Category Archive: Blog

  1. Combating Porch Package Theft

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    We’ve all heard or seen the stories of people stealing packages right off the porches of homes. According to the most recent statistics, more than 5.5 million larceny thefts were reported across the country.  With nearly 8 out of 10 people shopping regularly online, it’s easy to guess that package theft is rising.  Based on country-wide statistics, the number of thefts has risen 13% over last year.

    What can you do to protect yourself?

    Doorbell Cameras

    Central Alarm offers the same high end doorbell cameras that you can order from any alarm system found online or national alarm company.  These are a part of our standard recommended security packages that add both convenience and security to your front porch.  Thieves are far less likely to strike homes that clearly indicate that they are recording what occurs in front of their door.

    Visible Exterior Cameras

    You can also take steps to stop this from happening by adding video surveillance cameras to your home that are visible and easy to spot for those that get near the home.  These not only make it more daunting for would-be thieves to steal from you, but it also increases the overall security of your property for those that might look to break into the home.

    Let the Local Professionals Help You Today

    Central Alarm can give your home or business a completely free security audit and quote to determine what you can do to dramatically increase the security of your home.  If you haven’t look at many of these modern solutions, it might surprise you how many tools are at your disposal and how affordable it really is.  Give us a call today and we would love to help you in any way we can.

  2. Do NOT Use Hide-a-Keys

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    At Central Alarm, we’re always encouraging our customers to follow industry-standard best practices.

    It’s still pretty common today for people that own homes to use Hide-a-Keys around their house, or to simply put a key where they think someone can’t find it.  We recommend to ALL of our customers that they do not follow these practices as they severely reduce the security of your entire home.

    Hidden Keys Aren’t Hidden

    As much as it might feel like a clever hiding place, trust us – burglars know all of them.  There are only so many places that a key can be hidden around a home and still be accessible in need.  Those that are truly interested in gaining entry into the home have likely a working understanding of where most places may contain a hidden key.  Consider also it may only take 5 minutes to thoroughly check most places a key might be hidden.

    Hide-a-Key specific solutions like terrain are extremely easy to spot.

    Key Lockbox

    Another more secure option if you always want to keep a key handy is to use a key lockbox that has a sophisticated enough code to make it difficult to guess.  These can be securely mounted to the structure and take a significant amount of work to break into.  These offer a cheap solution to simply keeping a key above the door frame or on top of a lamp in the back yard.

    Smart Locks

    If you want to go key-less, or provide a way for other people to get into the home like children or other family members, a much more suitable option is a Smart Lock that allows you to use a code in order to unlock the door.  These technologies have come quite a ways in the last decade and offer the convenience of keyless entry into the home with the added security of at least up to a 5 digit code.

    We do however recommend that you change your code semi-regularly as the number of people that might know the code can grow.  Once a year it’s a good practice to change your code and redistribute it to those that need access.

    There are additional tools coming out as well that utilize phone entry solutions using WiFi and Bluetooth.

    Please stay safe out there and remember that Central Alarm is here for all of your home or business security needs!

     

  3. Garage Door Safety

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    Garage doors are an incredibly huge potential entry point to a home and it’s one area that can be often overlooked. And while it initially may seem unlikely, it can be a very effective way for criminals to have even more time in your home. Once the garage door has been accessed, it can be closed behind intruders so that the break-in is far less visible from the outside.

    Here are a few recommended tips to make this less likely:

    • Invest in a garage door remote sensor that can alert your phone when the door has opened if your opener does not have this feature.
    • The easiest way for criminals to access your garage is for home owners to leave their door opener remotes in their vehicles parked outside the garage. This is by far the most common way entry is made.
    • Secure your emergency release to prevent easy access. This can be accomplished by adding a barrier between the top of the door and the release.
    • Ensure that the door leading to your home from the inside of the garage is secured by a deadbolt and that you keep this locked when you are inside the home. You can also install a peep hole on these doors which can add just a little more security.
    • Install bright motion sensing lights in the garage to bring attention to an open door.

    Lastly, garage door openers are not usually the first priority in terms of technology upgrades, but if you have an older unit, it may be worth considering upgrading. Technology advancements have been significant with the addition to mobile technology. Today standard garage door opening units include features such as wireless access via wifi or mobile phones with alerts to tell you when the door is open or closed and access controls to close the door.

    For more tips and information, please see our other posts. Our security professionals are also ready to help you may your home safe and secure! Just give us a call today to learn more.

  4. Secure Entryways

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    Doors and windows are the clear pathways into the home. In addition to smart security decisions, like having an active system that is monitored by professionals such as Central Alarm, home owners can employ a few common sense additions to just make it difficult enough that gaining entry into the home isn’t worth it.

    Deadbolts

    The obvious first step is to ensure you have a deadbolt in your doorframe. This doesn’t usually apply to new homes however there are many older homes that deadbolts are not installed, or are non-functioning. Inspect your current deadbolts as well – if they were not installed properly or the wood has been compromised, it can easily collapse if a door is kicked in.

    Use Correct Hardware

    As previously mentioned, make sure that your materials are not only in good shape, but also that they were installed correctly. For example, using longer screws when mounting door hardware will significantly increase its strength when a door is forced open. Sometimes deadbolts are installed so that they lock into place without the metal bracket, which will also provide a poor support in case of a forced entry.

    Sliding Doors

    Many Tucson homes have sliding glass doors in the back. These can be easily bypassed because their locks are very simple. The easiest way to fix this vulnerability is to add a slide bar. They are simple, effective and cheap.

    Security Doors

    The most costly additional layer of security you can add are metal security doors that can be added to an entry area. This extra layer of protection can be an easy way to deter potential thieves because it doubles the number of entries that need to be bypassed to enter the home.

    Pet Doors

    This is a tough topic. They offer convenience, but at the cost of security. Gaining access to a home through a dog or cat door is relatively simple. There are ways to add security to pet doors to help mitigate this gap in your security, and our professionals can work with you to make decisions that make the most sense for you.

    Don’t Forget About Windows

    Windows can also be reinforced around your home by installing shatterproof glass that is resistant to tampering and breakage. Windows can also be reinforced with metal grating or decorative metal art. Contact Central Alarm today to learn more about Tucson alarm systems that are designed to protect homes and businesses.

  5. Is the Cost of Security Worth It?

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    Sometimes as savvy home owners, we like to cut costs and keep a lean budget. When we’re looking at which costs to cut and which to keep, a lot of times an alarm system gets cut along with the cable service.

    Security professionals and consultants largely agree that this truly is a case of whether you can afford not to protect your assets. Security is a lot like an insurance policy. Home or business owners don’t take purchase insurance policies when they know something is going to happen. In the same way insurance is there in the event a life circumstance happens to you, security systems provide a safety net that will deter most attempts to break into your home and threaten your assets.

    Better Than Insurance

    Unlike insurance policies, security actively works for you even if you don’t realize it. By simply having security components on your property, such as visible cameras, lighting, panels, alarms and identification of the security you employ, you are immediately deterring potential threats because burglars looking to gain access to easy options will pass your home or business 9 times out of 10.

    The question we’d like to ask is: when was the last time you had an in-depth security consultation with a professional like Central Alarm? We’re a local provider that provides a massive range of products and services that compete with any national company at a wide range of price points. We can give you a completely free security review and help you determine what type of security options make the most sense for your home or business and walk through pricing that can work for your budget!

    Make sure you, your home, your business, your assets AND your family are safe today and give us a call to set up your absolutely free assessment with no obligation beyond our friendly faces.

  6. 6 Quick Common Sense Security Tips

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    1. ABL: ALWAYS. BE. LOCKING.

    Our first tip seems obvious. Yes, you want to keep your doors locked. But a surprisingly large number of break-ins and home invasions occur straight through an unlocked door, or barring that an unlocked window. If you enjoy opening doors or windows in the evenings to let in cool air, we advise that you install locking mechanisms on windows that allow them to crack open a few inches only. Security screens for front and back doors are an excellent investment to enhance security if you like to leave doors open similarly.

    2. Keep a Tidy Yard

    Criminals are opportunistic in behavior. They want to spend the least effort for the most again. If your yard has a lot of debris and isn’t kept up, that is an opportunity for a thief to use the nearby environment to break a window and gain access to the property. Also, tidy yards show clear signs that something isn’t right if a window is broken or there is debris nearby.

    This also applies to tools. If you leave tools nearby like screwdrivers or even ladders simply lying around, these are very simple ways that a burglar can gain quicker access to a home.

    3. Don’t Provide Places for Thieves to Hide

    We’ve covered this before, and a bit in #2, but maintain high visibility around your property. There is nothing wrong with having a good amount of vegetation in your yard, but engineer your plants in a way that provides clear sight-lines to entry areas of the home such as bedroom windows or your front porch. If a burglar can take their time breaking a lock with no one seeing them, your home will be targeted above others in the neighborhood that have good visibility to the front porch.

    4. Install an Alarm System

    While we are an alarm system provider and installer, the research is clear: homes with alarm systems are targeted significantly less than those without a system. The simple presence of an alarm system is enough to make most criminals pass your home by unless there is a stronger motivation for them to access the home. As a local alarm provider, you might be surprised with the affordability of some of our solutions even comparing our plans with DIY alarm systems that are gaining popularity.

    5. Secure sliding glass doors

    Sliding glass doors have notoriously flimsy locks. Savvy criminals can bypass most sliding glass door locks in seconds and it provides a large, easy entry into the home. In order to solve this problem, simply purchase and install a security bar. This small investment provides an huge benefit to your safety and security. We recommend these on both windows and doors, but specifically ensure they are installed on all sliding doors in the home.

    6. Improve Lighting

    Our final tip is a simple and cost effective one. Improving the lighting around your home, such as porch lights, exterior floodlights, lighting near windows, etc will play a significant role in deterring burglars. A great investment is motion detection spotlights that don’t require lighting to be on all night.

  7. Take Online Security Seriously

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    Central Alarm Inc. is interested not only in your home security, but the safety and security of your entire family, which includes keeping your family safe on the internet.

    Whether we like it or not, being connected is now a big part of life, and even more so for our children. The people that your kids interact with are likely using the internet far more than you are to discover sources of entertainment, which can quickly become a negative influence.

    We’re looking to help you build good strategic tips to help successfully navigate the internet with your kids.

    Introduce Your Children to the Internet

    A good rule of thumb is to be the primary resource to introduce your kids to the internet. Researching safe websites that your kids can enjoy first, and then showing them what they can do can go a long way to being involved in sharing what they discover.

    Set Expectations with your Kids Online Behavior

    It’s recommended that you verbally set expectations for kids that include the type of content that they can watch and how they will behave online. It’s important to set not just the types of websites that children can visit, but also the amount of time they can spend. For example, a child that is left alone to watch YouTube for 3 hours can easily end up finding negative content they shouldn’t be watching.

    Also, set expectations for how kids will act while playing games, chatting with friends, etc. The earlier we can teach respectful boundaries when it comes to online behavior, the fewer problems we can hopefully avoid in the future.

    Talk to your Kids about Safety

    Be VERY specific when it comes to what is safe and unsafe behavior online. This includes:

    • Never send photos of yourself or others online through a chat or to someone you do not personally know at school, church, youth activities, etc.
    • Never disclose personal information about you, your family, your behaviors, where you go to school to anyone online.
    • Do not accept any invitation to meet anyone online unless that person is already someone the child knows, and a relationship the parent is aware of exists.
    • Ask your kids to report any kind of cyber bullying they see. You may not take action immediately, but you are able to gauge whether or not it’s necessary to get involved.

    We’ll be including more tips in the coming weeks so stay tuned. In the meantime, stay safe both online and off!

  8. Happy 2020 Tucson! Welcome to the New 20s

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    Happy 2020 Tucson! From all of us at Central Alarm, your local security experts, we hope you all had a safe and wonderful New Year and Christmas season! We look forward to bringing you great customer service, safety and security in the new 20s with new products and our continual commitment to providing best in class service to our customers.

     

  9. Tips Based on Research from Real Criminals

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    Locking Doors and Windows

    As incredible as it sounds, about 1/3 of home break-ins happen at the front door where burglars simply walk right through the front door. Many homeowners keep a spare key somewhere close by for personal use or letting friends in and out. No matter how well you think you’re hidden the key, most criminals can find the location with relative ease (usually it’s in a similar spot). Keep your doors and windows locked, especially when you leave the home, and keep spare key copies with several neighbors. These tips will immediately eliminate your home from being an instant target for burglary.

    Buy a Safe

    Hiding valuables in a coffee can in the freezer may sound clever, but thieves know exactly where to find secret caches. Instead, invest in a home safe, and secure it properly by bolting to the floor or wall. Also, do not leave the keys close at hand. This negates the purpose of the safe. Keep the keys to the safe on your own keyring. Research is consistent, and it’s backed up by the admission of burglars, that the single most effective deterrent is making your home and valuables less accessible at every turn. If your home can’t be breached and looted quickly, it’s likely they’ll move on to another home.

    Keep Your Yard Groomed

    Criminals gravitate to homes they can break into without being seen. Overgrown bushes, shrubs and trees provide a great way for thieves to take their time. This goes for both the front yard and the back yard. This is especially true if your home has a back alley, where there is likely to be less attention to begin with. Trim bushes and clear brush to open wide sightlines to your doors and windows.

    Let Technology Do the Talking

    Along with having a yard with good sight-lines is using basic technology to ward off criminals. Lights that turn on at night and illuminate pathways and entries are essential, and lights that are set on motion sensors that trigger along areas around the home provide an excellent deterrent for those that want to remain hidden.

    It also goes without saying that the number one deterrent for a criminal entering your home is a security system. Universally thieves will look for a home that isn’t protected as an easy target. This is where Central Alarm Inc. shines because our professionals know security systems inside and out, and we can work with you to set up a system that can fit any budget and provide that lasting peace of mind that comes with whole home protection.

  10. Good Social Media Habits

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    The research is clear in that most burglaries occur in a very small radius from where the thief lives. Criminals do not target homes intentionally across town to throw off potential investigation. The goal of a thief is to find an easy target they can quickly exploit. If break-ins are common in your area, it’s likely a local criminal is actively determining which homes are easy targets.

    Social Media has become an incredibly effective research tool for thieves. The two major ways they keep an eye out for homes to target are:

    Broadcasting Vacation

    A common mistake people have is taking photos in front of their home showcasing that they are heading out for vacation. Broadcasting you’re heading to Disneyland for a week or the Bahama’s for a summer vacation is an invitation for criminals to target your home. Criminals can use photos to easily identify your home and where it’s located, and they can confirm your vehicle is not on the premises.

    Neighborhood Pages or Message Boards

    Many people belong to local message boards on Facebook, such as a page specifically for your neighborhood. Anyone can join these boards, so there is no way to know who’s looking at your posts.

    Telling other people about trips away or saying things like “Our annual trip to Cabo!” is an instant trigger that provides an indication of when you will be out of town, even if you’re not directly broadcasting you are going away.

    Good Habits

    Instead, the best habit you can put into place is to simply tell your neighbors when you will be out of town, along with a spare key in case they need to get into your home for any reason. Requesting that neighbors to take out and bring in garbage cans and collect mail also gives
    Make sure doors and windows are locked, and if you haven’t already installed lighting with motion sensors, this would be a good time to make a relatively small investment to keep your home that much safer.