Thursday, April 30, 2009

Domino’s Pizza Dough stolen in Smash and Grab Burglary

According to police reports the Domino’s pizza restaurant located on the 3000 block of Holloway Street in Durham, NC was the victim of a smash and grab burglary on the night of April 27,2009. Burglars smashed the glass door, stole the safe valued at $1000 and mad off with $350 in cash. The burglary was discovered on April 28, 2009 at around 8:30 am.
Three men were arrested several miles away for allegedly burglarizing a home at 608 Hardee St. Durham, NC. The three men were 17, 18 and 22 years of age. All three men were arrested and charged with felony burglary and had bond set at $6000 per person. It is likely that the Durham police department is looking into the possibility that these three men could be the domino dough burglars.
In both cases the criminals made entry by breaking glass. This shows a basic knowledge of how many security systems are set up. With contacts located only on the door, the thieves break out the glass so as not to disturb the door contact. Many motion detecting devices are set wit a pet alley motion detecting lenses that does not pick up motion below a certain height. It is important for business and homeowners to update their security to include glass break sensor technology and use motion detectors that detect mass and density from the floor up. Another valuable tool in convicting criminals are surveillance cameras. Well positioned cameras that are commercial grade with night viewing capability enable the police to make a positive identification of suspects. The initial investment that a business owner makes in a camera system pays for itself tens of times over during the systems service life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Layer your security like an onion

When you think about security, think of an onion not an egg. Often homeowners place all their security hopes on one simple thing a door lock. With only one line of defense standing between a criminal and his quest to procure your items as their own, the odds of success are clearly in the bad guys favor. The greater the layers of security a criminal must traverse to accomplish his desires, the greater his or her chance of failure. Think of your security like an onion with multiple layers of obstacles, not an egg with a thin easily penetrable shell.
The first layer of defense can be fence with a locking gate or a front porch with a gate. If, however, the lock on the gate is broken it is a clear sign to a criminal that any other layers of security will almost certainly be weak.
The next layer of security is a locking storm door, with the main door protected by a main lock and a dead bolt lock. Any windows should not be obstructed by high bushes where a criminal could hide behind. Prickly bushes like a holly bush or rose bushes provide a natural barrier against criminals if they are planted in front of a window. When protecting windows adding additional window locks as a backup and window pins that will prevent the window from being raised past a certain height are essential in preventing the window from being pried open. Another barrier is motion detecting lights as well as any good exterior lighting that illuminates any potential hiding places.
A security yard sign is also a minor deterrent to criminals, but criminals are incredibly adept in knowing whether a sign is just a ploy. Often many homes have security signs of defunct security companies in their yard. Also many big box companies design the majority of their promotional security systems the same way, which gives the criminal a road map of what to do in order to circumvent the alarm. If you have a basic alarm system it is only a beginning. Every three to four years security systems need to be updated to stay ahead of criminal advancements.
Even the security system needs to be layered, especially the communication apparatus, must be layered. Dependence on a conventional phone line is not enough. The addition of a cell phone back-up unit is essential to an overall security alarm defense to assure that communication can be made if the primary phone line is cut. Another way of protecting the primary phone line is to armor plate the line leading into the telephone box then installing a metal strong box over the telephone box. The strong box must be secured with headless screws or rivets.
Prior to accessing the security system a critical layer of defense are security surveillance cameras. These cameras can record suspicious activity and even send a video feed to an offsite location for back-up storage. This makes circumventing the defenses a daunting task. When the criminals are forced out of their comfort zone and made to conform to the security devices they are at a huge disadvantage. Although most people can not afford to everything, it is best to do all you can afford to do.
The key to any successful security plan is commitment to make it a success. You must first adopt a mentality that you will not be lax on security issues. A consciousness that says safety first is far better than the mindset that it won’t happen to me so I don’t worry about it. There are few things worst than coming home to a ransacked home. Finding what remains of your personal possessions tossed like trash is a gut wrenching feeling. The knowledge that your items that were stolen most likely won’t be seen again is the second wave of violation. According to national statistics someone is burglarized on average every 15.6 seconds somewhere in the United States. Layering your security measures and nurturing a security consciousness can prevent a criminal’s next victim from being you.
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

ADT, CPI, and Brinks Not 5 Diamond Certified

ADT security services, CPI and Brinks Home Security are not members of the Central Station Alarm Association and their alarm monitoring facilities have not received 5 diamond certification. This certification is the highest rating an alarm monitoring facility can receive from an outside rating association of industry peers. The distinction of a five diamond rating is an assurance to the general public that the alarm monitoring facility has met five distinct criteria signifying excellence. The five standards that must be met are:
1) Commitment to random inspections and quality criteria standards by a nationally recognized third-party laboratory such as: UL or FM.
2) Commitment to the highest levels of customer service.
3) Commitment to ongoing job-related education and testing by having 100% of its central station operators certified using the CSAA online training series.
4) Commitment to raising the industry standards through CSAA membership and participation in its activities.
5) Commitment to reducing false dispatches.
In the alarm industry there must be a higher level of transparency and openness with the general public that they serve. An outside third party lab can provide this assurance. In any other industry we demand certification and degrees supporting ones claim of competence. The alarm industry with the exception of general state licensing, which varies state to state, does not have a national uniform compliance code. Such a code could help assure higher levels of customer service, reduce false alarms, and raise industry standards. The fact that ADT, CPI and Brinks are not members of CSAA and are not five diamond certified is not to imply that they are not good companies. However, with their large client bases they should be leading from the front and not trailing from the rear.
When selecting a company to provide alarm monitoring, look to companies that have met this criteria because they have reached a higher standard that will provide customers with a far better customer service experience due to increased education. A few companies that have met the Five Diamond Certification are Sentry Watch, Counter Force, Alarm Detection Systems, Monitronics, and Vector Security. Only 100 companies in the alarm industry have met these standards. A simple conclusion, bigger because of marketing does not make a company better.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doing What's Easy Isn't Always What's Right

values Often the path of comfort and familiarity is the action people take, even when they know that it’s the wrong thing to do. Imagine seeing a crime occurring, do you call 911? The chances are that you will make the call because you are anonymous. However, what happens if you are required to go to court and finger the perpetrator? Does this change your willingness to cooperate? For many people it does. They have the perspective that not getting involved is their prerogative because it is not their problem. Stepping out on principle does mean that you take a chance, but it also means that you stand on principles. Standing on principles is noble and honorable. The reason that we hold people who do the right thing in such high esteem is because it often goes against the grain. We’ve often heard the saying that it is easier to go along to get along. The very nature of the acceptance of this statement is what allows crimes to go unsolved and the moral fiber of society to decay. The true spirit of history’s heroes is filled with those that chose to stand up and stand for something. As members of society we live under the banner of freedom that others died to provide, and it should be our civic duty to make a commitment to ourselves and our communities that we will continue to strive to adhere to a code of ethics.
In the workplace you may see injustice and be challenged not say something because you may feel that your job hangs in the balance. This is nothing more than fear which gives the situation more power than it actually has. When we see safety violations and say nothing people’s lives are at risk. If something catastrophic happens it is our conscience that becomes seared. Our society can ill afford more people that are numb to happenings around them. The sad thing about abusers and those that exercise injustice on others is that they rely on the apathy of witnesses. The strength of communities is not based on self or individual self preservation but on the salvation of the collective. When people originally came together and formed tribes or communities it was for protection. Those unions were based on trust. In order to foster this trust we must know each other in such a way that this trust will become instinctive. As we build new walls of trust doing what is right will be far more fashionable than doing what is easy. There is greater strength in numbers than in the power we have individually. In order for our neighborhood watches to be effective we must reinvest the time and energy to genuinely care about our neighbors because we know our neighbors in more than name only, but in friendship.
The greatest impact we can have in curtailing crime and injustice lies in our collective resolve to do what is right even when doing what is easy is more in line with our comfort zone. Breaking the cycle begins with a willingness to stand up and stand for something, knowing that others will follow. The impact of a single action standing on principle can change the world. Let us create a new movement that will revolutionize communities by reinventing ourselves.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Twitter could be a major crime fighting tool

Twitter could have a major impact on thwarting crime. Twitter is micro blogging in 140 words or less. The short format is for mobile device compatibility. As a society always on the go, we can blog like texting to numerous followers instantly. The simplistic nature of twitter makes it a huge crime fighting, community relation building, and information tool. As technology evolves it is more important that law enforcement agencies on the local level establish stronger community ties in order build trust and fulfill their mission to protect and serve. It is far easier to serve a community base that understands its constituents. The Anne Arundel County Police department in Maryland is a great example of utilizing social media, especially twitter, to recruit talented officers and educate the members of the community. The Anne Arundel twitter address is Twitter can also have a major impact in reconnecting neighborhoods to build more effective neighborhood watch programs.
As neighborhoods become bigger and technology has evolved, a peculiar thing has happened people have become more detached. Neighbors don’t know each other, and homeowner associations have less support than they would like in order to have the maximum impact they could if their meetings were better attended. It takes a sufficient amount of amount of time to produce a newsletter and distribute it, but it only takes less than a minute to tweet a simple 140 character message to everyone in unison. The other advantage of twitter is that is free. So getting the word out can be done through a simple door knocking campaign with the existing block captains in the HOA. Notice how effectively this could work in informing the neighbors about suspicious activity.
When someone sees something suspicious we call 911 and give the information to the dispatcher who then sends the authorities. If there was community following the 911 dispatch on twitter, real time updates could be given to the police, as they are in route from observers in the immediate vicinity. This could work to apprehend more criminals and could also be a valuable tool in aiding probation officers that do not always have their eyes on their probationers. If a concerned citizen and twitter user saw a crime being committed by someone known to be on probation the probation officer could be notified via twitter and could take the appropriate action necessary to protect the public. The exact strategy as to how to implement this strategy is unknown, but I thought I would put it out there. I welcome feedback. Please leave a comment to this post and connect with me on twitter. My twitter address is, My goal is to make communities and neighborhoods safer through awareness and education. Your ideas and energy are vital to my mission’s success.