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GPS Tracking Devices Keep Kids Safe When They’re Away From Home

February 24, 2014
Parents invariably worry about their children whether they’re in the backyard playing with the dog, or across the country in a college dorm. For parents whose children are headed to school for the first time or want to spend time playing with neighborhood friends, there are new options to ensure your children are safe.
residential security systems
Nowadays, modern technology allows parents to track their young children using GPS technology.

How GPS Works

GPS stands for “global positioning system.” With a GPS, signals are directed toward a satellite and bounce back to Earth to pinpoint the device’s location. GPS systems are very accurate, and it takes only a short time to locate a device and the person holding it.

Available in a Variety of Devices

GPS technology is included in most smartphones, but for children who might not be ready for the responsibility of owning a phone, GPS tracking devices are available in other items. For instance, many manufacturers make child-sized wristwatches with small GPS devices. The watches are tough and can be used in a variety of conditions, which means the watch should survive the rigors of a child’s adventures in the dirt or the community pool.

Additionally, some devices today also come with extra features that allow the user to notify security alarm companies in Santa Monica if there’s a problem. Just like the red panic button on a car alarm remote, some GPS devices also feature a panic button, which is a valuable option that reduces the chance of child abduction.

Other Child Safety Mechanisms

For parents who must work and need to leave young teens at home, residential security systems should offer suitable protection against intruders and other dangers. Today’s home security essentials include remote access options that may allow a parent to use his or her own smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to log into the home network and check on the kids.

Research Local Laws

Before using a GPS tracking system, it’s a good idea to read the local laws guiding the ability of a parent to track his or her child. Just like there are rules to protect people from unauthorized voice recordings over the telephone, there are some rules that guide who can track another person with GPS.

Using GPS technology to track your children is convenient and comforting for parents raising children in a modern world, but it shouldn’t take the place of regular talks with your children about safety. Telling children how to deal with strangers and how to call for help if there is trouble are still necessary conversations.

In addition to keeping the family safe with residential security systems, safety can extend beyond the front door with GPS tracking options. Whether using a wristwatch for young children or buying a smartphone for older kids, devices outfitted with GPS technology will help parents keep in contact with their children at all times.

6 Steps to Take After Your Home Has Been Burglarized

February 18, 2014
Though having professional residential security systems decreases the chances of being robbed by 300 percent, the FBI estimates 2.2 million homes are burglarized each year. Most people believe it could never happen to them, and chances are, it won’t. It’s better to be prepared, however, just in case you come home one night and find the family’s heirloom diamond necklace has been whisked away.

 burglar alarm systemsFollowing is some advice from law enforcement professionals about what to do (and not to do) if you’ve been robbed.

1)Call the police.

The longer you put off this first step, the less likely it is you’ll recover whatever was stolen. If you have burglar alarm systems, the security company will contact the police for you. If not, contact them immediately.

Unless you’re absolutely certain the burglar has left, it is best to the leave the premises to make this call. Use your cell phone or go to a neighbor’s house to call if necessary.

2) Gather all the information you can

If you saw the burglar, try to remember everything you can and write it down immediately. The next few hours will be hectic, so details could get fuzzy during this time. The police will want to know the sex, age and race of the burglar as well as what clothing they were wearing and which direction they went.

Also, assess your surroundings. Officers will be trying to determine how the burglar entered, what was taken, if there were one or more participants, and if they left on foot or by car. Any information you can give them to help answer these questions will be helpful.

3) Take pictures

Photos are just as important before the crime as afterwards, so take pictures of your home now, just in case. If the robber takes that heirloom diamond necklace, a photograph will help police hunt it down.

Take photos after the burglary as well, but be careful not to disturb anything in the process. Unfortunately, your home has become a crime scene and police will need to comb through all the evidence to conduct a proper investigation.

Police warn, however, you should never take a picture of the burglar. Though a photo would help in the investigation, it’s not worth your life.

4) Contact your insurance company

The company that handles your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will want to see the police report. In addition to the policy report number, the insurance company will ask the same questions that the officers asked. This is another good reason to write down any details you remember and keep it handy.

5) Make any necessary repairs

If the burglar broke into a window or busted down a door, you’ll want to have this repaired immediately. Sometimes, burglars will return to the same house if they had to make a quick getaway and know they left valuables behind.

Burglars have been known to take spare keys, so be sure to take an inventory of yours. If you find some are missing, experts suggest changing the locks immediately.

6) Reach out to neighbors and family

Let the neighbors know your house has been robbed. Burglars have a tendency to work a neighborhood for as long as they can, so the more people who are watching out for the perpetrator the more likely he or she will be caught.

Being robbed is an emotional experience. Your sense of security will be shaken, and it may be hard to relax for a while. Once you’ve contacted the police and insurance company, and you’ve ensured your home is secured, call a friend or family member. You will appreciate the support they can provide until things get back to normal.

What You Need to Know About Apartment Alarm Systems in California

September 30, 2013
More than two-thirds of all Californians rent their homes or apartments, and that rate isn’t far above the national averages. But only a small percentage of California renters invest in residential security systems. Surveys reveal that the vast majority of these people view it as an investment for homeowners but not for renters. Perhaps what’s most cause for concern is that many of the surveyed people believe that apartment burglary is rare.

Burglary Rates

The truth is that apartments and condominiums are easy pickings. In fact, burglary rates for apartments in a given area are usually significantly higher than the rates for homes. Rates are even higher in apartment buildings that have a main entrance used by all. This is because the individual apartments are very easy to access discreetly, and the neighbors become accustomed to strangers in the building.

Leasing

A common reason not to have alarm systems in California apartments is the fear of high costs. The truth, however, is that the cost of residential security systems has never been lower. The renter doesn’t have to purchase the equipment and can actually lease it for a nominal fee that the alarm company includes in the monthly rate. Furthermore, wireless technology has made installations a breeze, so the big costs once associated with installations no longer apply.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is available for pennies a day and helps to protect you in the event of a crime or even a natural event, such as a storm. Most insurance policies for renters offer a number of benefits for those who invest in residential security systems. Benefits include reduced premiums and extended coverages. If you currently have renter’s insurance, call your agent to learn what your security options are.

Rent Discounts

Ideally, alarm systems in California apartments would be part of the basic, expected level of service. That isn’t the case, however. Most security features are community-wide and don’t extend to the individual apartments. It is possible, however, particularly when it comes time to renew the lease, to negotiate a discount for personalized security that you pay for. The apartment probably won’t cover it all, but they may foot up to 50 percent of it via a monthly rent discount.

Automatic Lights

Most apartments will have lights near all building and apartment entrances. In large part, it’s required by law. Nevertheless, the proprietor isn’t required to provide amenities like automatic lights. However, once an alarm system is installed, adding an automatic light is simple. In fact, most alarm companies will add motion-based and time-based lights for a nominal fee.

Remote Access

Most modern alarm systems in California are remote accessible and can even be manipulated remotely. In other words, you can have access to your system from your workstation at your job or from your smartphone while you’re on the train coming home. If you’ve installed a security camera, you can even watch a feed from it. Want to know when maintenance or pest control enters you apartment? Remote access allows for that.

24/7 Monitoring

Security equipment can be monitored or unmonitored by professionals who react to your alarm system when triggered. In the event of a burglary or home invasion, every second counts and can mean the difference between life and death. Those who opt for the monitored security can take comfort in the added protection.

​Residential Security Systems with Alarm Monitoring are Best

August 28, 2013
As a homeowner, you want only the best when it comes to protecting your property and belongings. Most importantly of all, you want to know that your loved ones are safe. As you consider the many options that are available for residential security systems, one of the major decisions will be choosing between an alarm system alone or alarm monitoring in Los Angeles. Before you make an investment in any type of home security, think about the many advantages of an alarm monitoring service that will provide you with optimal levels of protection.

Why get a monitored security system? While a do-it-yourself alarm system may seem like the most convenient, inexpensive alternative, this is not the case. Alarm systems, especially those that are first rate, are quite expensive and will mean a substantial, up-front investment. Alarm monitoring in Los Angeles will mean less of a short-term expense as you only pay for your monthly service, enjoying the benefit of installation fees that are rolled into your membership. You even have the option of choosing the length of your contract term. You could go on a month by month trial to determine if you are happy with the service, sign up for a year, or make your contract stretch as long as three years. You have the freedom to choose the option that best suits your need. When you choose to buy a costly alarm system, you are out of luck if you are unhappy when the warranty has expired.

Residential Security Systems with Monitoring Mean Peace of Mind A monitoring service goes above and beyond an alarm. While an alarm will sound if there is an intrusion, a monitoring service is actually keeping watch at all times. A trained staff of professionals are guarding your property through the use of cameras and your alarm system itself. Should there be an intrusion, vandalism, or an assault, first responders will be alerted immediately. Many locations require verification of an intrustion before dispatching the authorities. A monitored system has a professional standing by, ready to verify in the event that there is a break in and you’re not home.

A monitoring service is also on the job should there be a fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a medical emergency. Adding the human element to your security system surpasses all else. You will like you have a personal security guard standing watch through the advances of modern technology.

A Monitoring Service is Always on the Job When you opt for a monitoring service, you can rest assured that someone is always hard at work to keep you, your family, and your home safe from harm. Equipment can malfunction. Neighbors, as helpful as they may be, cannot be counted upon to be your guardians. Your dog has to sleep sometime and so do you. When others might not be vigilant about home security, we make it our business to take good care of you. You’ve entrusted the aid of residential security systems and receive a premium level of care when monitoring is included.

Check customer testimonials, reviews and ask for advice from people you trust to get the quality you deserve when it comes to home security. Remember that it’s your home and the people you hold dear that are on the line. Keep them safe with monitoring.

Residential Security Systems Protect During Summer Peaks in Burglary Rates

June 27, 2013
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows an increase in crime rates during the summer months by as much as 16 percent. Summer is when families are involved in outdoor activities and when most vacations are taken. Homes are empty, doors are routinely left unlocked while people are outside enjoying the sun, and criminals are also taking advantage of the good weather.

Multiple things work together toward the measurable increase in crime during the summer months. Common sense indicates that winter keeps most people indoors. Except for participation in winter sports such as skiing or sled riding, most people want to get out of the cold. Summer brings warm days and nights where there is a huge increase in the amount of people spending time outdoors at all hours of the day or night. A person walking through a neighborhood on a frigid winter night would be scrutinized much more carefully than someone out for a stroll on a hot summer night.

Criminals are opportunistic, and they want to operate without being noticed. Summer is the perfect time for them to blend in with all of the other activities going on outside while planning to commit criminal acts; home burglaries are no exception. Also, summer brings out valuables that have been stored over the winter. Many residential homes have outdoor living spaces that are filled with goodies that are attractive to thieves: expensive barbecue grills, lawn furniture, power equipment such as lawn mowers, bicycles and even lawn ornaments are favorite outdoor targets for homes not protected by residential security systems installed by professional alarm companies.

Summer months are when school students are out on summer vacation. There is a statistical increase in crimes committed by juveniles during the summer months when school is not in session. Most of the crimes are shoplifting and property crimes such as vandalism. Kids with no prior criminal records often do not see any real harm in graffiti or destroying private property.

Residential security systems deter both burglaries and property crimes. Modern digital alarm systems can now integrate video surveillance cameras that extend the protection of a home alarm system to the outdoor living spaces. Thieves, by their nature, do not want to be caught on camera committing a crime. This is why video surveillance of both interiors and exteriors of homes is effective as a crime deterrent.

Many homeowners like to let fresh air in on cooler summer evenings through a partially opened window. To a criminal, this is an open invitation. Residential security systems incorporate multiple sensor technologies, such as motion detectors, that sound an alarm if entry is attempted even when a window sensor is bypassed to let in cool air. Dual magnetic switch placement on window sensors also permit windows to be partially opened but still sound the alarm if opened further to attempt entry.

Professional alarm companies can tailor the installation of home security alarms to meet the needs of any family. This protects a family and its home not only during the summer months when crime rates increase but during the rest of the year too. Modern wireless systems provide an early warning of intrusion attempts as well as early detection warnings of smoke or carbon monoxide. Security cameras can be installed that can be viewed by Internet-connected computers or through apps that can be downloaded to the homeowners cell phone or tablet computer. Summer can, and should, be a safe time of fun without worrying about home intrusion, burglary, vandalism and theft.​

False Alarms from Residential Security Systems a Growing Concern in LA

June 14, 2013
The monitoring service is an important aspect of all residential security systems. Alarm response must be precise. If an actual event occurs, a call must be placed promptly to the appropriate emergency services. If an alarm is false, it must not be passed through to local authorities because that diminishes their ability to respond to actual events in a timely manner.

False Alarms a Growing Issue in LA
Los Angeles is a prime example of a police force that is hindered greatly by the growing rise of false alarms. The LAPD estimates that more than 11 percent of its patrol force is wasted on false alarms, including those made by alarm companies. Recent predictions estimate that the number will grow sharply in the next five years if the root problem is not curbed.

City Levies Fines to Curb Problem
Los Angeles has alarm ordinances in place. In fact, one must register a monitored alarm system and obtain a permit before activating the system. Failure to do so can result in a $1,000 fine. Since that ordinance alone did not curb the problem, LA added a new ordinance that requires citizens to pay $159 for a false alarm.

The ordinance also requires additional fees from repeat offenders. In fact, the fine increases $50 with each occurrence, and there is no upper limit to the fine amount. For residential security systems without a valid permit, the base fine is $259, and it escalates in $100 increments.

Responsibility Falls on the Homeowner
It’s important to note that the responsibility for a false alarm falls on the person who subscribes to the monitoring service. The alarm companies and monitoring stations are not held directly accountable, but most have a guarantee in place that covers the cost of the fine if the reporting of the false alarm was a mistake made by its employee.

Appealing a False Alarm Fee
Citizens do have the option to appeal the false alarm fee and can do so in writing to the Board of Police Commissioners. The board will waive the fee if the fined party can demonstrate that there was criminal activity or that the false alarm was caused, directly or indirectly, by an act of nature, such as fire, power failure, earthquake, strong winds and so forth.

Alarm School
If an appeal is denied or not an option, offenders can attend alarm school instead of paying the fine. The alarm school is an in-person class that citizens are allowed to take once every 365 days. In other words, it’s possible to avoid a false alarm fine once every year.

Owners of residential security systems may also avoid the fine by attending the online alarm school. For the online class, citizens must register within 75 days of the invoice date. Beyond that point, online alarm school will not be available but the standard alarm school may still be.

A second alternative is home-based alarm school. This is similar to the online school except that the packet is printed and mailed to you and then mailed back when completed. You can opt in for the home study can occur Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except on holidays.​ ​