Saturday, December 27, 2008

North Carolina Sex offender Alert Over the Phone

The middle-aged guy with the balding hair, glasses and pot belly although cordial could be the next mark on Dateline’s To Catch a Predator. From the confines of his home, in the dark, illuminated only by the glow of the computer monitor he trolls the internet in search of underage girls or boys to fulfill his sick and twisted fantasies. In the state of North Carolina convicted sex offenders are required to register with the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry. This site has the current or last known address of the sex offender, photo, and charges the offender was convicted. The sex offender allows concerned citizens to search to see how sex offenders live within a certain geographic radius of their home. Many people, due to busy schedules and limited internet access, now have a new solution: alert by phone of new sex offenders that move into the community. To be alerted by phone call 877-627-2826 or visit www.ncsavan.org.
Awareness of a potential threat to your family’s safety is only the beginning. Taking effective action is the most important thing a person can do.
• Educate children about bad people.
• Educate children about appropriate touching.
• Educate children not to take things from strangers.
• Educate children not to go anywhere with a stranger
• Monitor internet use
• Tell children not to open the door to strangers
• Tell children to never tell a stranger that they are home alone.
• Install surveillance cameras to observe any suspicious activity
• Install a home security system to monitor access control
• Be observant and use neighborhood watch effectively

Children and teens are a priceless and irreplaceable commodity and their safety can never be left to chance. Single mothers and single women should also take note of sex offenders living within their community. Use of the phone alert system along with the above listed security measures will go along way in making sure you remain safe. If you find this information of use pass it on to others you think will benefit from it.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Burglar proofing your trash-Home security tips you may not know


Criminals are watching your trash and the security of your home is at risk as result. Boxes that were used to house electronic items like Plasma Televisions, stereo systems, computers and video game systems are broken down and cavalierly left at the curb for the recycle or trash disposal to carry away. A vigilante burglar drives by and sees the make and model of your brand new treasure. He or she observes the cars and looks for vulnerabilities in the home that can be used to gain access. Things criminals may look for:
• High bushes that cover windows
• Doors without deadbolts
• Ladders lying on the side of a home that are unsecure
• Crawlspaces with no locks
• Homes with fences and no dogs
• Homes without security systems
• Homes that sit back from the road
• Homes with the back to the woods
The best solution to protect burglars from searching your trash is to never leave it for the trash man to take.
• Carry your boxes to the dump yourself.
• If you have a fireplace, burn the boxes.
• Leave the boxes at the store and wrap the items in a blanket and secure it with packing tape.
• Perform a home safety physical to address issues that may make your home a target.
By taking the necessary precautions you will greatly reduce the risk of being the victim of an opportunistic burglar. For additional information on home safety check out the violence and injury prevention unit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa’s Wrap Sheet


By Jim McNeely

We should not praise jolly Saint Nick
For he is a criminal that was his stick.
A gangster, overlord of criminal enterprise
With a gang of elves, the perfect size
To slide down chimneys like a laundry chute
Ransack homes and pawn broker the loot.
Targeting homes by ADT, CPI and Brinks
With No second level security protection, cause their consultants were finks
Then they got greedy and chose a home protected by Vector
With a security system so complete it was the ultimate protector
Now Saint Nick is convicted and serves life at the North Pole
Making toys for children to pay back what he stole.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lack of a Data Recovery/Offsite Computer Backup System Lands victim in Jail


Failure to implement an offsite computer backup or data recovery system is not an actual crime, but can easily land a business owner into financial upheaval and economic ruin, which is its own short of prison sentence. The life essence of businesses are their client files, databases, spread sheets, sales proposals, tax records, payroll and accounting information, and event and day organizers. When a business find itself a victim of a fire, natural disaster or major theft, insurance will replace the computers but not what is on them. The data located on the computers are what gives these devices their real value. If critical data can not be recovered the business could go from successful and profitable to destitute and bankrupt. Therefore, it is necessary to implement the best possible data and computer backup service possible.
Two backup services that provide excellent value and exceptional features are offered by Guardiant and C-Support INC. Stephen Norman-Scott, Vice President of Internet sales for C-support, recently spoke at a BNI meeting where he stated that many business owners don’t understand that they are placing their livelihood in jeopardy by not having a backup service. Often he has found that many businesses rely on an employee to back-up data. Employees often forget to perform the backup which is one of the problems with corporate data backup. The other problems are in backup systems used. Often the methods used are either to an external hard drive, CD or antiquated tape drive systems. These outdated methods are unreliable and still leave the business at risk. C-Support Inc has one of the best starting points for an offsite backup service, with business plans beginning at $10.95 per month for 2GB of data and only $1per month more for each additional GB. Plans for home use begin at $10.95 per month for 5GB of data and Fifty cents more for each additional GB. C-Support does not charge additional fees for data recovery.
Bob Ross, , vice president of sales, Guardiant Assurance, states that many backup services on the market entice clients with cheap backup rates and then charge astronomical rates for data recovery. The Guardiant backup system, like C-support, does not charge for data recovery. However, they provide a very unique feature in backing up not only the data but also the entire hard drive, which includes the computer operating system, along with all the programs, applications and settings. Should a business be in the unfortunate situation of having to recover data where they must replace the computers, Guardiant can reload the exact image of the hard drive and have the business fully operational in a very short time. Disaster recovery is not a novel concept but a necessity. From a security standpoint all data that is transferred every fifteen minutes is encrypted where it can not be stolen by internet hackers. This is a prerequisite of all good backup services. Equally necessary is a system to redundantly store the backed up data. Both Guardiant and C-Support offer these features. Guardiant have plans for businesses that will restore the operating system, programs and all files with unlimited storage for $34 per month per computer or a server for $500 annually for up to 100GB and twenty-five cents additional for each GB.
Back-up should also include the security system if there is a camera system that is IP addressable. Having a camera system that records to a hard drive that is not backed up properly can leave your company exposed. The hard drive is located inside of the DVR. After a period of time all hard drives fail, so it is necessary to have them properly backed up. Most businesses don’t because it was never explained to them by the alarm company to do so. If perpetrators breach your security system and manage to steal the DVR that the cameras record to there will be no crime stopper footage and the money invested in a camera system would be a waste. For information on surveillance and CCTV camera back-up call 919-949-9690 or go to http://www.whensafetymatters.com. No business wants to be a victim, but proper planning in advance will lead to a much faster recovery. For additional information on C-Support call 919-544-7916. Additional information on Guardiant services call 919-968-0130.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paris Hilton can lead a simpler life after recent burglary


According to published reports heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune, Paris Hilton, was the unfortunate victim of a burglary at her Hollywood hills mansion during the early morning hours on Friday December 19, 2008. The burglary was reported by Hilton’s onsite security guard. It is alleged that a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and gloves broke through the front door and made off with over two million dollars in jewelry. Hilton was not a home at the time.
Sadly this caper smells like an inside job. How could a burglar dressed like a stereotypical suspect get past a gated wall, have time to break through the front door and then have ample time to located and steal two million dollars of jewels. The vague description of the suspect must have been captured on her surveillance cameras. Why wasn’t it caught immediately? Whatever Paris is paying for security guards is too much. A simple security system with an audible alarm tied to a monitoring center would have been far more proficient than a security guard that was either asleep or watching reruns of the simple life. If Paris is considering revamping her security and needs a security consultant, I am available for hire. Please direct her to my website at http://www.whensafetymatters.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kind Heart Leads to 911 Call and Long Dirt Nap


Paulette Locklear age 64 of Cumberland County made one final call. One year short of collecting full Social Security benefits and nine days before Christmas her final words to anyone other than her killer were to a 911 officer. Sadly, EMS did not arrive in time to save her life. Miss Locklear had hired a homeless man, 45 year old Julio Cesar Ramos, to do work around her home, and this is the individual that the authorities have arrested. According to an article listed on the WTVD website, friends of Miss Locklear claim that she appeared to be beaten to death. There was also evidence that the back windows and door had been broken out. Law enforcement could not find anything missing so they do not know if robbery was a motive. Miss Locklear should still be amongst the living; but we can only surmise that her kind heart led to her demise. It is doubtful when she hired this homeless man that she performed a criminal background check on him. This is something that she should have done before hiring him, and it goes without saying before allowing him to stay in the home, as she had done according to witnesses. She most likely saw someone in need and looked at the blessing that she had and knew that sharing them with someone less fortunate was the right thing to do. Criminals are myopic and often take kindness for weakness. With drug dependencies to fund they don’t consider the past good that someone has extended. They are only concerned about what can you do for me now. Let us not allow the death of Paulette Locklear be in vain. Let us use her death to get more funding to track probationers and get criminals and drug abusers off the streets. Questions no longer remain as to whether Julio Ramos was a legal citizen, he was not. Since he is not and is in the country illegally it emphasizes the need for more funding to secure US borders and properly screen individuals entering the country.
Citizens everywhere must not wait on law enforcement to receive this funding because it will likely take years. It is vital that neighborhood watch programs become more active. People should take a more active approach in the safety of their own neighborhoods and homes. It is hard to say whether a security system with a panic alert and two-way voice would have prevented this but it might have. Miss Locklear most likely had to fight her way to the phone to dial 911. The 911 call does not trigger an audible siren that may have alerted neighbors to her impending distress. These simple and affordable items would at least deter if not prevent home invasions and other acts of violence such as this. Let Miss Locklear’s death serve as a sobering reminder that bad people walk amongst us and we must use every available resource to not be sheep blindly taken to slaughter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Probationers put general public at risk

Arrested at last! Arrested at last! Thank God almighty, that Stephen Peter Sylvester has been arrested at last. Sylvester was arrested during the week of December 11, 2008 and charged with 11 local armed robberies of restaurants and convenience stores in Raleigh, NC. Sylvester terrorized local businesses while serving three concurrent probation sentences totaling 30 months. He had convictions for armed robbery, felony breaking and entering and driving while impaired. The suspects in the death of Duke Graduate Student Abhijit Mahato and UNC student body president Eve Carson were both on probation at the time of the slayings. America is the land of second changes, but what chance does the public have when repeat offenders are sprung free with minimal supervision and allowed to walk carefree amongst law abiding citizens. There are no signs alerting civilians that they are at risk. There are no public address systems announcing that a menace to society is within 100 yards. Probationers are not required to wear a scarlet letter. The legal system, with its overworked and under trained probation officers, has little chance of curtailing such a rapidly escalating problem. North Carolina has had 580 murders committed by probationers since 2000 according a report in the News and Observer.
The answer to the problem may be in new technology and increased funds to make it happen. Eugene Brown, Durham city councilman and Ellen Reckhow, Durham County Commissioner have written a letter to North Carolina Governor, Mike Easley stressing the dire need for this funding. Twenty percent of all Durham, NC probationers are unaccounted for. The new NC AWARE program that provides quicker notice of when a probationer has new warrants and the time it is available to state law enforcement officers may help, but it is not the answer. The probationer has already offended again and that means that in many cases others in society have been irreversibly harmed. NC AWARE may be a good system to track probationers already walking the streets. The real question is how to prevent a new crop of probationer from joining them. The answer may lie in passing legislation that eliminates probation as a sentencing option. Citizens can no longer turn a blind eye to crime. Implementing new programs takes time, but the threats are already presenting a clear and present danger.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home invaders Bum Rush Teens with Shoddy Security System


Two teenagers found out the hard way that things aren’t always the way they appear. In Queens, NY two brazen crooks posing as New York City police officers serving a search warrant pushed their way into a home and tied up two teenagers fifteen and seventeen. The Home invaders stole perfume, a cell phone and a hard drive to the security system. These events occurred Dec 2, 2008 at around 6:00pm according to a news feature done by WABC-TV New York, NY. Sadly these things happen and people wonder what could have been done differently to change the outcome. Children left at home, even teenagers should never answer the door to strangers even the police. When in doubt dial 911 so the call can be recorded. This can even be done with a cell phone that doesn’t currently have service but has a SIM chip inside. Tell the 911 officer what is happening and the address. Another eyebrow raising fact given in this story was that a hard drive to the home security or alarm system was stole.
There are no hard drives in home security or burglar systems. CCTV or Video Monitoring or surveillance systems that are connected to a computer or DVR would have a hard drive, but there was no mention of a camera system. If there was indeed a camera system that was IP networked and connected over a high speed internet connection the video feed could have been stored to an offsite server and there would be video footage of these neighborhood terrorists. It appears that the family attempted to provide some measure of safety but they had the design backwards. If the family had a security system and it was armed in the stay mode and set to instant it would have called the true authorities when the invaders came through the door. The loud noise of the siren would have also attracted attention. Neighbors would have come outside to see what was happening. But according to the news report, the system that was in place was nonfunctional.
This type of situation could happen anywhere including Raleigh or Durham North Carolina. It is not limited a big city like NEW York, NY. In tough economic times crime will increase and criminals will become more brazen. With the rise of gangs in small cities, home invasions will become more prevalent. Now is the time to establish a security method for your family. Now is the time to make sure that you have the correct security or life safety equipment installed in your home. Several factors to consider: make sure your alarm system is up to date and has two-way voice monitoring, which allows the monitoring call center to hear alarm events in real time over a speaker microphone connected to the alarm panel, and a cellular GSM backup incase the phone line is cut. Make sure that the security system has an automatic test feature to report malfunctions with the system to the monitoring center. Finding out during a crisis that the alarm does not work may be good for a lawsuit but not to save your life. Also test your alarm system by letting it go off then go and turn it off. See how long it takes for the security company to call you. Often times they won’t because of an installed dialer delay that can be as long as a minute and a half. What good does that do you when you are forced into your home at gun point? Homeowners with additional questions or comments are invited to respond. Additional information regarding safety measures can be found at http://www.whensafetymatters.com.












Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top Reasons to Update Your Alarm System

Your home or business security system is not a bottle of wine, it doesn’t get better with time-just more vulnerable. Alarm systems are designed to protect against the present threats that existed at the time of their creation. The first lock makers designed locks that were big and cumbersome but the design was to keep criminals from easily opening something that needed to be secure. In a short period of time criminals and escape artists like Harry Houdini learned to circumvent these devices with precision and speed. Lock technology has improved to include dead bolts and burglars now teach the simple art of bump key making on youtube. Home security systems used to be operated by a simple on/off toggle switch. The criminals evolved and learned to get around these systems as well. Alarm manufacturers developed keypads so it would harder for criminals. Burglars are resilient, so back to studying and research they went. After careful study they began targeting the communication apparatus of the security systems. A quick snip with bolt cutters on the phone line and the system could no longer call the police.
Necessity is the mother of invention, so the new integrated GSM cell module was invented allowing the security devices to protect the communication method with the central station. Most systems over 3 years old do not have this feature making them vulnerable to burglar tampering and diffusion. Systems that had a feature similar to this are operating on analogue mode which will be obsolete in February of 2009. Another major reason to upgrade your security system is the lack of monthly reporting on these systems. System reporting is the ability for the security panel to send a complete system diagnostic to the monitoring call center to assure that the alarm system is working properly. Without this feature clients may continuously bypass a certain zone that indicated trouble in the LCD readout box of the keypad the alarm monitoring facility would have no record and would not be able to schedule a required service.
Another reason to consider a system upgrade is if you have changed phone service providers. Many of the new VOIP (Voice over IP) phone systems are not compatible with older security system interfaces. Advanced technology like the Honeywell Total Connect system will allow a homeowner or business professional the flexibility of operating their alarm system over a high speed internet connection supported by GSM cellular backup. With crime on the rise and criminals getting advanced degrees in their level of sophistication it is imperative that security system users have easy access to new technology and ways to implement it. However, this is not the case.
Many security clients have no contact with their alarm company unless there is a problem with the monthly bill. New technology is not made readily available to existing clients that could benefit the customer’s life safety. So long as the monthly bill gets paid the alarm company is not concerned. When clients face rate increases along with poor service it should be inevitable that they look for a better solution. The solutions are out there and many of the answers a concerned person my have can be found at http://whensafetymatters.com . Criminals don’t wait to act, so neither should you. Staying one or two steps ahead of the bad guys is a matter of education and application. Don’t allow a false sense of security to lure you into a burglars trap.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

North Carolina’s Dangerous Alarm Licensing Loophole


Citizens of North Carolina should beware their safety could be placed at risk by alarm companies more interested in profit than public safety. Security System and Alarm Companies in North Carolina are required by law to register each new applicant within twenty days of their hire date. All applicants are required to submit finger prints and a criminal background check from the counties they have live in over the past 48 months. The intent of this law is to protect the general public from having a convicted criminal sell you an alarm system. The alarm board allows twenty days for applicant’s paperwork to be submitted to give the companies adequate time to get everything processed and mailed to the board for approval. Many alarm and security system installation companies abuse this provision by allowing applicants to go into people’s homes before they know if the person has a criminal background or not. In cases where the applicant has moved from another state and applies to work for a North Carolina Alarm Company the applicant is required to submit a criminal background for their current county they reside, immediately. The applicant must send off for the other criminal background checks for addresses they have lived at over the past 48 months and submit them with their paperwork to the board. This must be done within twenty days. According to the provisions of the alarm board of North Carolina, an applicant can file for an extension for ten days, and as much as 40 days if they are military and lived overseas. There is a delay from the time that the board receives the paperwork and reviews it. Due to the backlog of applicant filings this may take several months. A criminal could easily work in the alarm industry for twenty to ninety days before being required by law to stop. Another reason some alarm companies attempt to skirt the licensing requirements is due to the fact that each new application must be accompanied with a $45 application fee. Due to the one or two day factory training methods of many alarm and security companies and the commission only compensation plans these companies do not want to invest in employees who they know are not likely to be employed even two weeks later.
Companies like ADT who use the opportunity knocks program where they hire people under the false pretence of general labor to empty a warehouse, and Apex Security, that recruits college students from other states to peddle their wares, are some of the biggest offenders. Homeowners considering a home security should not only check on the security company to make sure it is licensed but should also require the actual badge from the alarm licensing board. The yellow paper that proves that the paperwork has been submitted is not enough, because you could still be face to face with a convicted felon. No one would knowingly allow a burglar or sex offender in their home. The current alarm licensing procedure needs to be overhauled, requiring actual approval from the board before an applicant can work. This will assure greater protection for the public at large.
When considering an alarm or security system in North Carolina, know who you are dealing with. Search online for information about that individual. If they are a professional you will be able to find them on linkedin.com. Ask for their current North Carolina Alarm license. Check the Better Business Bureau and ask for references. When it comes to the safety and security of a family or business you should demand accountability for, competence, and professionalism. A person would never trust a doctor with two days or one week training and a suspect license to operate on them. A security or burglar alarm protects the lives of those you care about the most and trusting their safety to a novice with questionable credentials shouldn’t be done either.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Husband and Wife Burglars Use Classic Rouse to score Guns and Jewelry


Homeowners beware, a knock on the door by a pleasant young woman to see if you’re their. If you answer the door she will tell you a heart wrenching tale of how she’s looking for a lost puppy. If no one answers, her husband and partner unlawfully enters through the back door. They are looking for two things, gun and jewelry. This classic rouse worked like a charm in over 60 break-ins in Troy, Missouri. Kibb Patrick Howard 27 and Karla Kay Howard 26 worked the break-in circuit like a steady job and sold their stolen merchandise to a local jewelry store owner, Michael Karl Sifrit 42, who then sold the items on eBay. This husband and wife might still be in business if not for the stupidity of Sifrit. Selling stolen items on eBay is like going straight to the police station and selling the stolen out the back of van. EBay is the first place next to the pawn shop that police will go to investigate stolen goods. It’s great that this trio is off the street because people work far too hard to get what they have to have it taken away by burglars looking for an easy score to feed a drug addiction.
Police confiscated over 100 weapons and other items at Sifrit’s home when he was taken into custody. According to police, Michael Sifrit bought as many as 500 stolen weapons. Kibb and Karla confessed that they broke into homes in as many as five counties. The Break-ins were for the sole purpose of fueling a heroine addiction. These events could happen in any community throughout the United States. Burglaries happen on average of one every 12 seconds. The Rouse that was used is as old as the hills. There are several conclusions that can be taken from this most recent news story. Drug addicts will look for easy ways to gain cash and breaking into houses seems easy. Homeowners obviously are not doing enough to secure their homes and guns. Guns in the hands of criminals, puts everyone at risk. This can be deterred when homeowners follow some simple home safety tips.
• If someone one comes to your door with a fishy story, get a good description of them and call the police.
• Protect your home when you are away by making access hard.
• Place a door jammer on your back doors.
• Install windows with night lashes to prevent them from being raised past a certain height.
• Don’t leave ladders unsecured, where a criminal can use to gain access to a second story.
• Make sure you have dead bolts installed on all doors.
• Install a monitored home security system with cell back-up.
• Have guns secured in a gun safe that is secured to the studs of the wall or floor.
Install security cameras on the exterior of the home.
• Never be lax on security issues.
Written by Jim McNeely

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Guns in The Hands of Criminals-Who's to blame?


On Friday December 5, 2008 the national coalition of mayors released a report ranking the top ten states responsible of the exportation of illegal guns shipped across state lines and used in the commission of crime. The report concluded that North Carolina has the dubious distinction of ranking tenth. West Virginia came in first as the leading exporter with 41 traced guns per 100,000 state residents. They were followed by Mississippi with 39 guns; South Carolina takes the bronze at 31 illegal guns exported. The report titled ‘The Movement of Illegal Guns in America: The Link between Gun laws and Interstate Trafficking” reports Kentucky 4th, Alabama 5th, Virginia 6th, Georgia 7th, Indiana 8th, and Nevada 9th. One of the major questions often asked, is how convicted felons, people mentally impaired and underage kids can procure weapons which are used in the commission of crimes? One of the main ways is through a loophole that circumvents the Brady Law passed in 1994 that requires firearm dealers to have a current federal firearms license and perform a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). When guns are sold at gun shows, non licensees are not required to report to NICS because they are selling from their private stock. This allows criminals to purchase guns without going through any background check. This is a loophole that leaves the general public at great risk. Also disturbing is the fact that only nine states have instituted legislation to close the loophole in the Brady Law.
Another contributing factor is the theft of guns from private residences according to South Carolina State Rep, Mike Pitts. Mr. Pitts believes that it is not the lax guns laws that create the conditions that keep guns in the hands of criminals, but the criminals that burglarize homes to procure an arsenal which they sell across state lines for higher profits. Both sides are responsible. It can easily be argued that many gun owners do not take the necessary steps to protect their firearms. With the danger these weapons pose in the hands of criminals, gun owners can not simply purchase a gun for protection and trust a simple door lock to protect it when they are away. Savvy criminals can easily get past a deadbolt by simply kicking the door in or using a bump key or homemade master key. If the gun owner does not have a security system to provide perimeter protection and police notification of unlawful entry along with a gun safe that is secured to the studs in the floor they have not taken the reasonable and necessary measures to keep these weapons from the criminals that want them so desperately. We can not expect the police to get all the illegal guns off the street, when some of these weapons never would have reached the street if the legislation loopholes were closed and gun owners more responsible.







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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Should MySpace and Facebook be used to Profile Potential Societal Threats?



"I can imagine a world of love, peace and no wars. Then, I imagine myself attacking that place because they would never expect it." These are words written by Ryan Patrick Hare, one of four Panther Creek High School students charged with the murder of Matthew Silliman, on his MySpace page. Hare, 18 along with Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, Aadil Shahid Khan, 17, and Drew Logan Shaw, 16, were arrested Wednesday and are being held in the Wake County jail. All four teens have been denied bond. Khan’s MySpace page describes himself as an anarchist that does not fit into any social group. These types of expressions pulled from the pages of social media sites like MySpace and Facebook after a horrific crime has occurred could have easily been identified earlier and possibly prevented the senseless death of Matthew Silliman. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. It is easy to go over a person’s profile after they have committed an act so heinous that it draws the attention it appears that they are craving. The two boys quoted earlier had their comments open for public viewing. Words have power and, “death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21. Who, in their social network, was responsible for alerting someone that could help? Was it the parents, coaches, counselors or police? Maybe it was the community but why didn’t we act?
Many parents that are old enough to have children that are in their late teens have no interest in MySpace or Facebook. The internet for many people in that age group is for online banking, consumer research, product purchases, checking sports sites like ESPN and checking email. This has to change. We can not expect teenagers to say to their parents, counselors, and coaches what they will say freely to their friends. This insight is freely expressed online because it is the last place they expect their parents to go. Children and young adults can develop such a connection with the online communities that they can not live without them. This was the case with a Mesa, Arizona teenager who murdered his father because his access to MySpace was limited. In the past it was said that it takes a village to raise a child. The village has now gone cyber and parents are on the outside looking in along with the guidance counselors and coaches. In the movie the Matrix, Neo along with the other characters looked different once they entered the matrix or cyberspace. Once inside the matrix they became the internal reflection of themselves that was not manifested in the real world. I encourage parents, pastors, teachers, counselors, coaches and concerned neighbors to enter into the MySpace world and educate themselves about the real people behind the facades that live amongst them. If we learn without condemning and express a concerned view, we may be able to prevent the next catastrophe.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Operation hello neighbor is not enough!


Cary police began a campaign on yesterday called operation hello neighbor where a police officer goes to neighborhoods and inform residents about the risks they take in leaving their garage doors open and items of value left in plain view in their cars. This is being done because Cary has had 35 garage thefts that they are reporting. This campaign looks good on the outside but it is not enough. Many of the residents of Cary falsely believe that they are immune to crime. Crime happens in places like Durham. Cary is special. It can’t happen to us! A false sense of security is the worst thing that can happen to a community. Criminals aren’t cartoon characters wearing black cat suits and stocking caps slinking around in the dark. Criminal, especially burglars, look like they belong in the communities they hit. They are not going to be the stereotypical thug that Cary residents envision. These criminals will look at stories like operation hello neighbor and know that leopards don’t change their stripes overnight. This is what will make the town of Cary, NC a target for criminal activity. Until the people of Cary have a wake-up call there will be no reason for them to change. A wise man once said that is better to learn from the mistakes of others than to have to experience the mistakes for yourself. Cary residents take the advice of the officers that come to your door.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Secrets of Home Security Exposed? Criminals Do Their Research So Should You!



No one ever plans to attract the eye of a wandering burglar who, like a lion, paces to and fro searching for someone to devour. All too often it’s what you never planned for which makes you look so attractive. Burglars are hunters in the sense that they look for the common habits of their prey. They observe the habitat, and patterns of activity. They observe seemingly small things that give them insight as to what is in the home. They simply exploit weaknesses and use the element of surprise to their advantage. The number one thing most people do wrong is that they assume that crime can not happen to them. They don’t see themselves as the hunted so they are not alert. They move around carefree and unlike the deer in the wild, their ears are not tweaked to hear the subtle sounds of possible threats.
In order to protect yourself and family a change of attitude is necessary. Realize that you must be proactive. Make sure that you don’t make yourself a victim. Never leave items of value in plain site in your car or in your home. As a life safety specialist for Vector Security’s top dealer, I have driven through far too many neighborhoods where the garage door was wide open and tools and other items of value were on full display. Far too many homes don’t have motion lights in the front of the home. When the time changes in fall, it gets dark much quicker and large trees and bushes provide a great cover for a burglar or home invader lurking like a lion. With motion lighting these hiding places would be exposed. It is always important to be observant as you exit your car. Look for anything that may be wrong. Don’t be distracted by your cell phone. If you are on the phone, take a moment to look around and then resume your conversation. If you have children, never let them run ahead inside the home before you enter. You may be putting them at risk.
If you do not have an alarm or security system installed in your home a burglar may be inside the home and you would not know it because they entered through the back. Lions always attack from the weak or blind side. If you let the child run ahead of you he or she may encounter the intruder and his or her life is now at risk. Enter first and be observant. Have a good led keychain light so you can look around as you go in to flip on the lights. If you can afford to leave a light on, do it. You can set lights up on timers so that they will come on at a specified time. The next item may be controversial, but it’s true. IF you have a basic security system that is over 3 years old do not trust it. Like all things new technology makes older systems obsolete. Criminals adapt! Many alarm companies that direct market their services door to door only offer a basic alarm package that includes a few door contacts and a motion detector. Burglars may be aware of this fact and are likely to target these homes because they have a blue print as to how to defeat them. There is a class action lawsuit against ADT the largest security company in the country, which alleges that criminals specifically target their company because of the aforementioned fact. Let’s face facts, criminals are not stupid. They play the risk verses reward game. If they believe that the risk of being caught is minimal then they are inclined to strike. There is one main area these criminals are looking to gain access to, the master bedroom.
Criminals know that the master bedroom is the location where they are most likely to find guns, money and jewelry. How many homes have security devices, such as window contacts, motion detectors or glass break detectors in the master bedroom? The answer is very few. Is your home a two–story home? If it is then the bedrooms are likely to be on the second level. Many security companies will not discuss or provide security measures for the second story. Yet if that is the place the burglars are looking to gain access to: they can easily do it without setting of the security systems because they enter through a window using an unsecure ladder they found possibly at your home or at a neighbor’s. If they leave the same they came without venturing further into the home it leaves you at a very high risk. What would happen if you entered while the criminal was still inside? The first place you would go is to the alarm panel to deactivate it. Once the system is off the criminal now has the ability to move freely. You don’t know he or she is there and you are at a huge disadvantage. Don’t take this risk! Have a reputable alarm company install security devices on the second floor. As I advise my home security clients in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Goldsboro, North Carolina taking this risk is far too great. You can replace items but not human life. The final item we will discuss is the area burglars like to target most on a security system. The number one area criminals want to target on a security system is the communication system or the phone line. If a criminal can disrupt communication to the central station they are over 75% certain of going undetected because even a child can defeat some of the entry level sirens installed with many free alarm systems.
One thing you can do to protect your phone line is to have a tamper switch installed and have the exterior phone box covered with a secure metal housing and the wire leading to I armor plated. The best way to protect the phone line is to have a cellular (GSM) module back-up system installed. One company, Power Home Technologies, offers the equipment at no cost for this feature with approved alarm agreements. Protection is a matter of awareness. It is critical to be armed with the best information to assure that you are not at risk. For addtional safety tips watch the video below.