Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alarm system contracts, know what they are saying!

It has always been said, let the buyer beware. This should be true when it comes to alarm contracts. It is not what is written in bold type that one will have an issue with, but the fine print, cloaked in legal language that is often confusing and written to protect the company and not the client.

Several important areas to consider when looking at security system contacts are the renewal clause, rate increase clause, warranty clause, and ownership clause. It is in these areas that many clients find themselves in an unfavorable condition when something comes up.

Alarm companies must clearly disclose the length of the contract but it is how the contract renews that places the client in an unfavorable situation if the contract automatically renews for the full length of the original term or in one year increments. A client may think that they have only signed a 36 month agreement, only to discover that the contract rolled over for another 3 years or another year. The best type of contract to get is a contract that renews month to month. Auto renewing contracts trap clients into remaining with a company and not being able to shop the open market. Another area to consider is the rate increase clause.

Most alarm companies have a rate increase clause, but clients should be aware of when it can be applied, and how much annually. With most people on a budget a 10 percent rate increase may place a customer in a difficult situation. One of the biggest areas where people find themselves unhappy with their alarm company is how warranties are handled.

The alarm warranty clause is a must read for a client. If you have a limited lifetime warranty, know what that means and also know if there are trip charges or service fees. If you have a full warranty, know what if anything is not included. Finally read the ownership clause.

The ownership clause will state what if anything the alarm company maintains ownership over. If the company retains ownership over the master control panel, this will allow the alarm company to come out and take it at the end of the agreement, rendering the system dead. This means that it can not be sold with the home, or used as an audible alarm. Some companies even maintain ownership over the window decals and yard sign.

In conclusion, know what you are signing and don’t be pressured into signing something that may hurt you in the long run. For more information regarding security systems call Jim McNeely at 919-949-9690.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Social media snafu’s leading to home burglaries

In a recent meeting I attended a gentleman who works as a computer specialist told me a bout a website called which lists the recent tweets and social media updates of people that left home and are now vulnerable to having a burglar exploit them. Criminals can easily find the full name and address of location-sharers using Google Buzz, Foursquare or Twitter. According to FBI crime stats a home is burglarized every 15.4 seconds, and the average home robbery is under six minutes. New technology often has the effect of causing people to get swept up in the novelty and forget about safety measures. Facebook has announced that they will add a location share feature at the end of March 2010. This can be extremely dangerous and this is why the “please rob me site” was created. The site creators want to shock the people who are updating their location and announcing to the world that they are not home, into stopping such activities.
I have often heard people who do not understand social media or twitter say, “Who would be interested in what I am doing during the day?” Now we have the answer- the criminals. Announcing to the world that you are not home is not wise under any circumstances. Whether you use social media or not it is important to develop a security consciousness. Far too many people fall into the category of believing that a burglary can not happen to them. It really is not a matter of if it can happen but when, especially if you have not made the correct security measures. Security systems are not a luxury but a necessity, and just a cell phone everyone should have one. In fact security systems are as easy to obtain as a cell phone so there should not a reason for not having one.
In conclusion, never announce when you leave your home on a social media sight because burglars might be watching. Always lock your doors. Have adequate lighting and install a home security system.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vulnerabilities of Security System Communication

Many security systems rely on a single means of communication – the telephone; making the system vulnerable to being compromised. There are several problems that arise from the telephone line. The first is that there are more than one type of phone lines, the conventional Bell South or Verizon line and the Voip (Voice over Internet Provider). Both types of phone lines can be compromised.
The conventional phone line can be cut or disconnected from outside the house and this is also true with Time Warner Voip phone lines. This makes the security system unable to communicate with the central station to alert them of an intrusion, fire or medical emergency. Another weakness in Voip phone lines is when the power is interrupted the modem that creates the dial tone becomes nonoperational and the security system is only able to sound a local alarm. Three simple solutions are to fortify the phone line, add a backup battery for the modem and the most effective is to install a cell backup unit to the alarm system. For more information on home security systems go to

Monday, March 8, 2010

Overlooked aspects of Home Security Systems

You may only think about your security system when you turn it on or off, but if your system is over three years old or you just purchased a home with an existing system there are some important factors you should consider that may make your system inadequate or vulnerable.
Many security systems are basic alarms that consist of two or three door sensors and a motion sensor placed in the main area of the home. Burglars want to access the master bedroom to get guns, money and jewelry. If the burglar can get to this room without tripping a door sensor or motion; they can get around your alarm. It is wise to consider adding a motion detector, window sensors or glass break detection device to that area. A combination of these items may also be a better fit depending on the layout of the home.
Tomorrow we will discuss vulnerabilities in the security system communication devices.
For a complete analysis of your home security system call (919) 949-9690 or go to