Topics:Home Automation Home Security 101 Home Security Tips Personal Safety Tips Home Security Companies Security News Security Equipment Alarm Monitoring home security simplisafe guardian protection home security reviews
Guest Post by Ethan Lichtenberg Homeowners insurance is one of the most important parts of owning a home. It can cost a lot of money if you aren’t doing the right things to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Many factors determine home insurance rates, from where you live to your credit score. But how do you get these discounts? One of the most significant ways insurers will give discounts on home insurance is by protecting your home. When insurance companies see that your home is equipped with security cameras and a security system, you are in the best position to receive a substantial discount. Just think about it for a minute. One of the main goals for insurance providers is to avoid claims at all costs. Anytime they have to pay out money, it’s a bad thing in their eyes. If you have something like a security system, which tends to result in less theft and fewer claims, they’re probably going to give you a discount. Whether it’s security cameras or smoke detectors, having your home protected is an enormous positive in the eyes of insurance companies. Here is why insurance companies love security systems, and how they can save you money on your insurance rates. Why have a security system? Many people believe that a home security system may not be necessary, or that it may not be worth the “cost of admission.” I mean, if you live in a good neighborhood, why bother? This is the opposite of the truth. There are many reasons, including the price, to have security cameras and a home security system. The most obvious reason is safety. Protecting yourself is a no-brainer in the twenty-first century. The world is a scary place where tragic things happen daily. Bad people do terrible things in every corner of the world, even in the nice neighborhoods. Homes are being burglarized and package thieves, mail snoopers, and vandals can all wreak havoc on your property. Security systems can deter that. One of the best ways to keep peace of mind and protect yourself is through a home security system. Security systems can also give you convenient access to your home as well. Everyone forgets to lock their doors or windows now and then. With the right home security system, if you forget to lock something or set the alarm, you can do it right from your smartphone. In many ways, home security systems can save you money in the long run. How much do you save? You may be thinking, “Can I save a worthwhile amount of money on home insurance by buying a security system?” This is a common question that is quickly answered: YES! While some home security systems can get pricey, the money you will be saving on your monthly premium will pay for that security system in no time, sometimes within just a year. As mentioned before, insurance companies hate claims. The last thing any insurance company wants to do is pay out a massive claim for a burglarized home. To cover themselves, they charge consumers more on their premiums. However, if a company knows you have a home security system, they know the chances for a break in are far less. Thieves know that when homes have security systems, they have a high chance of getting caught, so they often avoid homes equipped with those handy signs in the front yard. Insurance companies then give you a considerable discount, some reaching 25 percent, because they know that you probably won’t be filing a claim for burglary. Saving 25 percent a month will add up to hundreds of dollars a year, paying for your home security system. What is the true cost of a break-in? Burglaries and thefts are extremely expensive, even if you do have home insurance. On average, home security systems cost about $378 per year, which is a low price to pay for peace of mind. On the other end of the spectrum, on average, one break-in costs about $2,250. That number doesn’t include what your insurance may not cover in the instance of a break-in, not to mention the insecurity and uneasiness your family then has to live with for years to come. Most insurance companies cover 99.99 percent of break-ins, but they have to make their money back somehow. Similar to the increase you see in your auto insurance when you get in an accident, your home insurance rates also go up when your home is burglarized. Insurance companies have to get their money somehow, and it will be at your family’s expense. Compared to the true cost of a break-in, a home security system monthly payment seems pretty small in comparison. Home security systems can prevent break-ins altogether. Criminals know the warning sign of alarm systems and security cameras. If you have a home security system, the chances are you will never have to worry about a break-in at all. Which security systems are the best? Now that you know why you should have a security system, and the benefits they have on your home insurance rates, how do you know which systems are the best to purchase? This is a tough question that is answered by different factors. What you want to look for as a consumer is what features you get for the price. Security systems can be incredibly intricate. New features that you probably want to look for include fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, 24/7 remote surveillance, and medical assistance. Some high-end security systems can even keep your home more energy-efficient. Once you know what features seem necessary to you and your lifestyle, see what companies offer the most competitive prices. Here is a list of the best home security system carriers. This list includes average cost and customer reviews from all over the country. The bottom line Home security systems have come a long way with today’s technology. From carbon monoxide alarms to medical alerts, the features home security systems possess is staggering. The cost of a break-in compared to the average annual price of a security system is also eye-opening. Home insurance is vital to have. It could keep your money in your pocket in the long run, and save you a lot of money if a break-in did happen. But a home security system can also give you a significant discount on your monthly insurance premium. So keep yourself protected and save money at the same time. Ethan Lichtenberg is a writer for insuranceproviders.com. He enjoys Edgar Allan Poe and sneaking off to the beach every chance he gets.
Guest Post by Dan Matthews Roughly one out of every three homes in the United States is using smart technology these days, while half that number use security systems of some sort or another. In other words, smart home tech and security are common but not ubiquitous. As smart systems trend upward in popularity, consumers continue to grapple with the basic question of whether or not they’re worth the time, money, and management skills required to set up and maintain them. Is it worth bothering with smart tech and home security systems? Smart home and home security defined The concept of a “smart home” versus a traditional home is akin to the difference between a smartphone and its predecessor, the flip phone. At its core, a smartphone performs many of the same functions that a flip phone has nearly always done. It can make phone calls, send texts, and tell you the time. However, in addition to those basic abilities, a smartphone connects to the internet and can run numerous applications, which equips it with an impressive array of additional capabilities like checking the weather, measuring distances, watching movies, etc. The same comparison holds for smart homes and their traditional counterparts. While both are homes in their essence (they have roofs, rooms, furniture, etc.), a smart home takes things to the next level. It is equipped with a number of different gadgets that enable it to perform various additional functions on its own or at the remote command of its owner. Typical smart home features include the following: Smart light bulbs that can dim and turn on or off remotely A smart thermostat that can adjust the house temperature on its own An array of smart, energy-efficient appliances Fully integrated smart entertainment systems that can run throughout the home Advanced intercom capabilities In addition to the more functional elements of a typical smart home, there are the added features that come with a smart home security system. This, in essence, “plugs into” your existing smart home setup, providing tools to improve awareness and safety, whether you’re in bed, on the couch, or out of town. The average smart home security system includes things like: Sensors installed in order to detect when doors and windows are opened The use of smart locks for the doors A central smart alarm system or keypad Smart, motion sensor-enabled cameras Smart doorbells with a video camera and microphone While these are the standard features typically found in smart homes and security systems, many other components find their way into some of the more fully automated models. For instance, things like smart faucets, electric-controlled smart blinds and shades, and even smart toilets are becoming the norm. In addition, many wealthy people are customizing their smart homes. Take, for example, Oprah, who has a smart heating system that “melt-plows” her driveway when it snows. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, whose home is operated by his personalized AI system named J.A.R.V.I.S. All of this goes to show that the sky's the limit on the future capabilities of smart home technology. Is a smart home or a home security system worth it? While there’s no blanket answer to the question of whether this technology is worth your investment, here are some of the pros and cons that each homeowner should consider when making the decision: Pros Safety — Keeps your home safer and serving as a deterrent for crime, as well as informing you of any doors and windows being opened. Keeping track of your family — Allows you to observe who’s visiting your home, what time the kids get off the bus, when a package has been dropped off, etc. Monitoring access to risky areas in the home — Enables you to safeguard important items, like gun safes or liquor cabinets. Savings — Generally provides monthly savings on electricity and heating. For instance, LED lightbulbs, which comprise most smart home lighting, have become very affordable and can last as much as 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Lower insurance costs — Potentially lowers homeowner’s and renter’s insurance. Increase the sellability of your home — 50 percent of buyers claim that they want a programmable thermostat and a wireless home security system in their new homes. Cons The setup cost — Installing a high-end system can be costly. However, top-rated providers such as Protect America offer affordable security options with a variety of home automation capabilities. Long term costs — Many reputable services charge monthly fees that can cost dozens or even hundreds of dollars per month. This is why you need to carefully determine which security company is right for you, as many providers may overcharge. Check out our top-rated home security companies to find which companies you can trust to give you an affordable price point and quality service. Frequent turnover in new models — Systems can become dated quickly. Batteries — The added cost and hassle of changing out batteries in multiple devices on a regular basis. Time to evaluate your needs Whether you’re a brand new millennial homeowner, a Gen Xer humming along with life, or a baby boomer who has owned your own house for decades, it’s important to take your own specific needs into account when considering a smart home or security system. If you do decide to take the plunge, many different providers are available. The important thing is to map out what you want for your home and then gather quotes from competitors before committing to one specific option. Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Guest Post by Credit.com Every year in the United States there are an estimated 1.2 million burglaries, which means a burglary is committed roughly every 15 seconds. In light of these numbers, you may be wondering if a home security system is a worthwhile investment. Let’s examine the cost of a break-in versus the average cost of a home security system, as well as ways to prevent a burglary or mitigate the damage if your home is robbed. Homeowners insurance When someone breaks into your home and steals or damages your property, homeowners or renters insurance will likely cover the expenses. However, don’t be fooled. Insurance companies have to recoup their losses too and will almost certainly do so in the form of a premium increase. In most cases, these premium increases are permanent, so you will pay for the life of your insurance policy. Windows and doors Unless you’re a burglar’s favorite kind of victim (i.e., one who left the front door unlocked), there’s a good chance you may be looking at damaged windows and/or doors. The cost of replacing a front door or window is significant, often costing hundreds of dollars. Even if you’re a renter, you may be asked to pay for a portion of this. The exact amount will depend on the terms of your lease. Personal property Now for the most obvious of any burglary costs — personal property. Items such as jewelry, electronics, art, and more are the prime targets of any good burglar.While much of this cost may be covered by your insurance, don’t count on everything being covered. The gap between what insurance pays and what you lost will vary (unfortunately not always in your favor). Furniture In many break-ins, burglars tend to damage items around the home simply because they can. Many burglary victims have reported their furniture being damaged beyond repair, which is yet another loss that may not be completely covered by insurance. The cost of new furniture and replacing other damaged property could be another hidden cost of a break-in. Cleanup Destructive thieves take it upon themselves to completely trash the home they’re robbing. Sometimes this is because they’re looking for more valuables, looting in haste, or just because they can. More often than not, burglary victims are forced to hire cleanup services, which is yet another added cost. The average cost of a home security system Most security systems have three costs: The initial system cost plus installationActivation fees (usually a one-time cost)The monthly cost of “monitoring,” or having someone available to call the police should an alarm get tripped at your homeThe cost of a home security systems is a sliding scale depending on initial cost vs monthly fees. These systems range from $0 installation (usually comes with a higher monthly fee) to $700 for high-end equipment. Monthly fees tend to vary, but don’t expect to pay more than $100 per month. Overall, it’s cheaper in the long run to implement a security system than it is to recoup your losses from a break-in. Prevention Now that you know the exorbitant costs you may be facing if your home or business gets broken into, let’s talk about a few ways to prevent burglaries that you may not have thought of before. Alarm signsYou may think that a home security sign out front will help fend off potential burglars, but you may be inadvertently giving them the keys to your house. Knowing the name of your alarm company can allow criminals to either go online and download a diagram of your home or find out how the system is wired in order to easily bypass it. It’s still worth it to warn burglars that your home is protected, but invest in a generic sign that says something like, “This home is protected by an alarm system.” This way, you let people know your home is secure, but you aren’t giving away too much information. Storage of valuablesIf you don’t have a safe, you’ll want to hide your valuables somewhere a burglar wouldn’t think to look. For example, you could leave your grandmother’s diamond brooch in the basement ceiling or inside a cereal box. Just don’t leave them in your underwear drawer or between the mattresses, which are the first places thieves are going to look. Your best bet is to invest in a safe or safe deposit box. "Beware of Dog" signIf you’re a pet person, you may want to consider adopting a dog. This can be your second line of defense if a burglar does manage to get into your home. Dogs can sense danger better than humans and may be able to scare off an amateur burglar. VigilanceBurglaries can happen fast. That’s why it’s important to arm your alarm system every time you leave your house even if you’re just “running out” for a moment. Thieves have often “cased” your home, meaning they know a little about your daily routine and if your home is well protected. If you leave without setting your alarm, you’re inviting these burglars into your home. Never leave your home unalarmed when you’re gone. When it comes to the cost of a break-in versus the cost of an alarm system, the alarm system wins by a wide margin. Break-ins end up costing victims thousands of dollars, while an alarm system is in the hundreds. Additionally, no one will steal your priceless valuables or heirlooms, and you don’t have to deal with the disturbing feeling of having your personal space violated. Having your home broken into can lead to financial problems down the road, even damaging your credit if you rely too heavily on credit cards to replace your stolen property. Or, you may spend so much trying to recoup your losses that you fall behind on other bills. Don’t let a home break-in lead you down a “bad credit” road.
Roughly two million household break-ins are recorded each year in the United States. This doesn't create peace of mind, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. You want to live in as safe a neighborhood as possible and feel confident your home is protected.Don’t worry. We spoke to home security experts and asked them to share their top security tips for first-time home buyers. Whether you’re already a homeowner or you’re currently looking for a house, we have some helpful security tips. Visit your potential neighborhood at all times of the day Trying to decide if a neighborhood is safe? Set aside some time to visit the neighborhood at all times of the day, security expert Emily Patterson advises.Research neighborhood safety and crime rates and visit your new neighborhood at all times of the day. What looks like the perfect home and street may have a different vibe in daylight versus after dark, and you can generally sense this just by driving by or taking a short walk. Tools like NeighborhoodScout and AreaVibes provide data about neighborhood crime rates, public school rankings, and other livability factors. Whether you have kids, are single, live with roommates or a partner, etc., security is an important part of choosing a new neighborhood. Research traffic patterns Patterson also advises prospective buyers to learn about traffic patterns, for both cars and people, before deciding on a neighborhood.This is something you can observe on your own by visiting at different times of day, or you can ask your prospective neighbors. If you have kids who want to play in your yard, a dog to walk, or like to run/bike/walk yourself, it matters whether a heavy volume of cars speeds past your new home or a lot of pedestrians are wandering by. Is your new house on a busy thru-street, or does the neighborhood have a single entrance/exit? Are there speed bumps and stop signs to regulate traffic speed and flow? If so, do people actually abide by the rules? (In my old neighborhood, few cars actually respected stop signs and speed limits, which made walking, running, driving, etc. pretty dangerous.) Does the neighborhood have a lot of businesses interspersed with residential buildings and therefore a lot of foot traffic? Look into local crime Security expert, house flipper, and landlord, Tyler Weinrich suggests looking into local crime when choosing a neighborhood. Although every place will have crime, Weinrich explains it is the type of crime you should be concerned with. You can look at all the recent incidents on a crime map to see how good or bad an area is. Every place will have “crime.” However, some will be minor and others not. I wouldn't worry about distance to police station as the cops can get to any place quickly. I would focus on crime rate and examine types of crimes that have occurred.Another one of our security specialists, Sean Little, agrees with Weinrich. No neighborhood is immune [to crime], and while one might have a higher overall rate than another, the higher rate area could have more property crime or vandalism compared to more violent crime that happens less often than the property crime in the other. Some people may be willing to risk one type of crime over another in order to purchase a home in their budget, so being honest with what risks you’re prepared to take is important. Evaluate community involvement Little continues with additional tips, starting with seeing how involved a community is. You can find out when city council or neighborhood meetings are held and drop in to observe what type of engagement and conversations take place. Are neighbors engaged and proactive in making sure the neighborhood is kept up and engaged in honest discourse with residents, or are meetings a sparsely attended formality?It’s also important to look at the long-term statistics. Transitional neighborhoods that attract many first-time buyers may not look the best one month to the next when house hunting, especially compared to the nicer areas with higher home prices they’re compared against. If a potential homeowner only looks at a few months of crime statistics, they may not see that while comparatively the crime is not great now, the neighborhood has improved greatly over the last year and only looks to continue to do so. Lock valuable items in a home safe If a burglary does take place within your home, you want to ensure your valuable items are still likely to be safe. Little advises purchasing a home safe.If you have small, expensive items like jewelry or sentimental items like family photos, heirlooms, etc., I’d highly suggest you purchase a fireproof lockbox or safe that can be bolted to the floor. This provides another layer of security to hinder a thief if they did happen to gain access to your home and went searching for expensive belongings. It’s always better to be extra careful than leave it to chance and regret it later. Odds are a burglar won’t waste their time trying to break into a quality safe that can’t be moved when other, less expensive items could be easily taken instead. Get to know your neighbors Don’t underestimate the helpfulness of an additional pair of eyes watching out for your home. Little thinks it’s an important step to creating a safe environment.Another great deterrent is a live human being keeping an eye on your home for you. You may also want to make friends with any retiree or stay-at-home neighbors by introducing yourself and offering a small gift when you move in.Showing neighbors that you are friendly and that you care will increase the likelihood that they will too. This way, you can both watch out for each other and each other’s homes. This makes it less likely that suspicious activity in your neighborhood will go unnoticed. Consider looking into the previous home owners If you’re in the process of looking for a home, Little explains you might want to consider doing some research on the previous home owners. This is being a bit paranoid, but depending on the neighborhood and how comfortable you feel with your new neighbors, you may want to look up the previous owners’ information or ask neighbors about them to make sure that they didn’t attract unwanted attention. While it doesn’t happen often, there are times that break-ins and home invasions happen because criminals had a connection to the previous owner of some kind and believe they still live there. Odds are if the neighbors are observant, they will have some information that could help you gain valuable knowledge about potential threats that might be left over from the home’s previous owners and their past. Don’t let gated communities fool you Although gated communities have fewer burglaries, it is not by a significant amount. Don’t assume there are no break-ins just because there is this extra precaution. Previously mentioned security expert, Weinrich, explains further:Gated communities are often seen as a security plus and they are, but they aren't fail proof. Most often the gates are open or people just follow other cars in. Burglars on foot can easily get through these fences as well.Don’t let security precautions slip through the cracks, even if you do live in a gated community. It’s safer to prepare for the worst rather than the best case scenario. Avoid areas with boarded up buildings or houses Weinrich also points out boarded-up or dilapidated buildings or houses are a big negative. These types of areas are targets for crimes and decrease the property value in a neighborhood. Build a fence around your home Weinrich notes another good precaution is having a fence around your home. Although like gated communities, you can’t assume this will stop the crime. However, it will make it more difficult for burglars to access your home, especially if you put locks on any of the fence openings. Consider picking a home with a fence or building a fence if the house doesn’t have one. Insert a piece of wood to prevent your sliding glass door from opening Weinrich’s last piece of advice is this: Sliding glass doors are easily broken into and should be reinforced with a bar or piece of wood on the inside rail to prevent the door from being opened from the outside. Hide valuables in unusual places When asked what security measures to take in the home, security expert Vi Trang says to hide any valuables in unusual places. He gives an example of what he has done, noting he has hidden cash in coffee tins and left his laptop underneath the couch. Burglars know the typical spots to find cash and other valuables, so switch it up and put these items in places that aren’t obvious and that are difficult to locate. Burglars want to be in and out of your house as fast as possible, so they most likely won’t spend too much time searching if they can’t find what they are looking. Hire a house sitter when you’re out of town Trang also suggests hiring a house sitter whenever you are out of town. Whether you hire a professional house sitter or ask a friend or family member to do it, have someone stay at your home while you are gone. This way, you won’t have to worry about the condition of your home when you get back, and you can have someone watching your home at all times. Instead of taking extra precautions to make your home look lived in (leaving a car outside, having lights on, etc.), you can let the house sitter take care of it. Change the locks on your new home When you move into a new home, Trang suggests tells homeowners to do this:Get a locksmith to change the locks on all doors and windows, in case the former homeowners have failed to turn over all the keys. Check the neighborhood’s proximity to resources Another of our security advisors, Justin Lavelle, recommends checking the neighborhood’s proximity to resources. He prompts us to ask ourselves these questions:How close is the home or neighborhood to schools, parks, hospitals, and shopping? Some neighborhoods might have all of these resources within their boundaries, otherwise are they accessible by a short walk or do you have to pack up the car every time you need to get the kids out? Is the house or neighborhood located by busy streets or large commercial or industrial sites? Kids like to play outside and enjoy riding bikes and playing with friends. Parents may be more comfortable knowing that the neighborhood is not by nuisances that may prove dangerous to kids. Make sure the actual home is safe Lavelle also recommends a home inspection before purchasing. Although this doesn’t necessarily have to do with home security and burglary prevention, it is important for the overall safety of your home. When deciding on your home, pay attention to the details. For example, on the home’s exterior, is there any rotting wood on the outside of the home? What about the landscaping? Anything that is damaged or needs updating could result in an added cost for you. Always have a home inspection done before completing a home purchase. Always lock tool sheds and/or storage areas Gregg DeRouanna advises keeping tool sheds and other storage areas securely locked up. People frequently forget to lock an outside storage area because it’s not as obvious a target as the home is, but it is just as important. DeRouanna recalls one particular time not securing a storage area went wrong:In one case I know, a burglar used a family's own set of bolt cutters to rob them. Your tools are easy targets, so keep them safe. Get a home security system The most important tip for any homeowner is to get a home security system. Patterson agrees security systems play a large role in home safety. Security systems are great because they are comprehensive and allow you to link a bunch of sensors, cameras, and other monitoring devices under a single umbrella, and they can catch dangers like CO and fire even when you aren't home. You can also start simple with motion-sensing lights in the darker corners of your properties and around doorways (burglars don't want to risk being placed in the spotlight — literally), installing smart cameras or doorbell cams you can monitor from your phone when you're not home, or even just setting your interior lights on timers. Burglars are actually far less likely to go after property they believe is equipped with security devices. Consider pairing your security system with home security cameras DeRouanna advises getting home security cameras in addition to a home security system. I recommend that first-time homeowners consider a high-definition surveillance camera system to monitor the inside and outside of their home, and keep an eye on any suspicious activity. Monitoring family, maintenance workers, pets, and keeping an eye on the home while vacationing will provide them with the peace of mind they need.
Before we discuss the top 10 heists of all time, let's decide what qualifies as a heist. A heist is a crime with a large amount of money, jewelry, art or other valuables stolen. Heists are well-planned crimes that often involve outlandish schemes. Let's look at the top 10 heists of all time. 1. Butch Cassidy and the "Sundance Kid" Though it didn't involve a huge amount of money, it's hard to beat the notoriety of our first heist. In 1889, Butch Cassidy & the "Sundance Kid", with their gang known as the Wild Bunch, hijacked a Union Pacific train near Wilcox, Wyoming. By the time the dust settled, they had blown up several train cars and a bridge. They escaped with about $60,000 in cash and bonds. 2. Allen Pace In 1997, Allen Pace, a Regional Safety Inspector, let five accomplices into a vault at a Dunbar Armored Car facility in Los Angeles California. They escaped with $19 million in cash. The police eventually arrested all six thieves, but $10 million of the money was never recovered. 3. Banco Central in Brazil The 2005 robbery of the Banco Central in Brazil was a classic heist, involving a complex scheme. A gang of thieves posing as landscapers rented a house two blocks from the bank, then dug a 255-foot underground tunnel. They broke into the vault on a Friday, but the theft wasn't discovered until the following Monday when nearly $70 million turned up missing. 4. Great Train Robbery of 1963 Another famous is heist was the Great Train Robbery of 1963, perpetrated by a gang of 15 men who tampered with railway signals to stop a Royal Mail Traveling Post Office train. They escaped with $74 million, most of which was never recovered. 5. Drumlanrig Castle Robbery The Drumlanrig Castle Robbery of 2003 was a daring heist, involving four men posing as tourists. Threatening the guards with an ax, they made off with the Leonardo da Vinci painting, Madonna of the Yarnwinder; which was worth around $40 million. 6. School of Turin In 2003, a group of criminals known as the "School of Turin" broke into the vault at the Antwerp Diamond Centre in Belgium. Three years before the crime, the mastermind Leonardo Notarbartolo rented an office in the building, giving him 24-hour access. These thieves escaped with $100 million worth of uncut diamonds, gold, and other jewelry. 7. Pink Panthers In 2008, four men dressed as women walked into the Harry Winston diamond store in Paris. Once inside, they threatened employees with a hand grenade. These men, known as the "Pink Panthers," escaped with a whopping $108 million worth of jewelry. 8. Gardner Art Museum One of the most lucrative art robberies of all time was the 1995 theft at the Gardner Art Museum in Boston. Two men posing as police officers duped the guards into letting them into the building. They escaped with several paintings, worth about $300 million. 9. D.B. Cooper Comparatively speaking, $200,000 isn't a lot of money, but it's difficult to match the audacity of D.B. Cooper. D.B. hijacked a plane in 1971, claiming that he had a bomb in his briefcase. After receiving his money, he parachuted out over Washington State. He was never found, making his case one of the great unsolved crimes of all time. 10. The Mona Lisa Without a doubt, the greatest heist of all time is Vincenzo Peruggia's theft of the Mona Lisa. Vincenzo hid in the Louvre overnight, then walked out with the painting hidden under his smock. He hid the painting in his apartment for two years, but was captured when he tried to sell it. The Mona Lisa is worth around $700 million, making this robbery the most lucrative of all time.
Your home should have multiple layers of protection. You've certainly heard that before. Motion detection is a critical layer of protection, and this is comprised of the simple act of unauthorized movement sensed as the result of breaking and entry. Glass break is similar in concept. One detects movement the other detects sound. Motion — The sensor detects when someone is moving about inside the house. Entry — The sensor detects when a door or window is opened. Breaking into — The glass break sensor detects when a burglar smashes through a window with a crowbar. Many people don't know that the sensor for breaking into exists. This special kind of sensor detects the unique sound (in terms of frequency) of window glass being hit and then shattering. The sensor then sets off the alarm. So in other words, the sensor doesn't wait for the glass to shatter. The detection starts when the crowbar or baseball bat makes heavy contact with the glass. This initial detection can be thought of as phase one. And phase two, the actual breaking of the glass, occurs just milliseconds later, setting off the alarm. In a house full of windows, one sensor per room may be sufficient, covering three or more windows and even glass doors. And fortunately, it's not necessary to have your kid hit a baseball into a window to test out the sensor. The device has a "test mode." You should produce a clapping sound (preferably with your hands). At the bottom of the sensor, a small light will blink, in response to the sound of the clapping, which simulates the sound of a window being struck. Now if you don't see the light blinking, the sound wasn't detected. Make sure the sensitivity setting is on "high" in the device, and also check your windows; are they blocked by heavy curtains or furniture? If your hand clapping is weak, do you have a few wooden boards to smack together? After you make the necessary adjustments, create the clapping sound again. If the unit is correctly installed, the light should blink. If your child thinks he could trip the alarm by banging cymbals or dropping a glass on the kitchen floor, tell him don't even think about it. The break-into sensor system has already taken false alarms into account. So if a glass or china plate crashes to the floor, or the sound of windows breaking is coming from the TV, these noises will not trip the alarm.
Your family could be one little oversight away from a tragedy. Are you on the ball regarding home security? Check these out: If you have a freestanding mailbox that anyone can get into, protect your families identities and consider installing a lock or using the post office for all your mail. Have carbon monoxide detectors? Ever think to put your landline phone's ringer on mute so that prowlers don't hear an unanswered ring while you're gone? And if you use an answering machine (yes, some people still do), set the volume to very low. Before bringing an extension cord outside for use, make sure it says it's suitable for outdoor appliances. Don't leave notes on your door saying "back in a minute" or anything like that, no matter whom you're expecting. Do you have a smoke detector on every floor? Did you know that dirt buildup can interfere with their sensors? Upgrade your smoke alarms to be interlinked so that if the one in the basement goes off, the one on the third floor will too. Thinking of recharging a non-rechargeable battery? Just buy new batteries. Otherwise, it might explode. Discard oily rags by hanging them outdoors for drying, then toss inside a metal can with a cover. An oily rag near a non-flaming heat source can still combust. Don't panic about perishable food if there's a power outage; a freezer will preserve food for two whole days. You just got hit with a big snowfall, your car's hidden in the garage, and you don't need to leave your house for a few days. You may still want to go out there and shovel so that potential intruders know you're home. Place security signs on your property, such as decals for a security company (whether you use one or not) on windows, or a "Beware of Dog" sign, even if you only have a timid cat. Have thorny shrubs planted near windows to deter intruders. Before leaving for a trip, inform a trustworthy neighbor-and discreetly; don't yell it across driveways. Please, abstain from posting pictures of your vacation on social media until you get back home.
Your home's weakest points are the exits and entrances, which is why you want to consider installing a door sensor in order to keep your family safe. How a door sensor works Most door sensors use a "reed switch," which is a type of switch that has been around since the 1930s. They are made up of electrical connectors that close when a magnetic field is placed parallel to them. Door sensors all have one magnet and one reed switch, which creates a closed circuit. When the door is opened, the magnet pulls away, it breaks the circuit and then triggers an event. These events may be a sound, a full-blown alarm or a discreet text alert. Ways to use a door sensor in the home There are a number of ways to use a door sensor in your home. Here are a couple of options: Child protection — If you have curious kids who like to get into the pool supplies, garages or other areas that may be dangerous, install an entry sensor and get an instant alert whenever the gate or door is opened. Open door notification — A door sensor often doubles as a doorbell, and if the system is off, it sounds like a chime when someone triggers the sensor. Keep out an alert — You can also use your entry sensor as an alert in areas that are off-limits, such as the game room or liquor cabinet. This is a good reason to use a silent alert, which will allow you to crack down on any rule-breaking. Protecting stuff outside — An entry sensor can also be used outside to protect your outdoor equipment. Do you have a shed with all kinds of tools inside? Gun cabinet — An extra layer of protection to your locked cabinet is a sensor on the inside alerting you to an unlocked cabinet. This can be a true lifesaver in the event you forget to lock it and the kids, or anyone else gets unauthorized access.
The rapid growth of the home security industry means that more options are becoming available to homeowners every day for protecting your property. One debate is whether or not to go with a professionally-monitored and installed home security system or go the do-it-yourself route. Here are the pros and cons of each system: The unmonitored DIY system If you didn't already know, DIY stands for "do it yourself." This means when it comes to setup and installation, you're on your own. These have become popular in recent years because the cost is all up front — mostly for equipment such as video cameras and control panels. With this, you can avoid the monthly fees that come with a professionally monitored system and pay one fee outright. You can purchase these systems at just about any major hardware store and spend a weekend installing them. They might even have features that will send video feed or push notifications to your smart phone in the event of a break-in. Another plus for these systems is that you can place the security cameras precisely where you choose. Maybe you only have one room of memorabilia or collectibles that you'd like to keep an eye on. If that were the case, a DIY system might be very tempting. Having the freedom of placing the cameras and door monitors exactly where you want might be a major plus to some, especially those that are handy and feel confident installing these systems on their own. With that said, it shouldn't be surprising that the one thing missing from a DIY home security system is the middle man. When you hire someone to perform a professional installation, you know it's being installed for optimum performance. However, this may come as a major inconvenience to you. The installers will likely be drilling holes through your walls for security cameras, switching out your locks, and generally making a lot of noise. Scheduling an installation time might also be a hassle. The professionally installed and monitored system A professionally installed system would be installed by a crew of in-house, certified technicians with experience and expertise. These technicians are intimately familiar with the equipment and can show you how to properly operate it. The system might even have smart home features like automatic thermostats or remote door locks. The biggest turn-off for most people is the monthly monitoring fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars per year. However, it's not uncommon to find home security monitoring contracts that run for as little as $20/month. Some of these companies will even offer free equipment when you sign the contract, which usually runs for at least three years on average. When you get ready to sign for that monitoring service, be sure you can make the monthly payments for an extended period of time. With a professionally-monitored system, you also have a connection to your local police and you're not responsible for repairs if something goes wrong with your system. The police connection is arguably one of the most important features of a home security system. If something trips the alarm to the room with your prized stamp collection, the police will be notified immediately through and can rush to your home even if you're on vacation or away for the night. Many systems will also have an extended warranty that will entitle you to a free repair if something goes wrong. That's one less weight on your shoulder. So with both of these options, what's to be done? Here's a suggestion: The best of both worlds Did you know that there are professionally monitored home security companies that offer DIY packages as well? It's true! Many top rated companies in the home security industry are taking action to put the installation in the hands of the consumer to provide more freedom. This way, the home security system is also easier to disassemble and reinstall if you move to a different location. But remember to take a good look at the contract — some fees may apply depending on the company. With these systems, you get rid of the middle man while still enjoying the amenities of a professionally-monitored system, such as police correspondence and smart home features. Some of these smart home features can be tethered to your Amazon Echo or Google Home devices to allow for voice control on features such as door locks, thermostat regulation, and lighting controls. Of course, these features are more common among professionally installed systems but aren't unheard of among DIY systems. If you've found yourself at this point, you're likely considering the purchase of a home security system. The best thing you can do is take a look at top rated companies and see what companies have the features and price tags that fit your needs. Less than the price of a cable TV subscription, home security is likely more affordable than you thought. Take a look at the best of the best and see what's right for you.
Home security systems are rapidly becoming more affordable as technology continues to advance. In recent years, systems have also adopted home automation tools like thermostat regulation and remote light switches. Regardless, all systems can operate the basics of arming your doors and windows and emitting an alarm when the sensors are triggered. Here's an in-depth look at how home security systems operate and what that means for you. Components To understand how a home security system operates, you should understand a few of the basic components to a home security system: Keypad—This is the "brain" to your system. All of your sensors and cameras communicate with this unit, usually attached to a wall in a central location in your home. With some newer systems including smart home features, your smartphone could double as a keypad. Video cameras—These are more common with a DIY unmonitored system but are offered by many professional monitoring companies as well. Often, you can stream live footage to your smartphone and receive notifications when the cameras detect movement. Window and door sensors—These sensors come in two pieces: one piece is attached to the edge of a door or window, and the other is attached to the edge of the door or window frame next to it. These are the most standard features of a home security system. When the system is armed and the pieces become detached from each other, the magnetic sensors inside them are triggered and your system registers a break-in. Yard sign—More useful than you may think, the mere presence of a yard sign indicating a monitored security system tells would-be burglars to back off. You'll be able to arm and disarm your system at will from the central keypad, your smartphone, or both, depending on the package you ordered. When a sensor is triggered, the brain of the system will send a cellular, landline, VoIP, or internet signal to a professional monitoring station. But first, it has to be installed. Installation When it comes to installation, most home security systems will be installed yourself or by a licensed professional. Do-it-yourself systems are fairly common. You can pick them up at most major hardware stores and install them in a weekend. However, these systems usually consist of only video cameras and don't have the full capabilities of a professionally monitored system. Some top-rated companies have taken the best of both worlds and adopted a system of providing consumers with do-it-yourself installation while still providing professionally monitored service. In regards to professional installation, you know you'll have a team of certified professionals installing a security system when they show up at your door. However, this means that they'll need to set an appointment in order to come to your home and install all the equipment, which may come at an inconvenience to you. You might have to take a day off work and put up with a lot of noise before your system is fully installed and operational. Once your security system is installed and activated, it will immediately be monitored by a remote team of representatives. Monitoring An alarm monitoring station (aka a "central station") is a location where home security systems are monitored for burglaries, fires, carbon monoxide, and other disasters. These stations are monitored 24/7 to make sure whenever a disaster strikes, there is someone on task to react accordingly. The best central stations will be certified by Underwriters Laboratories, a leader in measuring and accrediting performance capabilities. The organization has strict certification standards that cover a variety of different industries, so keep an eye out for them when considering a home security company. Keep in mind that a professional monitoring station is important because this is the station that will send a signal to local police. When a signal is sent to the station from a security system encountering a break-in, fire, or another disaster, a professional at the monitoring station can dispatch local authorities to check on your residence. Sometimes these signals can be accidents, like opening your window after you've armed your system, but in any case, a professional is available to keep an eye on your system all day, every day. So what? Maybe you're thinking a home security system isn't a big deal. After all, only 17 percent of U.S. homes operate with a security system. But if you've decided that you want to take the extra measure to protect your home and your valuables, look into top companies that offer the best in pricing and equipment.