Give The Gift of Professional Home Security This Christmas

As you head out to the big box retailers this holiday season, you’ll no doubt see many “off the shelf” DIY home security systems that promise a “plug and play” out of the box experience.

In many cases, DIY is a great, affordable option. It is easy to see why it is an attractive consideration even in home security. But do DIY home security systems measure up to consumer expectations? In most cases, the answer is a resounding, no. In home security, the stakes are high and the system’s capability and functionality matter. While many tout the ease of installation in DYI systems, most consumers do not realize these systems lack the very features that make home security alarm systems desirable.

Here are some important ways DIY products do not measure up:

1. Installation is not as Easy as You Think

The installation of DIY systems may seem simple, and that fact alone may be a red flag. High-quality home security systems have many components that need expert placement. A system that is too simple may not provide the type of security coverage necessary to protect your family. A complex system requires expert installation of the components is crucial so that you do not leave gaps in your security. Improper installation can lead to a system failure which can place your family or property at risk.

2. Proper Placement

Setting up a DIY security system might seem like a slam dunk, but underestimating the importance of expert placement is a disservice to your security. Home security systems are highly technical systems that require professional knowledge to gain the most advantage from them. Not only can improper placement make components less effective, it can make the system nearly useless!

3. DIY Systems Cost More Than You Expect

Contrary to popular belief, DIY home systems are not the most economical choice in home security. Most DIY home security systems come with a few components, such as window sensors, with the expectation you WILL need more. Those expensive components add up quickly.

4. Incompatibility Issues

The technologies used to support home security systems are constantly changing and needing product support. With professional systems, these updates are never a problem to the end user, the consumer. With DIY systems, a simple computer system upgrade can make the entire system incompatible. Further, should technology advances make the system outmoded, the manufacturer of the DIY system may no longer provide any updates or support if they ever provided these at all.

5. No Connection to Police

Your home alarm system is your lifeline. At least that is what most people intend and expect. One of the most important components of any home security system is the connection to emergency services such as fire or police, something DIY systems do not offer.

6. A DIY System is not the Same as Professional Systems

While a DIY security system can provide some of the same features of a professional system, it is important to realize that it is not a comparable substitute. DIY systems meet a few needs specific to the widest number of people possible. A professional system is designed to meet the very specific needs of your family and the home structure. The technologies used are often different and the capabilities of the systems vary dramatically.

About Complete Security Systems

Contact us today. The experts at Complete Security Systems design professional home security systems that will keep your family safe and be supported by local staff right here in New Jersey for years to come.

Holiday Vacation Checklist To Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling

Whether you will be traveling to visit family or just taking a much-needed vacation, there are some very important security measures to put in place before you leave. Please keep in mind that thieves don’t take a vacation for the holiday season. In fact, the holiday season is their busiest time of the year!  

What You Can Do To Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

The following are some simple steps you can take to make your home less attractive to would-be burglars. The best way is to combine the list of ideas below with a professionally installed and monitored electronic security alarm system in your home.        

Before you leave on your trip, be sure to:

  • Get a trusted friend or relative to “house sit” or make sure your neighbors know you will be away.
  • Have a neighbor pick up your newspapers and your mail for you daily.
  • Lock all doors and windows and secure the garage door.
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway, or ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.
  • Leave a house key — and a number where you can be reached — with a trusted friend or neighbor.

Pro Tip: The best way is to combine the list of ideas below with a professionally installed and monitored electronic security alarm system in your home. Ask us how today!

 

  • Use timers to turn lights on and off at certain times, altering lighting patterns, to create an occupied look.
  • Leave drapes and shades open as normal. (Closed blinds during the day are a sure sign of an empty house, plus they allow a burglar to attend to his business unseen by neighbors.)
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  • Be sure your trees and hedges have been trimmed. This gives burglars fewer places to hide.
  • Consider upgrading outdoor light fixtures with devices that have built-in motion detectors, which turn on the lights whenever anyone walks past.
  • If you have an alarm system, make sure to arm it EVERY time you leave your home…yes, EVEN if you will only be gone for a short while.

Technology Can Help – Talk To A Security Expert Today!

Following these practical safety tips can go a long way towards keeping your property safe. Adding professional burglar and fire alarm monitoring for your home (or business!), mobile app control and video monitoring can take your family’s safety to a new level. Contact us today to speak to a security expert and schedule your free consultation today!

Home Automation: 101

Since the 1930’s World Fair, people have envisioned a home where small functions are performed automatically. While the idea is not new, the technologies to make it happen are. Home automation is hotter than ever because of smart home technologies.

So what exactly is a smart home? You may have heard the terms “home automation,” and “smart home” used interchangeable, and while very closely related, one is actually a component of another.

Here are some basic terms you will need to know:

Home Automation

When selected appliances and devices are connected to a central system and respond based on user input.

Connected Devices

These devices, appliances, and systems have integrated sensors that can connect them to the internet. The user programs the devices that can also learn and anticipate user patterns and respond accordingly.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is what brings home automation and connected devices together to create a smart home. Using sensors, programs, systems and controls, the IoT allows the systems to communicate, telling everything how, when, and why to perform a certain task as well as relay information to the user.

Why Smart Home Technologies are More than Just Cool Technologies

Yes, there really is something incredibly cool about having your home respond to your needs, but smart home technologies are more than just cool, they are also an advantage in many ways. Smart home systems offer a tremendous amount of convenience, allowing users to have the heating cooling, and lighting systems all working without thought. Safety is another big advantage, as users can tap in to home security or surveillance systems, be alerted to security breaches or things like extreme temperature changes. Smart home technologies also offer the user savings with the more effective use of energy.

Home automation and smart home technologies are an important way residents and business owners are streamlining their lives for a more efficient use of their time. If you have a question about home automation, home security, and smart home technologies, feel free to contact us.

7 Ways Homeowners Beg Criminals to Rob Them During Renovations

Criminals love when homeowners take on renovations, additions, and home improvement projects because most homeowners just do not realize how easy they make it to get robbed. Once begun, these projects consume us with design options and product choices and take our minds away from smart security practices.

During renovations, your home is a construction zone with added security risks, even if it is a small project. In the criminal’s mind, the increased activity is a beacon signaling easy pickings for high-value and easily resold tools and materials.

Here are the most common mistakes homeowners make during renovations:

Not Checking References

Believe it or not, many people never research the folks they hire beyond a casual recommendation from a friend. Even worse, they may not realize that the person they hire may not even actually be performing the job at all as it may be subcontracted out to another service provider. Do your research. Find out whether potential service providers self-perform the work, or sub-contract some or all of the work to others. If they sub-contract, you may have little idea or control over who enters your home and no way to check their reputation.

Not Keeping Track of the Number of Workers

Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may have a number of workers in your home throughout the job. Another big mistake homeowners make is in not knowing how many come in and where they are. When possible, have them use one entrance, such as a back door, so it is easier to see who enters and leaves and when. Know their names and faces. It is even a good idea to take pictures of all the service providers so neighbors know who should and should not be around the house.

Not Keeping Doors and Windows Locked

Where there are more people, there is more potential for doors to get left unlocked.
When possible, instruct all workers not to unlock any door or window unnecessarily and to re-lock when done with any task. Always check door and windows are locked and not assume others remembered to secure your property.

Secure Holes

At the end of the day, make sure all holes are secure to prevent people or critters from entering the property.

Secure Your Borders

Make the risk of getting caught greater than the reward of gaining access to your property by making it difficult or inconvenient to gain access. Use fences, locked gates, motion activated lights, and video surveillance systems.

Keep Your Supplies Secured and Protected with Security Systems

Construction materials are a hot commodity because they are easily sold without question, so thieves love them. Keep all of your materials in a secure location, preferably protected by security systems such as alarms and CCTV.

Call Your Alarm Company When the Project is Complete

If you reconfigured your space or added more living area, the new space may not be covered by your security alarm system, leaving gaps in your home security protection. Home security specialists configure systems specifically to meet the needs of a particular space. When that space changes, things like security cameras may not be optimally situated and new doors and windows may be without sensors.
If you have questions about how to protect your home during a renovation or how to use your home security system during large projects, please call us at 732-780-6787.

Halloween Home Safety Tips

While Halloween haunted houses, ghouls, and goblins should be scary, Halloween and its festivities should also be safe. Each year sees the highest number of pedestrian fatalities and auto related injuries on Halloween. Non-auto related injuries such as those caused by falling also increase on Halloween as well as incidents of vandalism.

If you are going to be out on Halloween, be sure to observe these important safety practices.

Tips for Trick or Treaters

Parents should be happy to know that there has never been a documented incident of a child ingesting tainted Halloween candy. It should also comfort parents to know that the incidence of abductions does not increase on Halloween. However, product tampering can and does occur any time of year and abductions can and do happen on any day of the year.  It is still important to take precautions to keep kids safe on Halloween.

  1. Choose to attend alternate celebrations that keep kids in one place and among trusted friends, such as a trunk-or-treat event.
  2. Accompany children 12 or younger
  3. Stay in groups at all times
  4. Choose well-fitting costumes that do not obscure the vision
  5. Choose light colored costumes or add reflective tape to the front and back of costume
  6. Carry flashlights
  7. Observe pedestrian safety
  8. Go to only well-lit houses
  9. Stay in familiar neighborhoods
  10. Children and adults should carry a phone
  11. Inspect all candy to make sure it is unopened and safe for your child

Home Safety and Security on Halloween

Remember that others will be walking on your property at night, so you will want to make it as safe as possible. It is also important to consider your pets, and keeping your home secure at all times.  Here are some tips to help keep your friends safe and your home secure.

  1. Make sure the walkway is free of cracks that could trip trick-or-treaters
  2. Ensure the walkway leading to your home is free of obstructions, such as hoses, newspapers, garden tools, toys, rocks, or Halloween decorations
  3. Light the pathway as well as your doorway to your home
  4. Keep pets restrained in a room away from the front door
  5. Keep black cats indoors to avoid those that may cause harm or mischief
  6. Report any suspicious activity
  7. Make sure valuables are not visible from the doorway
  8. Be sure not to overload electrical sockets with automated Halloween decorations and use only safe extension cords
  9. If you leave the home for the evening, turn on your home security alarm system

5 Important Reasons Why Home Automation is a Necessity

If you are like most people, when you think of home automation you think of all the cool conveniences it provides, such as being able to have your home climate controlled or having the ability to lock doors remotely. But this has led to an important question: Is home automation a convenience, luxury, or necessity? We believe that it has increasingly become a necessity. Here are 5 important reasons why.

Times Are Changing

Times change and things that were once considered luxuries are now absolute necessities. For example, in 1995, only 10% of homes had the internet. Now, a short time later, nearly not only does nearly every home have it, our society depends on it for just about every function. While home automation was convenient, the services it provides makes it increasingly indispensable to running a household.

Resources Management is Increasingly Important

Not only is it true that as a society we have become more conscious about conserving our resources, we also understand that it is increasingly important to do so because of the political and economic climate we live in. Home automation provides one of the best tools available for conserving our resources.

Time Management is Important

As we move to a more information drive society, how we spend our time is more important. Home automation provides the tools we need to increase productivity and to do more, more effectively. It also allows us to multi-task mush more effectively than ever before.

It Allows Us to Improve Our Caregiving

Today, it is not uncommon to have both small children and aged adults in the home requiring some special oversight. Home automation allows you to provide that without compromising a loved one’s dignity but allowing you to check in remotely and receive custom alerts for activity that might indicate trouble. Home automation also allows you to provide care to those living outside the home, too. With the ability to check in via security camera or keep track of activity through sensors, you can call for help the minute you suspect a problem.

Home Automation Creates A More Hospitable Environment

As we learn more about ourselves and how the mind works we learn how our environment effects things like mood and productivity. Creating a hospitable environment is also important for homes with occupants with sensory issues. Home automation can control those elements that create disturbance, such as glaring lights or noise.

As time changes, tools such as home automation move quickly from being a convenience to an indispensable tool. If you have any questions about home automation, please give Complete Security Systems a call.

Is CCTV Really A Deterrent for Intruders?

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are a crucial component of security systems in New Jersey. In fact, CCTV cameras are the most effective deterrent for commercial burglary, and when an actual burglary occurs, cameras lead to a much higher rate of resolution that occurs in crimes where cameras were not present. In addition, insurance companies favor the use of CCTV cameras, and many policies include discounts for NJ businesses that have cameras monitoring their property.

Employee Theft

Security cameras have many uses beyond just burglaries. CCTV cameras are also the most effective form of deterrent for employee theft, and the vast majority of businesses that install CCTV cameras experience significant drops in loss attributed to employee theft. Most employee theft is casual and done without much thought, and the cameras keep honest people honest by forcing them to think about what they are doing.

Effect on Crime

Crime statistics show that just the presence of CCTV cameras has a very real effect on a wide range of crimes. Businesses with security cameras are much less likely to experience property and vehicle vandalism and theft. They are also less likely to attract loiterers and thus have drug crimes or violent crimes perpetrated on site.

Remote Access

There have also been great advances in security camera technology. Traditionally, access to the cameras was limited to the site, so if a business wanted 24-hour monitoring, it required an around-the-clock security staff. Modern security cameras, however, allow for remote access via the Internet. It is even possible to watch the camera feeds from a smartphone or dashboard computer.

Push Notification

Modern security cameras are also able to provide push notifications. A security camera does less good if a crime occurs and no one is able to see it happen in the moment. Using motion detection and other advanced features, the camera can recognize the event and push the feed to a remote computer in the business owner’s home or a central monitoring station.

Advanced Storage and Retrieval

Modern technology also makes it very easy to store and retrieve large amounts of video data. Gone are the days of having to recycle recording media. NJ businesses can easily store video captured 24 hours a day to the cloud, and they can store video for a year, five years or even an indefinite length of time. It is also easier to retrieve and search for the exact video you need should a crime or accident take place.

More Cost-Effective Than Ever

Security cameras used to be cost-prohibitive for many businesses so many businesses went without. Falling prices on electronics have made cameras and other electronic equipment more affordable than ever, and now, security cameras are a standard component in even the most basic commercial security systems.

Complete Security Systems

If you a business owner considering CCTV-based security systems in New Jersey, then contact CSS.  We are one of the most respected names in the industry, and the company has an impeccable track record of providing outstanding service to its NJ clients. CSS is also a Honeywell-authorized dealer and is proud to install and use the most sophisticated commercial and residential security equipment available.

 

10 Ways to Ensure a Safer College Campus

A well-known maxim states that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is never truer than when it comes to campus safety. A well-rounded security plan is essential to ensuring the safety of faculty, staff students and campus visitors. These ten steps outline a comprehensive security plan that will provide maximum campus safety and a prompt response to any unforeseen security incidents that may arise.

1. Appoint a Security Team

Having a core team that is always fully in the know about all security issues is the first step toward successful campus security. Appointing a team leader from each department and interest group allows you to be the first voice in security.

2. Preparation

Good preparation includes a thorough knowledge of crime statistics, possible risks, keeping safety gear and licenses updated and listening to the concerns of faculty and students. These are key factors to communicate to your security team, and it is often best to bring in the expertise of a security firm to minimize the chances of overlooking a risk.

3. Complete an Objective Risk Audit

A good security firm can help you complete an objective risk audit. This gives you an experienced outsider’s eye to analyze how all aspects of your campus work together. A specialist will consider risks from all angles including seasonal changes, high profile structures and potential sources of security failure. Your existing emergency plans will be thoroughly critiqued and strengthened. The firm should also create new back up plans geared toward both physical and cyber risks.

4. Minimize Risk

After your audit, you will be better prepared to take steps to minimize risk and liability. Target the weak areas and work with your team on solutions. Solutions may include things like more cameras, increased security presence or additional lighting.

5. Budget Wisely

In an institution where finances are often carefully allocated, finding additional funding for your new security measures can be challenging. Though there may be an initial increase in cost associated with these changes, the liability cost of lax security is often greater.

6. Finding Funding

After your budget is complete, you must find a source of cash to finance your plan. This is where your carefully selected team can be extremely helpful. Appointed members with influence over campus budgeting can be a liaison for your team.

7. Assert the Importance of Plan Funding

Each new security measure that you put into place should be highly publicized. Bringing attention to your plan raises awareness for the necessity of security as well as deterring would be trouble makers.

8. Communicate Responsibilities

Now that your plan has been reworked, it is essential that each team member knows their role and how to respond in case of an incident. They should know where to go with any questions and how to use all security related software. This will ensure your new plan runs smoothly.

9. Evaluate Plan Efficacy

Even the best laid plans can hit a snag. Have measures in place that examine your new plan as it is being executed to find shortcomings that were not initially apparent in the planning stages.

About Complete Security Systems

Security evaluation is not a one time process. You should have an annual audit that re-examines your plan and be prepared to tweak it as necessary. Your team should always be involved in this process. Following these steps with the help of a local New Jersey security company will ensure that residents and visitors to your campus are as safe as possible.

Contact Complete Security Systems today for a complimentary audit of your campus security system.

 

Business Security Systems: Why Upgrade Now Rather Than Later

Security systems evolve according to new threats. Businesses are always trying to stay ahead of potential threats that can put staff and customers at risk as well as risk-prolonged disruptions in the carrying out of daily business. Companies with government or military contracts are required to meet certain security minimums before they can even begin to provide products or services. Here are four trending security advancements businesses are using to stay ahead of the game.

Biometrics

Access control used to be nothing more than a locked door. Then, alarm were added to warn of illegal entry into unauthorized areas, but there was little accounting of traffic that was authorized. Sensitive areas that require a complete record of daily access are served well with biometric devices that can positively identify who is entering and leaving a secured area and at what times. Biometrics can be as simple as a thumbprint reader on a computer server to advanced retina reading devices, hand scanners and voice recognition.

Visitor Access

An area still hard for many businesses to control is visitor access. The traditional approach of adding security staff to monitor and control visitors is costly yet still widely in use. Modern digital visitor tracking options can be as simple as visitor ID badges to the high-end facial recognition software in use by casinos and other corporations. Controlled visitor access is an absolute necessity in environments that have public, semi-private and controlled areas such as hospitals. A hospital may have a cafe or dining area fully open to the public, patient rooms where only friends and family are permitted, and pediatric areas where infant access is restricted to parents and specific hospital staff.

Loss Prevention

Shrinkage due to retail theft is the bane of stores everywhere. The shoplifters are getting bolder and more savvy, and the stores need to keep up not only to reduce shrinkage but send a message to the criminals that ply this trade that their retail locations are too high of a risk to shoplift at. Larger retailers may incorporate facial recognition to know when prior shoplifters enter their stores. Retail product security tags have evolved from the stick-on ones that needed to be applied to every product to ones that have been embedded at the point of manufacture such as security tags inside shoes.

IP Surveillance Cameras

Affordable video surveillance was an exponential leap in business security. However, it was limited to on-site viewing. Internet Protocol camera and DVR systems now allow for remote viewing by any authorized person that has a computer, tablet or smartphone and Internet access. The cameras can be fully controllable for pan, tilt and zoom. Modern digital surveillance cameras can also have quality optics so clear that not only can the hands of cashiers be observed, but the individual serial numbers on the money can be seen too. The latest DVR systems can record a year’s worth of footage from multiple cameras, giving an instant and easy-to-access record of every second.

Insurance providers along with government and military customers are not the only ones expecting businesses to up their game when it comes to state-of-the-art security systems. Customers and visitors are demanding safety systems be in place to protect them against property, personal and violent crime while visiting the businesses. It is not necessary for every business to adopt every new security option, but it is necessary for them to have in place the ones in standard use by their industry. The costs of implementation can be offset by the prevention of one major litigation claim.

For a complimentary on site consultation please contact Complete Security Systems today.

What You Know About Burglaries May Be All Wrong

Most of us believe we know enough about burglaries: Someone in dark clothes and a ski mask breaks in your home in the middle of the night and takes your television, right? Wrong. Technically, burglary is defined as the unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry into a residence. Usually, but not always, this crime involves theft. Mind. Blown. Right?
The surprising facts don’t stop there. Here is our myth dispelling list of important burglary facts everyone should know.

  • Most burglaries could have been prevented. In fact, 87% of them could have been avoided with simple acts such as locking a door or window.
  • Burglars choose the front door as the preferred point of entry.
  • One in three burglars enter through unlocked doors or windows.
  • Most (95%) burglars are male.
  • Typically, burglars are 25 years old or younger.
  • Burglars are surprisingly local. Most live within 2 miles of the victims and they likely have met before.
  • A burglary happens every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States.
  • The average burglary lasts between 90 seconds to 12 minutes.
  • The arrest rate for burglary is 13%.
  • The average loss per burglary is substantial at $2,230.
  • Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries happen in the daytime while residents are at work and when they can pose a visitor or service provider without drawing attention.
  • Detached-single family detached homes are most vulnerable to theft, providing the most entry points and cover.
  • Homes in the middle of the block are more vulnerable to burglary than ones on corners.
  • Most burglars check social media and use Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare as a tool to target homes.
  • Burglars evaluate the home and age of the residents to plan whet to look for before striking. Young people might have more electronics while an older person might have more prescription drugs, both of which are easily and quickly sold.
  • Incredibly, only 17% of homes have home security systems.
  • When convicted burglars were polled, 60% said they would avoid a home with a security system in place.
  • Possessions can be replaced but most victims feel traumatized as a result of a burglary for a long time to come.

Burglars steal much more than your property. They take the feeling of being safe within your own four walls and the peace of mind that comes with that. At Complete Security Systems, we treat our clients like family and want to help them employ the most reliable tools available to protect their homes and family. If you have questions about how to implement some of the many advanced security technologies, call Complete Security today.