Month: September 2016

Protecting Your Home When You’re Away

If you leave your home unoccupied while you are on holiday, it can be an irresistible target for thieves. Protecting your home when your away could not be more important. There’s plenty of things that you can do to make your home, and possessions more secure while you are away.

protecting your home with the light switch timer

76% of homes burgled are dark and empty at the time. Use lighting to give the illusion your at home

Protecting Your Home When You’re Away

A home that looks like nobody is in can be an irresistible target for thieves. The ideal solution to this would be to get a reliable friend or relative to house-sit for you. If this isn’t possible, you should take steps to make it look like your house is occupied.

First off, you need to cancel any regular deliveries, such as milk or newspapers. Not only will this save you a bit of money, it will also prevent the uncollected items on your doorstep from building up, giving a clear signal that the house is unoccupied.

Another thing that can be highly effective in creating the illusion of occupancy is to install some timer switches. These can be set up to turn lights on and off at certain times. Leaving all your curtains closed can also be a bit of a giveaway, but you don’t want thieves peering into your living room either. A good compromise is to use blinds. These will let some of the light from inside through without allowing a clear view of your rooms from outside. Blinds are only necessary on clear windows. Frosted or textured glass often found in bathroom windows, will create the same effect.

Installing or upgrading door and window locks can make it more difficult for a thief to gain access to your property. Breaking a window or door will make a lot more noise, which might be detected by neighbours. Thieves are reluctant to do this unless there is no other way in. Exterior doors should be fitted with a minimum of two locks; one of which should be a secure mortice lock with five or more levers. Good quality window locks are also a must, and of course you should be sure to completely close all your windows. Remember even a small opening may be enough to allow a thief to gain access.

Lighting is the most effective deterent to burglary

Don’t let everyone know your away. Have your mains lights turn on and off as normal.

Installing a burglar alarm system can act as an effective deterrent to thieves. If you are broken into, it will draw attention to your property and hopefully scare off a thief. These come in various guises, from cheap ‘dummy’ alarms that won’t trigger but may act as a deterrent, to pricier fully-integrated systems. You can also install CCTV cameras to act as a deterrent – again, fake ones may do the job but with real ones you can get a video record of any suspicious activity.

Finally, you should make sure that the contents of your home are fully insured before you leave. If you do fall victim to burglary, you will be compensated for the loss of any items. This also protects your possessions in case anything else should happen to your home while you are away, such as fire or flood damage. In most cases, items will be replaced on a new for old basis, so you will be provided with brand new items of equivalent specifications as replacements for your lost or damaged possessions.

 

I Was Burgled – What Should I Do?

Though they can be difficult to identify there are usually subtle signs indicating our homes are being targeted by burglars. It’s never nice to know that someone unwanted has been through our peaceful abode. Sometimes the damage can be detrimental to us. It is important to understand that burglars have a strong tendency to scope out a neighbourhood or a particular home in detail before planning their attacks. Remaining vigilant is a must. Here a three potential signs that your home could be targeted.

Burglars use codes that we often overlook

Be sure to look out for odd markings.

Strange vehicles

Cars and vans with dark tinted windows are most frequently used in burglaries. Strange vehicles continuously doing rounds of a street or neighbourhood at odd times can be a clear sign that something is out of the ordinary. To initially find a suitable target burglars will identify the weakest homes. Once identified you may find that these vehicles are then parked nearby or simply continue to return during random periods of the day and night. There main aim is to identify the occupant’s routines. The neighbourhood watch should remain vigilant and inform one another of their suspicions.

Individuals out of place

An individual jogging or walking down the street for exercise purposes is usually dressed in suitable exercise attire i.e. they fit the profile of a jogger. Their intentions are clearly displayed to any onlooker; likewise someone walking their dog will be nicely wrapped up and casually walking. Most individuals act in a manner appropriate to their intentions and burglars are no different. If you find an individual has suddenly started to take walks down your street paying close attention to yours and other homes then you can be sure they are not there to simply stretch their legs. It’s important to observe their actions and identify the patterns or frequency of their stroll down your street. If they walk slowly taking particular care to intently observe surrounding areas during different periods of the day then take precautions as they may be looking for patterns and vulnerabilities in your routine.

Individuals approaching your home

To invite a stranger into your home under their pretence of offering a service or doing a job can be very dangerous. We often find that burglars use a range of aliases to enter a home and get a better view from the inside. They come in the form of handy men, door to door sales people and even police. They take the opportunity

Your home may be empty but from the outside it looks like your watching TV

An energy efficient security device that mimics the lighting effects of a TV. Make it look like your home watching TV

to enter a home and identify the best possible targets. It’s very important that you always ask for identification. If you find that an individual has made a second return to your home without being invited and with no particular reason then you can be pretty confident they returned assuming you would not be home. They will not hesitate to quickly leave however details of the encounter should be passed on to the police and the neighbourhood watch as suspicious activity.

 

Deterring a burglar is the best way to ensure you’re not burgled.

There is no way to guarantee that your home will not be burgled. However appropriate steps can be taken to substantially reduce that risk. Remaining observant is one of the simplest ways to avert a burglary. Close communication with your neighbours ensures collectively you’re all vigilant together.

Burglars have a tendency to strike when your home is empty. Remaining observant must be matched by not giving away too much information. Take special care not to leave an obvious routine or pattern for potential burglars to use against you. According to the London Metropolitan Police lighting is the strongest measure that deters burglars. Ensure your home is well lit when you’re away with  the  police approved light switch timer  or the TV Simulator.

 

Wireless Alarm Systems WIFI Cameras

 

Research conducted by the crime prevention unit reiterates the importance of burglar alarm systems. Experts have identified through post arrest interviews that a burglar is less likely to attempt to enter a home with an alarm system installed. These very same alarm systems have now evolved with the advent of the digital age.  Wireless alarms have become more sophisticated and reliable over time and are now more mature and reliable.  Systems are being created at an astounding rate with each and every system surpassing its predecessors in both design and functionality.

CleverLoop

Smart Security – Its time you was told straight away if your being burgled rather than find out when you return!

WI-FI Camera Alarms

Wireless alarm systems are quick and easy to install conveniently blending in with aesthetics of the home without the need to disturb the decor.  Many modern systems now take into consideration the aesthetics of the sensors and the centralised control panel making them look attractive and in sync with the contemporary home decor. The absence of wires also gives users the ability to mount the system in any desired location within the home.

The modern alarm systems no wire no hassle characteristics can save a huge amount of effort and time. This reinforces the idea of easy and clean installation.

The technology utilises battery powered sensors that directly connect with radio signals. (over RF frequency).  Various sensors are available including PIR, door, microphone, smoke etc making them very expandable. The sensors all communicate with the control panel and can trigger a siren and alert the owner.

The new systems present an added benefit to those individuals that rent a house. The portability feature allows the user to install and remove the system without any wiring.

The system is not limited to just protecting your home but can incorporate a number of added features to maximise its use and improve usability. Wireless key fobs are amongst the most popular. Rather than have to enter key codes that can be forgotten, the fob can simply activate and deactivate the system remotely. The centralised control panel can also be programmed to detect smoke and flood maximising its potential to perform more than one function at any given time. The new wireless system aims to improve overall home security by centralising whilst also simplifying all security features into one network and product.

There are two main types of Wireless alarm systems, on the market.  one is a stand alone system which will only communicate with the owner via a connection to the owner’s existing telephone line.

Smart technology – changing the way we view our homes

Smart home technology is an idea that’s beginning to gain strong traction around the world. As individual needs and wants continuously change people are quickly adapting to an ever growing home automation range, helping them become more efficient and even more connected. The smart home movement is changing the way we take on new tasks, interact with our belongings as we all aim to build a better quality of life. In doing so what we are starting to do is change the way we view our homes. Smart home automation has grown in popularity because of their easy DIY applications. Most smart products now only require a user and a smartphone making the technology accessible to pretty much anyone now.

The development of smart home technology signalled a big shift in home security as homeowners began to receive a greater control in their fight against criminals. Smart security systems give real-time updates so a user can be far away from his or her home and still be completely connected.

What is a smart home security system?

To enable interconnectivity you have a base station that communicates with a number of cameras over your wifi network. Cameras are available for indoor and outdoor use, and can run off the mains or batteries.

The other end of the system is an app on your smartphone. This lets you set up, and control the security system as well as receive alerts and footage when something is happening in your home.

How you can take control

With a smart home camera security system, you get control in ways that were never possible with burglar alarms.

  • Being based around your existing Wi-Fi network means that setting the system up yourself is easy
  • You choose where cameras are located, inside or outside, and you can easily move them as your needs change
  • Many systems have low, or no ongoing costs
  • Smart learning and clever settings can help minimise false alarms
  • Geofencing lets many systems know when you are home and the cameras turn off
  • Alerts go to your smartphone, so you can keep your home safe no matter where you are
  • You decide if alerts are important, and you decide what happens about them. Ignore the courier dropping a parcel at your front door, call the police for the person that just crowbarred your back door
  • Cloud storage of footage means that even if the thieves get smart and try to disable or steal your cameras and security system, you have still got the incriminating evidence to show the police.

What it means for you

The bottom line is that home security is no longer complicated, expensive or ineffective. With a smart wireless system, it’s simple, cheap, flexible and highly effective.

Best of all it puts you in control.

More advanced systems now connect to the user’s home router allowing remote access via a smartphone or tablet.  These give users the ability to view alerts and arm the system remotely.

Newer Phone Based wireless ssystems are also making there way onto the market.

The Ring Doorbell, for example allows you to see who is at your front door & talk to them from your phone.

Other wifi camera based systems offer remote viewing with smart alrts when movement is detected.  Cleverloop system camera system will automatically alert you any time movement is detected in your home.

 

 

Don’t Let More Than The Breeze In This Summer

Do you Sleep with the window open in summer?

Burglary rates rise in the UK

How safe is your postcode?

Burglaries often increase during the Spring and Summer months, when burglars take advantage of people leaving doors and windows open during the warmer weather. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the change in weather but it’s important to keep the burglars out.

According to Halifax Home Insurance, opportunistic thieves ramp up their activity during summer, resulting in a 10% increase in domestic burglaries and a 40% increase in outdoor thefts.
The majority of offenders look for the path of least resistance when attempting to gain entry to a property, and finding a door or window unlocked presents them with an attractive opportunity.
Even if you’re just nipping round to the neighbours for five minutes, hanging out the washing, or doing a spot of gardening, you should get into the habit of locking all doors and windows before you leave your home.

You should never leave windows open during the night if they can easily be used to gain access.

A senior police officer has been criticised for suggesting some burglaries should not be investigated if doors and windows have been left open.

Phil Kay, assistant chief constable of Leicestershire police, said he would “far rather” officers focus on preventing crime and protecting the public than investigate break-ins where carelessness may have played a role.

The senior officer posed the question while discussing a high rate of burglaries.

Remember also to lock your doors properly as it may void your insurance policy and you will not be able to make a claim should the worst happen and you are burgled.

  • If your away at night use your mains lights to give the impression your still at home
  • Make sure your doors are double locked all day especially when you are in the back garden
  • A Visible alarm box make burglars think twice – make sure you switch them on when you go out.
  • Lock garages and sheds
  • Be alert to strangers loitering in the street.  If you don’t recognise them or they are acting suspiciously, call the police on 101
  • Police also suggest using prickly plants around the fence line to deter access.
  • Install passive security lighting.
  • Mark tools bicycles with a a UV Pen using your postcode and house number

If you don’t have an alarm it might be a good time to think about getting one installed.

Another option is to get some IP CCTV cameras which alert you when they are activated and send a message to your phone.

Remember  to adjust your light switch timer schedule to reflect the longer days and shorter nights.

Click here for our quick programming guide

January Sees Burglaries Peak

Get ready for the January blues and to send out the red alert for cat burglars.

Christmas has come and gone and your home is full of new exciting goodies. Flat screen plasma televisions and games consoles, coffee machines and new smaller than your remote mobile phones. You’re the absolute thrilled showing off your new gear to all your friends and family. But whilst you’re demonstrating all your new gadgets and gizmos just who else is getting a fleeting glimpse of your sparkling new merchandise?

Despite being the quietest month when it comes to shopping trips and other events burglaries have the tendency behave in the exact opposite direction. With new games and gadgets on show in all homes around the country thieves are on high alert to target any easy catches when they are left unguarded. However there are some measures that you can take to ensure your home is as safe as it can be, whether you’re at home or not.

A really obvious first step is to keep all high profile items out of sight. Whether it’s hidden by a closed door or tucked in a dresser drawer. Placing a plasma television in full view near a window is definitely not a good idea. One reason is the frontal view seen by all offending eyes, the other being the glare from the sunshine on the screen.

Just because thieves can’t see the items it doesn’t mean that they’re not there. It also doesn’t mean they won’t try looking for it. Locking your windows is just as important if not more than locking your doors. Even though doors are first port of calls, windows are commonly used to prevent leaving any trace of entrance points to the building. Always check every window in the house before you leave even if it will be just a five minute trip. If your day has come that five minutes will be all it takes to lose your favourite Christmas presents and more.

For a cheap deterrent to stop thieves breaking in many residents try leaving radios on during the day and a timer light on during the evening. A solution which gives off the impression of either people talking, or watching TV in the room next door. A lot of burglaries are purely for items and pricey merchandise so contact with people is often avoided at all costs.

For those who can afford it a burglar alarm is a good deterrent. Some can be fitted yourself or fitted by a professional.

Do take a moment to Log the serial numbers of your new possessions, the IMEI number of your phone and put your postcode on valuable items with a UV pen.  Also update your insurance company if you have made any particularly large purchases to ensure your insurance cover is not affected. There are a number of stories of people not getting paid out because they have forgotten to do this.

Taking in all these measures the January blues won’t be on you but on the burglars instead. Keep your belongings locked up and safe.

Protecting Yourself Online

Find out the Hacking Methods used by criminals use to crack your lifestyle wide open.

Hacking methods

Online scams: Scam attempts have gotten way more sophisticated than the stereotypical Nigerian Prince trick. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov) lists dozens of variations on email and online scams – from fraudulent automobile auctions to online dating schemes – in its annual Internet Crime Report. In 2013 alone, more than a quarter of a million complaints were submitted related to online scams. And if you think it only happens to older people, think again: One fifth of scam victims last year were younger than 30.

Phishing: One particularly nefarious form of online scam uses legitimate-looking websites to trick a victim into sharing their username, password, or other sensitive information. Phishers will design their sites to look exactly like the website of your bank, credit card issuer, or another financial institution. The hope is that you won’t realize you’re on the wrong site, and just punch in your password like you normally would. Then, they use it to log into your real accounts and transfer out your money.

Massive data breaches: The above methods are all aimed at getting information about individuals. However, there’s a whole profusion of hackers who are looking for the big score. Recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, and other major retailers have led to millions of credit card numbers being compromised. Hackers turn around and sell these numbers on a black market website for anyone who might be willing to buy them.

Staying Protected

Vigilance: Look carefully at a website before giving any information, especially sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Especially look out for slightly misspelled words or words that use unexpected characters, such as substituting a “0” (number) for an “O” (letter) – for example, H0ME DEP0T. If something looks even a little bit fishy, delete the email or close the site immediately.

Browser bookmarks: Rather than clicking on links in emails, create bookmarks in your browser to commonly used sites, like your bank, insurance company, etc., and use those bookmarks every time you visit the site. That way, you know you’re always going to the right website, rather than trusting in an email that could’ve been sent by anyone.

Two-factor authentication: More and more sites (especially those of financial institutions) are using two-factor authentication. With such methods, after logging in with your password, the site will text or email you a single-use code that must be entered. Only the registered phone number or email address will receive the code, making it that much harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

Protected servers: Consumers may not have direct control over how companies store their information, but with larger and larger hacks occurring regularly, you have a right to demand that companies take more responsibility for securing your personal information. For example, SingleHop embeds security features into their dedicated servers at the physical access level all the way down to the network, server, application, and account levels. Close monitoring along with antivirus protection, application patching, private networking, and firewalls all work to ensure that company data is protected and isolated.

 

Holiday Check List – Timer Lights

The dos and dont’s of holiday security

DO –
Make your home look occupied.
Set your lights on a timer
Ask a neighbour to pop round occasionally
Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway.
Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’ service
Double-check that you’ve locked all outside windows and doors.
Check your front door is lock is not vulnerable to lock snapping or picking – surprising how common they are.
Mark your property with UV pen or smart water
Think about hiding a safe when it is secure and can not be found
Think about removing valuable and items of sentimental value
Get an alarm if you haven’t already – even if its just a fake box.
Take a picture of your passport and credit cards on your phone.
keep a few emergency numbers written down – in case you loose your phone
have lots of fun whilst you are away and have a great Holiday

Dont
Advertise that you are going away on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Forget to Set your burglar alarm.
Leave valuables in sight
Don’t say you’re ‘away’ on your home or mobile answer machine
Do not draw all the curtains in your house, as this wouldn’t look like someone was living there during the day.
put your home address or phone number. on your luggage tag – people will know that you’re not at home
forget the garden and shed – keep tools and ladders safe and secure
worry too much as long as you have taken the necessary precautions

Lake. Suho Island. Russia.

Timer Plugs – Keeping Your Home Safe When You Go On Holiday

Many people use timer plugs to leave a light on when they go on holiday

Timer plug advantages

timer plug

  • Give the appearance of being in when you’re out.
  • Turn lights, radios, etc on or off even when you’re not there.
  • can be programmed to switch the connected appliance ‘On’ and ‘Off’

But using timer plugs when you’re away also means

  • You have to use a lamp
  • Potentially means leaving lamps in places where they could be a fire hazard
  • Means you are not able to turn all the sockets off at the mains
  • Can make it look obvious you have left a lamp on a timer as you are away from home.
  • that annoying clicking noise they make

 

Timer plugs work well when you have a bed site lamp or a light in the study or that you would usually use in the evenings but putting a lamp in the hall way is a real no no as it can be a real giveaway.

The smarter solution is to time the lights you use on a daily basis. Why bother setting artificial lights on timers when you can just as easily program a couple of main lights in your home to go on and off to make it look like your moving about the house.

This way no on will suspect your away and wont draw any unwanted attention to your home.

Why not just leave the light on before you go out?

This is actually a really bad idea as it sends a clear signal to burglars that you’re not in and won’t be back till after dark.

Think about it – burglars don’t have day jobs and any one walking down the road seeing a visible light on during the day will know that you may not be home and likely wont be back till after dark.

 

Review of the best timer plug