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.

Top Security Tips for Living Alone

It is easy to understand why many people opt in to living alone. It gives you the freedom to live life on your own terms and have a small section of the world carved out just for you. It means coming home whenever you want and never having to share the television remote with anyone. Seriously, there is a lot for non-solos to envy for sure. But living alone also comes with some safety risks, and giving them some serious consideration can keep you safe.
There is no need to give up freedom when you implement these smart, but easy safety tools and practices for living alone.

Don’t Advertise

Most people think they are already pretty careful about not telling too much, but the chances are good that a great deal more information escapes than we realize. Go the extra mile and really scrutinize every detail. Change the often forgotten but tell-tale signs of living alone, such as one name on the mail box or apartment roster, or a telephone answering message that uses singular pronouns like “Leave a message and I will call right back!”.

Be Extra Cautious on Social Media

Okay, this may fall victim to semantic satiation, the phenomenon where you hear something so often that your mind stops hearing it, but it does deserve repeating. It is very easy to get casual and careless when using social media. No matter how “private” your settings, always act as if you are talking to your 300 close friends and 3 million strangers. Before you post, ask yourself if the post or picture shows that you live alone or tell what time you will be home or away? Avoid comments like “Super long workday tomorrow, 8-11! Ugh!” which tell people far too much information that can jeopardize your safety.

Be Proactive

Develop safety plans for various safety events. Have escape routes planned for every room of your home in the event of a fire or other emergency. Know how to turn off the gas and have a tool kit handy at strategic locations. Set up emergency codes with family and friends and have one emergency contact saved as “Pizza” on your phone to add opportunity in extreme safety events.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Get to know your neighbors well and, when possible and with caution, share enough information that they are able to recognize trouble and act on it.

Set the Stage with Home Automation and Other Sneaky Tricks

Nobody needs to know that you live alone—ever—if you set the stage. Do simple things like leaving muddy work boots, or several different kinds and sizes of shoes by the front door. Keep the home looking constantly occupied by using home automation to turn off and on light and entertainment at various times throughout the day.

Opt in to a Home Security System

One of the best reasons to opt into a monitored security system if you live alone is that it can detect trouble and have help deployed far more quickly than you can. In an emergency, it takes time to process the threat and then act on it, if acting on it is even possible. With monitored security, help is on the way almost immediately and that saved time can be all the difference.

In the United States, living alone is common with 28% of households having just one person. As common as it is, it always helps to exercise as much caution as possible.

Environmental Protection: Do I Really Need Leak Sensors?

When buying a new, or upgrading an existing home security system it is important to consider all of the options available and find out how much value they can add in your situation. Some features are an easy decision, like deciding to include smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide sensors. But what about leak detection? It seems like something you could reasonably do without, but at what cost?

Do I Really Need Leak Sensors?

Did you know that water damage is the third highest claim against insurance companies, next to theft and fire, resulting in approximately 25 billion dollars annually? Water leak detection, whether in the residential or commercial setting is important for a number of important reasons. Here are just a few.

Not Every Water Problem is Immediately Apparent

If you are home, you might notice an overflowing toilet or burst pipe under the kitchen sink fairly quickly. You are not likely to notice a small but persistent leak in a guest bathroom, in the laundry room or around a water heater, however. If left unattended, even a small leak can—and will—result in costly damage.

You Need More Than a Mop for Clean Up

Most leaks end up needing a lot more than a mop for clean-up. In fact, water usually causes much more and much more diverse damage than most people realize. In addition to damaged walls and flooring, water can also damage electrical wiring, and depending on extent and location can also cause equipment and power failure. Water is one of the strongest and most damaging forces in nature and can wreak havoc in a home or business, and cause a lot of downtime.

Some Leaks Warn of Bigger Problems

A small leak is problem enough, but often a small leak is actually a warning of future or present but as yet unfound plumbing problems. Leak sensors alert you immediately to a problem and if you know about a small leak immediately, you know to investigate further for any additional problems.

How Water Sensors Work

Water sensors are small, unobtrusive devices which are placed in places where leaks are likely to occur, such as under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, behind the toilets, in the laundry room, and at the water heater. The highly sensitive and advanced sensors are not affected by humidity or condensation. When the sensors detect a leak, they alert the system which triggers an alert sent to you, and if you have environmental monitoring an alert goes to the monitoring station which triggers a response. With wireless communication and mobile smart apps, you stay completely in the know and in control.

Complete Security Systems is New Jersey’s premier electronic security company, providing home and business security systems and 24/7 security monitoring across the greater New Jersey area.

Do Burglars Really Come Back to the Scene of the Crime?

You have probably heard it all of your life and seen it as a plot line in movies and on television, “burglars always return to the scene of the crime.” But is it true? And if it is true, why do they come back?  While it seems counter-intuitive to most people, burglars actually do return to a home they have already burglarized, and unfortunately for the resident lightening does indeed often strike twice.

Increased Odds of Being Burglarized

If you have been a victim of a burglary one time, you are more likely to be burgled a second time. Usually, the second crime is committed by the same person or persons that committed the first- but not always. In some cases, it is a second burglar who finds your home an attractive mark for the same reason, such as a lack of a visible security system and security cameras.

You Have Probably Replaced Valuable Items

Burglars frequently wait 6 to 8 weeks before returning to a home. This is to give insurance enough time to be processed, and owners enough time to replace the items. If the items were high-priced, they know they are likely to be replaced with equally valuable items, and this time– new.

They Already Know the Layout of the Home

Burglars save time coming back to the scene of the crime. They already know the layout of the home and what items are stored where. Since burglars choose a target based on a risk and reward measure, knowing the home lowers the risk considerably. If they could not take all they intended the first time, it is an easy grab the second time.

They Know Your Home Security System

Once a burglar makes entry to your home, they know what security elements you have in place. If they came in through the front door, they know whether you have smart locks or a video doorbell. If they came through the window, they know you do not have window or glass break sensors. Of course, a lack of security cameras is always a plus for a criminal.

They May Have a Buyer

Another reason a burglar may return to a home the second time is that they had time to see what else you have in your home. Large or unusual items may be difficult to get the first time, but if they find a buyer for it they will come back to get it.

They Know You Are Not Expecting It

A burglar knows that most people are not expecting to be robbed again, especially in a very short time frame. In fact, they expect that you are a bit off kilter which makes it that much easier for them.

About Complete Security Systems

To avoid being a burglary victim, or repeat burglary victim review your home security measures. Evaluate whether features such as home automation, smart security, and video surveillance could help provide better protection. Complete Security Systems can help you meet your home security needs, with over 30 years of superior service serving NJ.

Security Additions to the Home: Following the Rules of Your HOA

As we have told our New Jersey home security customers before, homeowner’s association (HOA) governed neighborhoods are vulnerable to burglary, despite the public perception that they are shielded from crime. Here is a scenario you should consider, if you live in an HOA.

You hear about a break-in in your neighborhood. To minimize your chances of becoming the next victim, you purchase a security system; then, you integrate it with home security cameras. Did you check with your HOA board first? You should, because some HOAs are very strict about requiring permission in writing to anything that alters the exterior of the home, including home security cameras.

If you want to go beyond electronic security and add on a security door that adds an extra barrier to your front entry, then that is something for which nearly every HOA will require written permission. Be sure you stay in compliance with your HOA by filling out any necessary forms they ask you to; sometimes, they may even require you to write a letter that details the reasons you want this addition to your home.

If the reason is that you have been previously burglarized, that will, hopefully, be all the reason you need. If a neighbor was burglarized, you can cite that as your reason. Think about any crime, mischief or suspicious activity that has happened in your neighborhood recently; a reasonable HOA board will regard those as good reasons for wanting extra security on your home.

One of the reasons we are urging New Jersey home security customers to comply with their HOA boards is that homeowners who don’t seek permission from an HOA before implementing an exterior security measure may face fines, or even a lawsuit. This has happened to homeowners in several states over the past few years, and we certainly don’t want it to happen to you. If you are interested in home security cameras and you live in an HOA neighborhood, check with your rule book – then, contact Complete Security to request information on the best video surveillance options for you.

Top Locations for Security Cameras NJ Home Security

Surveillance systems are an integral part of many NJ home security systems and prevent many unwanted occurrences, such as burglary, vandalism, and break-ins. A well-placed camera can provide deterrence as well as identify a perpetrator should they attempt to break in to the premises. But for security camera systems to be effective, they must be placed properly—and that is not a DYI project.

While camera placement may seem like an obvious process, it is actually very technical and requires a phenomenal amount of considerations. Here are just a few of the things home security professionals take into consideration when installing a home monitoring system.

  • Cameras must be accessible for maintenance.
  • Outdoor camera sites must be secure and have protection from wind, rain, and sun.
  • The location must be stable, with minimal camera shake.
  • Camera angles should avoid direct light sources to eliminate camera glare.
  • Camera site should provide the widest field of view.
  • Cameras should be placed keeping the identification of perpetrators in mind.
  • Surveillance camera placement should coincide with crime statistics regarding break-ins.
  • Both overt and covert cameras should be considered as part of an effective system.

Best Places for Security Camera Placement

The Front Door

You might think that burglars would avoid the front door. After all, it is often in plain view. Crime statistics show that it is actually the first choice among criminals and 34% of burglars gain access through the front door.  Two options for front door coverage include outside front door placement and an indoor camera that covers the front entry.

First floor Windows

First floor windows are another very popular place for burglars to gain entrance, with 23% choosing this point of access.  Back windows are usually the most preferred option among first floor window entrances. First floor windows on the back of the house provide easy access, cover, and the benefit of an easy escape. This makes camera coverage for the back of the home and backyard especially important.

Back Door

Without the problem of street traffic or watching neighbors, the back door provides the cover 22% of burglars need to gain access.

Garage Door

The garage is another ideal place for security camera placement. The garage often houses important valuables, but more importantly, in many cases it also provides access to the interior of the home. Garage doors are amazingly vulnerable and should never be considered enough deterrence or enough protection.

Security cameras are a powerful deterrence in crime. Make sure yours do the job well by having them expertly placed and installed by professionals.

About Complete Security Systems

We are one of the largest independently owned, full service security and fire alarm companies in New Jersey. CSS was awarded dealer of the year in 2015 by NJ Electronic Security Association (NJESA) – the only alarm company in NJ that has received that award three times: 2003, 2013, and in 2015. Our customer service combined with innovative technology give CSS the flexibility and versatility to respond to your specific needs quickly, while still giving you the kind of personal service that is so important when dealing with your security concerns.

Environmental Sensors are a Must in Home Security. Here’s Why.

When thinking of home security, the first thing that comes to mind is usually protecting your home and family using intrusion deterrents such as burglar alarms. Home security, however, also includes protecting your home and property from other dangers, such as environmental ones. Once you understand the risks, however, you see that environmental sensors are an integral part of smart home security.

What is the Value of Environmental Sensors in Home Security?

Too often, it is easy to overlook serious, often unseen, dangerous, and devastating but detectable problems such as water or gas leaks, carbon monoxide, heat and smoke, and others. Environmental sensors are part of an early warning system that can prevent disaster or minimize damage caused by environmental factors such as extreme temperature fluctuation, carbon monoxide, poisonous gas leaks, broken pipes and more. With early warning, you can minimize the risks, dangers, and damages that these things can cause.

What Environmental Sensors Should You Include in Your Home Security System?

Home security does not stop with keeping intruders out. It also includes detecting other serious environmental dangers to prevent damage, injury, or fatalities. Talk to your home security provider about these important home security environmental sensors.

  • Smoke and Heat Sensors– Smoke and heat sensors are components that make up a fire alarm system. These sensors either detect the concentration of smoke or heat in a particular area and generate an alert if either reaches a concerning level.
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensors– Carbon is an invisible, odorless, and poisonous gas produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. It can build up in a home without notice and once occupants notice the effects enough to attribute it to the gas, it is often once they have already become sick and incapacitated. These detectors alert you immediately so you can get out safely.
  • Water Sensors– Even a little water can create a tremendous amount of damage if left unchecked. When water sensors come in contact with water, they alert you to the problem immediately.
  • Freeze and Temperature Sensors–Temperature sensors can detect concerning temperature fluctuation and can provide a warning if indoor temperatures dip below a certain level for example.

When planning your home security, it is important to consider all of your options. Environmental sensors are a very valuable part of your overall smart home security system and add an additional layer of safety. Since 1983, Complete Security Systems, Inc. has been meeting the needs of homes and businesses throughout New Jersey with custom tailored security systems and offer a wide range of options in environmental sensors.

 

Wired vs Wireless Home Alarms: Which is Better?

Home security systems have spared many people from the stress of break-ins and robberies. Just knowing that a house has a security system is enough to deter some criminals from attempting to break into a home. But some intruders think they have it figured out and know ways around a security system. In order to safeguard against criminal activity, you need to ensure that your security system is tamper-proof. That is why it is a good idea to get a wireless GSM system for your home.

What is a GSM (wireless) alarm system?

GSM systems are communication systems that work through wireless telephone signals. Unlike wired security systems, wireless alarms don’t implement the use of the nearby phone lines to work. GSM systems work much in the same way that your cell phone does. They utilize a wireless communications system to send and receive alerts and messages.

Worries of the Wired World

Many home security systems work through physical wires and telephone lines in order to send their alerts and messages to the proper authorities. This was the most common transmission method for older security systems. However, there are many potential risks involved with using wired systems.

Tampering

Some models function on a battery backup, so even if the security system still has power to it, it cannot send a signal to the monitoring station without a working phone line. Many wired security systems can be rendered useless with just a few cut wires.

GSM systems have the ability to wirelessly contact the authorities, security system operator and you of the intrusion or emergency even if power and phone lines have been cut.

Random Outages and Weather

Sometimes your phone service may have too much traffic to operate properly, or the service may be temporarily unavailable. Bad weather may also snap telephone lines, causing the lines to be down for hours, days or even weeks at a time. Downed power and phone lines from natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy a few years ago can leave a wired security system vulnerable.

Cost

Land lines also cost you more money every month. Many people have completely switched over to cellular phone service. Having the extra expense of keeping a landline available purely for your home security system seems like a waste. You could spend hundreds of dollars every year just to ensure that your home security system has a phone line to use in case of an emergency.

GSM systems allow you to transition completely from using landlines to relying on wireless phone service without any added expenses.

Having wireless alarms in your home can protect you from intruders, burglars and fires, to name a few. If you’re going to have a home security system consider getting a GSM system from Complete Security Systems. We can free you from the risks and hassles of a wired system with the quick installation of a wireless GSM system.

Since 1983, Complete Security Systems has been in the business of keeping you safe. We are one of the largest independently owned, full service security and fire alarm companies in New Jersey, recognized in 2003 as the state’s Outstanding Alarm Dealer of the Year. That gives us the flexibility and versatility to respond to your specific needs quickly, while still giving you the kind of personal service that is so important when dealing with your security concerns.

11 Easy Ways to Reduce False Alarms

Having a home security or fire alarm system helps ensure the safety of your family and to protect your property. Having this 24/7 protection provides the peace of mind we all want and need. However, with any technology comes special considerations. In the case of home security technologies, the special consideration is taking steps to reduce false alarms.

Over the years, fire alarm systems have become more complex and sensitive, yet increasingly accurate. Many people remember the fire alarm systems of the past which suffered from “false alarm syndrome” with systems being accidently set off due to various circumstances.

Not only did it create a problem for local emergency response teams, these occurrences led to “occupant conditioning” which caused residents to ignore alarms. Today, fire alarm systems are more reliable and accurate than ever, but we still need to do our part to reduce false alarms.

Together Reducing False Alarms

Nobody wants to set off or have their system set off a false alarm. False alarms sometimes cause unnecessary dispatches of emergency responders which increases response times to actual emergencies.  With the astounding advances in the technology arena, fire alarm systems have become much more complex and accurate which has reduced false alarms considerably. Keeping the number of false alarms down to a minimum however, still requires some active participation on the part of the users. Here are some ways we can reduce false alarms together:

Work with Qualified and Reputable Companies

Because fire alarm and home security systems are so sensitive, they require being installed by properly trained and qualified system experts. Experts understand how all of the components work together and how they are best employed in individual homes which helps avoid problems that often lead to false alarms.

Learn Your System

Believe it or not, 80% of all false alarms are due to user error. One of the most effective ways to reduce the chance of causing a false alarm is to get to know your system well. Ask your system installer questions about the function of the system and what may impact false alarms. Read all of the material associated with your security system

Train the Users

Anyone using the system should be trained on how to use it properly. Each user should know how to properly arm and disarm the system as well as what can contribute to tripping the alarm accidentally.

Schedule Regular Inspections

With something as important as a home security or fire alarm system. Regular inspections have been shown to reduce false alarms. Many things can contribute to changes in the effectiveness of your system such as home renovations or the addition of pets to the family.

Opt in to Full Integration and Monitoring

When you have a system that includes and ties into your video surveillance system you can log on and view your home remotely to rule out or rule in an emergency.

Reliability and Proactiveness Go Hand In Hand

Nobody wants to “cry wolf” and when you have a monitored fire alarm system reducing false alarms is a top priority. False alarms can result in unnecessary dispatches of emergency responders and increase their response times to actual events and emergencies.Over the last two decades, fire alarm systems have become much more technologically complex and accurate which has reduced false alarms considerably. However, keeping the number of false alarms to a minimum requires proactiveness on all fronts. Here are some ways we can reduce false alarms together:

Choose Qualified Fire Alarm System Installers

Accuracy starts at the foundation. Choose properly trained and certified fire and security system experts will know best practices concerning the proper installation of your system, and how all the components work together. Proper installation will help you avoid the problems that often lead to false alarm situations.

Know How Your System Works

Get to know your fire alarm system well. Read all the literature provided and ask your system installer any questions you may have. The number one cause of false alarms is user error. In fact, 80% of all false alarms are due to user error.

Train All Users

If you have others, such as house sitters or service providers who will be using your system, be sure to train them on the proper usage of the system.

Keep the System Maintained

Regular inspections have been shown to reduce false alarms. Many things can contribute to changes in the effectiveness of your system such as home renovations or the addition of pets to the family.

Utilize All Capabilities

Choose a fully integrated system that ties your fire alarm system into your monitored home security system. If your system includes video surveillance cameras, you can log in and view your property to rule in or rule out any events.

Complete Security Systems is a family owned and operated company that has been in business since 1983. It’s not just a business, it’s personal. The CSS family treats each and every employee as part of their extended family and in turn this attitude is passed to our clients. If you have any questions or want to explore home security options, please give us a call.

Home Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

When was the last time you thought about your smoke detector? If you are like most Americans, probably not recently enough. In fact, most Americans do not know the age of their smoke detector or when they last put in batteries. Just as startling, far too few Americans know enough about fire or fire safety measures.

We’d like to share a fast, easy to browse tip sheet that you can use to increase your awareness and safety.

How Fire Works

  • Fire can smolder undetected for some time, but while it smolders it emits poisonous fumes that can incapacitate residents.
  • You have two minutes or less to escape a fire safely.
  • A home can be completely engulfed in 5 minutes.
  • It takes only 4 minutes for the temperature in a home’s living room to reach 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, the point known as “flashover”, when spontaneous ignition occurs.
  • Most people assume that neighbors would of course see a fire in a timely manner and call for help. This is dangerous because it assumes the neighbors are home, awake, or able to call.
  • There is no time to gather belongings or make a call once fire erupts.
  • You cannot see through black smoke in a fire. This increases the time it takes to get out.
  • Fires emit poisonous fumes which can cause sleepiness or disorientation, which can cause residents to not seek or be unable to seek help.
  • Asphyxiation, not flame, is the leading killer by a ratio of three- to -one.
  • Heat and smoke kill long before flame.

Fire Prevention and Detection Tips

  • Develop and practice a fire safety plan.
  • Remove fire hazards such as trash or debris.
  • Store chemicals properly.
  • Have both fire and CO detectors.
  • Ensure appliances are off when not in use.
  • Equip your home with fire protection equipment such as fire extinguishers, and escape ladders.
  • Have a monitored and integrated fire and home security and home automation system that can initiate help swiftly.
  • Use home automation to schedule or remotely turn off appliances.
  • Keep your fire safety and detection equipment in working order.

Having the right fire and life safety systems in place is critical to your protection. If you have any questions about the latest technologies, or how they can help complete your safety plan, please give us a call. Complete Security Systems has been serving NJ customers with integrity for over 30 years.