Criminals Think Family Decal Stickers are Great, Too

According to a recent report on KTVX ABC 4 News in Utah, those cute personalized family window stickers tell more about your family than you’d ever tell strangers yourself.

From fun stick figure family members and pets to creepy skull family stickers complete with family member names, personalized window decals seem completely innocent. But safety experts say these fun representations of our family, hobbies, and interests give away important information and tell more about your family than you’d ever tell strangers yourself.

Your Life in Stickers

Most people do not realize that the combined information stickers and decals tell could spell trouble. What is a simple display of pride for us could be just the bit of information a criminal needs to piece together a plan to victimize your family.

Criminals are not Honest Citizens

Worrying about window decals might seem excessive or extreme to an honest citizen, but criminals are not honest citizens. Unfortunately, criminals and predators are everywhere and they are looking for any bit of information they can that would aid them in committing crime. Remember, criminals think like criminals not honest citizens.

What Decals and Stickers really Say

You may be surprised at how little it takes to piece together more information than you’d choose to tell any stranger, much less a criminal.

The information that can be gained from stickers and decals is astounding. They may:

  • Tell how many people are in the family
  • Identify a single parent home, and whether the parent is male or female
  • Show the age ranges of your children
  • Identify the sex of children
  • Tell the name of your child’s school or school district
  • Suggest the probability of the presence of gaming systems, tablets, and computers in the home
  • Help criminals gauge the probability of expensive tools, equipment, or gear stored in the home
  • Whether you have a dog guarding the property as well as size and breed
  • Suggest whether you vacation frequently and far from home

Are Stickers Worth the Fun?

We cannot prevent all crime of course, but we can take simple steps to avoid telling too much. Placing decal and stickers and decals on your vehicle is all in good fun, and only you can decide if the fun outweighs the risk.

All crimes are crimes of opportunity and if it happens to you or a loved one, it is 100%. It is up to every individual to reduce risk and give the criminals as few opportunities as possible. A great rule of thumb is that if you would not publicize all of the information that can be learned or assumed to be true from your choice of window decals, then you may want to reconsider placing them on your vehicle.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can increase your safety with home security alarms, call Complete Security Systems today (732)784-4025.

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.

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.

3 Ways to Keep Life on Track Using Home Security and Mobile Control

One of the best ways to improve one’s safety and security at home is through the use home security technologies. But if you think home security and mobile control is just about security, it’s time to think again. Automation and security technologies are also a powerful tool in managing real life, from scheduling and productivity to energy efficiency.

Here are 3 ways to use these technologies to improve the way life works.

Navigate Family Schedules

You have three busy young teens that all need to be somewhere at the exact same time and the destinations are cities apart. Getting them all there is one problem, and getting them home is another. So, you coordinate with two other parents to get two kids to their destination, and you take the other. When the events are over the kids come home and let themselves home using a unique code, so you know who got home and when. Then, to be sure they are safe you check in on them via live streaming video, and check the status of the home to make sure the doors are locked and windows are shut.

Keeping Everyone on Track

Getting and keeping everyone on track and on the schedule is a monumental task, even if the only schedule you need to worry about is your own. One of the best ways to use home security and mobile technologies is for personal productivity– to keep things moving forward, eliminate routine tasks, and to prepare the way for more efficient daily processes from dawn to dusk, whether you are at home or not. For example, the lights go on for simulated dawn to wake you, the coffee is already brewing, the doors lock behind you, the system arms, you get regular alerts of any unusual activity, manage daily deliveries and services remotely, and have the home ready when you get home. You are never held back, or captive, by the duties of life. Pretty phenomenal.

No More Waiting Around

It has happened to all of us. We have services, friends, or family coming by the home and are late. Now it is time to go to work or another appointment or you’ll be late. What do you do? With mobile control, you can get to your appointment and when the expected company arrives, let them in remotely.

Complete Security Services is New Jersey’s premier electronic security company, providing home and business security systems across the greater New Jersey area.

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.

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.

3 reasons to add access control today

If you find yourself on the fence when it comes to installing an access control system at your business, there are a few points you may wish to consider. Take the time to mull over these ideas before making a decision on installing access control:

Access control makes you look good.

Issuing a credential to authorized users and requiring them to swipe it at an entryway station does not “disrespect” your clients or other visitors; in many cases, it actually shows them you care about their safety and that of your employees.

This can give you a positive image boost that actually impresses important visitors.

Access control helps manage building traffic.

…And that’s important, because managing building traffic is the key to keeping everyone inside as safe as possible. Whether your business is a small membership organization or a large office building, the simple fact is that you just can’t be there all the time. Installing an access control system can ensure that only authorized occupants enter your building.

Access control can increase productivity.

How many times have you caught employees shooting the breeze with visitors at their workstations, whether it’s family members who drop by unannounced, smoking buddies from the building next door or boyfriends/girlfriends who don’t seem to have day jobs of their own? When you install an access control system, visitors will not be likely to come back very often after being denied entry for the first time. Access control systems can keep your staff as productive as possible while they are on your time.

Installing access control is an important decision for today’s business owners, and we understand that these systems aren’t appropriate for every type of business. However, we believe that many business owners are doing themselves a disservice by failing to consider all the benefits of installing access control. For more information on access control systems, contact Complete Security Systems today.

3 ways to make schools safer with integrated security

Schools today face a wider range of security concerns than ever before. From petty acts of graffiti or vandalism to the ever present risk of mass shootings, administrators in New Jersey and beyond are constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to enhance school security while maintaining quality learning spaces for their students. Ultimately, the goal of any integrated security structure within a school should be to manage the area more effectively, keep students safe from harm, and allow everyone to feel secure while they learn and teach.

Security technology and basic building management now go hand in hand. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2011-2012 school year 88% of schools locked entrances and monitored entrances to the building. Another 44% used locked and monitored gates to secure access to the grounds. Sixty-four percent relied upon security cameras to watch what was happening throughout the building. These changes allow administration and security staff to more efficiently monitor what happens during the day and come up with appropriate policies for their schools.

The right mix of security systems and freedom of movement can make a tremendous difference for the quality of education children receive while they are in school. These three areas are key to that success.

VISIBILITY AND MONITORING

Not surprisingly, if 90% of a building can be in direct line of sight to a teacher or other authority figure, the rule breaking will almost always happen in the other 10%. Using cameras to monitor behavior between classrooms helps reduce bullying, fighting, and vandalism by putting eyes in those areas, cutting down on incidents and bringing culprits to justice. Videotape recorders are still common, but vary significantly in quality. Fortunately, digital recording technology has come a long way and is quickly becoming the standard for school security.

METAL DETECTORS

In 2003-4, only two percent of public schools had students pass through metal detectors daily. That number has doubled by the 2011-12 school year, and the number of random metal detector sweeps have increased as well. Given the proliferation of gun violence across the country, this is hardly surprising. They are most commonly found in urban school settings and at the secondary level, and play a key role in preventing random school shootings.

ACCESS CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES

Many schools now favor electronic access control over the entrances and exits. While card swipes, fingerprints, or code boxes may cost more in the short run, they are more secure than regular keyed entries. They also offer flexibility for other staff members, who may need to come and go from front or side doors during the day. This allows even main doors to remain locked and makes it harder for intruders to enter the school.

The ultimate goal of all these security systems is to make the school feel as secure as possible for the students inside, while having the smallest effect on how “jail-like” the building becomes. It is an important balance of safety and freedom for students, teachers and administrators alike.

3 Advantages of IP Video Surveillance

Internet Protocol (IP) devices are entangling themselves into every facet of our lives, and video surveillance is no different. Although adoption has been slow, the steady development of new technologies, from camera sensors to network infrastructure, is surely making its benefits known. From simple IP cams connected to a standard desktop for small homes and businesses, to full, expansive networks of cameras serving diverse operations. Let’s take a look at 3 advantages to IP video surveillance:

1. FLEXIBILITY

This technology is advancing quickly, but the most obvious benefit at any cost level is the flexibility afforded by basic wireless operation. Though certainly standard to any device in this category, it is still the best selling point for the tech.

From installation to operation, the ease and access to each camera really does justify the cost associated with new technology. Whether you’re a concerned homeowner out of town, or a business owner/manager maintaining an operation from the road, the power to immediately access camera feeds through the internet is simply invaluable.
This is particularly true of larger security operations overseeing broad territories. A central command hub is invaluable to these organizations, and the immediate synchronization of video feeds makes IP cameras an obvious and important investment.

2. MOBILITY

Just as our personal devices have become our passkeys to Cloud backups and cross-platform content, adding mobile surveillance options has been a key driving force across every level of the industry. For good and bad, the ability to observe your business or home from anywhere you have a cell phone signal is an incredibly powerful motivator for anyone concerned with a security camera in the first place. All around the world, small business owners are delighting and demurred by immediate and total access to their video feeds.
Add an internet-enabled storage solution, and suddenly every feed gains a rich, searchable history of content, anywhere you want it.

3. EXPANSION

Current DVR systems are already accommodating both analog and IP cameras, and those options will only grow. However, the flexibility afforded has already been making inroads to utilities unrelated to security and loss prevention.
With a networked solution already in play, for example, it’s increasingly easy to send the feeds through any modern digital service you could imagine. For example, operations like those at Amazon’s warehouses depend a great deal on AI-assisted evaluation of the site’s operations. With software keyed to track a range of variables in the space, efficiency and quality are suddenly given hard metrics upon which to be measured.

This may sound futuristic, but truly, IP cameras represent one part of a cultural shift towards ultra-connected, intelligently-operated efforts at every level. Sure, in some cases this will result in a team of contractors running security and maintenance on a business from 10,000 miles away, with nary a human involved. But on another scale, it means that a small business owner can check on their livelihood, while a concerned parent can check in on their loved ones. IP cameras are only expanding their reach, and that’s only half as scary as it sounds.

To schedule a complimentary on site consultation for your business, contact Complete Security Systems today.

School Security: Better Visitor Management

Today, a growing number of educational institutions rely on access control and other school security systems to limit the ability of visitors to restricted areas. They seek to safeguard the personal security of staff members and the integrity of assets by making sure that only authorized personnel gain the ability to enter certain parts of the facility.

Physical Access Control In a facility, such as an educational institution, management may wish to restrict access to certain locations. For example, students and teaching staff usually obtain admission to most public parts of a school building.

Yet clearly, uninvited strangers without a reason for entering the premises have no place outside designated visiting areas. Personnel responsible for janitorial functions and food preparation might require access to parts of the premises not frequented by members of the public, or even other employees. The school maintains offers different levels of access to members of the public, staff and employees with specialized functions.

Implementing an effective access control system assists the educational institution in determining which individuals have entered specific locations at any given time. This surveillance precaution helps safeguard everyone by monitoring the access provided to certain restricted areas. For example, if a janitor happens to slip while moving supplies alone into a storage room and breaks a leg, the access control system might indicate that someone had entered a restricted area, but had remained longer than average.

Administrators notified by an automatic alarm could quickly visit the location and determine that a problem had occurred. The school could obtain assistance for the injured employee more rapidly than otherwise. Technologically current surveillance and access control systems help promote more comfortable, safer physical facilities. Virtual Access Control The principle of access control also works very effectively in online environments.

For instance, a secure database often furnishes unlimited access to a database administrator, but restricts the ability of people not connected with the IT staff to consult information outside their own departments. It may prevent access from members of the public completely. This extra security measure helps ensure that people do not enter or remove information inaccurately or gain access to data not intended for their use.

Controlling access to the flow of information assists the company in maintaining better control over its assets and intellectual properties. It also prevents identity thefts by hackers. For instance, a sales representative may benefit from learning how many widgets the company maintains in stock at a specific point in time, for instance. The firm might enable the sales staff to see this information via its computer system, but restrict the ability to actually update or change the database to an automated access control software program the monitors inventory on a real-time basis. Inventory figures would change only when the shipping department physically dispatches a widget to a customer.

Visitor Management Both physical and virtual access control systems promote better visitor management. They limit the ability of strangers to cause damage or become injured while in contact with an institution or enterprise. For more information on edcuational and school security, please contact Complete Security Systems today.