Home Security Considerations for Inner City and Apartment Living

Apartment living is the way of the future. There are now more than 6 billion people in the world, but unfortunately our floor space isn’t expanding as fast as the population … so apartment living will be the solution. In terms of security, apartment living has some distinct advantages, and also some distinct disadvantages. Today we look at how apartment dwellers should modify their security strategies, including elements like back to base alarm monitoring and CCTV camera systems as well as more basic elements.

Safety in Numbers

Burglars often target apartment complexes because there are dozens of homes within a very small space, each of them potentially very rich in goods that can be quickly, and untraceably, converted to cash.

This can work both for and against apartment dwellers. It may attract burglars who wouldn’t have otherwise come to your home … but it also means that if your apartment is more difficult to break into than another one, yours will be left alone. Simple steps like deadlocks, or even the signage you get when you sign up for back to base alarm monitoring can easily deter a burglar when there are so many other homes so close by.

Now, to encourage your neighbours to sign up for home security monitoring also!

Look Over Your Shoulder …

It is also critical to protect any outside portion of your apartment from burglar access. Balconies and small courtyards often have glass sliding doors to access the apartment … and glass sliding doors are notorious for being an easy way in for burglars.

Remember also that windows are a common weak point in apartment security – they are left unlocked or open far more often than doors.

 Should I Choose a Good Neighbourhood?

A good neighbourhood actually about the same protection form burglary as any other. Most burglars come from areas that are struggling socioeconomically, and they don’t tend to burgle where they live. However, your personal safety is likely to be far higher in a ‘good’ neighbourhood.

Complex-Wide Apartment Security vs Individual Protection

It is a very good idea to consider the safety of an apartment block before you decide to move into it. However, complex-wide security is not a good replacement for a back to base alarm service, or even a CCTV camera system, installed on your own property and designed to protect your own family and home!

Complex-wide security cameras will try to cover many angles at once, usually making any footage that is obtained too small, too grainy, or the wrong angle to see a perpetrator. Additionally, complex-wide security can’t protect your apartment from people who have an authorisation code to enter the building generally. So fellow tenants, tenants’ girlfriends or boyfriends, and their children’s friends may all be allowed to enter the block – the perimeter security is not useful in protecting your home against them.

Apartments allow restricted access to the area around your home, but good back to base alarm monitoring is still essential.

Broken Windows, Kicked-In Doors … Overcoming The Weak Points of Perimeter Security

Thieves always look for easy targets. Homes and commercial properties that offer minimal perimeter security are attractive options for the lazy criminal brain. The job for property owners is to ensure their home or business is not a sitting duck, ripe for the picking by opportunistic but often amateurish thieves. Most break-ins are crimes of opportunity by thieves looking for an easy way to get inside. Today we look at smart ways to protect the perimeters of your home.

Take stock of your property entry points

Make an inventory of all the access points around your home or business. Stand outside your property and note your fencing, your gates, garage doors, patio doors, windows and even your roof. Drawing a diagram of your property can help with this process.

Doors and windows

Check the quality of doors – timber or metal doors should be solid enough to provide a barrier between you and any unwanted intruders. Reinforced door frames are harder for thieves to kick-in. Quality locks and deadlocks and sliding bolts are a strong deterrent. Windows should have security screens and locks. Bars and grilles can be added and have moved beyond functionality to also appear decorate. Statistics show doors and windows are the most common points of entry for thieves – if they use them make sure they can’t do it quietly and easily!

Roofs

Commercial properties in particular are often vulnerable through roofs and ceilings. Make sure the roof of your premises is not easily accessible by way of containers, ladders, wheelie bins, trellising or any other climbing material left nearby. Secure roof tiles or iron cladding. A monitored burglar alarm system is a must – it takes longer to enter from a roof and help can be on hand in time to prevent the loss of property.

Fencing

Ten-foot high barbwire fences may well keep out unwanted intruders but they simply are not an option for most homes and business premises. Make use of attractive, keyless entry electric gates by all means, but often a well planned, open front yard can work in your favour, allowing a clear view of your property (and security provisions!)

Lighting and visibility

We all want our homes to be a private sanctuary but security lighting such as outdoor sensor lights are a real deterrent to would-be thieves. They let anyone indoors know that something or someone is moving about outside and also give any neighbours or passers-by a chance to notice any suspicious activity. Also be aware of trees or large shrubs that might provide cover for anyone lurking around.

Mounted alarm systems and cameras

Mount monitored burglar alarm security systems around the front of your home or business to put would-be thieves on notice – and make them think again! These systems not just give the appearance of a well-protected property but also ensure burglars do not have the luxury of a leisurely robbery. Expert security will be on hand fast!

It is not necessarily desirable or even possible to turn your home or business premises into a fortress, but with quality doors, windows, screens, roofing and lighting your property will not be easy pickings!

Fraud and Scams in the Home Security Industry – How to Protect Yourself

Certain professions in our society tend to be innately trusted. Nurses, doctors and sometimes even lawyers are all trusted and respected by default … and another of those professions is the home security industry. Every genuine business in the home security industry is here to protect you from people that care very little about your interests … but unfortunately there are plenty of businesses who capitalise on that fact using various types of home security monitoring, back to base alarm and CCTV camera system frauds and scams. We look at some common types of scams today, as well as how you can protect yourself from them.

The Burglar Disguised as a Home Security Consultant

The ‘job’ of a burglar is so much easier if they know the layout of a house in advance … and many know it will be especially easy if the homeowners believe that they have a fully functional alarm system installed, but the ‘back to base alarm’ consultant has actually tampered with it somehow.

Protect yourself by:

  • Never letting door-to-door salesmen into the home (even if they appear to be from a security company)
  • Not buying back to base security systems from people who push their services on you unsolicited without checking their credentials. Have a look at their website, check on their security license with the issuing body, or simply call back the office and see how they answer the phone!
  • Asking for back to base alarms from reputable suppliers

The Dodgy Back to Base Alarm Contract

Contracts are quite standard practice across the home security monitoring industry – although Pacific Security Technology believes we should keep our customers through good service, not legal contracts, many other companies don’t feel the same.

If you choose to go with a company that works on a contract system, be aware that just as with contracts in any area of life, you need to read them carefully and be aware of what you are signing. A home security sales company in the UK was found cold calling people and offering back to base alarm systems for 1 British pound … then having the customers sign contracts for up to £6000.

Protect yourself by:

  • Always reading contracts carefully!
  • Checking on credentials before you sign with any particular security company

The Home Security “Upgrade”

In a variant of the ‘burglar dressed as a security consultant’ scam, people in the US have knocked on doors claiming to be from the owner’s back to base alarm monitoring company, saying that your security system is due for an upgrade. They then install an inferior system and bill you for it; or they simply disable it and burgle your home.

Protect yourself by:

  • Not putting back to base alarm monitoring stickers on your windows
  • Following all of the above good advice!

The Non-Cancelled Service

In Chicago, a company was recently penalised for not cancelling home security monitoring contracts when asked by consumers – this was ultimately seen as carrying on misleading business, because their cancellation policy was deceptive.

Protect yourself by:

  • Choosing a company that doesn’t use contracts!
  • Making sure you know the ins and outs of your contract, if you choose to have one

Unfortunately, the world we live in means that you need to undertake your own checks on the authenticity of companies. At Pacific Security Technology we’ll also endeavour to keep you updated on our local security scams also!

Why Your Home Is Probably Insecure Right Now

Most of us believe that we’re pretty good with home security. We lock our doors at night, we always turn on the burglar alarm security system, and we’ve even put some though into designing the environment surrounding the house in a way that discourages unwanted guests. However, even houses that go so far as having burglar alarm security systems make quite a few common mistakes! Here we look at the oversights that most people make, and that mean your house is probably insecure right now.
  • Not changing the locks when you move in
  • Locking your doors and windows won’t matter if the person who previously lived in the house still has a key that opens your front door!
  • Letting cleaners and contractors in when you aren’t there. It might be more convenient to have cleaners and contractors access the house when you aren’t there. However, it can also completely negate the value of door locks and burglar alarm security systems! People can have keys copied by a partner while they work, they get to scope out weak security points of the house, and if you’ve given them a code for the burglar alarm security system and don’t erase it quickly enough, they may even be able to get in and out silently.
  • Letting salespeople in without checking ID
  • Some professional burglars dress as door-to-door salespeople to check out houses they want to break into. If a person knows your homes weak points and exactly where the items they want are located, they could be in and out before your burglar alarm security system monitoring company can get there.
  • Keeping a spare key outside
Someone with a key, but without a code to your burglar alarm security system will still have a short and noisy time inside your house… but do you really want people to just be able to walk into your home? If you must keep a spare key outside, bury it in a 35mm film canister.
  • Because your hinges are on the outside
Burglars have been known to use a simple screwdriver to take  doors off their hinges, and silently gain access to the house.
  • Your garage is attached to the house
Not a security risk  in itself, but when you consider that:
  1. Garage door openers often use the same frequency as other openers
  2. Devices can quite quickly be made that will find and mimic the frequency used by your garage door
  3. And the opening between your garage and your house rarely has a decent lock on it
This becomes a major security risk. If your house isn’t zoned to allow the burglar alarm security system to be on at night, and you have an attached garage, it is major security flaw.
You don’t lock your doors at night
We all go through varying stages of sleep depth, and even light sleepers will not wake if you happen to be in the deepest stage of sleep when somebody breaks in. The lesson? Don’t assume that you can safely leave your doors unlocked at night because you think you’ll wake up to a noise.
  • You haven’t engraved or safe-protected your possessions
If a burglar does decide t stay after the burglar alarm security system goes off and grab what they can, they may still be deterred if you have engraved your name and address on your valuables. Any irreplaceable or non-engravable items should be stored in a safe.

For the best Alarm or security installation in the country, contact Pacific Security Technology.

10 Things You Should Know About Carbon monoxide house alarms systems

When most people think of a house alarm system, it’s intruders of the physical, human, nasty sort that they want to keep out! However, one of the largely unsung benefits of house alarm systems is their versatility. Many house alarm systems can be rigged to alert the security company (or other public service department) of fire, smoke, or medical emergency. An even more insidious intruder to guard against, though, is invisible … odourless, and silent. Carbon monoxide leaks can be devastating to your family’s health, and luckily there are carbon monoxide house alarm systems to help you avoid them. Here are the top ten things Pacific Security Technology think that you should know about carbon monoxide detectors.

1.    Not everybody needs a carbon monoxide house alarm system. If you don’t use gas appliances in your home and don’t have a garage adjoining the house, the levels of carbon monoxide in your home should be zero. We always advocate being safe over being sorry – but by the same token, if there is nothing to guard against, the money spent on a CO detector will be wasted.

2.    Carbon monoxide comes from gas appliances like:
– Indoor furnaces
– Gas powered space heaters
– Gas ovens and stove tops
– Gas powered hot water systems
– Some clothes dryers
Electric appliances do not create carbon monoxide as a by-product.

3.    However, if you do have gas appliances in your home, you could already be suffering from low-level carbon monoxide poisoning. It produces symptoms similar to a cold or flu; people suffering from it are easily tired, have mild headaches, and sometimes feel inexplicably nauseous.

4.    Carbon monoxide is toxic to the body because it binds to the oxygen sites on your red blood cells, meaning that your tissues can’t receive their normal amount of oxygen. You can imagine what this would do to your body, especially to sensitive brain tissues.

5.    Many carbon monoxide house alarm systems perform self-diagnostics, and have a standard sensor lifetime of around 6 years.

6.    Your CO detector can be linked to your standard house alarm system, so that if CO is detected and the alarm is not shut off within a specified period of time, the fire department or security company will attend the scene.

7.    CO detectors should be placed between 5 feet above ground level, up to ceiling level. CO is slightly lighter than air.

8.    Many carbon monoxide house alarm systems have a multi-stage warning system, so you’ll know if non-critical levels of carbon monoxide are detected, and be able to head off a problem with your appliance before it occurs.

9.    Just like regular house alarm systems, you may be eligible for a discount on your home and contents insurance if you have a CO detector installed. They are considered an environmental sensor.

10.    If you have babies, young children, immuno-compromised or elderly people in the house, you may want to consider getting more than one CO house alarm system. These groups are more sensitive to the effects of carbon monoxide – CO detectors are usually designed to protect healthy adults.

For more information on how we can help you create a safer environment at home, call 1300 660 445 for a free consultation.

                                             
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