Home Security Myths Debunked

A home is so much more than a physical structure that you reside in. It’s where you have lazy Sunday breakfast with your spouse and kids. It’s where you enjoy a cup of hot coffee on your back porch. It’s where you read bedtime stories to your children and tuck them in at night. It’s where you might keep precious assets. It’s where you and your family live life to its fullest. How and what are you doing to protect all of that? Odds are, if you haven’t already installed a home security system, you’ve at least thought about it at one time or another. So what has been preventing you from taking the plunge? Well, like many homeowners you’ve probably convinced yourself or been falsely informed that you don’t need a comprehensive security system. There are a vast array of myths and misconceptions about home security systems, and you will learn why and how they are simply untrue.

My home is in a safe neighborhood, nothing bad could happen here.

Yes, we would all love to believe that we live in a Utopian society where everyone Fingerprint & broken glass-West Midlands Policecontributes, gets along, and the sun is always shining, right? Unfortunately, just as the weather is unpredictable, so is human nature. Criminals don’t care if your neighborhood is considered safe, if they see vulnerability, they see opportunity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your home is safe because of your surroundings. Statistically, 88% of all burglaries happen residentially, 86% happen when someone is home. Don’t wait for something tragic to happen. Take initiative and contact a trusted home security systems specialist at Perfect Connections, Inc. before it’s too late.

I don’t own anything a burglar/intruder would want.

While it may be true that you don’t own expensive valuable items, or have wads of cash lying around, burglars/intruders aren’t always after your jewelry or money. Whatever the intentions of a criminal, you have to assume if they are breaking into your home, they’re after something. Even if they don’t steal something of monetary value, they might accidentally grab something that is irreplaceable and of emotional significance, or worse, cause harm to you or a family member. According to safewise.com, “1 in 3 homes without a security system will fall victim to a burglary as compared to 1 in 250 homes that do have a security system.” Don’t presume to know what criminals are after, protect what matters most with a comprehensive security system solution.

Security systems don’t work and are too expensive.

Thinking your security system is going to act like an impenetrable force field that will deflect potential intruders or criminal behavior is just not realistic. Neither is believing a comprehensive security system won’t do anything for your home and your family, or that it’s too costly. The cost in damages from a burglary can be far more financially draining than the cost of a comprehensive security system with alarm monitoring. Never mind the emotional toll it can take on you and your family.

Luckily, the evolution of security systems has allowed professionals to offer a wider range of economic solutions to fit your budget. You can actually save money by installing a home security system; many home insurance providers offer discounts for doing so. Beware of security systems companies that lowball their price quotes, odds are you’ll end up being just a number in a sea of inadequately protected customers. Watch out for companies that offer you an “accurate” quote over the phone, how can they asses your home’s needs if they’ve never been there? A full home security assessment should be done in person by a licensed specialist, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Security systems have been proven to deter intruders, in fact the Electronic Security Association’s “Home Safety Fast Facts” report indicates 9 out of 10 burglars purposefully avoid homes with security systems. Thinking that security systems don’t work fast enough is inaccurate. Some systems alert the authorities within 45 seconds, and if a patrol car is in the area, the likelihood of the perpetrator being caught is higher. Even if a burglar were to get into your home, the second your alarm goes off, the sound and attention will typically drive your intruder away.

My home is not built to accept a security system.

Old home-Brad ClinesmithMaybe you live in an old Colonial or Victorian house where the walls are solid and accessibility throughout the home is challenging. You might assume the construction of your home wouldn’t allow the installation of a home security system because it would require extensive drilling and/or remodeling. In the past there might have been a tinge of truth to that assumption, however, today many if not most systems are or have wireless capabilities. Not only is a wireless system convenient in older homes, or any home for that matter, but it’s aesthetically more pleasing as it eliminates any loose or dangling wires. What if a burglar were to cut phone and power lines? According to nightwatchprotection.com, “With wireless phone and internet technology combined with battery and backup generator support, you can expect your security system to be up and running under the worst conditions.”

My pets will set off false alarms, besides they’re like built-in security units.

While a barking dog can make a potential intruder run in the opposite direction, they can’t always differentiate between a threat and a familiarity, never mind the fact they can’t contact emergency services. Pets may not alert you if they recognize the intruder, for example, someone who had previously done work in your home. A comprehensive security system does not discriminate, if a window is broken, the alarm goes off. If the door is kicked in, the alarm will sound and the authorities will be notified, giving you and your family time to get to a safe place.

Worrying your pets will sound a false alarm is less of concern with todays’ advanced motion detectors. The detectors that are pet friendly are set to pick up motion from objects over a certain weight. This decreases the chances of a false alarm, and you don’t have to fret about your pets wandering around your home.

All security systems are the same and they’re too complicated.

Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each security systems company will have different products, procedures, and policies. Your security systems professional should be able to customize a comprehensive system that suits the individual needs of your home. Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution. As far as systems being too complicated, technological advancements have simplified user interfaces making them easier to operate. Many systems utilize graphic touch screen controls that provide step by step instructions.

It’s important to do your homework and shop around to figure out which company best suits your needs. Put your trust in companies with a proven customer retention record and a history of experience like Perfect Connections, Inc. We have 98% Customer Loyalty Rating, and have been providing security system services to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.

 

Image Credits: Image #1 by West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Brad Clinesmith-Flickr-Creative Commons,

 

 

IT Security Tips For Your Alarm System

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a recent news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Maintaining Your Alarm System

So you bought an alarm system, what kind of maintenance and service should you do?

Really, not much. It should work flawlessly for quite some time. The first thing to go will be batteries. All systems will have to have their system battery replaced after 3 to 5 years. When the battery is low, the keypad will notify you as will the central station. The batteries for most alarm systems in service today are 12 volt and 4 to 7 amp hour. Newer graphic self-contained systems have different smaller batteries, the 2Gig GO! Control has a 7.2 volt back up battery. All batteries should give you 24 hour back up. It is not a bad idea to schedule replacement of your battery every 3 years to preempt any possible issues.

If you have a wireless alarm system, you will also need to replace the batteries in the various devices such as door and window transmitters, wireless motion detectors, wireless glass break detectors, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, wireless smoke detectors, key fobs, panic buttons, and other wireless devices. Most of the new devices use lithium batteries, from CR123 3 Volt lithium batteries to lithium watch sized batteries. The smaller the device, the smaller the battery. Typically the bigger batteries last longer, 3 years plus, while the watch type batteries last 2 years plus. Devices that are used most often, like entry doors, drain quicker. On the newer systems, the keypad tells you which transmitter has a low battery, making replacement easy.

Make sure your alarm company shows you how to change the batteries during the installation. You should also get a list of the batteries required for all the various devices you have so you don’t have to scramble to find out when they are low. If you choose not to replace your own batteries, the alarm company should be happy to replace them for you.

Older systems use typical alkaline batteries, 9 volt, AAA and AA are common. These need to be replaced more often. Many older systems don’t tell you when the batteries are low so regular replacement is necessary.

Other than changing batteries, not much else is necessary. Make sure devices such as motion detectors and smoke detectors are clear of spider webs and that’s about it.

If installed and programmed correctly, your alarm system should monitor all parts and devices on the system, as well as services it is connected to, like power, telephone, and cellular. If any of these systems go down, your alarm system should alert you to that fact. The first reaction is to think that there is something wrong with your alarm system, when in reality it is working correctly. It is supposed to tell you when it is compromised when a service it relies on is not working properly.

Even though the system monitors itself, testing the alarm system is something that you should regularly do. You depend on your alarm system and you should make sure that it is working properly all the time. The best way to test the system is as follows: Call the central station and put the system on test. Arm the system and then trip a zone. Reset the alarm and then call the central station to make sure they received the right signal. Next week put it back on test and trip the next zone. Go clockwise around your house and you will eventually check all your devices and then start again. It is worth the effort to protect your home and family.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.

Preventing Shoplifting This Holiday Season

Helpful Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

Each year, shoplifting accounts for millions of dollars of loss for businesses all across the country. Some of the most common items stolen include watches, jewelry, music, books, clothing, and even car parts. While installing a security camera can help to identify suspects after the theft occurs, there are quite a few things a retailer can do to prevent shoplifting from taking place in the first place.

Some actionable tips that can help all types of retailers this holiday season include:

• Greet customers as they come into the store.
• Watch for the customers who avoid eye contact, linger, are constantly looking for the employees, wander around the store or seem to be overly nervous.
• Make sure your employees keep moving and walking around the store.
• Maintain the store and keep it well-organized and clean.
• Restrict the use of the fitting rooms to only customers who request them.
• Install various anti-theft devices.
• Create a shoplifting policy and make sure to enforce it.
• Hire plenty of employees.
• Talk to other businesses in the area about suspicious behavior they may have seen.
• Keep items that are often stolen in plain view.

If you ever do suspect that a person is shoplifting, do not accuse them of this. Instead, just ask them if you can either help them or ring them up. Keep an eye on the person and contact security or a manager right away. You should never attempt to stop the person that’s shoplifting, and if they wind up leaving the store, try to provide a detailed description of the individual, as well as what they are driving.

4 Tips to Safeguard Your Business from a Break-In

Good business security offers peace of mind and helps to prevent acts of vandalism and robberies. Being able to protect your business from a possible theft and break-in is essential for creating a safe environment for your customers and workers – all while protecting your assets.

Below are 4 tips that will help you keep your business safe and sound:

1. Find vulnerable areas.
The first step is to take a walk around the building. Hunt for any damaged windows, doors or other locations where someone could get in undetected. Repair or replace any weak areas.

2. Use video surveillance (CCTV). This is perhaps the most important component of good business security. Having video surveillance allows you to see what is going on. With today’s CCTV systems, you can have live access to your cameras, day or night, from wherever you are (as long as you have access to the internet). And, if a break-in does occur, you have the evidence necessary to catch the culprit. This will also help protect your business from employee theft.

3. Use access control card systems. There are likely some parts of your business where you have rather expensive assets or sensitive information. When you install an access card control system, you will be able to limit some rooms to only authorized individuals. If someone were to break-in, they would have a hard time getting into these locked areas.


4. Advertise your security system. Once the security equipment has been installed, be sure that you post stickers and signs all around letting would-be burglars know about the system.

 
When you secure your business as outlined above, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your location is safe and sound.

How To Protect Your Home During The Holidays

Happy Holidays-Melissa BrawnerNo matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a time for family, friends, love, laughter, and burglary? That’s right folks, not everyone gets into the spirit of giving during the holiday season. In fact, there are those who seek out opportunities to break into homes and steal instead. Often times people have more valuables and cash lying around during the holiday season. Holiday shopping sprees make empty homes vulnerable as well, especially because most break-ins occur during the day. Fortunately there are some things you can do to prevent break-ins and/or burglary during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year. At Perfect Connections, Inc. we understand your concerns in safeguarding not only your home and valuables, but your family as well. If you don’t have a security system, call on our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. to find out how a comprehensive residential security system can help protect your home, loved ones, and peace of mind. Below are some security tips to keep in mind for the holiday season.

If you don’t have one, install a home security system with home automation

A comprehensive home security system with home automation and a monitoring service has numerous benefits. Aside from making your home 300 percent less likely to be burglarized, you gain a peace of mind that can’t be obtained anywhere else. At Perfect Connections, Inc. we specialize in providing and installing customized residential security systems that include proper fire alarms, surveillance equipment and a monitoring service, burglar alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. These components combined with home automation make for an almost unbeatable system. With home automation you no longer have to worry whether or not you locked your doors because you can conveniently do so from afar via your mobile device.

If you have a security system make sure it is functioning properly

There’s nothing like assuming you’re covered in an emergency or break-in, only to find out key components of your security system are malfunctioning or out of batteries. These are things that should be checked, at the very least, on an annual basis by your security provider. It doesn’t hurt to double check during the holiday season. Run a diagnostics test, if you’re unsure how to, contact your security system provider and the monitoring service to avoid false alarms.

Travel plans?

Planning a trip for the holidays? Be sure to keep the details on the down-low. Do not announce on any platform-as tempting as it may be-when you’ll be gone and for how long. Sharing that type of information with the public is like an open invitation to criminals. If you have to tell someone or want someone to check your home periodically while you’re gone, tell trusted neighbors and friends or hire someone from a reputable company. Try not to make it look obvious that you’re not home, have someone grab your mail or have the post office hold it. Use programmed lighting or home automation to turn lights on and off throughout your trip, this will help give the illusion that someone is home. Leaving the TV on or a single light on for the duration of your trip is not a good idea because if someone is casing your home they will pick up on the fact that neither is being turned on or off; never mind the chance of an electrical fire.

Hide gifts

Do not leave gifts, wrapped or unwrapped in front of windows or within sight from the exterior of your home. Just as with any valuables, the more visible they are, the more incentive burglars have to break-in. If you are going to leave gifts in front of windows or within outdoor sight, try drawing your curtains.

Do a quick survey of your property

Taking the time to inspect the exterior of your home and property is a great way to ensure your access points are adequately protected. Doing this can help point out potential hiding spots for criminals (i.e. high or untrimmed shrubs) and weak spots that might need attention.

Out and about

While you’re out shopping be sure to secure your home and yourself. If you carry a purse be sure to keep it close to you. Wallet carriers, if you normally keep it in your back pocket, be sure to switch it to your front. Park your car in well-lit areas. You can never be too careful.

Remember it’s not all about the material possessions that can be stolen, most are easily replaced. It’s losing that peace of mind you had prior to a break-in. Restoring peace of mind once it’s been disturbed is more difficult than replacing a toy. Be proactive and protect your home and family by installing a comprehensive security system. If you live in Northern or Central New Jersey call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc.. We can provide a personal assessment of your security needs. Then customize a system that is right for your individual home that will help protect you and your family for many holiday seasons to come!

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 Melissa Brawner-Flickr-Creative Commons

Why Custom Is Best

Broken door jamb-Tim SamoffThe world is an exciting, adventure-filled environment we all share. Even with all of the amazing opportunities it has to offer, the sad fact remains that there are inevitable and unavoidable dangers. We would all like to think our homes are impervious fortresses of safety, when in reality life is unpredictable, and most are unaware or don’t want to believe they are vulnerable in their own home. However, you can take preventative measures to significantly decrease your chances of disaster. Our homes are where our lives happen, what better reason to protect them? By installing a comprehensive custom security system, you would not only be protecting the physical structure of your home, but most importantly the welfare of your family. No one understands this better than our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc., a trusted security systems company that has serviced homes locally in Central and Northern New Jersey for decades.

Maybe you’ve considered a security system in the past, but thought, “my neighborhood is safe, nothing bad would or could ever happen here.” Then the unthinkable happens, your neighbor’s home is broken into while they are at work; the intruder stealing most, if not all, of their irreplaceable valuables. Your neighbor didn’t have a security system and the perpetrator was able to get in through an open window on their back porch. Sometimes that’s all it takes, you can lock your doors, but if a criminal wants in and you are unprotected, they will most likely find a way. According to Alarm.org, in 2012 there were an estimated 2,103,787 burglaries across the United States, and “Homes without alarm systems are 3 times more likely to be burglarized than those with an alarm system.” Don’t fall victim to false pretenses of perceived safety. Take initiative to safeguard what matters most.

As a homeowner, it’s not just burglaries and break-ins that are cause for concern, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are unpredictable occurrences that threaten home and family safety. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in 2013 nationally fire departments responded to a fire every 25 seconds, and 80,100 incidents of non-fire related carbon monoxide detection in 2010. To help avoid something as catastrophic as a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, it is imperative that the proper warning systems are part of your home security system. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms will help prevent irreparable damage and loss.

A comprehensive custom security system will not only help prevent break-ins and fire damage, but protect and improve the functionality of your home and family. Today’s technological advancements have significantly enhanced the capabilities of home security systems. Many systems can be controlled and monitored remotely from the convenience of your smartphone or mobile device. In fact, here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we work with interactive services like Alarm.com to provide seamless and convenient home automation. Industry manufacturers and engineers have come a long way from the now antiquated door shaker security measures that followed the end of World War I. The door shakers were a posse of watchmen that would travel door to door giving each one a jiggle to make sure they were locked. Imagine leaving the safety of your home and family up to a door shaker nowadays? Whether you are in the midst of new home construction or concerned about your current residence, consider what security measures can and should be implemented.

When deciding between security systems companies, remember no two security systems are the same, as they shouldn’t be. They should be customized to fit the needs of an individual. If you hire a company that insists on using the same system they’ve used everywhere else, you might be getting duped. Not everyone has the same needs, and every home is different, therefore the security necessities between homes are going to vary greatly. Your security systems provider and installers should already know this, and they should be able to provide comprehensive solutions to your homes’ vulnerabilities. As a customer be sure to do your research. Personal referrals are helpful and online reviews can sometimes help weed out the non-experts. Once you’ve narrowed your search you’ll want to have the company you choose perform a security assessment. The assessment will show you what you’re lacking and how to better equip your home.

Features & Benefits of a Home Security System

Combining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with motion detectors, surveillance, window and door sensors, energy management, and burglar alarms will create a more cohesive system, and put your mind at ease. With motion detectors you can be alerted when someone, or something, is moving in a particular room, or when doors and windows are being opened and closed. Motion detectors can even be set up to communicate with the security cameras in your home to catch a glimpse of what is moving. For all of the animal lovers, pet immune motion detectors are available helping to avoid false alarms from your furry friends.Cat and dog-Tim Dorr

While motion detectors pick up what is going on inside your home, window and door sensors will help provide perimeter protection, helping warn you before intruders are physically inside your home. Both sensors/detectors can trip your alarm system giving you enough time to get somewhere safe and/or alert the authorities, while simultaneously driving the intruder away. The benefits of an energy conscious system is that its’ cost effective and less wasteful. Being able to manage your home climate can save you from a sky-high utilities bill, especially in extreme weather conditions.

One of the best ways to keep track and understand what is happening in yours or a loved one’s home is surveillance. By installing home security cameras you have the capability to record and monitor internal and external activity. Cameras are a great way to deter potential intruders or vandals and keep track of who is coming and going. Recording and monitoring services can be a helpful resource in tracking down a suspect in the event of a successful break-in. Surveillance will provide peace of mind that can’t be obtained by an alarm system alone.

The Connected Home

Now that you have your custom security system installed and you fully grasp its functions,wouldn’t it be convenient to see and control what is happening while you’re away? With the Connected Home-Home Automation and integrated security systems now you can. In today’s high-tech society many security systems now have remote access capabilities. Maybe you’re at work and your kids are expected home before you, with remote access via your smartphone, tablet, or mobile device, you can be notified of their safe arrival with a snapshot or video clip. Perhaps you forgot to close your garage door before leaving for vacation. No worries, with the tap of your mobile device, it’s easily closed. Maybe you’re concerned for the well being of a loved one living on their own, but you don’t want to hinder their independence, problem solved. With a mobile app like the one offered by Alarm.com you can check on your family member’s activity without being intrusive. You can even control the temperature of your home from Home Automation-from our websiteafar. Imagine your driving home from a long weekend mid-winter and you had set the temperature somewhere in the 50’s in an effort to conserve energy; mid drive you can access and change your home climate to avoid the bone-chilling wait time it would take to warm the house. This type of technology is not only convenient but continuously evolving. Including home automation as in integral part of your security system makes life easier and with improving technologies it’s bound to only get better.

See what Perfect Connections, Inc. can do to help protect your home and family. We have been securing homes since 1992. Our team can provide a personalized solution to help put your mind at ease.

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 Credits: Image #1 by Tim Samoff-Filckr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Tim Dorr-Flickr-Creative Commons

Self Installed Security Systems

Experts-Mai LeIn a world where you can find virtually anything on the internet, there are endless “Do It Yourself”-commonly referred to as DIY-solutions for pretty much everything.  This holds true for home security systems.  However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to your computer/mobile device and buy a 4 star rated surveillance camera off Amazon, and start poking holes in your walls.  As with anything on the internet, you end up wading through a sea of options, resources, and opinions; you might start to feel like you’re drowning in information.  Don’t worry you’re not alone.  You’ll likely have a ton of questions like how do you know if you’re making the right choice?  Are the reviews accurate, or paid for by a company?  Am I getting the best deal?  How do I know one product will be compatible with another?  Is this an honest company?  The list goes on and on.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we’d like to help you avoid the drowning in information effect.  Our team has been providing residential security systems solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.  While we believe our customers are capable individuals, we also believe in providing a customized, comprehensive, and clear cut solution to your home security needs that you can’t get through purchasing products piecemeal on the internet.  You know that old adage, “you get what you pay for”?  It’s true, and in some cases you end up getting less.  You can’t expect a few $50 cameras you bought online, and a monitoring app on your phone, to fully safeguard your home and family.  Surveillance cameras and mobile monitoring are only a couple components in an effective home security system.  Think about the other issues you need to be cognizant of like access control, fire and carbon monoxide detection, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. What good is an alarm if the local authorities aren’t contacted when it goes off?  Our team of professionals are informed and informative on the products we install, and they understand the importance of a solution tailored specifically to your home.

Hiring A Professional

If you’ve never had experience installing or operating security systems equipment, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want an industry expert to do it?  Hiring a professional alleviates the pressure on you, wasting less of your precious time and money.  An expert will be able to assess potential weak spots in and around your home that you might not pick up on.  The sophistication of your home security system is dependent on professional products and how they are installed.

There are so many pros of having a security company customize and install an alarm system for your home.  For one, they know how and which products will work together, everything from the cameras to the central control panel.  They can hook you up with an alarm monitoring service.  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your system automatically contacts the authorities in case of emergency.  According to Erin Raub for SafeSoundFamily, “This does not happen with a DIY system, which notifies you (and others you put on the notification list), making it your responsibility to decide on the next course of action.”  It’s chaotic enough in the event of an emergency, you don’t want to have to figure out who to contact, or struggle to find your phone.  The convenience of having a fire, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarm/detector that communicates directly with a monitoring service is priceless; it provides a quicker response time which could ultimately save lives and property.

Home automation is a security feature that connects various aspects of your home to the central control panel in your home.  Lighting, temperature control, locks, garage doors, and sometimes appliances can all be controlled either from your control panel or even a mobile device through and app provided by Alarm.com.  You can’t get this type of connection to your home through a DIY system.  Even if you could, you shouldn’t be installing it yourself.  According to Anne Reagan for Advice Porch “To ensure that all sequences are correct, a professional should always complete home automation.”

Think about the future of your home when it comes to security systems.  If you plan on ever putting your house back on the market, having a customized professionally installed security system can actually increase the value of your home.  Like Anne Reagan points out, “…every prospective homeowner wants to live in a safe and secure home.”  That being said, potential buyers aren’t going to want a house with system they have to remove or update themselves, especially if it’s installed improperly or in adequately.

People might think a DIY security system is cheaper because you’re not paying for labor, but in reality you could end up paying more.  If your system fails or becomes completely defunct, it is up to you to replace it out of pocket.  With a professional service you would likely be covered for certain damages and/or malfunctioning equipment under your service contract.  Adding parts or features to your DIY system after the fact will add up, whereas an initial assessment from a professional will provide a more complete result from the get-go.  Any required maintenance, repairs, and updates are your responsibility which will further drain your wallet.

Before jumping online and buying a bunch of equipment, or punching holes in your walls, check out a professional service for your home security needs.  They can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  If you reside in Northern or Central New Jersey find out what Perfect Connections, Inc. can do for you.  Our team understands the value in a comprehensive home security system catered to your specific needs.

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 Mai Le-Flickr-Creative Commons

Home Vulnerability Test

Dorothy-Insomnia Cured Here“There is no place like home.” — L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1))

Isn’t that the truth?  There truly is no place like home.  It’s your place of comfort, family congregations, entertainment, and life.  With any home there are weak spots that open you up to potential threats.  Maybe you already know this because you’ve hired a professional to assess your security needs, and you now have a comprehensive security system installed.  Whether or not you have sought professional service to protect your home, there are things you can check/do to make sure you’re properly deterring potential threats.  Providing residential security systems solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey for the past 22 years, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. can offer insight on how to better protect your home.  Check out the following tips for a safer home.

Knowing Your Weaknesses:

  • High or untrimmed shrubbery/vegetation surrounding your home
    • Creates convenient hiding spots for criminals
  • Leaving spare keys throughout your property-you know the typical “it’s under the matt” approach
    • Makes it easier for burglars/thieves to get into your home
  • Poorly lit driveways and home entries
    • Allows a criminal to go undetected/conceals them better
  • Leaving valuable items in plain sight
    • Gives a burglar more incentive to break-in
  • Out of date or dysfunctional fire alarms and carbon/smoke monoxide detectors
    • Leaves you and your family inadequately protected in the event of an emergency
  • Broken or weak door and window locks
    • Provides easier access to your home
  • Not having a home security system
    • All of the above

What You Can Do:

  • Keep the plants and vegetation surrounding your home trimmed especially near windows and doors
    • This will help decrease any potential hiding spots for criminals
  • Don’t leave spare keys out, or keep them fully concealed and secure (maybe in a coded or locked location)
    • Prevents an intruder from easily entering your home
    • Leaving a key with a neighbor is a better option as you don’t have to worry about losing a key outside or who might find it
  • Light your driveway, perimeter, and entries; use automatic timers
    • Intruders are less likely to attempt a break-in at a well-lit property
    • Automatic timers can be set to go off even when you’re not home
    • With home automation you can turn your interior lights on and off while you’re away vs having to leave lights on until you get home; a light left on for too long will tipoff burglars that you’re not really home, especially if they’ve been watching your home
  • Don’t leave valuables lying around your home
    • This includes jewelry, irreplaceable items, cash, small or moveable safes that house other precious objects or documents
  • Make sure your fire alarms and carbon/smoke detectors have batteries and are working properly
    • This will ensure you and your family will be properly warned in the event of an emergency, helping to prevent catastrophic loss and damage
  • Routinely inspect your door and window locks, and make sure they are locked
    • Locking your doors and windows may seem obvious, but many homeowners don’t do it because they live in a “safe” neighborhood. Don’t be fooled, anyone is susceptible to crime, the difference is how you are prepared for it.
  • Occasionally walk the perimeter of your home
    • It’s simple, but it will make you aware of any potential weaknesses and/or damage to your home
  • Hire a professional to install a comprehensive security system with alarm monitoring
    • They will perform an in depth inspection of your home’s interior and exterior
    • You will have a system that is customized to the specific needs of your home
    • You will rest easy knowing that your windows and doors have sensors, cameras are recording and deterring what is happening inside/outdoors
    • Your fire and burglar alarms are set to alert the authorities the instant something happens
    • You can access different features, including lighting, through home automation services

While you can certainly perform routine checks of your property, to fully secure your home, hire a professional.  An expert will pick up on things you may not notice and you’ll get unbeatable protection for your home and family.  If you are located in Northern or Central New Jersey, do not hesitate to call on our professionals at Perfect Connections Inc. to find out more about residential security systems.  We have been providing expert residential security services for over 20 years, and we are dedicated to understanding your specific needs.

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.

For other helpful tips, check out these sites:

Safewise.com-Thieves Offer Home Security Tips

Safewise.com-Self Evaluate

Image Credit: Image by Insomnia Cured Here-Flickr-Creative Commons

Finding The Missing Puzzle Piece

Missing puzzle pieceWhile businesses have a lot to offer, many are lacking the protection they need.  No I don’t mean stowing an arsenal below your cash-wrap, but rather an effective security system and security features.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we can help you protect what you’ve worked so hard for.  If you run a business in central or northern New Jersey, let us assess your security risks and provide a custom solution to fit your needs.  Many don’t know what they are lacking and how it can be rectified, our licensed professionals can help in that arena.  Don’t fall victim to preventable disasters find out what a comprehensive security system can do for you and the health of your business.

What’s lacking?

An incomplete security system is a bit like working on a puzzle with missing pieces.  There are essential features that should be included in a comprehensive security system.  Maybe you already have a security system installed at your business, but is it monitored?  What good is a security system if no one, except those in the area, is alerted when the alarm goes off?  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your security system is crucial for the quickest response times.  Surveillance equipment can also help deter employee theft which is, “the fastest growing crime in America,” according to the FBI.  Employee theft costs businesses up to $200 billion each year.  Installing surveillance equipment not only in the main customer space, but in offices, storage, and inventory spaces can help decrease chances of employee theft and misconduct.

Other areas that tend to be overlooked or under-protected are doors and safes.  While a door typically locks, if it’s not sturdy and linked to an alarm, what’s preventing someone from kicking it in?  To protect your entries, exits, and interior spaces be sure that your doors are not only sturdy and alarmed but protected by some sort of access control.  Whether it’s a swipe card, key fob, passcode, or some form of biometrics, access control will help prevent unwanted entrants.  Safes that are out in the open and easy to grab or crack open provide minimal protection for whatever is in it.  If you’re going to store valuables or cash in a safe at your business be sure it’s secure either bolted to the ground or in a fortified room.

Inadequate protection from fire and carbon monoxide can be a killer for any business.  Having detectors and alarms may not be enough if they don’t communicate with emergency services.  It’s the same idea as the unmonitored burglar alarm, if no one is around to hear the detectors go off a fire could easily escalate to the point of no return.  For the quickest response time, fire alarms and detectors should be linked to a monitoring service that communicates with emergency services.  Proper fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be an integral part of a comprehensive security system.  Your business is likely your livelihood, protect it.

There are few certainties in life, but taking initiative to protect what you’ve built by installing a comprehensive security system is guaranteed to help.  No two businesses are the same, therefore no two security systems will be the same.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe in customizing security solutions for each individual business based on their specific needs.  As security systems experts we have been providing security solutions to northern and central New Jersey businesses since 1992.

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.

Make Sure Your System Is Monitored

Traditionally in any monitored security system, the individual security devices are installed by a systems integrator and when an alarm sounds or something looks suspicious a signal, and sometimes a video clip, is sent to a central monitoring station which then either contacts the end-user or the local authorities to initiate an emergency response. This system still exists today and is considered an effective means for preventing disaster and catching criminals. However, in light of recent technological advancement, the end user now has the capability to “monitor” their own property via their mobile device. One has to wonder, how effective can self-monitoring be and could it actually replace a central monitoring service?

Our licensed team of integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We have seen how technology can affect not only individual security devices but the system as a whole. There are pluses and minuses to every situation, but its understanding which methods and devices provide the most benefits that make the difference, and monitoring services are no exception.

As a business owner it’s nice to feel in control of your facility and what goes on within it. This is where the idea of self-monitoring comes into play. If you have a security system installed at your facility, it can be set up to send notification directly to your mobile device. This means that when there is a disturbance, maybe an intruder walks in front of a motion sensitive video camera, a video clip can be sent directly to your smartphone or mobile device so you can act. The same is true of a tripped alarm. This all sounds great, right? However, it’s not without its limitations.

One of the major drawbacks of monitoring your own alarm system is failure to initiate an immediate and adequate response. This could happen for a number of reasons. One being your mobile device is turned off or not on your person. Another could be a missed notification. As a business owner you likely have enough on your plate to occupy the full 24 hours of the day, never mind trying to keep an eye on your facility at all times. It’s a feat not likely met by any independent business owner, you have to sleep at some point. Self-monitoring can also become a nuisance, receiving excessive notifications throughout the day. The constant interruption would be enough to drive anyone mad. It’s for these reasons central monitoring services continue to prevail.

The goal of monitoring an alarm system is to create a proactive response versus a reactive one. In the recent past, surveillance footage was primarily being utilized in “after the fact” scenarios where local authorities would try to catch a perpetrator or solve a crime based on recorded footage. Today, with real-time video verified notifications and improving communications, local authorities stand a better chance of catching someone red-handed.

There are essentially four different types of monitoring that can be implemented, including self-monitoring. There’s onsite monitoring which typically consists of paying someone to sit and stare at TVs or computer monitors. According to a study from Sandia National Laboratories the attention span of a person viewing surveillance footage for just 20 minutes will be “significantly diminished.” It’s not a very reliable or economical method to ensure the security of your facility.

Then you have remote monitoring where surveillance footage is monitored off site by streaming footage over the internet to a remote location. However, this doesn’t mean someone will be vigilant 24/7. This could mean streaming it to your home computer and that would only be effective if someone were there to monitor it. Lastly, there’s professional remote video monitoring. This type of monitoring typically employs operators that are trained on how to interact with local authorities and respond to different security scenarios. These types of monitoring stations are typically staffed 24/7.

Professional remote video monitoring is an advantageous service because the operator on duty can interpret live video footage and provide useful information to the local authorities. Information that isn’t necessarily transmitted to a mobile device in a 5-10 sec video clip; things like a perpetrator/s physical description, maybe the license plate or make and model of their getaway vehicle, what the suspect is doing, how many people are present, and whether or not the suspect/s is armed.

This type of monitoring can also help filter our false alarms and fees incurred by false dispatches by validating on site activity with the end user via real-time footage. As the end user you can also request that the operators perform occasional virtual tours throughout your facility or parts of it. These routine surveys of your property would help detect any disturbances but also help in general maintenance of your facility. An operator may notice things like loose wires or a piece of equipment that looks out of place. Depending on your facility’s capabilities, monitoring operators can sometimes interact with suspects or people on site through speakers on a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system.

While new technology continues to usher in the desire for self-reliance it also fosters further development of security system components and the way monitoring services are able to interact with them. Many industry professionals agree that having a professional monitoring service is still the preferable method of watching over your facility. There’s simply too many holes in trying to self-monitor your own business. According to Simon Morgan, director of Technology, SureView Systems, “The central station remains the first line of defense.” Matthew Riccoboni, director of Marketing, OzVision, says, “There truly is a value in 24/7 monitoring by the central station. Customers like to know someone is keeping an eye on their assets whether they are awake or not.” With a central monitoring station you can rest easy knowing someone is always there to initiate a response.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. We understand the value our customers place on their business that they’ve worked so hard for; we work to provide the best solutions to fit their specific needs. 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.

Check out this video on actual events that highlight the differences between monitoring stations that have video verification and those that don’t. The last scenario is what everyone wants to avoid. Link: What is Video Verification?

Image Credit: Image by Bosch Service Solutions-Google-Creative Commons