Fighting Fire with Fire Alarms

The passage of Fire Prevention Week offers an opportunity to re-evaluate our fire protection. Simply being aware of the risk is inadequate – alarm systems and procedures need to be in place for true fire safety.

As a FEMA press release about October being National Fire Protection Month notes, “most Americans underestimate their risk for fire, and many either lack emergency response plans – or fail to practice them with fire drills.”

FEMA also notes how in a typical house fire, there may be only one or two minutes after an alarm sounds to escape the premises. A small flame can become a major blaze in just 30 seconds. There isn’t a lot of room for delay once fire breaks out.

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Empty Nest with School in Session? Beware Burglars

Classes have started, and children are out of the house in New England. That means during regular business hours, your home is empty and more vulnerable to burglars than in the summer months.

Burglary is a serious problem. In 2017 — the most recent year with reliable statistics — some 1.4 million burglaries were committed across the United States, says the FBI. That’s about 18 percent of all property crimes committed in 2017.

The overall cost in property loss ran to about $3.4 billion, and the robbery of residential properties represented some 67 percent of all burglary crimes. Unfortunately, police only solve about 13 percent of burglary cases, Alarms.org reports.

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School Vandalism is Costly: Security Systems Can Help

School is back in session, which means school vandalism unfortunately tends to rise accordingly. Surveillance and security solutions can help school administrators to deter or resolve such incidents.

School-related vandalism — a type of crime involving any damage or defacement of school property — is a real problem in Massachusetts and beyond. According to the Vandalism at School website, the annual price tag to remedy this kind of crime runs at around $8 billion nationally.

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Self-Checkout: Most Commonly Stolen Items

Gaps Plague Retail Self-Checkout Security

We know that self-supporting retail technology — with its sensors, devices and big data capabilities — offers us many conveniences. However, basic self-checkout platforms don’t always work well for retailers, here in New England, and beyond.

In fact, the Springfield, Massachusetts-based chain of stores Big Y World Class Markets decided it had to remove its self- checkout aisles, according to a Worcester Telegram.com article. In large part, this move was because of the higher incidence of thefts. The article notes that shoplifting is five times more likely at a self-checkout terminal than at a typical human-manned cash register. Read more

Burglar’s Best Friend and Other Silly Security Stories

Security is a serious matter. That doesn’t mean we can’t relax a bit in the summer heat and recollect some of the oddest New England home and business intrusion stories.

Here is a brief list of some of the most interesting encounters we’ve found between local felons, furry friends and property. Some were caught on camera, while one incident was apparent only by the evidence left behind. Read more

Saving Money on DIY Security Cameras Means Taking Major Risks

In recent years we have seen technology improvement leaps and cost reductions in do-it-yourself (DIY) cameras and security systems. This has contributed to the rising popularity of residential alarms and monitoring. An Angie’s List essay says half of home owners surveyed claimed they want to install a monitored security system.

Some property owners hope to save money with low-cost alarm/monitoring solutions and services. These buyers are going to relatively cheap providers (as opposed to the more traditional national or regional companies) as a Forbes article notes. Other owners are even winging it alone with self-monitored systems.

Both of these groups of consumers may be making a huge mistake. Read more

School Systems Security in the 21st Century

In recent years, we’ve seen all too many tragedies unfold in our public school systems and universities. Even more incidents end quietly that could have been much worse. Last year, a school custodian in South Hampton, New Hampshire, discovered an intruder armed with a shotgun and carrying prescription medication. Fortunately, the man fled and was later apprehended, local news reported. This just underscores the reality of the risks.security camera in a classroom

Strong security systems can protect our children and have recently proven effective in Everett, Massachusetts and Warwick, Rhode Island.

Recognizing the issue, education officials across the country have been investing heavily in security equipment and services. The total market value for the education sector of security gear and services hit $2.7 billion last year, according to industry research.

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Home Protection Must Never Go On Vacation

Nothing ends a vacation on a worse note than returning home to find it’s been robbed. A sobering FBI research statistic points out that of the 2.5 million burglaries a year, 66 percent are home break ins, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. Additionally, the police only solve about 13 percent of reported burglaries, given the lack of witnesses to the crime, or usable evidence.

So, if you’re planning on heading out with your family and leaving your house unattended, you have good reason to be wary. However, it’s not a lost cause: As the FBI also points out: Some 90 percent of home burglaries are preventable, says a Consumer Reports article.

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Enhanced Access Control for Your Building Means Fewer Break-Ins

Commercial Real Estate SecurityWhether it’s an office, school or apartment building, secure access control is a concern for everyone. For property owners, the responsibility of keeping residents and property safe from criminals is a top priority. Surprisingly, most burglars choose the most obvious and simple ways to break in. The most common time for a break in to happen is between 10 am and 3 pm and they usually go right through the front door. If they are bold enough to do that in broad daylight, they probably have no reservations about sneaking through the gate of a complex. Read more

How Social Media Posts Of Your Holiday Travels Can Impact Home Security

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends around the world, especially during the holidays. However, even though you may set the privacy settings, they can only do so much to limit what others can see and learn about you via your social networks.

According to AAA, 107.3 million Americans will take planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation to travel over the river and through the woods to grandmothers’ house for the holidays.

If you’re planning to join them, be aware that using social media could put your holiday safety and home security at risk. How so? Well, your friends and family may not be the only people paying attention to your posts. Smart thieves are watching not only your house but also your social media channels.  So your Facebook live broadcast of your holiday travels, or a photo of your vacation could signal a savvy burglar that it’s safe to probe your home’s security vulnerabilities. Read more