Security Blog

Home Security – Knowing Your Entry Points

front-door

The pest control industry has a simple rule for keeping rats, mice and squirrels out of your home: Close up the entry points that allow these pests inside.

In the world of home security, we promote a similar strategy of understanding the common entry points that burglars use and securing them accordingly. Unfortunately, many burglary victims do not know what these entry points are until it is too late.

Keep in mind that there is no way to prevent a truly determined burglar from breaking into your home. There are things you can do that might cause a burglar to change their mind about entering your home, either because it’s too much work or it takes too long.

The most common entry points for burglars are:

  • First-floor front door (34%)
  • First-floor back door (22%)
  • Large first-floor window (23%)
  • Garage (9%)

If a burglar is unable to gain quick entry through one of these four entry points, they may resort to a basement window or a second-floor window accessible by way of a tree or nearby structure. The average homeowner can significantly reduce the risk of burglary by concentrating on securing all first-floor windows and doors.

Securing Entry Points

It may seem odd that burglars would try to enter your front door in plain view of anyone on the street. But this tells you exactly why it’s important to protect yourself: The front door is chosen because it is usually the easiest and fastest way in.

Burglars are criminals of opportunity. They want to get in quickly, find a few valuables, and get out without being noticed. An unprotected front door is a perfect entry point for quick entry and exit. By the way, a skilled burglar can be in and out of a home in less than seven minutes.

Your best defense is a double-keyed deadbolt lock. Deadbolt locks are difficult to force open without making a lot of noise. A double-keyed lock is even better because it prevents a burglar from breaking a window and reaching in to unlock it by hand.

As for your windows, do not trust the latches installed at the factory. Instead, buy window locks at your local hardware or security store. These are very affordable and surprisingly effective.

Your back door should also be locked by a double-keyed deadbolt, and your garage should be secured by an electric door opener. With all of these entry points secured, you can move on to installing block windows in the basement if the added peace of mind makes you more comfortable.

Tying It All Together

Deadbolts, window locks and block windows will slow down a burglar significantly. You can tie it all together – and continue to increase the chances that burglars will not hit your home – by installing a monitored home security system. Monitored home security ensures someone is always keeping an eye on your property. It also acts as an excellent deterrent because burglars know their activities are being monitored.

A basic system from a Monitronics dealer covers your first-floor doors and windows using sensors that communicate wirelessly with a central control panel. Even this minimal amount of basic protection is very effective in preventing home burglary. For even greater protection, you can add remote surveillance cameras and motion detectors. It all adds up to effectively keeping burglars away.

Sources:

  • A Secure Life – http://www.asecurelife.com/security-infographic/

What to do if you’re being stalked

What to do if you’re being stalked

If you’re being stalked, your feelings of home safety are probably compromised. It’s extremely unnerving to think someone is following you or targeting your home.

Maybe you’ve seen an unfamiliar car parked nearby, or maybe a person you don’t recognize has been walking down your street on a regular basis. You may have had repeated hang up calls on your phone or been sent inappropriate gifts. Or, even worse, someone you know won’t leave you alone, even though you’ve made it clear you want no further contact with him or her.

If you know you’re being stalked, there are some safety measures you can take to prevent yourself from being victimized.

Quickly report your stalker to the police. This can often put an end to his or her unwanted attention. Keep a log of incidents so that you’ll be armed with information the police need. If you have a home monitoring system from Monitronics, you can add an extra level of home safety, because if someone gets into your home, the police can be notified quickly.
Save any evidence of the stalking. Gifts, letters, messages or packages can all help the police to build a case and get your stalker out of your life. Additionally, if you have a restraining order, make copies and always have one on your person.
Never allow anyone to follow you home. If you feel you are being followed, go to a populated place rather than going home. Keep your address to yourself whenever possible, and familiarize yourself with businesses in your area that stay open all night. These can provide you with a safe place to go no matter what time you’re being followed.
Spread the news. Tell everyone that you’re being stalked, from friends and family to coworkers and neighbors. The more people who know, the less likely someone will be to make a mistake and give out information that could endanger you.
Consider a post office box. Having your mail sent somewhere other than your home address can protect your privacy and your home safety.
Install a monitored security system. A professional company like Monitronics knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. If your home safety is being threatened, knowing someone will be alerted and can get the police to you quickly is comforting.

 
It’s never good to feel your home safety has been threatened, but with some common sense measures and the support of home security monitoring from Monitronics, you can begin to feel secure again. Monitronics offers a wide range of home security packages, designed to provide the level of protection you need, whatever your situation may be. To learn more about our home safety and security packages, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Sources:
http://www.safehorizon.org/page/what-should-i-do-if-i-am-being-stalked-27.html

https://www.stalkingriskprofile.com/victim-support/stalking-in-the-workplace

http://www.safewise.com/blog/4-subtle-signs-your-home-is-being-targeted-by-burglars/

http://www.lifescript.com/well-being/articles/0/10_signs_that_you_are_being_stalked.aspx

Tips for Surviving a Home Invasion

home-invasion

It is the stuff of nightmares – being asleep in your bed only to be jolted awake by the sound of smashing glass and the door being kicked in. Then again, you do not even have to be asleep. You could be watching television or sitting quietly reading a book when criminals burst through the door and head straight for you.

Home invasion is a terrifying crime that is on the rise in America. According to a 2014 report from NBC’s Today show, there are approximately 135 home invasions across America every day. That amounts to nearly 50,000 annually. The worst part about it is the fact that home invasions tend to be extremely violent. Criminals depend on fear and intimidation to succeed, and the best way to employ them is through violence.

Surviving a home invasion boils down to knowing what could potentially happen and how to avoid it. Experts classify survival strategies in two categories: getting out and being held captive.

Getting Out

If possible, it’s best to get out of the house in the middle of a home invasion. According to NBC, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of escape. The first is to keep the key fob from your car close at hand. You can use it to set off your car alarm, which could startle your attacker just long enough for you to make a break for it. Second, they recommend keeping a can of wasp/hornet spray next to the bed. This spray can temporarily blind attackers, and you can accurately spray it from about 25 feet.

The third tip for getting out safely is to develop a plan with your family. The plan should enable you to gather as quickly as possible so you can leave together. This is no different than planning an escape route in the event of a fire. Experts also recommend sleeping with all the bedroom doors open to make implementing your plan easier and faster.

Being Held Captive

In the event that you cannot escape a home invasion, the most important thing you can do to survive is to cooperate. NBC interviewed a retired police detective and former hostage negotiator who suggests giving the intruders whatever they want. He also said that you should never lie to them about valuables or anything else they might be after because it could incite further violence.

A wireless monitored home security system is also a good idea. For starters, the risk of loud noise is often enough to deter criminals who want to pull off their crimes without drawing attention. In the event of a home invasion, security personnel at the monitoring center can hear exactly what is going on in your home through the two-way speaker in the control panel. You could let them know you are in trouble by using a preselected code term in the course of conversation with your attackers.

One last tip is to create a safe room to which you and your family members can escape in the event of an invasion. A safe room should include a spare cell phone and a lockable door. Should you decide to keep weapons in your home, be sure you know how to safely use them so as to not risk injury to yourself or your family.

Home invasion is a crime no one wants to experience. Please take the time to learn about it and how to survive an attack. You never know, it could happen to you.

Sources:

  • NBC – http://www.today.com/video/today/56009045

Training Police Dogs

Training Police Dogs

At Monitronics, we have a special regard for the police. They work hard to keep our homes and neighborhoods safe, and when you have a Monitronics security system, they can be quickly alerted when there is an emergency. In honor of National Police Week, which runs from May 10 through May 16, we’d like to thank some very special officers: the canine kind.

A police dog is often an officer’s best friend. Police dogs are specially selected breeds that are thoroughly trained for a wide range of duties: apprehending suspects, tracking missing persons, sniffing out drugs or explosives, participating in search and rescue operations, or just helping to keep the peace. Most police officers consider them valuable assets in the field.

Now consider the family dog. Faithful and loving companions, many often have double-duty as home security providers or even full-fledged guard dogs, favored over a remotely monitored security system. That’s not always the best course of action, since most dogs are ill equipped to handle a crisis. But there are still things you can do to make them useful as a first level of security.

Your dog may not be ready for extensive training, but Monitronics has a few tips from the experts to point your dog in the right direction.

First, your pooch needs to know the basics. Police dogs are trained to be highly focused and not distracted from the task at hand. So before your dog can help protect your home, he needs to be proficient at commands like sit, stay, down, and come. He also needs to be indifferent to other animals, so he won’t be tempted to chase a cat or squirrel when he’s got a job to do.
Obedience is key. Make sure your dog has clear rules to follow, like staying and waiting to be released before a meal, or sitting still for a toy to be thrown. Early introduction to obedience training will result in much better outcomes, especially for a true guard dog.
Sometimes, barking should be encouraged. Most of us automatically tell our dogs to be quiet when they bark. But if an intruder is approaching your house, barking may dissuade them from entering. Encourage your dogs to bark when someone comes to the house and you’ll have a basic level of protection against intrusion.
Many intruders will try to use a treat or food as a way to distract your dog. Train your dog to accept food only from you or other family members. That way, they’ll be more inclined to ignore the treat and focus on the intruder.

You may not need a dog to sniff out criminals or find missing persons, but it is possible to train your dog to help protect your home. Of course, a dog is no substitute for a monitored home security system. At Monitronics, our network of authorized dealers offers home security systems to fit every family’s needs and budget. To learn more about Monitronics home security systems, visit our website, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sources:

http://www.policeweek.org/

http://www.worldwidecanine.com/handlertraining.htm

http://www.uspcak9.com/training/enforcement.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Train-a-Dog-to-Guard-Your-Home

http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/guard-dog-training-and-selection.html

http://www.safessentials.com/Blog/how-effective-are-dogs-at-deterring-burglars/

Common Home Security Questions

homesecurityqanda

Keeping the homes of our customers as safe as possible is what Monitronics is all about. In order to do that, we routinely engage with our customers to answer their questions. We want them to be confident that their home security systems offer maximum protection.

Perhaps you have been thinking about monitored home security but have yet to make a decision. Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions and answers. The more you know about home security, the more prepared you will be to make an informed decision.

QUESTION: Is a home security system a 100 percent foolproof way to prevent burglary and home invasion?

ANSWER: No, it’s not. However, there no solution is 100 percent foolproof. A home security system is intended to be a deterrent by creating a lot of noise and letting a potential burglar know that a home is being monitored remotely. It is a very effective deterrent, by the way.

QUESTION: How much equipment do I need to an install?

ANSWER: Statistics show that the three most common entry points for burglars and home invaders are the front and back doors and large first-floor windows. A basic home security system will cover at least those entry points. If you feel that you need more protection, you can always add extra window sensors, surveillance cameras and motion detectors.

QUESTION: What are the most important rooms in the house to monitor?

ANSWER: The typical burglar heads straight to the master bedroom in the knowledge that it likely contains valuables that can be quickly sold. This is one room to protect with surveillance cameras. Other important rooms include the family room and dining room.

QUESTION: Is a monitored security system better than an unmonitored one?

ANSWER: Monitored home security is better than unmonitored security for three reasons. First, remote monitoring provides an extra set of ears and eyes monitoring your property 24 hours a day. Second, remote monitoring personnel enable faster response times by immediately contacting first responders in the event of an emergency. Finally, criminals are more likely to avoid a home with monitored security because they know their chances of being caught are greater.

QUESTION: Can I get monitoring for other things, or is burglary the only thing available?

ANSWER: Today’s modern home security systems start with burglary. From there, we can add monitoring for fire, carbon monoxide and flood. Monitronics offers medical monitoring as well. Medical monitoring enables seniors or those with chronic illnesses to get help fast in the event of a medical emergency.

QUESTION: Does the installation of a security system in an existing home require major construction?

ANSWER: Today’s home security is mainly wireless, thanks to cell phone signals and local Wi-Fi technology. There is no need to cut into your walls or connect to a landline telephone just to enjoy the benefits of home security. Systems can be installed in a matter of minutes, with the only regular maintenance being that of changing batteries on schedule.

Protect Your Home Today

Home security has come a long way over the last several decades. What used to be nothing more than a noisemaker has evolved into a technologically advanced system that offers you protection against a long list of possible threats. Even better, modern home security can be combined with home automation features to give you total control of your home from anywhere.

We invite you to learn more about Monitronics home security packages. Authorized Monitronics dealers in our nationwide network have a wide range of affordable hardware and monitoring packages.