on the bed.

Because I was worried due to the continuous head bobbing, I took her to the emergency overnight vet clinic.  

Turns out she ingested a lot of fabric from toys, maybe some other fabric and possibly paper.  

The more serious issue was that her intestine showed a blockage on the x-ray and was it was dilated.  I was told that if this dilation doesn’t go back down to size and the object doesn’t move along through the intestine on its own, that we’d have to have emergency surgery.

I informed the clinic that I’d taker Pepper to my own vet when they open in the morning and would have another x-ray performed to check for progress.

I paid the (rather high) bill at the clinic and thanked them for their service.  As I write this, I haven’t gone to our regular vet yet for the second x-ray—will do so in an hour or so.

They will also charge me for their professional services and I will pay whatever they bill me because of one thing:  I just want my dog to be safe and feel better.  Period.

Many of us have been to the vet and felt such a lack of control when our animal was sick and needed help, and the vet may have been the only person who could make our pet feel better.  If this is the case, you were most likely willing to pay for the medical services without a second thought if it meant that your pet would be taken care of.

The analogy I alluded to at the beginning of this post is as follows.  Because I’m in the security industry, I am always evaluating the competition.  I get so frustrated when I see other, usually national, security companies offering “deals” on their commercials for security systems at next-to-nothing prices.

What frustrates me, is that, in my opinion, it borders on unethical what happens after people have had their systems installed.

Customers pay a low price for the equipment and installation, then get absolutely soaked in monthly monitoring fees for several years due to a contract.

Funny, you seldom see the length of the contract, its terms or the actual cost of ownership over the length of their required contract in the commercial—in print that you can actually read in enough time, that is.  You only see the actors in the commercial discussing how vulnerable they feel since they’ve been broken into and their family was put in jeopardy (which in “real life” is unfortunate).

To bring it back to the vet situation, I will probably pay between $600 and $750 this morning in total between the two vets.  That’s without the major cost of a possible surgery to follow.

Funny, but you can invest that same amount with One Source Security and have a quality security system installed in your home.  

The difference you’ll get with our system is us….expert, local security providers who care about you and know you personally. 

When you consider the safety of your family, your possessions and property, sometimes you may be willing to invest a little more up front to obtain a professional advisor such as a small, local company.  

Another funny thing—you actually are very likely to spend much LESS with us over the long term because our monitoring rates are much lower than many national companies who give equipment away to lure you in at the beginning.

So you receive better service and pay less.

Yet sometimes we struggle to convey this to potential customers who are more concerned with paying less at the beginning.

I guess it’s like the vet.  I just want to make sure my dog is safe.  I will pay what they charge (within reason).  I want a personal advisor who knows me and my pets. 

So the next time you discuss security with a provider, and they offer what a local, caring expert like One Source Security offers, maybe the “more expensive” system that they quote you up front, is worth it if you feel protected by someone who cares for you personally, instead of  a national conglomerate.

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If your security company hasn’t already warned you, they soon will (clients of One Source Security, we’ll be filling you in with more information soon, but certainly consider the following in the meantime.)

Law enforcement agencies might not be responding to your home alarm signal when it transmits…and the more I think about it, I don’t blame them.

It’s already policy in several jurisdictions.  Alarms must now be verified before police will respond.  I just heard a 911 tape of an alarm monitoring company speaking to 911 and the dispatcher wouldn’t send the police to the alarm because it wasn’t verified.

Verification often comes in the form of video footage to which the central station operators have access.

Tens of thousands of alarms are received in certain jurisdictions each month.  Police are dispatched to thousands of them.  The result?  Approximately 97% of the time…False alarm.

It’s my belief that police are in the business of stopping crime, not showing up to homes and businesses because a spider crawled in front of the motion detector and ended up tripping the alarm!  Why not work with a system that solves the problem of resources being wasted on false alarms?

Completely wireless (battery operated and able run on 3/4G or Ethernet), these system components have video capability.  Even the alarm panels aren’t traditional larger metal boxes that go in your cellar that require wires to be connected to them.  These alarm panels are less invasive.  

In terms of video surveillance, clients receive completely wireless cameras (wires are not even needed for power)—they run on lithium batteries which last for 2-4 years.  No wires are needed for transmission of video footage to the central station either.  The system uses either 3/4G or Ethernet.

The cameras are combined with wireless motion detectors, so your motion detectors are no longer “blind”.  If a burglar enters, they not only transmit a signal to the central station, they also relay video footage.  So what’s also great about these cameras is that they act like alarms—emergency operators can see with their own eyes that the alarm is legit.

So what kind of effect does using video verification have on you?

First of all, some jurisdictions that don’t currently require verification will start to charge the alarm owner for police response to a bogus alert after a few false alarms.  Also, and most importantly, the chance of actually catching the bad guys inside your home or business skyrockets.

Police respond very seriously to these verified incidents and often with K-9 units.  The arrest rate is exponentially higher with verified alarms, while the dispatch numbers actually shrink.  So fewer units are sent (costing tax payers less) and more arrests are made.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

For information on how you can not only ensure that you’ll reduce false alarms, but also increase the chance of actually catching someone in the act, contact One Source Security.

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After meeting with scores of families in their homes to assess their home security situation, I have come across many concerns and questions.

Chief among them when it comes to home security is safety for a spouse who may be alone for the night or for several nights.

This issue is one that I always address proactively by asking if the family would like to have the house’s windows armed when they are home in addition to arming  the doors and installing  motion detectors.

Arm Your Windows.  This is important to consider because if a spouse is home alone or the family simply wants to feel more secure at all times, then the windows should be armed—especially those on the first floor or with roof access such as from a porch or garage.

Arming the windows causes the siren to sound and central station to be notified as soon as the intruder begins to open the window.  This way, he or she has not actually gained entry into your house before an alarm sounds.

When you’re home, the seconds that are saved can be the difference between life and death.  

When no one is home, you still may want to arm the windows, but it may not be extremely crucial.  This is because the motion detectors will trip the alarm once the intruder passes through the field of these devices.

The central station and police will still be notified rather quickly and the siren will sound, and if they are in the house for a few extra seconds (until they trip the motion detector).  This won’t necessarily affect your safety yet your valuables will still receive protection.

Use Wireless Transmitters.  Another way to create peace of mind for anyone who is home alone or for the family at large is to use wireless transmitters often referred to as fobs. 

 These are typically small, black units that can be kept on a keychain.  The most applicable feature in this case is the panic button.  When pressed and held in for a couple seconds, the device will automatically and immediately alert the police.

You can keep them on your nightstand or carry them around the house with you.  They also come in handy for things like arming or disarming your system if you’re in the driveway and would rather not enter your code at your keypad.  Maybe you’ve got a handful of groceries or you don’t want to feel rushed.

Remember the Panic Button on Your Keypad.  The keypad should also have a panic button that when pressed, automatically and immediately alerts the police as well.

You simply need to be able to get to it quickly.

Check in with Remote Video Monitoring.  Obtaining a quality yet affordable remote video monitoring system can certainly make a home-alone spouse feel more at ease.

Knowing your husband or wife can check in you from their mobile device or PC and ensure that you’re ok is a comforting feeling.

Set up Light Timers.  Having your home appear lived-in and as if many people are home is effective.  You may want to retire to bed early yet still have it look as if others are home by having lights turn on and off automatically.

Install Driveway Alerts.  Why not be made aware of a possible intruder’s presence before he or she even gets near your house?  

Driveway alerts are typically not tied into your alarm panel, yet can alert you if there is motion in your driveway caused by someone entering your yard.  Some will simply make a beeping sound that emits from a unit inside your house, while others can actually announce a pre-recorded message that the intruders will hear from the device outside.

Display Decals and Yard Signs.  Why not let them know you’ve got your home protected before they even enter your yard?  The availability of decals for your windows and doors is commonly known by customers, but be sure to also ask your security company for yard signs.

Have an Escape Plan.  The operative word here is “plan”.  Know ahead of time the most effective exits.  Talk to neighbors that will be ok if you were to seek shelter at their house if you had to flee.  Know where the aforementioned wireless transmitter fob is and how to get to the keypad most quickly to press the panic button.

Personal Emergency Response Systems.  These devices, often referred to as medical alerts, will also notify the authorities and other members of your family with the press of a button.  They are most commonly used by seniors that want to feel safe while at home alone.

Make sure your phone is charged for 911 calls.  ‘Nuff said.

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Ok, so we’re all starting to accept that you can’t escape video surveillance nowadays.  It’s watching you on the highways, your neighbors are picking you up in their cameras’ “field of view” when you walk to get the mail, everyone’s mobile device is recording video when just about anything happens (see Youtube)…the examples are endless.

When an incident occurs and police need to investigate, one goal is to canvass the area and ask local businesses, residents, etc. if they have video surveillance that might have picked something up which will help in their investigation.  It worked with the Boston Marathon bombing apprehensions.  

I guess it’s safe to say that the Dunkin’ Donuts robber (or should I say, “suspect”) wasn’t expecting video surveillance to be coming from the heavens.

We wrote previously about video surveillance being involved (and hopefully eventually leading to an arrest and conviction) in the Dunkin’ Donuts robberies in Massachusetts this fall.

Well, we didn’t know law enforcement would take things to such “heights”…

I guess we, at One Source Security, are not the only entity that uses both GPS tracking and creative video surveillance to help prevent crime.  Apparently, the police and FBI know how to get the bad guy using these methods as well.  Of course I say this with tongue-in-cheek.  These law enforcement agencies use the most effective methods in the world.

According to a story by WCVB TV out of Boston (and other news agencies), detectives got permission from the courts to plant a GPS tracking device on the suspect’s car.

A surveillance plane was then employed and able to follow the car in conjunction with the GPS tracking device.

It certainly proved effective as the suspect was actually seemingly casing several of the Dunkin’ Donuts stores that he may have robbed previously.

He was driving as if he knew he was being followed by police.  He even stopped at a variety store in Dedham after lapping it several times, then got out and hid in an alley.

Also according to WCVB, after a marked police car showed up on the scene, he fled.

The surveillance plane followed his vehicle to Hyde Park where he apparently discarded items into a dumpster.  

WCVB reports that these items turned out to be ammunition that is compatible with the weapons that store video surveillance shows the alleged robber used during his “hold ups”.

What we have here is the combination of not only GPS tracking and plane video surveillance, but store security cameras as well.

One Source Security also utilizes GPS technology in securing people when they are on the move—a sort of personal security vs. that which typically secures property.  We also use video surveillance in a host of ways that enable you to catch the bad guy too.

I guess next on the budget “wish list” for One Source is an aircraft.  Well, maybe we’ll leave that to law enforcement agencies who are obviously doing great things with it…such as keeping people like this “suspect” off the streets.

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It could be a dumpster on your property where you continue to experience illegal dumping.

Or maybe your goal is to curb parking lot vandalism.

As a security systems integrator, it is not only our responsibility to ensure that the systems we install for customers are going to perform the function they are intended for, but will do so effectively.
Because of this, we have tested many license plate recognition security cameras that are offered on the market. The scary thing is, that not all companies perform this due diligence.

If you will be researching license plate recognition security cameras, just keep the old saying in mind “apples to apples”. What we mean by this is that you may see a low-priced camera that is deemed an LPR, but will it do its job when it really matters?

You could spend the time and money, albeit less money, eventually acquiring a low quality license plate recognition camera. But we assume that your goal in doing so is to stop bad things from being done to your property.

Well, after your resources have been devoted to this lower quality LPR camera, it many times will not “do the trick”. Imagine thinking that you’ve got the footage that identifies the person you’ve been hoping for months to catch in the act. Then when you view the footage, lo and behold, no one can read the actual license plate.

Sadly, this is all too common a scenario.

The very nature of the duty of a license plate recognition security camera is to decipher small details and to do so when it really counts. To do so with factors such as rear license plate lights interfering with the infrared function of the camera, elements such as weather and darkness, and needing to capture a moving target.

You’re most likely counting on these devices to come through for you to stop something that’s happening on your property. You don’t have the luxury of having them perform just “ok”. You need to them to be thorough.
One benefit of reading this blog post before you begin the process of purchasing a license plate camera is time savings.

Some of the resources mentioned above include taking the time to research online, among other places, interviewing security integrators, meeting with them for the walkthrough, waiting for the installation to occur, investing the money, when after all, an incident may occur, and the license plates will not even able to deciphered.

Bottom line, you saved some money but in the end, you actually lost everything you invested. Why? Because bargain priced and lower quality LPR cameras often don’t work. You might as well as had nothing installed.

Now consider the opposite. You talk to a security integrator and ask them if they’ve tested their cameras, can back up the fact that they will actually work, etc. Yes, you commit more in terms of an investment than the original set that you “saved” money on, but these will actually produce footage that you can turn over to the police.

Your problem will be solved. That particular wrong-doer will not be back…and you’re just waiting for the next fool to try his luck.

So it all comes back to common sense. Invest in quality products and rely on the advice of an experienced advisor such as a security systems integrator.

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File this one under “People never cease to amaze me”, and, “He didn’t seem like the type of guy to do that”.

If you’re the owner or administrator of an animal hospital or shelter, you need to protect your assets just as much as if they were electronics, jewelry or other traditionally sought-after goods by thieves.

And those assets are much more important to some people than the aforementioned material things. They comprise “man’s best friend”. Of course you also need to protect medication from being stolen, and equipment as well.

Keeping tabs on employees is another important function of a security system. Monitoring employees with video (both remotely and on-site), as well as making sure they close up the facility safely and on time with the help of your monitoring company, doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. It actually acts to protect them and provides a feeling of safety for them—and peace of mind for you.

Getting back to the latest craziness alluded to at the open of this blog…An elderly man in Methuen, MA actually stole a beagle recently in the middle of the day—he even brought his own leash. He and his wife teamed up to pull off the heist.

But, because the shelter had video surveillance in place, the footage was released to local news outlets and ultimately the man returned the dog.

Sadly, this is the second beagle, and third dog overall, to be stolen from a facility this year in Massachusetts.
Only having a monitored alarm system may not be enough.

Sure, it will alert the central station if someone tries to break in, but you can do so much more with your security system for animal hospitals and shelters.

How about open and close reports to ensure that your employees have opened and closed safely and on time? Even better, utilize supervised reports where a central station operator will call you if the facility is opened late, not closed and armed at night, etc. You will also be alerted if an employee enters in the middle of the night and disarms the system.

Remote video monitoring, as part of your overall video surveillance solution, is a convenient and effective security measure.

Use your mobile device from anywhere there is an internet connection to feel as if you’re at your facility constantly. Even receive email alerts if there is any motion inside your property during times when there shouldn’t be anyone present.

Access Control can ensure that only the properly authorized and credentialed employees and vendors enter sensitive areas.

You will receive reports of who went where and when. You can also create time zones that only allow entry to certain areas at certain times. And as a bonus, the expense of re-keying or changing locks won’t be an issue because there are no keys to lose.

So you can use a combination of several security measures to create a safe environment at your animal hospital or shelter. You know better than anyone that those animals are more precious than any material item such as jewelry, and now they can be protected, along with your employees

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Robberies at several Massachusetts Dunkin’ Donuts locations have reached the point that they’re now being reported by national news outlets.

Over twenty incidents have occurred at this popular donut maker’s restaurants in the past year and a half.

In fact, on a Monday during this October, two locations were hit—Burlington and Bedford, MA.  Also in October, employees were even ordered to the floor at gunpoint at a Newton store.  So clearly, more than just money is being stolen…peoples’ lives are in danger.

But what will it take to curb this trend?  Video surveillance is one thing.  Security cameras are everywhere nowadays.  And Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees have realized that it is a “must” to include video surveillance in their stores.

Various Massachusetts police departments from affected communities have collaborated recently, and they are leaning on video footage to arrive at a resolution.

Similarities in clothing, weapon type and other features are being gathered thanks to the security cameras at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Relying on testimony and observations from traumatized employees and patrons isn’t always the most reliable method of identification.  Of course it is still effective and important to the police, but a security camera will never be affected by emotions, etc.

Analog security cameras are often used in these stores, but some franchisees might choose to install megapixel security cameras.

The key difference is clarity, among many other factors.  Megapixel security cameras will provide better facial recognition, for instance.  And in this particular case, when business owners are intent on stopping crime in their stores, it can be worth the marginal expense to install higher resolution security cameras.

Analog cameras are effective also.  They simply don’t provide the resolution that megapixel cameras can produce.

For instance, it’s not only facial recognition that megapixel cameras can decipher, they can also identify tattoos and name brands on clothing, for instance.  These can prove to be the extra evidence needed to allow the public and police to ultimately apprehend the suspect.

If a business owner captures a criminal on video, he or she will want to enlarge the footage so as to be able to read the aforementioned identifying features.  With analog cameras, when the picture is progressively enlarged, it will become more and more “grainy” and less clear.  This effect is mitigated when enlarging the footage with megapixel cameras.  It won’t turn as grainy and will prove to be more effective.

So the next time you walk in to grab your morning cup of joe and a jelly donut, take a look around.  You’ll most likely notice security cameras keeping an eye on things.

These cameras may prove to be the deciding factor in curbing the current trend of robberies in Massachusetts.

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Since our last blog article was written about home invasions, and door safety was mentioned to some extent, it seemed natural to follow it up with a more detailed report on how to better fortify your house doors.

The image above depicts the importance of having solid core doors.

Regarding the doors that are coming already installed into new homes today, it is wise to remember that homebuilders are trying to keep costs low, so solid core doors are not always used.  This is not a slight on home builders, their job is not to build houses to specifications for security unless it is built into the plans.  Make sure that your doors are not hollow.

Any discussion about door security wouldn’t start off right without first mentioning that you must remember to lock them at all times, no matter which style lock you have…and we’ll discuss lock types later.

And you don’t even have to unlock those locks too often if you don’t open your door to strangers, which is highly recommended.  There are far too many scams out there.  People use little children to go up to your door, they ask for directions, fake that they are in an emergency and much more.

One way to avoid opening your door is to use a peephole.  Contact your local locksmith to have one installed.  Also, you can open a second-story or far-away window and address them from there.

Basically, there are three main components of a door system that need to be fortified:  the door itself, the lock and the frame.

In addition to the info mentioned above about solid core doors, any windows or panels in your door need to be far enough away from your deadbolt or knob that a person with a long arm can’t reach them.

Another issue with doors themselves surfaces with sliders.  Besides the common remedy of placing a piece of wood or metal in the floor frame to stop the door from being opened, you can also install extra locks at the top and bottom of the sliding door to add reinforcement. 

There is no magic to stopping a skilled and equipped burglar intent on breaking in through your door.  You can, however, make it very difficult through some of the steps explained in this post.

One of them is to install a grade 1 deadbolt with at least a one-inch throw (the part of the lock that inserts into the door frame).  These can still be smashed off with sledge hammers, but it is more difficult than other locks to do so.  Certainly make sure there are no exposed screws on the outside of your deadbolt.

The frame of the door is attached to the wood frame in the wall around it.  It is usually “tacked” with nails that are not heavy duty.  Be sure to use lengthy screws that reach into the wood behind the frame of the door.  Because the door frame can be literally pried away.

Also, make sure that hinges are installed on the inside of the door frame and not exposed on the outside. 

Another accessory that has to do with the frame is the strike plate.  Be sure to install heavy duty strike plates.  These are the plates that are over the hole in the door frame into which the door’s lock inserts.

Fortifying your doors is a great complement to your security system.  Please seriously consider doing both if you are only doing one right now. 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Whether it’s with home video surveillance recording activities in the yard, or by eyewitnesses giving detailed descriptions of criminals in the act, police are being given valuable information…information that is either putting authorities one step closer to an arrest, or that which actually leads to charges being filed.


Pictured above is an infrared security camera, suitable for capturing footage at night.

Either way, recent paintball and BB gun vandals in local towns are thinking twice.

According to a report by Channel 7 News out of Boston, vandals in Gloucester shot paintballs at vehicles in residents’ driveways in November, one shot even hit a house in proximity to where a baby was sleeping.  And due to home video surveillance being set up, police could be a little closer to finding the suspects.

The security camera, affixed to the side of one of the resident’s houses, was able to produce video that showed a dark colored sedan pulling into their driveway and shooting several rounds of paintballs at their vehicle.

These types of occurrences are a good reason to consider video surveillance for the home.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but it may capture an image suitable for law enforcement and the community at large to help identify the suspect.  It’s certainly better than not having video surveillance for the home.

But if you want to achieve the maximum effect and provide the best chance of catching criminals, talk to your security integrator about infrared security cameras for dark conditions and megapixel security cameras for ultimate clarity and facial recognition.

Some may be interested in license plate recognition.  Please note that to capture license plates, you need to install specific security cameras for this function.  Even regular megapixel security cameras, with the clarity they provide, are not designed to specialize in license plate recognition—although they can certainly still decipher plates in some cases, they cannot be counted on to do so all the time.

And remember, one benefit of home security cameras is deterrence.  If a potential thief or vandal sees that you have security set up at your house, it may prevent him from committing his act to begin with.

Speaking of paintballs terrorizing local communities, Billerica and North Billerica were subject to both paintball and BB gun vandalism this past week.

Although security cameras were not a factor in this situation, the police do have a suspect and are seeking charges in Lowell District Court.

Just like there was a close call in Gloucester when a paintball hit near to where a baby was sleeping, this time in Billerica, a person was actually hit.

He was reportedly standing by the road when he was struck by the BB and was seen by a witness holding a cloth to his chest.  No major injury was reported.

But it was worse in North Billerica.  According to police, the shootings had gone on for two weeks resulting in three people being shot there. 

Besides people, houses and vehicles were also struck, even resulting in shattered glass on the part of a vehicle.

Helping to lead police to the suspect was a report of two men wearing hoodies in a green GMC.

Thank you to Channel 7news in Boston for this report.

 

So hopefully potential vandals are getting the message if they’re plotting future sprees.  Both with help of video surveillance and with eyewitness reports, the criminals are either being outright captured, or they are being caught on tape. 

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So you’ve consulted with a security systems integrator about a new home alarm system and you’re excited about making your residence more secure.  Everything went well during the meeting, even one of the main reservations you had about your 75-pound Labrador Retriever possibly setting off the alarm.

Pictured above is a pet friendly motion detector by Bosch

But you still have some skepticism.  Do pet-friendly motion detectors really work?  You can understand a cat going “under the radar”, but your large dog?

The last thing you want is to be called by the monitoring company while you’re at work or enjoying yourself elsewhere because your pet tripped the alarm system. 

Electronic security vendors abound offer PIR (passive infrared) motion detectors that claim not to set off the alarm due to the motion of pets up to a certain size.  And yes, in many instances they do work just fine.

The main stance is that technology allows for the units to be able to distinguish between humans and animals or rodents, for example, due to characteristics such as size and shape.

But many security integrators with years of experience will tell you—it’s not an exact science.

In fact, some integrators will not even use pet friendly motion detectors if there is a larger pet in the house.  They will take other measures.

For example, they may use glass break detectors instead.  These signal the alarm panel if the sound of breaking glass occurs because a thief decides to come in through a window.  And of course they can install door and window contacts which trigger the alarm system when either is opened.

But getting back to motion detectors, security professionals can use regular (non-pet friendly) units to accommodate for Fido’s presence. 

For instance, a piece of tape can be placed on the motion detector so as to block the PIR beams from pointing to a certain area, such as a stairway where cats play.

One could also install the motion detector upside down, about four feet up from the floor.

When placed in normal right-side-up position, the range of detection goes straight out across the room and down towards the floor.  By turning it upside down, it still goes straight out (which would pick up human motion), but instead of aiming down, the remaining range goes up away from the pet’s normal domain.

Of course, this isn’t completely foolproof against extremely active pets who jump around on furniture, up on windowsills, etc. 

Also, you may want to stay away from a situation where your pet is at the top of the range of the pet friendly motion detector you’re having installed.  For example, if you have a 75-pound dog, you may run into some issues if you’re installing an 80-pound motion detector.

In conclusion, if you’ve got large pets, then it can’t hurt to invest in pet friendly motion detectors.  As previously mentioned, they do work in many cases but there are issues to be aware of.

Moral of the story?  Discuss it with your security integrator—especially the size of your pet and which device is appropriate.  As mentioned in the article, some may have methods they use to reduce false alarms, some may use a particular brand of pet friendly motion detector that has served them well over the years, etc.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Many people will be going away on vacation for Labor Day weekend.  This gives us plenty of time to put some finishing touches on the security of our homes and provide the peace of mind that will allow us to enjoy our trips even more.

 

Pictured above is motion detector set of exterior lights

Please refer to our past blog post "Security While You're on Vacation--12 Important Tips" for many resources.  But we wanted to key on one specific tip today--security lighting.

Cardinal Rule Number One: Don't leave your lights on 24/7 in various parts of the house when you go away, making it appear as if someone's home.  Thieves see right through this.  Don't feel bad if you have done this either.  Many people have (even this author is guilty of having done it before he entered the security field).

Instead, purchase timer modules to plug into your outlets in a few areas of your house to hook up to existing lamps and lights.  Set them to turn on and off at times you would typically do so yourself.

This is even superior to having a neighbor come in and turn your lights on and off for you, since a thieve could be "casing" your house and see the neighbor's activity.  Lights with timer modules don't provide such an obvious sign that you're away.

Lights that turn on when it gets dark and then turn off when the sun rises are an ok solution for the exterior, but the best bet is motion detector lights.  One problem with those that turn off and on with the sunrise/set is that people may not use them when they're home and not vacationing.  They'll activate them when they go away, thereby making them feel more secure.

But, if a thief has been casing your property, and he now sees the lights on during the weekend nights, he may assume you're not home.

Motion detector lights are effective because they are set to trigger on motion all the time, whether you're home or away.  They save energy because they don't need to be on all the time and they certainly startle a potential crook who is about to set up shop outside your window or door.

For advanced measures, and to take action should a breach were to happen, it is possible to have your lighting tied into your security alarm system.  So not only will your alarm sound and alert the central monitoring station, but it will also illuminate the scene.

Please ask One Source Security for details on how to make to this happen, or for other questions about security lighting.

 

In fact, please click the button below for a free security assessment.  We would be happy to discuss your needs with you.  Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Today we'll continue with our list of 10 security mistakes that businesses make and how to prevent them.  The following post is number 6 on the list.  If you'd like the entire list all at once, please visit our homepage or click here.

Pictured above is a 180 degree (with 4 lenses) dome security camera.

 

Mistake:  Not using video surveillance because your employees will be uneasy

Dealing with employee theft can be a sensitive issue.  Many times, business decision-makers don't want to give their employees the wrong message.  Does it make your staff feel uneasy and that they're not trusted if there are too many cameras around?

This is an answer only you can answer.  One recommendation is to communicate with your staff when the security cameras are installed.  And if they're already installed, it's certainly not too late. 

Let them know that you may have had an issue with a particular person in the past--that it's not them specifically.  You could also explain that you need to protect the business, and sometimes even the employee, if a legal issue were to arise--such as a lawsuit stemming from a slip--for example.

And most importantly, regarding their safety, explain that video surveillance can protect them against former or current disgruntled employees.  If these employees know they are being recorded, it may deter them from entering the premises, thereby thwarting their plans.

And finally, the most obvious explanation is that the security cameras are not there for the employees at all.  They are there to identify burglars should a break in happen, as well as to deter the break in altogher.

If you'd like to speak or meet with someone from One Source Security & Automation about how to make your workplace more safe, please click the button below and we will be in touch to schedule an appointment.


Thank you for spending some time with us today.

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We at One Source Security and Automation in Merrimack, NH are picking up on our list of "10 security mistakes businesses make and how to prevent them".  Today's blog article will be number five on the list, and the previous four have already been posted.  If you'd like the entire list all at once, please visit our website, or click here.

Pictured above is an employee using a biometric access control reader.

Mistake #5:  Not using advanced access control methods

If you're using keys and locks, or proximity cards, at least you're taking some measures to secure your facility.  However, some systems might be better than others for your particular situation.

As mentioned above, typical proximity cards and key fobs are certainly acceptable and helpful, especially if you want to establish an audit trail--a way to track where an employee has been within your building.  Obviously, hard, "old fashioned" keys don't provide this feature.

But to take it a step further, consider biometrics.  Biometric readers not only establish an audit trail, but by use of fingerprint readings, they only permit that particular person access to a given area.  Without biometrics in place, and with the use of a typical access card, if someone else got a hold of "employee A's" credential, it would still look like employee A gained access, when in fact it was employee B.

To discuss biometrics, access control in general or other security needs, please click on the button below, and we will be in touch.


Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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One Source Security & Automation truly is your "one source" 

Residential, commercial & industrial clients across New England count on us, no matter what their size, for all their security and Locksmith needs.

Pictured above is a Yale door closer.

We'd like to take a second today and discuss our Locksmith Division.  Our Locksmiths have over 30 years of experience and cover local areas to our main office such as Nashua and Manchester, NH, but we also service the Seacoast of NH, the metro Boston area and further north into NH and VT.

Residential customers will often call us when they purchase a house and are concerned that old keys may be circulating around.  One Source's Locksmiths can do a re-key instead of a more costly lock change.

One example of a commercial customer we work with is a property management company.  Among the duties we do for them are: 

  • deadbolts/cylinders/hinges
  • bathroom partitions
  • hollow metal or wood doors
  • door replacement
  • electronic door locks
  • and much more

We also work with hotels, for example.  We recently consulted with a major hotel chain located in Haverhill, MA for a master key system conversion.

So whether you're a homeowner who lives in Amherst or Bedford, NH and you need a key cut, or you're a hospital administrator who needs new door closers installed on several hospital doors, please call us.

 

One Source's Locksmith Division offers free surveys and will provide a no obligation report of our findings.  Please click on the button below if you'd like to schedule.

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This is the third entry from a free download offered on our homepage.  The guide details 10 mistakes businesses make with security and how to prevent them.

As mentioned in earlier posts, we will continue to highlight one "mistake" at time on our blog periodically.  But If you'd like the entire guide all at once, please click here.

 

Yes but, we don't have anything of value to steal...

Most of the time, your business has things of value that you may not think a thief would want.  But let's not consider thieves for a second. 

What about vandals?  What about your employees?  It's difficult to think of sometimes, but employee theft does happen.  They may not even steal merchandise or equipment.  They may be chronically late, not performing their duties correctly or more importantly, acting in an unsafe manner that could leave you open to lawsuits.

Back to vandals.  They usually aren't there to steal anything--just destroy for the sake destroying.  Think about the down time that you'd experience and the cost to fix the damage.  It could be days, weeks, even months without full productivity.

Having a security system installed by One Source Security of Merrimack, NH could not only identify the vandal or at-risk employee, but it could also prevent the incident from happening altogether.  

Allowing for the security equipment and postings to be seen, can often prevent the crime and damage before they even occur.  And there are vandal-proof security cameras available to boot.  Along with security cameras, access control systems that provide an "audit trail" are a tremendous help.

And getting back to thieves, they'll find something to steal, and/or make a mess of your business trying.

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.  We'd be happy to provide a FREE SECURITY ASSESSMENT for your business, or residence for that matter.

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So you're on vacation and you feel safe that your home back in MA or NH is protected by a security system.  But will your summer vacation be interrupted by calls from your central station monitoring company due to false alarms, followed by unnecessary visits by the police?

Pictured above is Gemini Security System.

You don't even have to be on vacation.  You could be at work or doing errands--no one enjoys that call informing them that a thief may have just broken into their home, only to find out it was a false trip.

Here Are 3 Ways to Avoid False Alarms

  • Don't have air conditioners, fans or central air vents directing air towards curtains and drapes, or other loose objects that are in the scope of your motion detector.
  • Clean out your motion detectors to make sure no spiders or other bugs have taken up residence inside.
  • Make sure you have "pet-friendly" motion detectors which don't trip the alarm panel when pets of a certain size enter the field of view.

One Source Security is Here to Help

If you're not sure how to clean your motion detector, please contact us.  Or if you'd like to inquire about pet-friendly motion detectors, and/or how you may be better able to situate the devices, we can advise you.

We will also provide a free security assessment and address all of your security needs, not just false alarms.

For more vacation advice, please read our blog post regarding 12 tips for security while you're on vacation.

Finally, make sure that whoever is watching your home has been fully trained on the security system's arming and disarming procedure.  Be sure to provide them with the phone number to the monitoring company, the account number and their own password.

 

Thanks for your time today.  We at One Source Security appreciate your interest.

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DVR systems: How a free lunch affects you

Fitting "inside the box" isn't just a cliche; it means something very specific in the security industry.  When you transact a "box sale", you simply purchase a DVR, for instance, instead of having your security company install it after the sale.

You're about to receive, in many cases, whatever brand that your security integrator uses the most--due to their relationship with a given manufacturer, for instance.  You know, the manufacturer who buys your security integrator the most lunches gets its DVR sold the most.

One Source's self-built "Insight" DVR System

Customized Solutions for Digital Video Recording Systems

This topic is one of the areas where we truly separate ourselves from the competition.  Here at One Source Security, we don't always color inside the lines. 

Simply put, we don't require your situation to fit our system.  It's the other way around: we BUILD a system to fit your situation. 

We design our own PC-based DVR's which are compatible with XP or Windows 7--they look and feel just like a PC.

With many DVR's, you have a pre-determined combination with the number of channels (camera capacity) and amount of storage available on the hard drive.

For instance, a DVR with 16-channel capacity may come with 500 Gigabytes of storage.

What if you have 16 cameras, but don't need that much storage space.  With other companies, you're relegated to having that, or a similar storage amount.

With One Source Security, we build our own Digital Video Recorders--they're called "Insight".  We customize the camera capacity and amount of storage on the hard drive to fit your situation.

After getting the insight into your company's needs, we build an Insight to meet those needs.

So break free from the traditional way to buy a DVR system.  And just think, you'll get to say, "I thought outside the box!"

Click here for a PDF fact sheet for One Source's Insight DVR System. 

And feel free to contact us and/or schedule a Free Security Assessment at your home or business.

 

Thank you for spending some time with us today.

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One Massachusetts woman feels vindicated due to CCTV footage

According to reports from Fox 25 News (Boston, MA, www.myfoxboston.com), from both their website and their news program, justice is about to be served due to a local convenience store having video surveillance in place.

If you're a business owner and still on the fence about whether or not to install a video surveillance system and set up commercial security, then this story may convince you to do so...especially when you see how clear the image is of the suspect's face in the video clip below.

 

 

Pembroke man arrested in Halifax hit-and-run: MyFoxBOSTON.com

 

The suspect "allegedly" backed into an elderly woman with his vehicle in a parking lot of a Tedeschi's convenience store in Halifax, MA on Route 106 on December 2nd.  It doesn't end there.  He then got out of his car and went back to inspect the situation--he didn't even help her.  But wait, there's more...

He then drove away.  This unlicensed, "alleged" law-breaker drove away in an unregistered and uninsured station wagon. 

The news report from Fox 25 further indicates that security cameras captured clear images of the perpetrator in his NASCAR jacket as he sipped his ice coffee inside the store (see above video), and of his vehicle outside as well.

"Authorities were flooded with calls" due to the suspect's image being broadcast on several media outlets.  Thanks to security cameras.  Great job Tedeschi's and to the police for apprehending him.

Imagine if this were a robbery in your place of business.  Money and goods stolen; employees possibly assaulted.

Now imagine that you didn't have the CCTV system in place that the Tedeschi's store had.  Viewers of news channels were not allowed to see the "alleged" hit-and-run suspect's face all over the airwaves.  Jurors will not be able to see his face on a court TV monitor.

While we have to allow our justice system to take its course and allow for due process, you don't have to be a high-roller in Vegas to wager that this guy might be in for some big trouble.

You may want to consider a video surveillance system if you don't have one.  Or if you have a system that is outdated, please talk to a security company about upgrading.  There have been tremendous advancements in IP/Megapixel security cameras.

Special wishes of a speedy recovery go out to Florence Pelaquin who had to endure this unfortunate incident.  Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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