Category Archive: Tips

  1. To Video or Not to Video

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    Central Alarm in Tucson here to help you sort through all the security options that are available to homeowners.  As technology marches forward, we get a lot of questions like “What About Video?” and we can help you understand the options.

    Doorbell Cameras

    These devices became very popular a few years ago, and even more so now that so many people have spent time at home during the pandemic to keep packages safe.  In fact, based on the most recent research, package theft accounted for 1.7 million stolen packages off porches in the U.S.  That’s a staggering number that really takes only seconds for brazen thieves.

    Police have repeatedly recommended doorbell cameras primarily as deterrents because:

    • Thieves to not like to be video-taped
    • Doorbell cameras help build a case to bring against thieves to include multiple ongoing crimes
    • These cameras can help identify vehicles that are involved in quick “snatch and grab” multiple thefts

    As inexpensive as they are, it’s typically a good idea to upgrade to this modern tool to help keep your home just a little bit safer.

    “Dumb” Versus “Smart” Security

    Most older security systems that are in use today are going to be using a closed circuit system (also called CCTV).  These will have a stand alone device, or a home computer, that is literally hard wired to the camera system and records video or simply provides a live feed.  These are effective and they do exactly what they’re supposed to (assuming all the components are operational).

    What you’re missing however is some of the modern advantages of smart home security systems.  In these scenarios you have your cameras working in tandem with the rest of the system, and even accessible by your phone device, tablet or laptop.  This comes in handy when you’re traveling or away for the evening, or simply want the peace of mind that comes with pulling up a live feed of your home at any time.

    Work with the Local Pros!

    When you work with Central Alarm, you interface with security professionals that can walk you through all of these options and you can select the features that make the most sense for you.  Our pricing is competitive with any national companies you might be talking to as well and as the local option right here in Tucson, you get monitoring you can trust for a price you can feel comfortable with.  Whether you need barebones security or an interconnected robust security solution with all the bells and whistles, we’re here for you!

    Contact Us Today for an Absolutely FREE In-Home Security Assessment!

     

     

     

     

  2. Apartment Security

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    You Can Still Invest in a Security System

    Today it’s easier than ever to install even a completely monitored alarm system to any living space, including apartments.  In fact, these spaces can be very inexpensive because there is simply less space and fewer entries that might require hardware to secure.  You can enjoy the same peace of mind and technology benefits that comes with complete home security that integrates with your smartphone or computer that is inexpensive and effective!

    Don’t Live on the First Floor

    If you can help it, living above the first floor is a far more secure location for apartment living.  The first floor offers immediate access through multiple entries in a very small amount of space.  Additionally apartments invest in landscaping that in many instances obscure views of first-floor windows or fences leading to patio doors.  These are excellent targets for potential thieves because they are easily concealed around these areas.  If you don’t have a physical impairment that makes living on an upper floor difficult, we recommend that you specifically request an upper-floor space.

    Get to Know the Neighbors

    Some principles that apply to homes also apply to apartment living as you’ll see more of below.  Getting to know your immediate neighbors is an incredibly powerful tool because the more tight knit a community is, the more difficult it is to be targeted.  If someone is looking to make quick work of stealing from an apartment, having neighbors that are more commonly around or more willing to ask why someone is there is a powerful deterrent.

    You also have the added benefit of reciprocating keeping an eye on each other’s apartments when different parties are away.

    Reinforce sliding doors

    Sliding doors almost always have latch locks that are far weaker than normal bolt locks.  They do however always possess an easy solution to deny access – adjustable sliding door rods are simple and effective tools that are very inexpensive and reliably secure these large access points to a home.  Whenever you are not accessing your patio area, install an easy-to-use mechanism to keep this in place whenever you come back inside.

    Get Window Smart!

    Windows are some of the easiest ways to access any living space, be it an apartment or home.  And many thieves access windows that are simply left unlocked.  If you are using an alarm system, make sure you are utilizing sensors on windows both for opening and sensors for breaking glass.  Always keep windows locked, latched or barred.

    Make sure that foliage is not building up around windows, providing cover for thieves to work on breaking in without being seen.

    Invest in a Fireproof Safe

    While almost all house fires are a surprise and even many homes do not have fireproof safes, don’t wait until you own or rent a home before investing in one.  Apartments however offer far less consistency for fires as you don’t have any control over what happens in adjacent units.  A fire several units down could threaten important documents, emergency cash or other valuables.  Even just a small inexpensive fireproof safe provides a huge return on investment in the event of any catastrophe.

  3. 6 Essential Tips to Better Home Security

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    When you want to take your home security seriously, it’s time to call Central Alarm – your local security professionals for both home and business solutions.  Here are just a few tips to keep a better security profile around your home:

    1. Upgrade Your Alarm System

    A lot of folks today are just operating with antiquated alarm systems they’ve had for a long time and didn’t have any reason to upgrade.  That usually changes once the home gets burglarized and they realize some part of the system was no longer working, or something was malfunctioning, or that they simply didn’t know how to use it and forgot to set a crucial feature or arm it properly.  Take control of your security today with an upgraded smart home security system from Central Alarm that is competitively priced and offers all the bells and whistles you get with any national company but with the local advantage of a Tucson based company!

    Get a completely free home assessment today from Central Alarm!

    2. Keep Your Garage Door Secure

    We’ve cover this in a post dedicated to Garage door safety that you can explore in more detail.  Don’t ignore of the largest openings to your home that provides excellent access to a lot of high value belongings.  Plus, many people keep spare keys or car keys right inside the home from a garage entrance.  This could allow a burglar to load up valuables, and then leave the home in your own vehicle.  This can be especially problematic in gated communities that have RFID readers attached to the vehicle to allow access later on.

    3. Upgrade from DIY Solutions

    DIY security has become more and more popular simply because of the ease and the advertised price point.  Once you get done with all of the add-ons and include important key features like monitoring however you’re paying about the same as you would going with more specialized options.  One of the main selling points offered by Central Alarm is that we offer the key feature of monitoring locally right here in Tucson for guaranteed safety, and often it’s the same amount you pay with DIY solutions, but with the added benefit of local protection you can count on!

    4. Combat Porch Theft

    As we explored in our post about combating porch theft, getting a doorbell camera that sits near your front door is an excellent addition to your total home security profile!  This can help deter thieves, keep packages safe, and provide evidence for police in the event of a theft.

    5. Looking to Upgrade to Video?

    There are a LOT of great new tools for video.  We’ve talked about where to put cameras around the home, but we feel like today has never been a better time to take advantage of affordable video solutions to help secure your home!

    6. Get Automated!

    Home automation can take on a lot of forms – but today’s modern technology makes it easy to put home security and lighting automation at your fingertips.  We’ll work with you to determine what automation makes sense for you, and our professionals can help walk you through very low cost options to keep your home even safer with home automation tips.

  4. More Commercial Tucson Security Tips

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    Consider Guard Service

    If you are a growing business with physical property, managed guard service might be a great addition to your security footprint. Central Alarm Security is locally owned and operated, taking pride in employing the finest guards in the security industry. Our strict hiring and training standards go beyond state minimums to become fully licensed and certified. When you choose Central Alarm Security, you are in good hands.

    Our guard services include professional security experts on hand or in roving patrols to meet any need for physical security.

    Always Reevaluate

    We recommend regular security evaluations in both business practice and equipment.

    Technology continues to innovate new and more effective ways to handle your security needs.  These include robust features with cloud capabilities that can save you time and money as they regularly provide more functionality over time.

    Additionally, your business itself is continually evolving.  If you’re adding new staff, expanding your products and services, while growing into new spaces, your security requirements change dramatically to ensure that you are not a victim from either employees or customers.  You can also consider adding access management to your security if you manage the data of your customers.

    What Central Alarm Inc brings to the table is a source to continual availability of new technologies for our customers to help them with the very best in technology advancement without needed to do all the research on their own.

    Don’t Skimp on Maintenance and Checks

    Security is something that we often naturally left lapse in the mundane daily noise. It isn’t actively engaging us like some of the other pressing issues that come with running a business. But this crucial part of your security process ensure that those regular days keep happening day after day because you are not disrupted by burglaries, property damage or theft. Any potential issues that come up can be handled quickly and effectively.

    Use Trusted Advice

    Lastly, talk to the experts. Sometimes all it takes is to pick up the phone and ask our security professionals about some of the ideas they are considering. This is one of the biggest benefits that comes from working with a local company like Central Alarm Inc! We’re not some faceless corporation with endless overseas helpdesk menus. We live in your community and pick up the phone directly and we can help you make real impactful decisions about security concerns. We’re here for you!

    Contact a team you can trust today and get started!

  5. 5 Ways to Improve Home Security

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    1. Inspect Your Doors

    Your front and back doors are one of the most common access points for criminals. In cases where there is no ally in the back of a home, the front door is a surprisingly common entry point that even more shocking is accessed without any forced entry. It’s important to take a moment to inspect your front door, back door and especially sliding glass doors. Ensure locking mechanisms are working properly, and confirm with those living in the home that locking the door is standard procedure. Many burglars simply check to see if a door is open because they know that many simply are left unlocked.

    In the case of sliding glass doors, these can be incredibly easy to access with very easily accessible tools. If your door does not have a locking mechanism that literally stops the door from moving, such as a bar, consider going to your local hardware store and purchase one. They are easy to install and successfully deny access to the entry unless the entire pane of glass is broken.

    3. Post Security Signs

    Most home security systems come with signs and window decals. Make sure that you put these up around your home apply stickers to windows and sliding glass doors. Criminals are opportunistic in nature. A simple sticker to show that a potential target home is protected is enough to deter most criminals. Studies have shown that even posting stickers without any home security system at all in place results in less criminal activity.

    4. Exterior Lighting

    Many more burglaries occur in broad daylight than you might imagine. However criminals do like to act under the cover of darkness if they can. It is specifically important for a would-be-burglar to identify homes that also have thick foliage surrounding their property so that either day or night maintains an obstructed view from the street.

    Adding strategically placed exterior lights that can remove shadows near doors and windows can be a proven barrier to deter burglars. Additionally you can set up lights to engage motion sensors at night which adds a much better level of protection because it instantly draws attention to what is happening near the exterior of the house, altering the homeowner and neighbors.

    4. Test Your Security System

    If you currently have a security system, make sure you test it regularly. A Central Alarm Inc customer will have regular testing done automatically because we provide local monitoring for Tucson residents that is built in. Many other alarm systems, specifically DIY products that you set up yourself, may go years without complete component testing. The last thing you want is a system failure during a home break-in or invasion, which is the crucial time you absolutely need that system to function properly.

    Making annual and semi-annual testing of your system should be a top priority.

    5. Add a Security System to Your Home

    It goes without saying that we would be in favor or getting a security system. But the research is indisputable – homes with alarm systems provide by far the best deterrent to avoid break ins. Or in the case of an actual breakin, thieves quickly flee a scene as to not draw attention to themselves.

    What might surprise you is how affordable a feature rich home security system costs that includes 24/7 monitoring by local professionals right here in Tucson. We’d love to talk to you about adding a security system to your home today and get that peace of mind!

  6. 4 Home Security Tips

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    1. Install Security Cameras

    Visible security cameras remain one of the highest rated tools to effectively deter burglary. No criminal wants to be seen or recorded as they commit crimes. Once they identify a home that has a high level of potential threat to their goal of stealing from your home, they will move on to easier targets. This makes CCTV a crucial tool for Tucson home owners to keep their homes safe and secure.

    New technology has afforded home owners a ton of options for video recording that include completely wireless solutions that can even be viewed at any time through your smartphone.

    2. Test Your Windows

    Once you have secured your doors, windows become of the most common point of access for burglars. This is more true for first-floor windows for obvious proximity reasons, however basement or second floor windows should be considered when assessing your total security capabilities. If you want true peace of mind for the safety of your home and family, then considering all windows as possible access points is the safest bet.

    Initially check to make sure that all window locks are working and functional. Check specifically to see if you can open windows from the outside, even with a little aggressive force. If locking mechanisms fail with a little shaking of the window pane, then they are unreliable and should be replaced. Additionally, ensure that those living in the home are keeping windows locked when they are not in use.

    Applying “window break” alarm sensors to your windows will provide the very best protection.

    3. Eliminate Cover

    Bushes, trees and foliage can provide excellent cover for burglars. As we’ve mentioned before, criminals are opportunistic when it comes to selecting homes to break into. By cutting back hedges and trimming bushes near doors, windows and access points behind the home, you are vastly improving your security footprint with natural deterrents.

    4. Upgrade Your System

    If you have not seriously looked at your current home security system in a few years, you might want to consider seeing what newer modern technology can bring to the table. From doorbell cameras to fully functional wireless alarm systems that can be accessed through a mobile phone app, Central Alarm Inc can help you vastly improve the security and monitoring with fast, effective and affordable solutions. Contact us today for details, pricing and promotions.

  7. Spring Break is Nearly Here

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    Spring Break is right around the corner, and most families are getting ready to pack up and head out of town to vacation spots all around the United States. Is your home ready for your trip out of town? There are a few tips we can offer other than don’t put your travel dates on Facebook or Instagram!

    Communication

    It’s the easiest tip of all – tell your neighbors you’ll be out of town and ask if they can pick up packages and get your mail while you are gone. Not only does this make sure your items aren’t being stolen outright, but packages left on the doorstep for days are a dead giveaway that no one is home. This instantly makes your home a potential target.

    Lighting

    Lighting plays a key role in basic security. Exterior lights that can illuminate areas around the home that people can hide or navigate around is crucial to making your home less of a target. Outdoor floodlights that are on timers, or automated motion lights, are a low-cost investment to vastly increase your home security rating.

    Security Technology

    Is your security system working properly and has been tested recently? Don’t wait until the day you leave to make sure it’s functioning or worse find out that it doesn’t work properly while you are gone. Hopefully you are using a modern system, such as the systems we offer in our ongoing affordable monthly security service, that provides you with remote access and mobile tools.

    Using a security system that is advanced enough to allow you to monitor your home via a smart phone, tablet or desktop is an incredibly good tool to ensure you know your home is safe.

    Monitoring

    Does your security system have 24/7 professional monitoring in the event of a fire or break-in? If it doesn’t, we want to hear from you because we feel like any security system that can help you protect your home should include this feature. Call us today and we’d love to show you how affordable it can be!

  8. Going Out of Town?

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    As people in Tucson can attest, our unique holiday for Rodeo is a pretty popular time to get out of town! So here are just some quick tips to make sure your home is safe while you are away.

    • Make sure that you alert the neighbors you’ll be out of the town. Having an extra pair of eyes on the house is a great strategy to ensure your home remains safe. Having packages picked up and mail removed from the mailbox will give potential burglars the idea that you are home.
    • Do NOT share your vacation strategy with your social media network. One of the more popular ways to put your home on a target list is to broadcast you’ll be out of town for potentially thousands of people to know exactly when.
    • Make a checklist – things like setting your alarm, turning on exterior lights, turning off the heating and cooling system, etc can make sure you don’t have to fret while you are away!
    • If you are a Central Alarm customer, you can simply bask in the peace of mind that comes with affordable home security and 24/7 monitoring!

    As always, stay safe out there as you go on vacation and don’t forget to have fun! If you are not a Central Alarm customer, and you would like to use this as a great time to finally pull the trigger on your security needs, please Contact Us today and we’d love to see how we can help you right away!

  9. Vacation Safety Tips

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    With the end of the year among us, a lot of people are beginning to plan on taking time off from work and visiting family for the Holidays.  So naturally you’ll want to keep your home as safe as possible while you are away.  Nothing can spoil the Christmas season like a home burglary!  Here are some quick tips just to make sure you cover the basics:

    • Have an alarm system! As a security company, we know this looks like either obvious or a shameless plug.  And it is.  Research is very clear that an alarm system is a huge deterrent.  If you haven’t implemented even a basic DIY alarm system, please give us a call and we would love to surprise you with how affordable it can be.
    • Use light timers to turn on lights in and around the home at night to keep the appearance that someone is at home.  Nothing deters burglars like having people home that they have to work around.  This becomes a little easier during the holidays because in most cases you are setting exterior timers for your Christmas lights.
    • DO NOT announce that you are going out of town on Social Media platforms.  Research has shown that this can very easily become knowledge to those looking to break into a home who know for certain you will not be there.  While your very immediate friend group might be trustworthy enough to know you’ll be gone, by broadcasting it on Social Media, you are also broadcasting it potentially to anyone that is connected to your friends who may not be savory characters.
    • Build a relationship with a neighbor to check in and let you know if something is amiss.  Even if you don’t have a neighborhood watch, having trusted neighbors keeping an eye out is invaluable.  If you haven’t built a relationship you can trade keeping an eye on your home with a neighbor, now is the time to make some new friends!
    • Power Surges – this isn’t so much a safety concern as it’s just a good practice.  We have been known to get winter storms in Tucson in December.  If you don’t have adequate power surge protection, it’s a good idea to disconnect computers, TV’s, high end stereos and other electronics.
    • Use remote HVAC settings, or at the very least use timers, to ensure that your system is running efficiently since no one will be home.

    Make a list – and check it twice!  Putting a list together of things to handle, such as locking the back door, closing and locking the windows, setting the alarm, turning on the light timers, closing the garage door, etc can go a long way to making sure you handle all the small details in the hussle of leaving town.

    Our customers that subscribe to Home Complete are able to control their HVAC systems right from the app.  So if this a feature you would like to subscribe to or upgrade to, please contact us today.

    With that, have a safe and healthy trip!

  10. Tips for Hiring Guard Services

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    At Central Alarm, we provide our customers with every available option to secure their home or business. Whether that means 24/7 video monitoring and Qolsys IQ Panels or boots on the ground, twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week patrol and guard services! That last one is what we are here to talk about today on the blog, specifically, what to look for when hiring guard services.

    It might not be clear what exactly you need out of guard service, and you may be unsure how to go about it. We have a few tips that can help you make the right call:

    Evaluate Your Needs

    Before you begin your search, take a look at your property, home, or business. What are your specific security concerns? Create a list of your concerns and needs to take to any security business like Central Alarm. With that in hand the professionals can match you not only with possible guard services, but any other security or surveillance tech you might require. Once you have this in hand you can start vetting guard services.

    Guard Experience

    Does the company you are looking to work with have similar experience? Do they have a proven track record in your kind of environment? Not every business hires the same guards, and not every guard has the same skillset or life experience that make them valuable and suited to particular jobs. When looking for a company to do business with, get some references, see who else they have helped. If they have a proven track record in monitoring, deterring, and stopping criminal activity for shopping centers and your business is located in one, well you just might have a match!

    Cost Breakdown

    Take a good look at the financials, after all, not everyone lays it out as clear as us here at Central Alarm. Some guard services might offer an attractively low rate, but you have to ask yourself, ‘Why am I paying bottom dollar for security?’ There are a few reasons a company might offer such ‘cheap’ service, and none of them are particularly good for you.

    The truth could be that the rate is low but the total cost is not. Extra costs have a way of creeping into an otherwise low rate and soon you’re paying for extra hours, per man costs, or even incident fees should something actually occur.

    Low rates can also mean lower paid guards. Guards making less and/or receiving fewer benefits make for unhappy guards. Unhappy guards aren’t typically going to be the best at their jobs. They might not feel any particular loyalty or duty to their company and by extension to you. While we would all certainly like to believe that a guard will still do their best regardless of pay, that goodwill or loyalty (or lack thereof) might mean the difference between constant patrolling or once every fifteen-minute sweeps.

    The low rate might also just plain mean the company doesn’t need as much money for overhead. Things like proper equipment, skilled guards, the necessary infrastructure to handle around the clock support cost money. If a company is giving you a ridiculously cutthroat rate, they might not be spending their budget where they need to. Of course, money isn’t everything, but it does tend to give a good indication of the quality of service you will be receiving.

    We will pause right there for now. There is a lot more that can go into selecting and hiring the best guard services, and protecting your business is nothing you want to breeze past. If you’re looking to hire now, give us a call and we can give you the best guard services available in Tucson as well as a whole suite of security technology and the experts to install and utilize them on your behalf. Together we can protect your business, guard your home, and secure your life.