Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why New Homeowners Should Put Safety First

All too often I have witnessed how people place the need for entertainment above the need for safety and security. There is an old adage that states, “work before pleasure, and first things first.” When a person moves into a new home, no matter what the existing crime level, they are at risk. As a new owner you draw attention to yourself, and observant crooks are able to see what items are being carried into the home. Services such as cable will be turned on, and in many cases cable companies use contractors to install these services. These people may not have had recent criminal background or drug testing checks to prove that they are clean. If by chance they are somewhat unsavory, they have seen what type of televisions, electronic components and the layout of the home.
Another threat that people fail to take into account are the keys. When they take possession of the home, they receive a set of keys from the realtor, and they have no knowledge of how many other sets of keys had been made and given to friends or family members of the previous owner. I recently went to a home to perform a safety analysis for a security system and the homeowner was unable to enter the home because the realtor had given them the wrong set of keys. She called her realtor who then called the listing agent. The listing agent proceeded to call the previous owner who called her sister, who still had a key. It was the sister of the previous owner who arrived and let us in. The homeowner was given that key, but it begs the question as to how many other copies of keys are still out there? If there is the possibility of just one, then the locks need to be changed, and a security system installed. Failing to understand risk doesn’t mean that you are exempt from becoming a victim, it makes you a more likely target. Security begins with attitude. You have to have a conscious awareness that there are threats and that protection is critical and must be placed above entertainment value.
If you have purchased home with an existing alarm system you should have that system reviewed for potential weaknesses before activating. Many alarm companies do not install motion detectors or glass break sensors in critical areas such as master bedrooms or computer rooms that may be vulnerable. Another critical area is the protection of the alarm system’s master control panel. Most security companies do not place a contact on the closet door, set for instant alert, which prevents a burglar from entering through the delay door and prying the master panel from the wall then cutting the wires to disable the alarm system before it can call the monitoring facility and alert the police. Another method of protecting the master control panel is to install a button contact behind the metal control panel that shields the master control unit. This way if the crook attempts to pry the box from the wall the alarm will be instantly triggered and the police notified. It is important to do these things even if you believe that you live in a “good neighborhood.” Crime can happen anywhere. People often selectively forget that criminals can drive to your neighborhood.
As we watch television it should plant a seed in our minds that bad things do happen to good people. The local news is front loaded with issues of crime, traffic wrecks and fire. Not a single person that becomes a victim chronicled on the nightly news ever planned for it to happen. Like most people they always assume that the next victim will be the other guy, and often don’t take measures to protect themselves. Not all things that provide a large rate of return are convenient or fun filled in the beginning, but they pay off in the end. Security can be same way. When a person moves into a new home it is one of the happiest times of their lives. There is the hard work of getting the moving boxes unpacked, blinds hung and furniture organized, but the installation and activation of a monitored security system should be at the top of the to do list along with activating cable, turning on water, electricity and activating a phone. Once you have completed the moving in process, you can activate your alarm system watch a movie and be at peace knowing that you are safe and secure. This truly beats the alternative of waking up to the sound of shattering glass and coming face to face with a prowler, or coming home and finding your new home ransacked and your precious items stolen and possibly lost forever.
Another critical component that most people fail to perform is the in home security drill. What do you do in the event of a security emergency? Where does the family meet. If you heard something in the night, do you have the kids come to mom and dad’s room and you lock the door? You need a plan, because lack of a plan has led to children getting shot, and other injuries occurring that could have been prevented. Performing a security drill is as essential as performing a routine fire drill. One of the best times to perform this drill is when you first move in. It only takes five minutes, and these five minutes could save a life that could be lost and those procrastinated five minutes can never be reclaimed. For more information on life safety or security needs continue to follow or call 919-949-9690.:


Ben said...
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Ben said...

Great article, Jim. You are right that moving into a new home should be one of the happiest times in a family's life, and putting security first can help ensure that is exactly how it stays. As a fellow industry man - I do security systems in Richmond VA - I will keep up with your posts!

James said...

I just found a way to feel safe away from home, using a personal security system called JTrek. It uses everyday Smartphones with a downloadable application to help people feel safer. When you are in an area where you sense danger, start the application, then pictures/videos and your location get sent to a secure webserver, if the danger is real, hit a Panic button and notify friends, family, campus security and/or police. I found it at