How Do Criminals Break Into A Home?

home-alone-marv & harryWhen you’re a homeowner one of your top priorities is ensuring the safety of your home. Your home is what protects you and your family. Nobody wants to deal with a home break-in but they are a sad reality in our everyday lives. Fortunately there are many ways you can safeguard your home from such devastation. The best way to deter crime is to be prepared for it. If you want to prevent a home invasion you must first understand how and when burglars are likely to attempt them. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of highly skilled professionals can assess the security risks specific to your home to help you avoid break-ins and other disasters. We have been providing security system services to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. Our experts assess the security risks of an individual home and come up with a customized security system solution to fit its specific needs.

What are some of the most common break-in methods used by criminals? Have you ever heard of the path of least resistance? That’s usually the route they will take when it comes to breaking into homes. There are many factors that can make their job easier, and you might be unknowingly aiding their attempts. Leaving windows and doors unlocked or open are a surprisingly common way burglars get into homes. In fact 30 percent of burglars enter homes without having to use force. Spare keys left in indiscrete locations are another favorite of the home invader. It’s tempting to have a spare key for family members or friends, but if you’re going to do so don’t leave it under the door mat or in other obvious and easily accessed spots.

Some crooks will walk right up to your front door, ring the bell, and if you answer they will pretend to be selling something. They’ll probably make up a bogus story about who they work for. Whatever you do, do not let them in and ask for identification or find the company number to call and verify their identity. Do not use a number they provide as it could be a ruse. When they’re putting on this act they’re trying to get a better view into your home to see if you might have a security system and what goodies they might come back for.

Sometimes criminals will ring the doorbell and if no one answers they might go to the back of the house to try to enter through a back door or window. Even if the doors and windows are locked burglars often carry tools like crowbars to aid their break-ins. However, if it takes them longer than a minute to get in they’ll likely move on to the next target. The harder you can make it for someone to break-in the better.

How can you make it harder or less appealing for criminals to break-in to your home? One of the best lines of defense is installing a comprehensive home security system. Burglars are less likely to attempt a break-in if the targeted house has a security system, it gives them less time to escape and a higher chance of being caught. In fact 90 percent of convicted burglars said they would avoid homes with alarm systems. Keeping vegetation trimmed is important in preventing a break-in. Burglars often use unkempt bushes, trees, or flora close to the home as hiding spots where they can sit and wait for an opportune moment.

Lighting is a great deterrent as well. Motion activated exterior lights are helpful because they somewhat eliminate the sneaky element by exposing whatever moves in their path. Using light timers or home automation to control your interior lights will help prevent an intruder from attempting a break-in. It’ll help create the illusion that someone is home even if they aren’t and burglars tend to avoid break-in attempts if someone is there. Installing deadbolts is another way to at least slow down an attempted break-in. Having a single door knob lock leaves you vulnerable to thieves who use things like bump keys. Bump keys are essentially master keys used by locks smiths, they can supposedly open up to 90 percent of traditional locks.

With a burglary occurring every 15 seconds in the United States, you can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your home. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts provide customized comprehensive security systems that fit your specific needs. It’s not just about protecting the physical property, it’s about protecting that peace of mind that is so hard to get back after a break-in. Don’t fall victim to the mentality that it could never happen in your neighborhood, no community is immune. Instead be prepared and don’t be a victim.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Dexter Company-Google-Creative Commons

Video Surveillance Tends To Know

Video Surveillance-Christian SchnettelkerThe key components to a comprehensive business security system includes fire alarms, burglar alarms, access control, alarm monitoring, and last but not least video surveillance. That’s what this post will be focusing on. The development of video surveillance, its benefits, and where is it going in the near future. At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide comprehensive security systems to businesses in Northern and Central New Jersey. Our experts understand the benefits of solid surveillance equipment, and always keep abreast the technological advancements being made in that arena.

Where did it all start?

It may not be on everyone’s mind on a daily basis, but in today’s society video surveillance is actually an integral part of our everyday lives. From ATM machines, to traffic lights, to drones, cameras seem to be everywhere. To understand where the concept for video surveillance came from, we have to look at the history and development of video cameras. Traveling back in time the first movie cameras were developed in 1880 by Thomas Edison and William Dickson. As a result the first motion picture demonstration took place in 1893. Into the 20th century camera development continues to move swiftly with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in Germany used for bomb monitoring in 1942. Charge-coupled device (CCD) technology in 1976 allowed for 24 hour surveillance because of its ability to work in low light. Skip forward to 1996 and you have the birth of the Internet Protocol (IP) camera. The IP cameras allow the sending and receiving of information across computer networks.

This ever-changing technology and various historic events, such as 9/11, have made video surveillance in public and private spaces ubiquitous worldwide. As pervasive and helpful as it can be in a protective sense it remains a controversial topic for some. The idea that government drones can stealthily record information on American citizens is a surveillance technique that does not sit well with some. What are your thoughts?

What are the benefits of video surveillance?

By installing a surveillance system you are adding a layer of protection for your business you can’t get anywhere else. We know you can’t be in more than one place at a time, but a surveillance system gives you eyes throughout your entire facility at all times. This helps curb issues such as employee theft. If employees know they’re being recorded, they’re less likely to misbehave. An economical benefit to a security system with surveillance is potentially saving money on your insurance. Many companies offer a discount for having a comprehensive security system (to figure out if you qualify contact your insurance provider directly). If you own a retail business you know shoplifting is an ongoing issue. The benefit of having recorded footage in retail is even if it doesn’t prevent the act of shoplifting, it can help catch the perpetrators. Surveillance can help prevent workplace violence by monitoring employee/customer behavior. Lastly, it’ll provide you with added peace of mind knowing you’re employees and business are being monitored.

Where is surveillance going?

As we’ve seen throughout history, technology has been a driving force in the development and advancement of video surveillance. Moving forward some industry professionals believe the next drive for security cameras is making their integration and functions easier for the end users. Some believe it’s all about upping the resolution factor. While higher megapixels would offer better and clearer images, it seems to be slow on the uptake because of the associated cost. Lastly, analytics is an emerging trend in surveillance systems, yet some still question it’s viability due to not only its cost but effectiveness. Aside from analytics that can people-count there is technology in the works that can supposedly detect individual aggression. How effective this feature can be is still up for debate among industry professionals. As technology pushes forward, camera development and integration will no doubt continue to change; how it will change us as a society, nobody knows.

If you own a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and are in need of a security system, looking to update your current situation, or unsure of where to begin do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc.. As security systems experts, our team has been providing service since 1992. We believe in providing comprehensive security systems that include video surveillance, access control, fire alarms, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. We are always keeping up with technology that is beneficial to our customers. System maintenance and installation should be seamless, as should updates and integration.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image By Christian Schnettelker-Flickr-Creative Commons

Wireless Locks For Your Home

Alan Cleaver-Key in doorLast week in our blog, we wrote about how your cell phone could be your key at your business. Now, we’d like to tell you how it could work for your home too!

The days of struggling to carry 50 pounds of groceries while simultaneously trying to dig your house keys out of your pocket or purse, might be coming to an end. As a homeowner your door locks have always been an essential line of defense when it comes to protecting your home. While our everyday lives are saturated with technological advancement, it only makes sense that our physical structures should follow suit. That being said, using a key to unlock your doors may be a thing of the past with wireless access control on the rise.

What is wireless access control? Essentially, wireless access control in a residential setting means replacing the standard lock and key with a keypad, remote control, biometric reader, card reader, or Wi-Fi access. Keys are no longer the only method for unlocking your doors, in fact, they become the back-up. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed experts have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We stay in touch with current technologies and how they might benefit our customers. Protecting entrances is key (no pun intended) to the safety and security of any home, and we aim to provide the best solutions to each individual residence.

How does a wireless lock work? Most traditional locks operate on some form of a “pin and tumbler” method. This is when the serrated edge of an inserted key moves pins on the interior of the lock a certain distance allowing you turn the lock cylinder and open the door. With a wireless lock (which typically operates on electricity or battery power) has “actuators,” which connect the cylinder or bolt to a motor within the door or frame. The motor is electrically activated by a keypad, card reader, or wireless remote controller. On top of that there are locks that work on Wi-Fi signals used in conjunction with your smartphone or mobile device, sometimes referred to as smart or automated locks. Lastly, biometrics are sometimes used to control home access. Typically a fingerprint or hand print is the credential required for such a system.

There are many advantages to a wireless locking system. For one, you never have to worry about losing or forgetting your keys. This eliminates having to leave spare keys outside or giving them to people who need access to your home. Instead of using a key you can, depending on the type of wireless lock, give your visitor the access code or with an automated system you can unlock the door from your smartphone. With a wireless lock there are no wires. Typically this means an easier and seamless installation. It’s a technology that would allow for a more ubiquitous integration that includes old and new construction homes. Wireless locks offer a convenience and extra layer of security you can’t get from a standard door lock.

While there are multiple benefits to a wireless locking system, none of them are perfect. With a regular lock you might lose your keys, with a wireless keypad lock you could forget your access code or the code could be hacked by a savvy burglar. Fortunately, if you forget your code many keypad locks come with a physical key as a backup. As for code hacking, it’s usually best practice to pick a random code, so don’t use a birthday or something easily guessed. It’s also prudent- and some systems may require it anyway-to change the code every few months or after you’ve let an outsider use it.

The main drawback with a remote controlled lock is, just as with keys, you could lose the remote. Unlike keys, a remote is usually programed by a computer. Therefore, in the event that you lose the remote you can deactivate it from the convenience of a computer. With a smart or automated lock you run into the issue of not always having a reliable Wi-Fi signal. Then there’s the dreaded question of what happens when the power goes out? As some of the wireless locks run on electricity, a power outage could be an issue. However, many of these locks tend to have multiple redundancies in place including backup battery power. The main deterrent when it comes to biometric locks is the price as they tend to be a fairly complex system that isn’t as pervasive in the residential market as the other technologies.

Whether you are building a new home or want to enhance the security of your current residence, wireless locks can reinforce your first line of defense and provide a convenience you can’t obtain with conventional locks. As with any security device or installation you should always consult a licensed security systems professional, especially if you’re looking for full system integration. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. We help you connect and protect what matters most, offering a peace of mind you can’t get from anything else.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Alan Cleaver-Flickr-Creative Commons

Using Cell Phones with Access Control Systems

Access-ErvinWe use our smartphones and other mobile devices for many functions in our daily lives. It’s almost impossible to go through an entire day without seeing someone tapping, scrolling, or swiping through their phone, never mind using your own phone. We’ve created a mobile environment where convenience lies in the palm of our hands.

Technological progression has taken us so far in a short amount of time; we can pay our bills on our phones, we can chat with someone a world away, we can make everyday purchases, and now they can be used as an extension of our security systems. In particular as a means of access control and authentication in commercial applications using near field communication (NFC). According to Jeremy Earles, Readers and Credentials Portfolio Manager for Allegion, NFC technology, “provides simplified transactions, data exchange and wireless connections between two devices that are in close proximity to each other…” This is essentially the same technology you may have seen advertised by Samsung where two phones can be tapped together to share information, see HERE.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed professionals provide comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey. We have been helping a wide range of businesses secure their facilities for over 20 years. As with any technology, progression in the realm of security components shows no signs of slowing. At Perfect Connections we realize it is our responsibility to stay on top of these changes and provide our clients with solutions that are current but practical as well.

NFC technology is an exciting new venture in access control applications. However, it has yet to become as ubiquitous as traditional access controls like key fobs, swipe cards, and proximity readers. One of the many reasons being NFC technology has yet to become an innate feature in the spectrum of devices in circulation today.

In theory NFC access control would work by allowing your employees and authorized users to utilize their mobile device, likely their cellphone, as their access credential. The user’s phone would have an embedded NFC chip that would wirelessly receive an authorized credential from an administrative control. This process can be similar to how you would download an app or retrieve information stored in a cloud service; or it could be easily managed by plugging the phone into an administrative device via a USB cord. Once the phone has the proper credential it can be used in the same fashion as a fob or proximity card, simply tap the phone or be within range of a reader that will grant or deny access. Imagine the convenience!

With 5.9 billion, or 87% of the world’s population, being mobile subscribers it’s no wonder NFC technology is creating buzz among end users and security integrators alike. Of those mobile subscribers 91% keep their phone within and arm’s length throughout the day and night. It only makes sense that phones would become part of integrated security protocols. With younger generations the desire for new and streamlined processes is endless, especially for those now entering the workforce. They don’t want to be bothered with having to search through their pockets or purses for badges or fobs when their phone like an extension of their hand. While NFC technology may not be the universal method for access control yet, the case for it exists today.

One of the many benefits NFC technology offers is no longer having to print or buy new ID badges which can be costly and time consuming. It also allows you to change credentials on and as needed basis. This would be helpful if you have a contract or temp worker who needs provisional access. You would simply send or upload a temporary credential to their phone and when their job is done you can delete access from the administrative network.

According to Ron Oetjen, president of Intelligent Access Systems (IAS), NFC technology saves money by not having to replace lost or stolen card credentials. Oetjen argues that security may be even better when using smartphones than cards or fobs considering how obsessively people guard them, and the fact that in order to use it as a credential the phone first has to be unlocked using a PIN or biometric identification. So many companies already employ a BYOD (bring your own device) policy at work that the transition would be easy for the user. If a phone is lost or stolen it can be remotely tracked, disabled, and/or wiped preventing an unauthorized user from gaining access.

Like any other developing technology, NFC is not perfect and consumer perception is still evolving. Currently one of the major drawbacks is that it’s not universally integrated in mobile phones and access readers. Certain manufacturers like Apple and Google have yet to include NFC technology in their devices making the user purchase external accessories that can be bulky and unattractive. Then there are some businesses that don’t want to lose the traditional ID badge that displays a photo of the user for security reasons. The issue of existing security infrastructure can be tricky too as it may require the removal and reinstallation of new system components which adds cost.

The world of security systems is constantly evolving. This requires integrators and end users to be aware of changes that will affect and potentially enhance their systems. NFC technology is an exciting addition to the access control component of a security system that will likely become more ubiquitous in the coming years. It will provide a new level of security and convenience that has yet to be fully realized. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators are constantly educating themselves on changes in the industry and how they may benefit our clients. We provide comprehensive security systems that include access controls to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey, and have been doing so since 1992. Our experts will help guide you through the process from an initial security assessment to final installation, implementing technologies that are not only effective but make sense for your specific situation.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Ervins Strauhmanis-Flickr-Creative Commons

Home Automation and Z-Wave Technology

Smart home AccessIn the wake of home automation, smart home, or connected home technology you may have come across the term Z-Wave technology. What is it? Z-Wave technology is, “a wireless technology that makes regular household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats ‘smart’.” It’s what allows your home devices to “talk” to each other and be controlled remotely via your mobile device. Why is this important? Well, if you have home automation or been considering it, it’s all about ease of integration, flexibility, and interoperability. Home automation and its perspective devices are an integral part of a comprehensive home security system. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive home security solutions for the past 23 years. We believe in making your life easier and more convenient by providing technologies that not only operate effectively but help provide superior protection.

Having strong communication between devices is crucial to the efficacy of your system. It seems Z-Wave technology has the majority grip on the market as it stand today, one of the main reasons being it boasts communication capabilities for more than 1,100 products from over 300 different manufacturers. This is beneficial to integrators and end-users alike. The quantity of smart products that operate on Z-Wave technology opens the door to highly flexible smart home applications. This means you can outfit your entire house with automation devices that can be controlled from your central control panel or a single application on your mobile device versus having to control devices piecemeal because they don’t operate on the same technology.

According to Mark Walters, chairman of the Z-Wave Alliance, “…greater than 80 percent of the North American security company-based lifestyle solutions are powered by Z-Wave.” The wide breadth of automation product availability within the Z-Wave family provides immense system scalability for homeowners and integrators. Meaning your initial product installations are not finite. Security and automation devices can be added on an as needed basis. For example, you may start with automated door locks, lighting, and garage door control but you may find that with time your needs expand to temperature management, skylight controls, and/or guarding against potential water damage; it’s always nice to only have to go through the installation process once, but it’s comforting to know you have options after the fact. While most homeowners rely on the experts to properly install devices in their home, the range of Z-Wave technology products does open the door to a more DIY approach. However, it is important to note that it is always wise to consult a licensed security system integrator to ensure proper product installation and operation. This technology also provides an open platform for integrators and consumers who prefer products from a specific manufacturer, making it easier to get exactly what you want.

What about existing household technologies, will they be affected by Z-Wave home automation devices? Today our lives are inundated with technology, your home probably has a slew of devices that operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The potential issue with a house full of devices operating simultaneously is the communication disruption they can incur on one another. Luckily with Z-Wave technology you don’t have to worry about interference with or from other household devices. Its operational capabilities were designed specifically for home control. It’s a low energy consumption, bandwidth efficient technology that won’t inhibit other home devices. Z-Wave technology also has a vast international presence throughout Europe further expanding their territory for consistency, device compatibility, and home automation integration.

Home automation is a facet of comprehensive security systems that improves a homeowners posture in security. It is meant to improve lives through convenience and seamless integration. With home automation you can turn lights on and off remotely with the tap of your finger on your mobile device. You can arm or disarm your alarm system while on vacation. You can monitor an aging loved one who wants to maintain a level of independence by tracking their activity on your smartphone. Or you can use it to receive instant notifications of real time events like your kids arrival home from school. Like any system, home automation is only as good as the sum of its parts and the technology it operates on.

Z-Wave technology is the means by which many automation devices communicate with each other and the system as a whole. The strong hold it has on the market today seems to prove it’s effectiveness and dependability. It creates flexibility in product selection and system integration without interfering with existing household devices. Chances are if you already have home automation as part of your security system your devices operate on Z-Wave technology. This technology and the devices it encompasses show no signs of slowing down in our age of technological progression.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We believe in providing technologies that enhance your home’s security and home automation devices do just that. Home automation is part of a comprehensive security system which should include fire and burglar alarms, video surveillance, access control, and a monitoring service. We help your home security stay relevant and provide technology that improves your quality of life.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Domoalert Smart Life Quality’s photostream-Flickr-Creative Commons