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I found an interesting topic for our blog today after watching a piece on NBC’s Today show.  It highlighted “vacation squatting”.

A keypad as part of your security system to prevent break-ins. 

This occurs when homeowners go away for a period of time, such as when they go on vacation, and leave their home unoccupied.  People then break in, and instead of burglarizing the home by stealing its contents, they simply make themselves at home.

They “play house” (in your house) while you’re gone.  Meals are cooked, entertainment systems are used and laundry can even be done.

Things are typically not stolen, but this is not to convey that it’s something to be taken lightly.  There is typically damage from where the squatters broke in and leaving the residence spotless is not exactly their goal.

You not only return to some damage and a messy (sometimes destroyed) house, but the emotional toll of realizing strangers have been on your furniture, in your beds, in your fridge and throughout the rest of your house.

So what should you do to prevent this from happening to you?

In a phrase…talk to people.  Contact a security systems professional.  Contact your local police department.  Talk to your neighbors.  Here’s what to say:

Security Systems Professional:

Ask about having a home security system installed with monitoring by a UL-listed central station. 

Ask them about remote security.  This will be a great asset and will provide peace of mind instantly when you’re away on vacation.

With your mobile device, you can view your home, turn lights on and off, check the status of your alarm system and more (such as adjusting thermostat).

Local Police Department:

Ask your local police department if it provides patrols while you’re away.  Some jurisdictions even have formal programs and will contact you if they observe anything out of the ordinary.

Neighbors:

Inform your trusted neighbors (make sure you have a relationship of trust established with them) of your itinerary and give them your contact information.

Ask them to pick up newspapers, your mail, any pizza hangers on your front door, etc.

Action You Can Take at Home:

Have exterior lights with motion sensors installed.  Keep your shrubs trimmed well so as not to offer cover for a person looking to break in.  Keep ladders locked up or put away so they can’t access second floor windows.  Make sure you have lawn signs and window decals indicating you have a security system.

So communication and action is the key to keeping your home safe from not only vacation squatters, but from burglars who steal as well.

Make sure to investigate remote security and your ability to check in on your home from your mobile device.  You will enjoy more peace of mind while on your precious vacation.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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We’ve taken a step outside traditional security systems topics today to talk about another, very important, issue that still concerns security—security of another type. 

We’ll talk about something that most of us do on a regular basis which carries with it a potential danger that we should all be aware of.

It’s been around since last decade, but has picked up significant steam lately.

Many of us have heard about Phishing and other methods that cyber thieves use to gain our personal information over the internet.

Well, with the prevalence of texting nowadays, there’s a related form of information theft affecting large numbers of people every day. 

It’s called SmiShing.  Sounds sort of like Phishing, but the name came about due to the initials “SMS”, which stand for Short Message Service.  Basically, SMS is an acronym for your texting service on your cell phone.

Texting is known as a relatively quick way to communicate with one another.  When someone receives a text these days, they typically respond to it rather soon.

This is in comparison to say an email or voicemail that could sit for several hours, a day or more in someone’s inbox.

Due to this rapid response nature, people may not process and think thoroughly about all the texts they receive and their responses to them.

SmiShing thieves prey on this fact.

SmiShing takes place when a live link or phone number is sent via text to you and asks you to act by providing sensitive information in return.  This could come in the form of account numbers, personal information, PINS, etc.

Also contributing to the success of these scams is that fact that they prey on your emotions.  They’re either giving something away or warning you that they’ll be taking negative action against you.

Beware of an offer for a free gift or a message informing you that if you don’t take action immediately, something will happen to your account such as a closing or a fee.

If you think about it, whenever you receive important information from your bank, it’s usually in the form of a letter or even a phone call.  But it is wise to review your bank’s policy on texting to discover if they do it and what information they send or ask for.

And that’s the insidious thing about SmiShing, and Phishing for that matter.  You are often being asked to take an action from someone you know.  It’s easier to not click on a link that comes from a source with whom you’re unfamiliar. 

But you may click on a link from someone or some institution that you do know.  And it can lead to your sensitive information being stolen because these criminals can make it appear as though the text is coming from your friend or your bank.

If you do receive a text from one of your financial institutions, for example, simply contact them.  You will find out if the text was legitimate because they either will or will not know about the request.

Beware of texts coming from numbers other than traditional telephone format.  SmiShers will try to hide their identity.

Texting has afforded us many conveniences and has made our communication more efficient and effective, but it has also carried with it potential dangers.

Please use common sense, take your time and research the request if it seems too threatening or too good to be true.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Safe at home, but can you roam?

Most of us have seen the commercials for, or are otherwise aware of, emergency medical pendants which protect our senior relatives in times of crisis.

Peace of mind is achieved for seniors and their family members alike.  If they fall or have a medical emergency, and no one is around or they can’t get to a phone, then these devices come to the rescue.

They are relatively small pendants worn with lanyards around the neck, as bracelets, attached to wheelchairs, as well as other options.

Users of these pendants, which are also referred to as PERS (personal emergency response systems), simply need to stay within a certain range of the base station.  This unit is kept inside the house and remains in contact with the emergency central station.

A senior would simply press a button on the pendant if they had an incident and it would communicate through the base station with the emergency operators.  Some pendants even indicate if a fall has taken place, without the need a button to be pressed.

The pendant’s range most often allows for it to be worn outside, and certainly around the entirety of most houses, but doesn’t allow it to be taken with someone if they were to leave the premises—it doesn’t have that kind of range.

Take it on the road

This is where mobile security and GPS tracking enter the picture.  You can have all the benefits of a PERS pendant that is typically worn around the house, with the added benefit unlimited range.  Be safe whether you travel to the store, or to the other side of the country.

This mobile security benefit is not only for seniors.  All members of the family can use this pendant, as well as employees who work alone in an isolated area, Alzheimer patients of any age, and more.

There is also an opportunity to achieve GPS tracking and mobile security through your smart phone, without the need of a pendant, by downloading a mobile app.

To learn more about this, to ensure that you receive uniform service with your emergency central station and to enlist the help of experts in setting up your service, you can contact your local security company—especially if you already have emergency contact information set up with a central station for your home security system.

If an accident were to occur, such as a car crash, the emergency operators will be automatically notified and your medical and contact information will already be at their fingertips without you needing to say anything.  And of course, emergency personnel will be dispatched to your exact location immediately.

You will feel safe knowing your teen driver is obeying speed limits.  These pendants and apps have speed tracking features.  With GPS tracking, you can also make sure of where they are or where they went.

You can even learn of crime rates in certain areas, receive live weather and traffic updates and benefit from onboard vehicle diagnostics with some apps.

So be sure to contact your local or current security company to help you sort through the different options, whether it be a traditional PERS, a PERS with GPS tracking or a mobile security app.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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We’ve written about monitoring of your security cameras in a previous post, but we’d like to expand on some functionality if you’re interested in this capability.

Some people may want their security cameras to provide video monitoring, but may not want to receive unnecessary email alerts in the middle of the night, for example.

This is the way many remote video monitoring set ups work.  It can also be a bit more economical that the method we’ll talk about later.

Security cameras detect motion (without the need of a separate motion detector) and a video clip, often 10-seconds long, is emailed to your mobile device and/or PC. 

This is great.  You can actually see when your children arrive safely home from school.  You could even see if there were an unwanted person in your house when you weren’t there and alert the police.

But consider, any motion is going to cause this email to be sent to you, as long as it occurs within the lines that you’ve “drawn” on your software, or anywhere in the field of view if you’ve set the parameters as such.

Getting back to the notion of not wanting to be woken up in the middle of the night, you may not want to have that happen if the motion was caused by branches blowing, a deer, etc.

For instance, you may have exterior cameras set up to prevent local youth from entering your pool at night and possibly vandalizing it.  Or worse, harming themselves and possibly holding you liable.  This could apply to a business or a residence.

To prevent this, monitoring companies offer live monitoring services where a person actually receives the alert at the central station instead of the owner of the system.

He or she can then determine if the motion was caused by an inconsequential object or an actual human.

People who are in charge of monitoring these feeds do not try and distinguish if the person belongs there or not—if he’s a staff person or customer of the business, for instance.

They are trained to call the list of contacts (which may or may not begin with the police) that the customer provided to them at the opening of the account.

To facilitate this process for yourself, contact your local security systems integrator.  They will have a central station who in turn deals with companies who provide the equipment for video monitoring.

So if you want your premises to be monitored and do not want to be disturbed when unimportant motion occurs, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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With many school districts expecting new budgets this summer, there will be an infusion of funds for some projects. While other projects will be put on the back burner due to lower priority.

We understand the current atmosphere of funding to the school systems and allocating resources for projects is very challenging.  That is exactly why we have put this blog post together—to compile some areas that don’t require major dollars and can be done at reasonable rates before they turn into bigger expenses.

Door closers like the one shown above require preventive maintenance by a locksmith.

So facilities managers, maintenance directors and other school personnel still have time before the summer starts in full force to contact a qualified locksmith.  Please be sure to contact one who has worked with schools before and can provide corresponding references.

Also, you may want to contact a company who has both locksmith and security expertise (with schools specifically) combined.  As you’ll see in need number one below, school security is essential and having an expert to help in all school security areas will prove beneficial.

Lock-Down Security.  Due to recent horrific events at schools, many districts have certainly taken action to prevent future situations.  One such precaution that a locksmith can assist with is the installation of lock-down security locks—those which lock from the inside.

Teachers or students would simply need to locate the key, which would be held inside the classroom, if they were to observe a disturbance.  The lock is easily and quickly locked from inside the classroom.

And as mentioned above, having a company that also provides expert security integration in addition to locksmith services will allow you to explore panic notification, access control and much more at the same time.

Survey of Doors and Door Hardware.  Be sure to have a locksmith conduct a survey (inspection) of your exterior doors and accompanying door hardware.  Most will do this for free.  In fact, be sure to only have it done if it is at no charge.

In fitting with the comments at the outset of this post, often minor repairs and adjustments can be made at low cost if the survey yields these discoveries.  You will most likely fend off more expensive projects down the road if you nip them in the bud now.

Repair, Adjust or Replace Bathroom Partitions and Accessories.  This isn’t always the first function immediately associated with a locksmith, but many perform this function.  And there’s no shortage of restrooms in a school.

Due to the all the moving parts involved and the wear and tear that they encounter, bathroom partitions are often in need of attention.

Re-key Lock Cylinders.  When lock cylinders are worn and compromising the safety and well as the proper functioning of your school’s doors, have them re-keyed as opposed to changing the lock entirely.  This saves money and savings can be considerable due to the amount of doors at your school.

General Maintenance.  We had to include general maintenance in these five needs.  When you have your locksmith in to do any of the above four functions, be sure to have him or her inspect the inside of your building in addition to the exterior door survey mentioned in the second item above.

Are your panic bars sticking?  Are any door closers leaking grease and causing a potential slipping hazard on the floor.  A trained locksmith will answer these and point out many other previously unknown issues.

Be sure to inspect your school with eye towards locksmith projects before the summer begins.  With school being out this is a great time to tackle the above-mentioned projects before they become bigger ones.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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In our previous blog post detailing what to do if you come home and discover you’ve been burglarized, we mentioned neighborhood watch programs briefly.

Today, we’d like to expand on the topic and offer suggestions in case you’d like to start a neighborhood watch program where you live.

Discuss with your neighbors using motion sensor exterior lights to help reduce crime.

We’d like to thank the National Crime Prevention Council for some of the ideas in this post. 

1.  Meet and organize

Preventing crime is the ultimate goal, but one of the ancillary benefits of forming a neighborhood watch group is learning about your neighbors and forming relationships.  So look at this project as an opportunity to build better bonds, form friendships and get to know your neighbors.

That being said, hold an initial meeting at the outset to gauge interest.  You need to ensure that there are enough people in your area who will get involved.

Assuming that you get the “green light” to proceed, form a committee.  Choose leaders for each street or block (block captains).  Make it clear in this first meeting and in subsequent gatherings that people are not to act as vigilantes.  They are not to assume the role of the police.  Explain that their roles will be to simply observe and report as well as have a presence in your neighborhood.

List the issues that need to be addressed: car theft, break-ins, vandalism, suspicious people loitering, etc.

Discuss possible places to meet in the future such as community centers, places of worship and in peoples’ houses.

Collect everyone’s contact information and form a map which includes attendees’ house locations. 

2.  Communicate and disseminate

Decide how you are going to communicate and publicize events.  Some groups will prefer to do so via email and may even build a simple website for the watch program.  There are several services that provide inexpensive services for web hosting, website building and email accounts. 

You could also distribute a newsletter in either printed or electronic form.  It doesn’t have to be completely about crime prevention.  It could contain personal profiles, local points of interest, upcoming important dates in the community, etc.

Enlist the help of local businesses for production of brochures, flyers and window stickers.  Many will be willing to donate all or a part of their services.

Communicate with your police department and town zoning board to determine what the regulations are for producing street signs that announce your group’s presence.

When you contact the police, ask to speak with a community relations officer or other designated officer to work with your group.  They can not only provide crime statistics for your area, but may even train your group on what to do in certain situations.

Ask him or her to speak from time to time at your gatherings.  If anyone feels intimidated or nervous about approaching the police, visit the station as a group (call ahead if possible to provide the officer with notice).

3.  Get the facts

Compile all the facts about crimes in your neighborhood from police reports and any other information the police provide.  Dispel misperceptions and irrational fears on the part of residents by showing real data--elicit their feelings to see if the facts can help them feel more at ease.

When you do see statistics start to show a positive trend, celebrate.  Success like reduction in crime over time is a reason to hold parties and socialize.

4.  Make it fun and interesting

Make it fun.  Combine your meetings with fun food themes like pot luck or pizza parties. 

Find speakers (besides the aforementioned police officer).  Security companies can talk about home security. Firefighters can talk about fire safety in the home.  Town government officials can talk about issues that affect the community.

Socialize before and after.  As we mentioned at the outset of this post, an extra benefit of forming these groups is becoming more familiar with those in whose close proximity you spend multiple years.  

5.  Report and learn from it

When an incident is observed, of course contact the police.  But after the dust has settled, be sure to include the information in your emails, newsletter, brochure or other mode of communication.  Add it to your own statistical information.

Learn what action could be taken to prevent such a crime in the future.  Could more streetlights be installed?  Could neighbors collect each other’s mail and newspapers when they’re away?  How about keeping the shrubs along the house trimmed low so thieves don’t have such an easy hiding spot?  Motion sensor lights for the exterior are wise also. And of course, home alarm systems complete with window decals and lawn signs are essential to decrease burglaries.

The key to getting the ball rolling, as well as continuing a successful neighborhood watch program, is communication. Go ahead and start the conversation.  Hail a neighbor and say hello.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

 

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With mobile security so prevalent in recent years, you’re able to discover if your home is burglarized while you’re still on vacation—even watch the thieves as they do their dirty work (scary as it may feel.)

In this case, you’ll certainly be able to alert the authorities with one touch of a button, communicate with the central station via your mobile device and even view the situation before you get back.

However, not everyone has remote access.  Whether you have this feature or not, you will still be coming home to a house that was burglarized.

1. Especially if you haven’t learned of the burglary until you arrive home, do not enter the house--call the police immediately.  If you have access to weapons, and you’ve called the police, do not have the weapon exposed while you’re in or around your house when the police arrive.  They may mistake you as the burglar.  This may seem obvious, but emotions run high in these situations.

2. In fact, make sure you have your ID with you, so you can prove to them that you live there and it was not you who broke in.  You want to make things as easy for the police as possible.

3. And even if you believe nothing was stolen or damaged, you should still call the police and have a police report filled out for homeowners insurance purposes.  You may discover later that something has been taken or destroyed.  Even worse, someone may still be in your house—more reason to say out until the police arrive.

4. Whether or not you have a security system, you should contact your security company right away as well.

If you have a system, you’ll want to discuss strategy on how you can prevent future breaks and have any devices repaired that were destroyed.  If you do not have a system, you will certainly want to have one installed since statistics show that homes that are burglarized once are highly susceptible to be burglarized again.

5. Be sure to talk to your neighbors to check if they happened to see anyone suspicious and possible have a description.  The police will most likely have done this also, but may not have been able to speak to everyone.

6. Speaking of neighbors, you may want to consider joining or starting a neighborhood watch program.  Just be sure to not take any actions on your own should you or your neighbors witness a crime in progress.  Call the authorities right away and observe and report to your best ability while remaining at a safe distance.

These six items can help begin the healing process of getting back on track after being emotionally violated due to a break in, as well as prevent future breaks.  The more you feel in control of the situation, the better off you’ll be.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

Tagged in: Home Burglary
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We thought we’d take a break from our typical advice and how-to approach to our blog posts and simply report an interesting and local story about something related to our business—burglaries.

Could he be considered the “polite” burglar?  There’s no hiding the fact that he stole others’ belongings and caused financial loss—this is certainly not a good thing.  But during his burglaries, he never stole any money or caused any damage.  And jewelry and other typical valuables weren’t on his wish list.

He simply stole food, clothing, camping gear and other supplies according to a 2005 story by the Kennebec Journal referenced in a CNN report last month.

The person known as the North Pond Hermit broke into places such as camps and some houses in Maine over a 27-year span.  Approximately 1,000 burglaries are said to have been committed by the hermit.  But they were done so to sustain a solitary lifestyle in the main woods, not to support a drug habit or to enjoy financial gains.

He gathered tarps, sleeping bags, propane and other items to provide shelter and heat.  He stayed in touch with the outside world by stealing batteries for his radio.

He was considered folklore and was the subject of locals’ conversations for years.

He was finally caught last month after raiding a camp for disabled people and setting off a surveillance system alarm according to Main State Police in an ABC News report from April.

The North Pond Hermit is being held in Kennebec County Jail on charges of burglary and theft.

So again, we thought it related to our typical blog topics because he was a burglar and was ultimately caught due to a security system—something our company deals with daily. 

It’s unfortunate that these Maine houses, camps and cabins had to endure property loss and we’re sure everyone can rest a little easier in the North Pond area.

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We’re about to embark on our first heat wave of the year here in the northeast…and it’s not even summer yet!

So we thought we’d take this opportunity to talk about some security measures you can take as well as mention some coinciding facts regarding the summer months—not just when you go on vacation, but at all times.

Be sure to secure your air conditioner or remove it altogether if you'll be away.

First of all, burglaries increase during the summer months.  The primary reason for this is that people are away from their homes for longer periods of time than other times of the year—whether it’s due to a longer day away or more vacations taken.

If you are lucky enough to be traveling, there are a few measures you can take to significantly reduce the chances that you’ll be burglarized.

1. Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed, newspapers and mail picked up (if you didn’t suspend them) and talk to your local police departments.  Some jurisdictions will provide patrols while you’re away and even contact you if they see anything of concern.

Other preparations you can make are to lock up or put away any ladders so thieves can’t gain entry to the second floor to avoid alarmed windows and doors.

2. You may also use the excuse of traveling to bolster the security around your home.  Have exterior motion sensor lights installed and consider timer lights for the interior.  These lights make it appear as if someone’s home…and it’s not only lights that can be activated, it’s appliances such as TV’s.

Talk to your security provider about remote capabilities such as being able to control the aforementioned lights and appliances (as well as thermostat), your alarm system and even to view your home with security cameras via your mobile device.

You should still have time to take these steps if you’re traveling later this summer and just think…you’ll be more secure year round as well.

3. Many people use Memorial Day weekend as a marker to install their air conditioners.  Some also worry that this will now allow for an easier entry into their homes for burglars.

There are a few steps you can take, however, when you install your A/C unit to at least make it more difficult for those intent on gaining entry into your home.

Actually, the best preventive method if you’re going to be away for any length of time is to remove your air conditioners, certainly those on the ground floor. 

You can use brackets that secure the unit to your house.  This of course could be compromised, but at least it would prove to be a nuisance.  Thieves seek the quickest and most quiet entry into a home, and this may not be their best choice.

Homeowners can also use window locks that prevent the window from sliding up so that the air conditioner can be moved. 

If you have an alarm system, make sure you have a second pairing of window contacts that line up when the unit is in the window.

4. Speaking of windows, you can leave them open and still be secure.  Just be sure to have security screens in place.

They work in a couple of ways.  First, if someone were to cut the screen, a network of wires woven into the mesh would be severed and it would trip the alarm.  Also, there are sensors in place so that if the screen itself is removed, separation would also cause an alarm event.

5. And last but certainly not least, be sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.  Dangers such as grills near windows and doors (and unfortunately sometimes in garages) and RV exhaust fumes are the culprits. 

People need to be on guard in the summer as well even though the winter season is usually associated more with carbon monoxide poisoning due to heating systems being in use.

Whether you’re spending quality time at your home or enjoying vacation time away, you and your property can be safe and secure this summer.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Prime home-buying season is, excuse the pun, knocking at the door.  There will be many factors to consider when on your search for the ideal house. 

Will granite counter tops be in your future?  A fenced-in back yard?  Central Air and hardwood floors?  These would all be nice, but what about your safety?

Pictured above is a security panel and keypad as part of a Gemini security system.

Is a security system one of the factors that you are considering?  It should be.

Whether it’s for new construction or an existing house, your security system should be chief among the features you seek in your house hunting.

1. If your house is being designed and constructed, be sure to include your security systems integrator as early in the process as possible.  This is because if you decide to have hard wired security devices such as motion detectors installed, the house’s wiring will need to be set up accordingly.  This may differ if a predominately wireless system is to be installed.

2. Think logistics.  Do you want keypads on two floors for convenient access near the bedrooms?  If you have a garage will you be installing sensors on the garage doors?   Where do you want your siren to be?  Will you want motion sensor lights on the exterior and timer lights for the inside?

3. Do you want remote video monitoring?  This isn’t terribly crucial to know before or during new construction.  Installing a wireless IP security camera that allows you to view your home on your PC, smart phone or tablet is not complicated for your integrator to install.

4. What’s your heat source going to be?  A furnace or boiler running on natural gas or oil can produce dangerous carbon monoxide.  This deadly gas is invisible, odorless, tasteless and needs proper detection.

5. There are other environmental issues to consider, since it’s not just fending off burglars that you should be concerned with.  Will you be living in an area with a high water table?  Springtime is not only a time when home buying starts, it’s flood season as well. 

The combination of melting snow and heavy rains can flood basements.  Consider installing water sensors to alert you of moisture before it becomes a problem.

6. If it’s an existing house, have your locksmith re-key or change the locks.  Re-keying is much less expensive.  You want to feel safe knowing that copies of the house keys are “floating around”.

7. There is another thing to consider if purchasing an already-existing house.  It may already have a security panel and devices installed from a previous owner.  Can your security integrator of choice service this equipment?  It depends.

Some equipment, especially the security panel, is considered proprietary.  This means that it can only be serviced by the company who installed it originally.  You can still use your security company, but new equipment would need to be installed.  Sometimes it’s only the security panel that needs to be replaced.  Other devices such as motion detectors and window sensors may be able to be used.

If the panel is non-proprietary, then you’re most likely in luck and your equipment cost for a working system will be lower.

Good luck on your mission to secure a new place to call home.  It’s easy to become distracted by all the exciting features that a new house can bring.  Please remember that it’s your family that makes that house a home, and that they need to be protected.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Security for liquor stores is serious business.  There’s simply so much at stake.  Inventory.  Cash.  Employee safety and more.

If you’re the owner or manager of a liquor store, you most likely already have an alarm system and also video surveillance.  But more can always be done and adjustments to your current system can always be made.

Use your smart phone for things such as remotely viewing your employees while they close.

We’ve highlighted six areas below to focus on in order to improve the security of your store and the safety of your employees.

1. The need to protect inventory.  Let’s face it.  You’re selling what is considered a vice to people.  Something people are addicted to.  Something of great value.

You need to make sure your alarm system is sufficient and working properly.

Give it a test.  Call your security company or monitoring station and put your system on test.  You want to make sure if there’s a break in after-hours that your security system is going to function properly.

Once your system is on test, arm it then open doors, walk past motion detectors and open any windows—let that siren scream.  No need to worry about any authorities being called because it’s on test status.

2. The need to protect employees.  Besides having security cameras in clear sight which provide a degree of a deterrent and having security stickers on the doors, panic buttons are a great device for employee protection.

Be sure to have them installed under the counter and in other locations throughout the store such as the back office where cash may be kept. 

This allows employees to secretly inform the police that a robbery is taking place with one press of a button without needing to make it to a phone.

We’ll talk more about employee safety when we address remote video monitoring below.

3. The need to identify the bad guy.  As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s likely that your store already has video surveillance in place.  But what type? 

Analog security cameras, which are very prevalent and often the less expensive route to go, can suffice in some cases.

However, they don’t provide the same level of clarity that megapixel security cameras do.  Megapixel cameras can provide the resolution necessary to identify the robber or burglar.

We’ve all seen images of perpetrators broadcast by news channels.  In order for the public to help you, make it easy on them by providing the clearest possible footage.

Facial recognition is necessary in many court cases to achieve a conviction.  Why have cameras in place that may or may not provide that facial recognition.  Talk to your security integrator about megapixel technology.

4. The need to be in two places at once.  Be sure to use remote video monitoring at your liquor store.  This will come in handy in many ways.

To further ensure safety of your employees, monitor openings and closings via your smart phone, tablet or PC. Especially closings when it’s late at night and ambushes can occur.

Receive email alerts containing video clips if there is any motion in your store when the alarm system is armed.

Keep an eye on employees who may be tempted by the inventory.  You most likely have honest employees who won’t steal inventory or drink it while on the job, but to be able to check in on them no matter where you are may keep you more at ease.

While we’re on this topic, be sure to have a camera viewing inside your cooler.  This of course is a place where employees can go and sample the goods in an enclosed setting.

5. The need to see all.  Consider 180° and 360° security cameras.  These megapixel cameras can provide panoramic views that typical security cameras couldn’t, as those would be offering a limited field of view.

Place a 360° security camera on the ceiling in the middle of your store.  Have a 180° camera installed on the outside of your building facing the parking lot.  Ensure that you identify those that are about to enter with ill intentions and also capture makes of cars, etc.

6. The need to secure your perimeter.  An alarm system and cameras are very important, but if your doors and door hardware are vulnerable and easy to be broken down, a burglar can still enter and exit without being apprehended.

Have a qualified locksmith give you a survey to ensure that your doors are secure and that your door hardware is in good working order.  It should be easy to find a locksmith who will give you a survey at no charge.

We hope this has given you a few things to think of for the security of your liquor store. 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Are you a business owner who is considering installing video surveillance?  Do you want to reduce liability? Create a deterrent? Produce video evidence in case of an incident?

Pictured above are dome security cameras manufactured by VideoIQ

Several businesses in Billerica and Lowell, MA are certainly satisfied with their decision to use video surveillance.  Just ask Kmart in Billerica for one.

Once again, we’ve got a case where video surveillance of a thief in action was distributed to the public by news outlets and local public safety websites, and a subsequent arrest was made due to viewer tips.

A 44-year old Billerica man was arrested on March 19th by Billerica police after an investigation linked him to a series of burglaries in his home town as well as in Lowell, MA.

As mentioned above, the investigation was aided by news station viewer tips after his image was broadcast to the public.

From Kmart alone, approximately $80,000 worth of jewelry was stolen—some of the merchandise was recovered after the arrest.

So the question remains—which was mentioned at the opening of this blog post—is your business considering video surveillance?  There are several reasons why it may make sense for you.

Experience price flexibility.  Your security integrator will provide options that allow for most budgets.  You will be able to explore basic systems that could include a single analog security camera and 4-channel digital video recorder. 

You can also investigate more advanced options such as IP/megapixel security cameras.  Megapixel technology will allow for more clarity which will improve facial recognition, for instance.  These security cameras can be viewed anywhere across a network instead of at a stationary monitor in a single location.

Initiate remote viewing.  Being able to view your business remotely is a key feature with multiple benefits.  You are able to receive email alerts which are triggered if motion is detected at your business during off hours.  This allows you to monitor your business real time instead of possibly waiting until the next day to show up and discover you’ve been burglarized.

Remote viewing doesn’t only produce a crime prevention benefit, it also allows you to increase quality control of your organization.  Monitoring employees in order to provide training without being physically present is a key element, for instance.

Reduce employee theft.  Installing security cameras in the workplace can be a complicated issue—employees can become understandably concerned.  It is best to speak with a security integrator who has experience in this area.  They will be able to advise you on how to approach your employees as you explain the reasons for the installation.

Just as these cameras act as a deterrent against burglars and vandals, so do they against employees with an aim to steal from the company.  Simply installing them can reduce shrinkage. 

Other benefits may result from their installation.  These may include improved productivity.  But as mentioned above, employees can be uneasy about security cameras in the workplace, so proper communication is a must if increased productivity is a goal.

As evidenced by the recent arrest in a string of burglaries of businesses in MA, video surveillance and the cooperation of the media and public can solve crimes.  But other ancillary benefits come along with installing security cameras. 

So if you’re considering video surveillance for your business, you’ve got a lot to gain.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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If you’re the owner or manager of a car dealership, then a few things take precedence in terms of running your business.

Chief among them are maintaining profit margins and creating customer satisfaction—not that these two are mutually exclusive.  Because you need to stay in business by ensuring return business.

Pictured above is a 180 degree IP/Megapixel camera, great for monitoring car lots.

Obviously, you want to prevent theft of vehicles and vehicle parts, but don’t forget about customers and employees—they need attention also.

And video surveillance for car dealerships should never be thought of as the end-all be-all.  Please use your security cameras and video surveillance system in conjunction with personnel, especially security guards, and other security functions such as alarms.

The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re considering adding to your current video surveillance system at your car dealership is to establish a baseline of information.  Know what your rate of crime is currently such as theft, vandalism, or even break-ins.   And don’t disregard shrinkage due to things such as employee theft.

Know the rate of customers who enter a lot and leave without being helped.  Do you know how long they wait before being greeted by a salesperson?  Know these patterns before you install your new system.

The reason why is that you want to be able to track how well your new system is doing in preventing theft and vandalism, for instance, while increasing attention to customers on the lot—all with an aim in increase profit margins.

Today, we’ll talk about six main things to monitor with your security cameras at your dealership.  They are vehicles, parts and other inventory, employees, customers, visitors such as deliveries and conditions such as ice, slippery spots in the showroom, etc.

1. Vehicles.  These can comprise up to millions of dollars worth of inventory on your lot and are most often outside and vulnerable.  It goes without saying that these need to be monitored. 

Security camera placement is important.  You need to be able to see the whole lot, inside service areas, inside the showroom, etc.  A security systems expert will help you in terms of placement.

Outdoor cameras that monitor lots need to be weather and vandal proof.  They can be placed in housings that not only protect them, but actually heat them also.

Although we’re talking about vehicles here, we’ll mention remote viewing and network cameras now, even though they apply when viewing the other categories mentioned above, not just cars.

IP cameras (internet protocol) can be placed on a network and viewed from the internet remotely.  Remote video monitoring allows owners and management the ability to not only observe passively, but to train and take construction action from a distance.

2. Parts and inventory.  We’re sure you have a great deal of trust in your employees, but having cameras present in stock rooms, at retail counters and in other places where parts are stored—especially valuable metals such as copper—helps reduce shrinkage.

It also provides a preventive measure against shoplifters in your shops.  Another obvious benefit is to be able to capture burglars on video who break-in when the dealership is closed.

3. Employees.  Although we already alluded to monitoring employees above when discussing parts and inventory, it would benefit a dealership to view other employees as well.

Service areas can be studied to ensure the highest efficiency with regards to service technicians—especially their adherence to safety standards—and other service staff who deal with customers.

Salespeople can be trained on how to cover the showroom and lot.

4. Customers.  This is an important category.  Video analytics, software that provides valuable information, can be used to measure how many customers viewed a certain car, what section of the lot is being visited most or least, how many people enter the showroom, etc.

Studying these trends not only helps with employee placement, but also with vehicle placement.

Video can work in conjunction with an audio system to inform customers that the lot is closing for the night.  It can even issue stern warnings to those who may have ill intent after hours.

It’s not only theft of the vehicles themselves, but of precious metals and their parts that entice thieves.  And this audible warning would work wonders with vandals who are on the lot with bad intentions as well.

5. Deliveries.  If your security cameras are positioned properly and if you have remote video monitoring, you can ensure that a delivery happened when it was supposed to have.  You can make sure that the proper merchandise was exchanged.

6. Conditions.  Use video to ensure that no ice is forming on the lot or in common areas such as the entryway. Protect yourself by having images of the conditions of the floors digitally stored if someone tries to bring a bogus slip and fall lawsuit against you.

As we mentioned earlier, security cameras don’t have to exist in a vacuum.  They can be used to alert guards that an intruder is on the lot after hours, for instance.

An alert can be sent to a guard’s mobile device and she can be deployed to the incident wile she is already out on the grounds.  She doesn’t have to be sitting in a control room and be expected to actually see the intruder on a monitor by happenstance. 

Again, the aforementioned video analytics can automatically alert the guard on patrol by use of virtual perimeters, for example.

Besides video analytics, talk to your security expert about the different types of cameras you’ll need.  We’ve mentioned IP, weather proof, vandal proof and remote access.  You’ll want to explore low light and infrared cameras also, as well as those that pan tilt and zoom. 

Even better, ask about 180° cameras to view your lot and 360° cameras for your showroom service area.  Why miss out on capturing vital goings on because your field of view was limited?

We hope you’ve picked up a few things to bring up when you meet with a security systems integrator, and of course we’re sure there was plenty you already knew as well!

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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I was driving to work yesterday and saw a van with “Alarm Company” written on its door.

I thought for a second.  They must offer alarms of course.  I did see the word “fire” also on the van.  So do they work with fire alarms only?  Do they monitor them as well as install them? 

Components of a security system offered by an alarm company or other similar provider.

What does this mean to you?  I work in the industry and I’m still not sure of all the services they offer or how specifically they operate.  Obviously, I can deduce that they offer fire alarm services, but what else?

So what exactly is an alarm company?  It can be a little vague.  It’s not as clear in people’s minds as if they saw “plumber” or “electrician” on the side of that same van. 

Of course, some companies are just alarm companies.  They may just install and monitor burglar and/or fire alarms.  But the point of this post is that you never quite know exactly what services are offered by simply seeing the title of the business.

You may want to ask the company you contact if they’re a full-service security integrator.  These companies will not just provide burglar and fire alarms and monitoring, but other services as well.

Besides alarm monitoring, other principle services of a full service security integrator are video surveillance and access control, for instance.

They will even offer such ancillary services as driveway sensors that fend of intruders, motion sensor lighting and security window screens.  A select few even offer locksmith services. Be sure to ask if your security provider offers this.

It is perfectly fine if you choose to go with a pure alarm company that does nothing but installs, services and monitors burglar and/or fire alarms, if that’s all you’re in need of. 

For instance, some companies specialize in only fire alarm services.  They not only install, service and monitor fire alarm systems, but also perform regular fire alarm inspections and tests required by local fire jurisdictions.

However, you may simply want to explore other, more comprehensive companies as well that offer those same services but also perform the additional ones mentioned above.  After you have an alarm installed, you may have a need for remote video monitoring of your home later on, for example. 

It can be a good idea to stay with one company due to the level of trust that gets established and respect that develops for their industry knowledge and customer service.

So, after all, what is an alarm company?  There’s no single answer.  It could be a very small, one-person shop that could literally be a person working out of the trunk of his car.  He could simply install burglar alarms and set you up with a third-party monitoring company.

Or, a company could be referred to as an alarm company, but offer other electronic security services as well.  So be sure to ask what is available to you when you call.

Security integrators tend to be a bit more advanced.  Security integration deals with making services such as video surveillance and access control “talk to” one another.  These companies tend to be full-staffed, have full product lines and extensive services.

As was mentioned earlier, it may be a good idea to look into security integrators or at least alarm companies that offer multiple services—due to the fact that you may need additional products and services as time goes by.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Residents in Merrimack, NH with burglar alarm systems may want to make sure they are arming them—especially during the day.

And if you don’t have a burglar alarm or other security system, it’s ok, just make sure your doors and windows remained locked. 

Recent burglaries in town have happened during the day.  And it’s no surprise.  More burglaries nationwide happen in the daytime than at night.

According to the Nashua Telegraph and the Merrimack Patch, police are warning residents to be on guard and are investigating a suspicious person spotted in a condominium complex.  They are also asking you to report any suspicious activity.

Two burglaries occurred in the past week, but law enforcement isn’t saying that the suspicious person and the burglaries are related.

You don’t have to live in Merrimack to appreciate the need to keep your burglar alarm armed during the day when you’re not there, even if you simply head uptown to the store for a short time.

Thieves are opportunists (and cowards).  They prefer the path of least resistance.  They would obviously prefer to rob your house in the dark, but you’re typically there at night, so they wait for a time when you’re gone—which is during the day for many families when people are at work and school.

When they do burglarize a house at night, it’s often (but certainly not always) when families are away on vacation, for example.  Yes, of course there are still burglaries that happen when the family is home at night, and this is a frightening event that creates an emotional toll.

All the more reason to make sure your alarm system is armed as much as possible, not only during the day and not only when you go to bed for the night.

You can arm your system so that only the perimeter is activated and things like motion detectors which are located inside are not armed.  This keeps you safe when you’re still awake and walking around your house, and doesn’t set off any alarms so long as you don’t open armed doors and windows.

Another measure you can take to feel safer when you’re in your home at night is to install motion sensor exterior lighting.  Burglars hate this.

Try to keep the shrubbery near your house trimmed well so as not to provide cover for thieves to hide under.  If you’ve installed motion sensor lights, but the thieves can simply hide in over-grown shrubs, it’s not acting as effectively as it could be.

Driveway sensors are another ancillary component to your core burglar alarm system that can be used outside to keep you safe.  Before they even get near your house, potential thieves will trigger a motion sensor in your driveway which can emit a recorded message telling them to “scram” basically.

And if you do go away, ask your local police department if they have a program such as the Merrimack police have. They will perform checks on your house when you’re away on vacation and call you if there are any issues.

So there’s no major cause for alarm, simply use common sense and use whatever security measure you can whenever possible—whether that’s locks or alarms.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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If you own or run a nightclub, bar, restaurant or other venue that serves alcohol and is heavy on cash transactions, then you most likely have security cameras in place or are in need of them.

The purpose of our post today is to highlight a few areas that you may be able to improve on or additions you can make to your current video surveillance system.

1. Use IP or megapixel security cameras.

If you’ve got a security camera monitoring a cash handling area such as the bar and it’s not IP or megapixel technology, please consider upgrading.  One of the main reasons for this camera’s position is to make sure money is being handled properly. 

To do this, analog security cameras may not provide a clear enough image if impropriety is occurring, whereas an upgrade to megapixel cameras can provide the proof you need in the highest resolution when push comes to shove.

2. Consider capturing the whole picture.

Traditional stationary cameras have a limited field of view.  Due to this, many owners will install PTZ cameras (pan, tilt and zoom).  These can be controlled to pan across the area which you’re monitoring.  But they typically don’t pan in a complete circle.  And, no matter what, you’re always missing a section of the targeted area due to the fact that you’re moving the camera from position to position.

360° cameras don’t have these problems.  They can be mounted in the center of a dance floor for instance, or of the club itself, and you’ll be sure to capture all activity with no lapses in coverage due to limited field of view.

3. Protect yourself from lawsuits and loss of liquor license.

This is the most common reason for having security cameras in nightclubs, bars and restaurants.  Slips and falls, claims of over-serving and those claiming to have been assaulted when they themselves were the aggressor are issues to protect yourself from.

Know exactly how long an individual has been in your club—he may have arrived already intoxicated, yet claimed that he was over-served.  Monitor his drinking activity, the steadiness on his feet, etc.

Determine the conditions of the floors if someone claims to have slipped and fell.  Were they really slick or wet?  Did the person trip on her own feet and fall due to it being her own fault?

4. Equip yourself for low light conditions.

Dance floors can be dark.  Bar settings as well.  How about your outdoor cameras that are monitoring any waiting lines that may form on a sidewalk?

Use day / night and infrared cameras to accommodate for darkness.

These cameras also come into play when burglaries occur when your establishment is closed for business.  Lights will inevitably be off or low and identifying burglars is crucial. 

The aforementioned IP and megapixel security cameras are also a must for facial recognition.  When it comes time to prosecute in the court system, these criminals need to be identified without any question.

5. Guard against shrinkage.

Use security cameras to monitor areas where inventory is kept or is in transition.  Stock rooms, liquor coolers and loading docks where shipments arrive and where alcohol, food and other valuables can be walked out by dishonest employees need to be monitored.

6. Adhere to health and safety standards.

Keep cameras positioned in the kitchen to ensure that proper health codes are being followed by your food-handling staff.  Know what the conditions in your backhouse are before you are visited by board of health inspectors and you find out the hard way.

You will also be ensuring that employees aren’t stealing food and beverages as well as over-indulging on meals made for themselves in excess of what is allowed.

7. Monitor service areas.

Keep security cameras focused on areas where food and drink are being served by your staff to patrons. 

Look for meals and beverages given for free to friends and family or cash tips being pocketed.  But it’s not always a negative thing that you can be on the lookout for.  Keeping an eye on the service areas allows you to offer training and study customer behaviors such as traffic flow.

8. Be on the job even when you’re not.

Due to the very nature of the hours of these types of businesses, owners aren’t always on the job. 

Use remote video monitoring to be in two places at once.  Talk to your security expert to set up the capability for you to view all of your security cameras via your smart phone, tablet or PC.

So the moral of the story is to meet with a security expert to discuss things like upgrades and camera positioning, as well as remote viewing if you’re not already doing it. 

Chances are, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll come away with some advice on actions you can take in regards to improving the video surveillance of your establishment.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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We’ve written about hotel security in the past and wanted to cover a wider range of topics today.  Previously, tips for hotel guests have been provided and a focus on megapixel security cameras was also covered.

We’ve listed six areas below where personnel who are concerned with hotel security, such as facility managers, security directors, engineers and general managers, can turn when holding discussions with a security systems integrator.

1. Reduce liability from lawsuits.  Accidents do happen and guests and employees can legitimately become injured.  But strategically placed video surveillance can prevent bogus claims of injury from becoming debilitating lawsuits against your hotel.

Even if the incidents aren’t bogus, video surveillance may be able to show that a legitimate injury incurred by a guest or employee was not the fault of the hotel.

2. Use access control effectively.  One way to shore up the access control system within your hotel is to create areas which are only accessible to certain employees.  Card readers can be placed on doors that lead to general areas such as the area behind the front desk.  They can also be installed on administrative offices, luggage storage rooms and food and liquor storage rooms.

In doing so, you establish the all-important “audit trail”.  By logging onto the software or web-based program associated with your access control system, you can find out who went where, and when.

This presents a significant advantage over traditional lock and key systems.  With those, the above-mentioned areas can be accessed and hotel administrators would never know who was involved.

3. Protect guests in high-risk areas.  Certain areas of your property lend themselves more to crime than others, and guests deserve help in these spots. 

Security cameras act as a deterrent in many cases.  Installing cameras in places like elevators and elevator banks, parking lots, hallways and stairways makes guests feel at ease and could actually prevent an assault or robbery.

And if one of these incidents were to happen, being able to produce important video evidence for police so the perpetrator can be identified is crucial.

You may want to discuss IP/megapixel security cameras with your security integrator if you are installing a new system or wish to upgrade from analog technology.

IP/megapixel security cameras produce images with higher clarity and can also benefit your hotel in terms of their ability to cover more area with fewer cameras.

4. Protect employees at sensitive posts.  There are various locations throughout the hotel and its perimeter where employees are at risk.  These include the front desk, valet booth, restaurant and gift shop cashiers and more—mostly where money is handled.

Installing panic buttons under desks can be life saving.  Once the button is pressed, a signal is sent directly to local police.

5. Keep your parking lots safe.  As mentioned above, parking lots, especially at night, are areas where criminals can lurk and prey on innocent guests and employees.  Consider low light or infrared security cameras for these locations.

Also, traffic disputes arise frequently when accidents occur in parking lots.  Video surveillance helps to resolve these disputes.

6. Keep your property free of vandalism.  Keeping your property visually appealing to guests and potential guests is a high priority for hotels.  Let’s face it, the attractiveness of a hotel’s grounds is a major reason why it may be chosen over another destination.

Having proper video surveillance and access control can prevent vandalism altogether.  And if it were to occur, having video evidence of the vandals will prove invaluable to police and help with prosecution in the court system.

And as mentioned above, using IP/megapixel security cameras will prove beneficial due to advantages over analog cameras such as better facial recognition.  Ultimately being able to prosecute offenders often depends on the quality of the video surveillance.

We hope these six items help to fortify your hotel property.  Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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As the iBridge brochure states, “It’s nothing like your father’s alarm system.”

You’ve most likely seen the commercials on TV for complete home security systems that also allow you to do things like control your thermostat and lighting from remote locations with a mobile device. 

Well Napco security wants you to know that they’re making this possible also with technology they’re calling iBridge.

Along with being able to control your thermostat, turn lights on and off and view your home from far away, you can also control appliances and locks.

And it’s not just your smart phone, PC or tablet with which you can control your home’s security system.

Ibridge also boasts in their brochure of their 2012 SIA award-winning wireless Wi-Fi touchscreen / tablet.  It is a portable seven-inch TFT display and has a web-enabled touchscreen with a patented easy on/off combo.  It also has a magnetic wall mount and docking / charging station.

So you have the choice to use your own tablet and download the iBridge app, or use their tablet that can mount on your wall, stand on a table or be carried around as well.

If you already have iSee Video from Napco, this system integrates into the iBridge platform.  And the good news is that you don’t have to have iSee Video for your remote viewing technology.  Other security cameras can be viewed remotely on your device with iBridge.

Let’s take the example of you being away on vacation.  We’ll start with the departure from your house.  Remember that your alarm system may not even have to come into play if making your house appear lived-in keeps burglars away to begin with.

It’s daytime, so there’s no need for lights to be on, but you feel that you want the TV on so there’s some noise in the house.  You turn the temperature down a bit since you are leaving for a week and it doesn’t need to be as high as normal.  (But of course you want it warm enough to keep your cat comfortable.) 

On your way out the door, you set the security alarm by using your iBridge seven-inch tablet which actually acts as your keypad as it is mounted to your wall (and able to be taken off also).  But since you have downloaded the iBridge app onto your own tablet that you’re taking with you, you leave the iBridge tablet mounted to the wall.

As you’re on route to your destination, your spouse asks if you set the alarm and you’re pretty sure you did, but to make sure, you check your tablet for the status.  Of course it is armed.

Now you arrive at your destination and get settled.  It’s becoming dark out, so you decide to turn on some lights back home with your tablet.

The good news is that you have pre-set groups of lights already set up.  You easily turn on the outside group which includes the barn lights as well. You then turn on the group that includes the kitchen, living room and common areas.

The cat sitter said she’d be there at 8pm to feed the cat and give her fresh water, so you access your remote video function and let your security cameras back home reveal if she’s there to take care of your beloved pet.

It’s time for bed so you use your tablet to shut the TV off and change the appropriate lighting groups.

You continue this routine for the weekend and now it’s time to head home.  Since it’s a three-hour drive and it’s a bit chilly outside, you decide to turn the heat up a bit so it’ll be nice and toasty when you get home. 

When you’re on your street, you decide to unlock your locks and check the status of your alarm system.  It’s still armed, so you disarm it remotely.

So you’re home sweet home with a happy cat, a warm house and a safe and secure situation.  But you knew this all along and had complete peace of mind during your entire trip.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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If you’re considering installing new commercial security cameras or upgrading from existing models, there are certain key features to seek out as a business entity.

Whether it’s clearer images you’re after, better range or more convenience, options exist for you to improve the video surveillance at your business.

Pictured above is an infrared commercial security camera complete with housing.

IP / Megapixel

If you currently have analog security cameras, you may be limited with the amount of features you receive, such as digital zoom.  You are most likely not seeing as clear an image with your analog system than you could be with IP/megapixel technology.

Remote viewing, which we’ll touch on below, is also more achievable with IP cameras than it is with analog. 

There are plenty positive aspects to analog security cameras however, such as price and flexibility of design (and compatibility), but as a business, IP / megapixel security cameras will provide superior quality and more functionality for the things that are important to you.

Weatherproof / Vandal Resistant

Businesses need video coverage in outdoor areas such as loading docks, parking lots and parking garages.

In areas of the country such as here in the northeast, weather can be rough—specifically during winter months. Commercial security cameras can be fitted with weatherproof housings that actually provide heat by way of a heater and also have a blower.

The housings not only protect the cameras form the elements, but also from vandals.

Infrared Capability

Another condition that has to be accounted for with outdoor security cameras is light, or the lack thereof. 

Many cameras that are purchased specifically for the outdoors will have what’s generally referred to as “nightvision”. This usually means that they have infrared capability.  The security cameras have infrared illuminators that transmit a beam of infrared light sometimes over 100 feet away.  They are actually creating light in otherwise dark conditions. 

These cameras will also often come with the aforementioned weather-resistant options—they are often combined as packages with the same commercial security camera suited for the outdoors.

Remote Video Monitoring

This is not only a feature and a service that can be added to your overall video surveillance system, it’s also a new way to manage and oversee your business from a distance.

As we’ve written about in a recent blog post, this is a must if you’re looking to maximize your commercial security cameras, reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Train your employees, improve customer experiences, monitor openings and closings to ensure that your employees are safe, monitor sensitive areas where valuable items or confidential records are kept—all from a distance.  Save on gas costs while improving efficiency.  It’s a win-win.

180° / 360° Field of View

These security cameras consist of several lenses to provide the full range of view.

For instance, a 180° megapixel camera could be used to monitor a parking lot adjacent to the building that it’s mounted on.  In fact, this one camera could take the place of up to four analog security cameras.

The cost per camera is certainly higher with IP/megapixel, but if you’re reducing the number of cameras needed from four to one, you’re also reducing labor costs to install and maintain it going forward.

And just think of how many analog cameras that a 360° can replace…and how much more clear the images will be, how much more accessible, etc. 

These 5 issues are certainly not the only things to consider when it comes to commercial security cameras, but they provide a solid foundation to get started.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Of course the number one priority if you detect a fire at your home is to usher your family outside to a safe place.  It’s debatable and depends on the situation if family photos or a laptop, for example, should be grabbed on the way out.

But what about your pets?  They too are of high importance and will be escorted out with the family unless it’s virtually impossible to do so and lives are in imminent danger.  But even danger hasn’t stopped family members and firefighters in some cases.  We’ve all heard amazing stories of pet rescues.  And pet owners will agree that they take precedence over material items.

What if a fire occurred when no one was home—when no one was able to walk out a pet or inform a firefighter that pets were inside?

Just like we have “tot finders” that indicate there are children in the house, there are stickers that alert firefighters that pets are inside the house as well. 

As an aside: Tot finders aren’t always in favor nowadays due to possible abduction issues.  (*Please talk to your local fire jurisdiction and get its advice on how and if to use tot finders.)

In researching for this blog post, I came across online forums where some firefighters expressed that they don’t favor tot finders.  If children grow up and move out, the stickers tend to stay in the window.  Also, they may give people a false sense of security.  And of course there’s the aforementioned and all-important abduction concerns.  These were all cited as reasons.

Getting back to pet finder stickers: If no one is home, pet finder stickers may be the only way that rescue personnel will know pets are inside—short of a neighbor informing them, for instance.  Please be sure to ask your local fire jurisdiction about how to obtain these if you don’t have them already.

Not every fire department recommends or distributes pet finder stickers.  And some posts in the forums mentioned above were of the opinion, of course, that humans come first.  If a pet is found in the process, it will be saved, but that not much faith is put in pet finder stickers.

And for the same reason that some may not favor tot finders (a child may not be in the house anymore, yet the sticker remains), they may not pay close attention to pet finder stickers because pets may not be in the house any longer either.

Moving onto another danger in the household…

Another issue with pets, including small pets such as reptiles, hamsters and birds, is elevated carbon monoxide levels.  Carbon monoxide detection is an important part of overall environmental monitoring—in which smoke and heat detection are included also.

These types of pets are very sensitive to small spikes in carbon monoxide, as well as other pets such as cats and dogs.  Of course, any spike in carbon monoxide is dangerous to everyone in the household, regardless of its level.  This odorless, tasteless and invisible gas does not discriminate.

Again, if a leak occurs during the day when no one is home, the fire department and those on your call list need to be alerted by your security system so these pets have a chance.

The moral to the story of this blog post is to check with your local fire department.  Ask about their policy on pet finder stickers—if they have them and/or offer them for sale, if so, where they advise you to place them, and what their advice is if they do not recommend them.

While you’re talking to them, ask them about tot finders and where they should be affixed (assuming they recommend them at all).

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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