Thursday, January 1, 2009
Intruder alert: does your home security system provide attic protection?
If you live in a duplex or house with an attic; the noises you hear may not be squirrels or raccoons, but intruders living just feet away from your living space. Without home security devices to detect this activity your possessions and life could be at risk. Stanley Carter, 21, made a list and checked it twice and his intentions were definitely naughty and not nice. Carter spent several days living in the attic of Stacy Terrance entering her living space through the attic door to steal food, clothes and electronic items he had written as his Christmas wish list. Carter was captured when Ferrance noticed footsteps in her closet where the attic could be accessed. She began taking notes of the items that were stolen and called the police. They brought in a K-9 unit and the dog was able to locate Carter. This is not the first time an incident such as this has occurred. Twelve Kosovo immigrants were found in June 2008 living in the attic of a rental property in the UK. Lee Carter, owner of the duplex, made the discovery when he went to inspect the property. The previous tenant had heard noises but thought it was an animal in the attic. In Japan, a man found a homeless woman living in his attic. The 58 year old single man who owned the property became suspicious when he had missing food. He installed a security camera and found images of someone walking around when he was away. He called the police and they discovered a 57 year old woman living in a space in the closet just big enough to lie down in. She had been living there for six months! The most pressing question that remains unanswered is how these individuals gained access to the attics and closets initially? Stanley Carter was staying with friends in the attached duplex and used the attic access of the friend’s home and then broke through the partition to gain access to the adjacent unit. In the case of the twelve immigrants in the attic in the UK, access was most likely gained during the time that the unit was unoccupied. The uninvited woman, who stole six months of free room and board, gained entry when the man took his trash to the street and did not lock the door behind him allowing her to slip in unnoticed.
With unprecedented hard economic times and the foreclosure rate on homes being at an all time high these incidents will become far more prevalent. The danger of having a complete stranger living in your home is not only eerie but almost unimaginably dangerous. The individuals could be felons, rapists, murderers as well as thieves. Home security is no longer just an amenity for nicer homes it is an essential element for all families. Several options to secure an attic are to install a home security system. The system should include an alarm contact to the attic door. This contact should be set for instant alert. If you already have an existing alarm system this element can be added. Contacts come in two types hard-wired or wireless. Adding a wireless receiver to the alarm panel will allow a wireless contact to be added to provide second or third story protection. Previously, motion detectors in attics were not feasible because of the dramatic temperature changes. Honeywell has introduced a new low temperature motion detector that would be ideal for an attic to provide protection in low temperatures. Home security systems are affordable and select companies like Vector Security offer specials with installation as low as $99 and free equipment up to a certain amount with approved monitoring contracts. Another home security solution for attic protection is to install security cameras. Security cameras that work off of motion and can record in low light are a perfect option. Install multiple cameras on the interior and exterior of the home. Perform a security sweep of your residence daily. Never leave your doors unlocked: even when taking out the trash or going to get the mail. Safety in today’s time should never be a secondary consideration. Access to the right information and the mindset to implement the information will keep you safe and secure.