Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Black Friday is the Perfect Time for a Home Burglary

So you can't wait to go over the river and through the woods to get to Grandma's house to eat that turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the burglars can't wait to make you the holiday turkey.  So you may ask why is Black Friday, (the day after the Thanksgiving holiday) such a great day for home burglary?  Black  Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  Many retailers are smart enough to cut prices with a few leading items that have high market appeal to get you to stand in line for hours for a 3:00am store opening.  The fact that you are in line at the mall, and not at home provides opportunity and which is what criminals are looking for.

  • Burglars have an 87% of getting away with breaking into your home because only 13% of burglaries are cleared by police nationwide.  Talk about the odds being in the favor of the criminal; if placing a bet at Vegas had those type of odds for the consumer we'd all be rich. 

  • The deals are better at your house than at the mall.  A burglar doesn't have to wait in a long line to get a 60" flat panel television, a game system and some jewelry, all he or she must do is break into your inadequately protected home.  The five finger deal they get far outweighs having to spend their cash or using their credit to get your stuff for free.  If your security is lax they will probably get enough information in their caper to victimize you through identity theft as well.
Too many people leave statements and personal information that could be used against them eaily assessible to anyone that has or finds access to their home.

  • Malls have security you don't:  The local mall will have security cameras, security guards, deputies and other law enforcement officials looking for shop-lifters and other rouge elements.  However, your home is protected by a $20 lock and possibly a poor excuse for an alarm system.  If you don't have a security system you are 6 times more likely to be burglarized.  If you have just a basic alarm that has not been updated in years- you are at risk as well.
Have a security assessment gone that looks for vulnerabilities in your home safety and presents solutions to keep you and your possessions safe.  For additional information on Home Security and Safety get a free copy of my e-book, The Homeowners and Consumers Toolbos:Safety to Savings, Tips and Tools at Your Fingertips at
  • Stores advertise to get you to come, You advertise you are attending:  The stores spend big money advertising on television and in the paper to get you to come out.  It is marketers jobs to get your body to their store to spend money.  Advertising on the part of the marketing firms is not the problem but your announcement to world through social media and in public is. 
It is never wise to announce on Facebook and in public places that you are leaving town or that you will be away from your home.  With a little research a criminal can find out who you are and where you live.  Think about it, it could be the person ringing you out that asks for identification when you check out or someone who happened to hear your name, as it was yelled out by a friend when you encounter them in the store.  The opportunistic crook then follows you home.  The other is social media, such as Facebook or Google plus or Twitter.  The fact that you can say something doesn't mean you should.  Also, turn off the location setting for posting which tells people where you are.

  • Thanksgiving to a criminal means, thanks for giving them the opportunity to have at your stuff.  Don't let criminals make you the holiday turkey by being lax when it comes to the safety of your home and possessions.  A good security program should include a monitored alarm system.  Call a reputable and reliable company like Safe Haven Security and get your home secure before leaving for Grandma's House.  Call (919) 228-8361

Happy Thanksgiving, Be Safe, Be Secure and don't let criminals pluck your possessions making you the holiday turkey whose Friday is Black cause you're sad and mad because you got suckered.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Top 5 Reasons Not To Use a Do It Yourself Alarm

So you're a pretty smart guy or gal and you've experienced a rise in crime in your neighborhood or worse yet you've been the victim of a home break-in and now security has risen to higher level than in the past.  You've gone to the local big box hardware store or gone to some sites online and and have seen some items that are classified as security systems which you think may fit the bill.  You think that you can do it yourself and bypass professional assessments, installation and monitoring fees- but at what cost?  Here are the top 5 reasons to not use a do it yourself alarm.

5)  You are not a trained professional.  You wouldn't attempt to perform surgery on yourself so what makes you think that you will correctly identify all the requirements to assure that the solution meets all the requirements that a professionally trained life safety specialist would make to assure that your home and family have full security and not a false sense of security?  Industry professionals must be trained and state licensed for a reason.  You can not purchase a low voltage electrical license you must qualify and pass stringent tests of competence to assure that you will not harm the public or yourself.  Plus there are numerous hours of manufacturer and company training to assure that equipment placement and security design are in accordance with manufacturer and industry standards.

4) The products installed are most likely lick it Stick it Wireless Combo Alarms which are easy to put up and easy to defeat.  Whenever the alarm panel has the siren, keypad and mastercontrol unit all combined in one and all that you have to do is plug it into the wall oulet, plug in the phone cord to the wall jack, pull the tape double sided tape off the contacts and stick them up and you have an alarm-you are in big trouble.  If you can install it in 20 minutes-you'd best believe that any fool attempting to be a do it yourself burglar could kick in the delay door grab the system drop it in the toilet and rob you blind in under 15 seconds. 

3)  You Get What You Pay For:  You think that you are saving a few dollars by using a quick fix solution but in reality it could cost you significantly down the line because most do it yourself solutions that are just placed on the counter plugged into the phone line jack do not have phone line seizure- which gives the alarm system priority to seize the line during an alarm emergency even if the phone line is being used.  When the system is placed on the counter there is no tamper switch to prevent the panel from being being snatched up smashed or shorted out in the sink or tiolet.  Even if you secure it to the wall, there will most likely be no hard-wired tamper solution.  Also by self-installing you assume all responsibility if the system fails to communicate with the monitoring facility during an alarm event i.e phone line seizure and the fine print of the contract that absolves the monitoring facility from being held liable if such an event occurs.  Think about it, this is a great deal for the alarm companies that sell monitoring.  They will never have any claims against their general liability insurance policy but if  something happens it goes against you and not them. 

Also if there are false alarms due to equipment problems or improper installation you'll be the one to pay.

2)  You may not be able to receive your homeowners insurance discount:  Most insurance companies require a certificate of installation from a licensed alarm company in order to receive your discount.

1) You are saying that your family isn't worth the invest of  the price of a cup of coffe a day to keep them safe.  Don't nickel and dime your family.  Give them the best because they deserve the best.  Select a reputable alarm company that is reliable and has references. 

For more information on this subject or other security related issues contact Jim McNeely at 919-949-9690

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't Be the Sucker with the Lick it Stick it Alarm

The ironic thing about being bamboozled or suckered is the that you often don't find out until it's entirely too late.  There is a growing trend in the home security industry where consumers are being increasingly targeted through slick online marketing campaigns.  The consumers go to the internet because it is quick, easy and accessible.  The alarm or security system companies that target these consumers are looking to hook these consumers by selling wireless combo systems that are high on illusion and low on security.  By selling the client the sizzle and using paid for endorsements they dupe the consumer into purchasing their service which places them into a situation where they have perceived security only.

This claim may seem harsh but it is fact and here are the reasons why:

The security systems these companies sell are wireless alarm panels where the keypad, siren, and motion detector are one unit:  If a burglar kicks in a door that has a delay and snatches the panel from the wall and drops it in the tiolet, fries the compenents and all this was done in the delay time; who did the system call?  No one. 

The only solution is to have the panel tampered with a hard-wired contact on the back of the alarm panel-assuming that it is actually secured to the wall.

Many of these systems just sit on the counter and are plugged into the wall:  They are sold promoting features like talking keypads two-way voice ( a feature that allows the alarm company to hear what is happening in real time during an alarm event), home automation, a message center and no home phone line needed if they have a cellular unit added to it.  These features are great but what good do they do you if they system is pre-programmed with a dialer delay.  The dialer delay is a feature that alarm companies say they use to prevent false alarms.  The way it works is when the door with the delay to give you time to go to the keypad to de-activate the alarm is triggered because it was not turned off in the alloted time- the alarm company has another 30-90 seconds where the alrm does not call out. 

Do you think that even the most novice burglar could easily hear your alarm when they kick in the door that you use to gain entry-go to the panel and disable it?  The answer should be yes. 

Are you asking about a dialer delay?  The answer is probably No! 

The system comes pre-programed and you install it.  You use double sided tape to put up the  door contacts and motion detectors and you plug it in.  In what dellusinal fantasy does this sound like a good idea?  Reputable alarm companies don't have you self-install.  Reputable alarm companies aren't using sticky tape to install a system in 15 minutes.  Reputable alarm companies have to be licensed with a low -voltage license and their consultants registered with back ground checks from the alarm board.  By self installing, the alarm companies have a clause in their contract which absolves them from liabilty should there be system failure and the alarm signal does not reach them.  Why would someone sign such an agreement, because they don't take the time to read it.

Don't be a sucker by purchasing an  alarm system like you shop for a car.  Security systems are life safety devices, not a commodity.  What is the value of your life?  Use a reputable company with reputable consultants that have references and are reliable.  Don't be a sucker by taking short cuts when it comes to the safety and security of your family. a qualty security consultation will show you full value of how your familiy can be protected. 

Knowledge is power and applied knowledge leads to empowerment.  Use this information wisely- your safety depends on it.

For a copy of my free book, The Homeowners and Consumers Toolbox: Safety to Savings, Tips and Tools at Your Fingertips go to .  For a free security consultation in the Raleigh, NC area call 919-949-9690.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Anatomy and Psychology of a Break-in

The steps that a person must go through when they become the victim of a wilful burglar that has no regard for them or their property is not something that is considered until after the dastardly deed is done and the reality of their changed world is upon them.  The action steps are played out daily for people that number in thousands in the United States and the victims must often navigate this new territory alone and in a compromised state of mind.  The purpose of this article is to not only share the steps of the aftermath of a break-in, but to share action steps of prevention and preparation. 

  • Fear is the first psychological emotion that floods the mind as you enter your domicile and have the realization that someone unauthorized has violated your space and helped themselves to your belongs.  Fear causes you to flee the place that you'd felt most safe.  Now with the presence of danger still possible looming you find it necessary to hurridly exit.  The fear is caused by the uncertainty of not knowing if the prowler is still lurking. 
  • Call the police- while still shaken, but having exited to the home of a neighbor or the safety of your car, you call the police.  The police arrive and go through your home with guns drawn, searching room by room until they deem that the home is safe for you to reenter.  You are asked questions about what is missing, which you must answer in a compromised state of mind. You must endure the fingerprint dust that lingers long after the authorities have left. 
  • You must call your insurance provider.  You now must file a claim and have to go through the process of filing a claim.  You must recount what is missing, all the while hoping you will get full replacement value.  You may worry how you will pay for the deductible or wonder if you will now have to budget for a rate increase. 
  • You must secure the point of entry.  Your insurance provider may provide you with a number for a disaster and restoration company that will come out and board up the door or window.  If they don't-you will have to navigate this yourself.
  • Find a place to sleep if you are too scared to stay a t the home.  You will either have to make arrangements to stay with a friend or relative.  Most people don't want to burden anyone with their problems so this becomes an additional stresser. 
  • Take time off from work to meet with insurance adjuster and repair people.  You must deal with lost wages and the impact it will have on your budget. 
  • Consider a security system.  At this point you may come to realize that a security sytstem is a valuable asset that can provide peace of mind and a strong dterence factor.  Even as you make these consideration you may make the wrong decision because you are deciding based on fear and not on facts and that is something that many security companies will use to your disadvantage. 
  • Become prey to self-serving alarm companies.  Many of these companies will use the fact your Break-in was public record to call, come by and harass you to buy from them.  Often they will throw today only specials and same day installation to get you to do business with them.  They will use inferior equipment and self serving contracts that will place you at risk.  The time to consider an alarm system is before there is a break-in and allow yourself the time to do research and get quality referrals of quality companies and representatives that will put you first and serve your interests. 
The most imporatnt thing anyone can do is to be proactive when it comes to the safety of themselves, their family and their belongings. 

  • Review your insurance and coverage with your provider prior to a break-in making sure you have adequate coverage.
  • Make a video of your belongings and keep a record of what you have and the price.  An independent insurance agent I know in Raleigh, NC, Greg Suggs of the Greg Suggs Insurance agency provides this service for his customers for free.  He can be reached at 919-875-8889.
  • Have a security audit of your home done, where you can learn the vulnerabilities of your home and how you can best fortify it.  Call 919-228-8361 and mention this article and you can get this service at no charge in the Raleigh, NC area.