Did Ex-Patriot Fumble the Home Security Ball?

On August 31, some 300 teenagers allegedly broke into – and totally trashed – the upstate New York home owned by former New England Patriot Brian Holloway.

Holloway told NEWS10 ABC he was in Florida when he heard about the break-in from his son, who had seen notifications about the bash on social media.

Police called to the scene, said they found the yard full of cars and about 300 teens trying to run away. Investigators documented the damage, including broken windows, spray painted walls, and urine soaked carpets.

A break-in is right at the top of the list of homeowner’s worst nightmares. Imagine you arrive home from a vacation to find your home in utter chaos – your belongings strewn across the floors and your valuables missing. You’re scared and angry. You don’t feel safe in your home any longer – and maybe you never will feel that sense of security again.

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Beware the Door-to-Door Alarm Salesperson

Door-to-Door Alarm SalespersonIt’s that time of year again — time when unscrupulous salespeople fan out around your neighborhood selling security systems door-to-door. Also known as “door knockers,” these guys use aggressive sales pitches, and fraudulent claims to try and get you to buy expensive, or even substandard home alarm security systems and equipment. They’ll even use deceptive tactics to try and steal you away from your existing alarm company.

These door knockers are pros but if you know what to watch out for, you can protect yourself. Here are five tips to keep you from becoming a victim:

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Why Your Home Security System Needs a Backup

home security system backup

Not too long ago, the only option you had for a home security system was one that was hard-wired to your telephone line. This means your alarm system would use the phone line to send out burglary, carbon monoxide and fire signals to your security company — but what do you do if something happens to your phone line?

A phone line can be easily disabled by heavy winds, flooding, winter storms or an earthquake — not to mention by a burglar cutting the outside line that goes into your home. A break-in could occur through the front door or a window and the alarm will sound, however neither your security company nor law enforcement will get the signal.

That’s why it’s critical for you to have backup alarm communications between you and your security company to protect your family as well as your property. Multiple communication channels will give you peace of mind that your security system will be up and running and able to send an alarm signal when you need help.

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What to Do After a Break-In Occurs at Your Home

A break-in is one of a homeowner’s worst nightmares. Arriving home to find your belongings strewn across the floor and your valuables missing can leave you feeling afraid and angry. It shatters your sense of security. Also, it might take a long time – if at all – before you ever feel safe in your home again.

As we mention in our previous post, “10 Tips to Prevent Home Break-Ins,” 73.9% of the 2,159,878 burglaries committed in 2010 were residential property burglaries, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

While the first line of defense is prevention, not every break-in is avoidable. That’s why you should have a plan in place in case one does occur. If you are the victim of a home break-in, you’ll probably go into shock and be unable to make clear decisions. Having a plan at hand can help you and your family members through this frightening time. Read more

10 Tips to Help Prevent Home Break-Ins

Take a look at recent police incident reports. Including ones right in your town. They are featured on the Police and Fire Logs posted in many places including You’ll see many reports of home break-ins.

In just one week, police in Easton, MA received calls about an individual who broke into a garage and stole a wallet from a vehicle as well as another thief who broke into a house and stole a video game system. In late August, three separate break-ins were reported, two occurred in the afternoon and the third in the early evening.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2010 there were approximately 2,159,878 burglaries – 60.5% of those burglaries involved forcible entry. Residential property burglaries accounted for 73.9% of all offenses. Read more

Top 5 Ways To Avoid False Alarms

False alarms are the bane of the security system industry. Not only do false alarms eat up police and fire resources, but they can also mean significant municipal fines for home and business owners who find themselves dealing with fire and burglar alarm systems that are frequently tripped by accident.

Let’s take a look at the top five ways you can avoid a false alarm at home or at work.

1) Education. It’s critical to ensure that everyone in your home, or every employee at your place of business, is fully trained in how to arm, disarm, and otherwise operate your security and fire systems. The most common type of false alarm occurs when someone forgets that the system is armed when he enters a building, or can’t remember his access code. It’s also important that everyone involved knows how to contact the alarm system provider, if necessary, in order to deal with a malfunctioning system.

2) Repairs and Maintenance. A broken window sensor, an old smoke detector, a ragged wire attached to a door sensor – these are all easy-to-repair items that can be responsible for triggering a false alarm at the central monitoring station if they’re not fixed. If you don’t feel like you have the expertise required to take care of a suspected problem, then contact your installer as soon as possible so that a technician can be dispatched and the issue corrected. Keeping smoke detectors and motion sensors clean from dust and other gunk is also critical.

3) Testing. Does your home security system provider offer timer testing to ensure that communication between the central monitoring facility and your location is working properly? Has your fire alarm system been properly tested, on schedule, according to local and national regulations? Simple tests performed on a regular basis can help identify any potential problems with equipment before they trigger false alarms.

4) Plan for Pets.  It happens on a regular basis: a homeowner has an alarm system installed, and then later on brings a new dog or cat home only to have the animal trip the motion sensors and cause a false alarm. Make sure to upgrade your motion sensors to pet-friendly units so you can avoid having this happen to you.

5) Have More Than One Method For Deactivating The System. Did your home security system come with a remote control? Do you know where it is? Does your business alarm system offer a mobile app? Have you installed it and been shown how to use it? Take advantage of your system’s multiple access points and use them as fallbacks should you, a family member, or an employee have trouble deactivating a false alarm from the primary keypad.

Owning a Guard Dog Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Need a Security System

It’s common that one hears when discussing burglar alarm systems at a party or in a group of friends: Why do I need an alarm when I already have a dog?

While it is true that a guard dog does offer a certain degree of protection against thieves for a home or business, it’s far from the most effective method of keeping one’s family and property safe. In fact, guard dogs should be considered merely one facet of a comprehensive security strategy.

Guard dogs are prized due to their ability to intimidate potential intruders with loud barking and snarling – clear indications to “stay away” that some people feel will deter even the most professional of thieves and send them toward a softer target. Those in the home security system business, however, are well aware of the shortcomings of relying exclusively on guard dogs.

Dogs can be distracted in a number of ways – loud sounds, food, other animals – and that means that they can have their attention pulled away long enough for someone to break into your property. Check out this funny ad that emphasizes this point.

It’s also possible, in worst case scenarios, for dogs to be poisoned by food that has been laced with something toxic, or to even be attacked when they surprise individuals who are armed and intent on robbing your home or business. There’s also the difficulty of keeping dogs fed and sheltered while you’re away on vacation, which is one of the most common times for a home to be hit by burglars.

These caveats make it clear that while guard dogs do offer a real benefit when it comes to protecting property, they must be combined with a properly-installed business alarm system or home alarm system in order to provide total peace of mind.

Knowing that if a burglar gets past your guard dog he’ll still have to deal with the unblinking eye of your security system. That means not having to worry about whether your faithful animal has been outsmarted or harmed in the middle of the night.

It also means that when you’re away you can enjoy far greater protection for your home or business, including remote monitoring of your system’s status and the ability to communicate with you almost instantly via a text message or phone call in the event of a break-in – something that simply isn’t possible when relying on a guard dog.

Licensed Security Specialists vs. National Utility Security Divisions – A Comparison

Going with the “big guys” when it comes to home security systems and business burglar alarm systems definitely has a certain appeal.

After all, having the name of a major utility on the warning label affixed to your front door, alerting potential thieves that you have an alarm installed, can sometimes add peace of mind to the equation. The real question is: What trade-offs are associated with choosing an alarm provider that doesn’t make security its number one business focus?

Mega-utilities are definitely prepared to cover the basics when it comes to offering home and business security packages. The deep pockets of nationwide companies ensure a reasonable investment in technology and service, similar to what you’d receive from your cable or mobile phone provider. Pricing is also usually competitive. These large companies offer several different packages that are targeted to the needs of the average family or organization. Read more

Keep Your Home and Family Safe this Summer – What You Should Insist Your Security Company Provide

Ah, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Fun in the sun. Carefree attitudes. Barbecues, beach days, pool parties. Sounds fantastic, right?

Of course. But sometimes while you’re reveling in all that carefree summer living, you might not pay as much attention to home security as you should.

For example, you’re more likely to leave all your doors and windows open in the summer – even when you go out. But remember most break-ins occur because of negligence, so securing your home is of the utmost importance.

The fact is you always want your family to be safe and one way to ensure their safety is by turning to a top-notch security company to install an alarm system in your home.

Here are some things to look for when you choose a home security company:

  • Speak to a Person, Not a Recording. When your home and family are in danger, every second counts. So be sure that whenever you need help – or just have a routine question – your security company has a real person answering your call. You don’t want to have to deal with navigating a complicated, automated voice system when you need help immediately.
  • No Alarm Delays. When an alarm sounds on your security system there must be no delay in transmission to the monitoring station. Your system should instantly send an alarm to the central station no matter if it’s an intrusion, smoke, carbon monoxide, or any trouble signal. Some companies delay transmitting their alarm signals by as much as four minutes because their systems are prone to false alarms.
  • Local Five-Diamond, U.L. Monitoring Center. Your home should be monitored 24-7 by a local Five-Diamond, U.L. Certified Central Station. That means your company’s central station has multiple back-up systems and can operate under any condition and the company’s team is among the best in the business. Your security company should be owned and operated by people who live in New England, not a third-party in some faraway state. And it should be staffed by experienced people who know your community, and can document how quickly they respond to alarm signals – 20 seconds or less is best-in-class.
  • Free Yearly Wellness Inspection. Your company should offer you peace of mind by letting you know that your security system will work when you need it most. Your company should clean smoke detectors, check back-up batteries, and inspect the system for signs of wear.
  • Experience and Advanced Technology. The top security companies employ veteran in-house experts who are able to install the most up-to-date devices and applications that best meet your needs.
  • Service in 24 Hours or Less. Your security company must ensure that your system is working every second of every day. But if you have an issue, your company should guarantee it will have a tech to your home as soon as possible but no longer than 24 hours after it receives your call.
  • Lifetime Warranty. Your security company should stand behind every security system it installs. If there’s a technical defect, the company should fix it at no cost to you as part of your monitoring service.

So get out in the sun and have fun. But don’t forget to take the steps necessary to protect your home and your family this summer season and throughout the year.

Mobile Security System Apps Offer Remote Peace of Mind

It’s become a common refrain among smartphone users: “There’s an app for that.”

Modern home and business security systems are at the forefront of mobile app accessibility, enabling individuals to monitor the statuses of those systems from a distance as well as interact with their alarm systems should the need arise. Thanks to mobile app technology such as the Z-Wave digital monitoring system offered by American Alarm, there are a long list of available features that let individuals stay in touch with their security systems as long as they have cell signals.

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