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Learn More About Neighborhood Crime with our Interactive Report

neighborhood crime

It’s understood that buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. That’s why smart buyers consider a lengthy list of factors – everything from the age and condition of the home to the quality of the school district – before making an offer.

Buyers who want to dig deeper will learn more about the neighborhood, and not just what it looks like while they’re driving through it. Appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and that’s where we can help.

Monitronics offers a useful tool that looks below the surface by examining neighborhood crime reports. It’s our way of showing that we care about your safety and security, even when you’re beyond the reach of your home security system.

Using data from CrimeReports.com, we put together an up-to-date interactive map showing crimes that relate to the neighborhood around any given address, or in a particular ZIP code. Even if you’re already living in an area, it’s wise to understand any potential threats not just to homes, but to your kids who hang out with their friends down the street.

It’s a comprehensive list that shows not just residential and commercial property crimes such as burglary, or breaking and entering, but also:

  • Assaults (with or without a deadly weapon).
  • Weapons and drug offenses.
  • Robberies and theft, including vehicles that are stolen or broken into.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Sexual assault, as well as the location of registered sex offenders.

The list also includes the enforcement side of the equation, mapping out instances of proactive policing such as pedestrian stops and vehicle stops.

Understanding crime in your neighborhood isn’t just a great way to learn more about the home you want to move into, or the one you already live in. It’s not just about home security either. It’s figuring out how to protect yourself and your loved ones once you step out the front door.

How Does a Touchscreen Work?

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Monitronics customers enjoy being able to control their security and home automation systems with a touchscreen panel, as well as remotely through their smartphones and tablets. Whatever the use, touchscreens have become the standard for security systems because of their reliability, ease-of-use, and ability to create intuitive user interfaces.

Although scientists and engineers were working on touchscreen technology in the late 1960s and early 70s, widespread adoption did not occur until the introduction of the smartphone in early 2007. Prior to Apple’s iPhone, the touchscreens that did exist were limited to airline and military applications, and a small selection of video game consoles. Now they are everywhere.

Like other sophisticated technology, we use touchscreen devices so much that we take them for granted. You don’t need to know how it works in order to use it to protect your home or monitor your video, but it’s kind of fun to look beneath the surface (excuse the pun).

A Touch of Glass

Believe it or not, there are no fewer than 18 different touchscreen technologies. Device manufacturers can choose just one or combine multiple technologies for specific applications. The three most commonly used today are known as resistive, capacitive, and surface acoustic wave.

A resistive touchscreen is used on devices like home security panels, ATMs and in-flight entertainment screens. It monitors electrical current that flows between two panels. Imagine a single glass panel that is covered with a conductive layer with just enough space in-between for an electric current. Using pressure to touch the screen with your finger causes the conductive layer to make contact with the glass, interrupting the current in that one spot. That communicates the position of your finger on the panel to perform the appropriate command.

You’re probably carrying a capacitive touchscreen in your purse or pocket – on your smartphone. It works by reducing electrical current rather than interrupting it. A capacitive touchscreen consists of a glass panel and a second layer that stores the electrical current needed to detect movement. Touching the screen – without applying any special amount of pressure – causes a small amount of electricity to transfer into your finger, reducing the amount still in the device. Software can then pinpoint exactly where current is escaping.

Finally, surface acoustic wave technology utilizes sending and receiving transducers to measure an electrical signal that travels just underneath the glass panel. There are also reflectors in the glass that help keep track of the signal. Placing your finger on the glass interrupts the electrical signal; the interruption is detected and measured in an instant thanks to all of the reflectors in play. SAW technology is typically used for large-sized applications such as kiosks or medical equipment.

The Latest Technology

Monitronics is thrilled to be able to offer the latest home security and automation devices with touchscreen technology. Touchscreens are making the traditional “keypad” obsolete, increasing the adoption of home security and automation by making programming and modifying equipment easier than it has ever been before. Operating your system with the smartphone is a useful bonus.

If you would like more information about any of our touchscreen devices – or how to use your smartphone to control your system – contact us directly or get in touch with your local Monitronics authorized dealer. Find out how our technology can make your home safer and more efficient.

Texas Senator Credits Justice Reform for Lower Crime Rate

Texas Crime

In 2007, the state of Texas embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce crime rates by reforming the criminal justice system. As a result, crime throughout the state has dropped by more than 20 percent, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Writing in a recent Lufkin Daily News column, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that rethinking how the state looks at crime and sentencing has enabled lawmakers to find better ways to reduce crime and put fewer people in jail.

Texas legislators developed their new approach to crime by first taking a look at mental health, drug treatment, and parole and probation policies, Cornyn said. The thinking was that since the drug trade plays a huge role in fueling crime, addressing drug use would be a far better way to spend tax money designated for crime prevention.

They came up with a plan to invest in drug courts and treatment strategies instead of building new prisons with more beds. They began adopting improvements to the state corrections system that were based on verifiable evidence rather than conjecture. They found ways to integrate rehabilitation, restitution and reintegration strategies so that those in prison would have a greater chance of succeeding once they got out.

Looking at the Numbers

Other states have adopted similar measures with varying levels of success. For example, Pew data showed that Georgia and South Carolina have crime reductions of 11 percent and 14 percent respectively, along with North Carolina at 20 percent.

We imagine the significant reduction in crime in Texas goes a long way toward making state residents feel a lot safer. The same goes for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Whenever crime rates go down, people tend to be less fearful that they will eventually become victims themselves.

Take Personal Responsibility

Lower crime rates are always welcome news, but even the best-laid plans for criminal justice reform can only go so far. There will always be people who choose to engage in criminal activity, so individual citizens must still do their part by taking every step they can to protect themselves.

It all starts with a home security system that includes 24-hour live monitoring. Statistics show that monitored home security acts as a deterrent, since studies show that houses with monitored alarm systems are less likely to be targets of property crimes.

Homeowners can also increase their home security by installing heavy-duty door and window locks, making sure their homes have adequate lighting, and keeping exteriors well-maintained in order to provide a good view from the street.

Crime in Texas and a few other states is falling significantly thanks to a new approach to criminal justice. Hopefully that will continue across the country in the years ahead. In the meantime, Monitronics is committed to keeping our customers safe with the latest in home security equipment and monitoring packages.

Sources:

  1. Lufkin Daily News – http://lufkindailynews.com/news/community/article_f51ea710-3990-11e6-8d6b-7b18e7ca1d9a.html

Buyers Clamor for Move-In Ready Homes with the Best Home Automation

best home automation

Dallas-based Parks Associates, a research and consulting firm that keeps a finger of the pulse of the home security and smart-home industry, has collaborated once more with Coldwell Banker Real Estate on another study examining the growing connection between home buyers and the demand for the best smart-home technology.

The latest research shows that out of 1,250 U.S. adults who have home broadband Internet access, 71 percent want a move-in ready home. But that’s not all: While the definition of “move-in ready” has traditionally included updated kitchens and bathrooms, new appliances and other improvements, 44 percent said they believe that home automation equipment should already be installed.

Finding the best home automation

The lesson from the Parks/Coldwell Banker research is clear: Home automation is likely to get the attention of potential buyers, particularly in markets like Florida and Texas where homes are in heavy demand. Investing in the best smart-home technology is likely to be money well spent.

“We have entered a realm where home buyers are demanding smart homes,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker. “This is a shift from the previous thinking about what constitutes a move-in ready home. It’s a defining moment for real estate.”

Peter Tonti, Monitronics’ vice president of Product Marketing, said the research confirms why we have become more than just a security provider.

“Consumers want the best home automation technology to make their homes more secure and also make their lives easier,” he said. “Security is the centerpiece, but we’re seeing more demand for things like voice-activated systems like Amazon’s Echo, or easy-to-use devices that address specific needs instead of just being cool gadgets. That’s why our systems integrate with Echo, and also why devices like the SkyBell HD video doorbell are popular with many of our customers.”

Moving away from “fixer-uppers”

The research also underscores that home buyers are starting to turn their attention away from homes that require a little TLC, and make the move-in as easy as possible. The main objective now is trying to keep the to-do list as short as possible.

At Monitronics, we do our part by offering a free “Move program” for our customers, installing a security system in your new home at no charge to you. If your home is move-in ready and already has a home security system, we can also work with you to get service started, and bring your system up to date if necessary.

Monitronics Raises $25,000 for Mission 500 through Moni 5K for Children

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Monitronics has a proud history of supporting the nonprofit organization Mission 500, and the latest chapter took place on Saturday, Aug. 6, at our headquarters in Farmers Branch, Texas. We partnered with Mission 500, along with Title One schools, for the inaugural Moni 5K for Children.

In this case, 5K equaled 25K: The event raised $25,000 for Mission 500, which has worked closely with the security industry since 2007 to serve the needs of children and communities in crisis.

More than 300 runners participated in the race, which culminated in an awards ceremony. The top three male and female finishers received trophies and cash prizes:

  • First place: Ben Chesang and Kelsey Bruce ($1,000 each)
  • Second place: John Valentine and Lauren Versweyweld ($750 each)
  • Third place: Clint Bell and Anna Salazar ($500 each)

Our employees have always been known for pitching in for a worthy cause, and the race was no exception. Dozens of Moni employees ran in the event, while many others contributed a huge chunk of their time to volunteer. The event also got a boost from an appearance by Bill Rodgers, an American icon among runners and a four-time Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon winner.

The Moni 5K had its genesis last spring when 17-year-old Brock Gardner expressed interest in doing a service project. A race was a natural fit since Brock’s dad, CEO Jeff Gardner, has been running and helping to sponsor races for years. Working together, and also with employees across the organization, everyone created a successful event that will continue beyond this year.

“The race is an important cause for Monitronics,” Jeff said. “It not only brings our community together, but it provides much needed resources and support for children in need. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Mission 500 to expand this event for years to come.”

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