Winter is upon us and it brings so many other things with it. My family and I spent the better part of this weekend getting ready for the coming months. We cleaned out the garage to make room for my wifes truck, winter tires installed, cold rated washer fluid topped up, and heavy jackets out of storage. Shovels and ice melter ready and waiting.
I grabbed my winter jacket and loaded it in my usual items as we went out for a bit of shopping yesterday. Keys, wallet, cell and gloves all put into different pockets. That leads me to a thought that came to me late last week as I was at a breakfast meeting. I had done my usual and left my fall jacket in the coat rack across the room. I sat staring at this row of coats and remembered that my wallet was still in the pocket of mine. I wasn’t worried because the room was filled with amazing people whom I trust, but it started me thinking…How easy it would be for someone to rummage through my jacket? How many times have I checked my coat while my car keys were still in it?
That leads me to our shopping trip today. As we walked the aisles, I did my usual and wandered along looking around. Anyone who knows me has probably noticed that I’m constantly looking at things. Doors, camera systems, locks…it’s what I do. Today I was looking at how many unattended purses were left in shopping carts. Sometimes for quite a while while the owner was reading a label or tending to a child.
I know it seems pretty unlikely someone would steal from a cart or coatroom, but the chance is always there. Looking around and judging your surroundings certainly takes practice. There is also a balancing point between paranoia and protection. I’m proof that we anyone can become lax when it comes to keeping a bit of our guard up. Being aware of potential dangers is one of the ways to help protect what matters most to you.
If you have a security question or tip that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or one of my coworkers, We’d all love to hear from you
I don’t know about you but I love this time of year. The days are hot and the evenings are warm. All I want to do is hang out in the sun. My wife and I will quite often sit on our patio and enjoy a coffee (or two) in the mornings or a glass of wine (OR TWO) in the evenings. We have an older house and keep the inside temperature low using the windows and breeze off the nearby lake as opposed to installing air conditioning.
Last week I was sitting out there and looking at the deck box right below our open kitchen window. It’s the perfect stepping stone to climb up and peer into the house. I know this because I’ve used it several times to scare our children as they sat at the table doing their homework. The downside is that it’s an easy way for a bad guy to gain access to our house. That’s also why we always close and lock the main floor windows when going to bed or leaving the house. That leads me to this weeks tip about security on your doors and windows especially when sleeping or away.
It can’t hurt to try and strategically open windows to maximize airflow while avoiding any compromise in safety. If you’re going to leave windows open, check to make sure they aren’t easily accessible from the outside. Make sure windows have working locks of some sort. Remember, a chunk of old broom handle is better than nothing! Try to avoid relying on the $9 lock holding you patio door. Trust me, when I say that it really doesn’t add much in the line of safety.
Finally, If you have a “window shaker” style of air conditioner, look at how its installed. How easy would it be for a bad guy to push it back into the house? If you’re like most people, it’s just stuck through one window and resting on the other one. Maybe it has a small screw to make sure it stays in place. Those units installed on ground level windows are an easy invite. In the past, I’ve screwed in an additional piece of wood top and bottom. I made sure the screws went deep into the frame of the window and into the air conditioner. This kept the unit from being pushed in or pulled back out.
One final piece. Lock your vehicles! Warm weather means that there are more people walking the streets at night. An article on Sudbury.com reported more than 200 reported thefts from vehicles from August to its writing in November.
I hope you’re enjoying these tips. If you ever want to discuss anything security related, don’t hesitate to reach out. Everyone at Northern Security wants to help you protect what matters most safe.
Family vacations are something I think we all look forward to. It’s a time to just be together as a family. I’m sure everyone has that one trip they’ll never forget. I’ve sat through countless slide reels of my grandparents vacations from when my mom was a kid. The process of documenting and sharing those moments sure has changed. According to Statista in 2016, there were 21.3 million smart phone users in Canada. That’s a whole bunch of cameras ready to take pictures and post them on social media without even leaving the beach.
Here’s a couple cool social media facts for you:
Facebook – 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2017
Twitter – 313 million active users – 2017
Instagram – 700 million active users – May 29, 2017
What does this have to do with security? Let me show you an example:
People constantly post pictures of their loaded up car, tweet about how they’ll miss their pets, or share an article about things to see at the Grand Canyon before a vacation.
Lets say you have 200 Facebook friends and post that picture of your luggage at the door.
All 200 of your friends can see it. They can also like or comment.
Sally comments “Have a great trip!! We’ll see you in two weeks” – Now all of her friends can see it – Add all 350 people who she’s friends with.
Frank (who knows Sally but not you) gives it a like – His 150 friends can now see it.
You just told 700 people that your house is going to be empty for two weeks. What if Frank has someone in his friends who’s a bad guy?
How’s that for a breach in security? I encourage you to think twice before posting details about your vacation before you leave. You never know who’s looking at those posts.
Give me a call or email so we can discuss some of the many options we have available to help you keep what matters most safe while you’re away. We have everything from smart phone enabled alarm systems to chains and padlocks.
Anyone who knows me would say that I love technology. I can unlock our front door from anywhere that has cell reception or WiFi. I enjoy gadgets, relays, and automation. Even if you’re like me, remember that keeping what matters most safe doesn’t always have to be some high tech and elaborate setup.
I was talking with a lifelong friend one day about these emails. He mentioned his grandmothers “low tech” approach to home security. She’s been a widow for as long as I’ve known her and has always been a resourceful, independent woman. She kept a pair of her husbands old rubber boots and would periodically place them outside the door. Nothing says someone is else in the house than a pair of dirty well used boots that couldn’t fit the sweet little lady who’s usually home.
You can take this idea one step further by setting an extra place at the table when you’re not home or if your closet is visible through the window in your front door, pick up an extra thrift store jacket and hang it up.
Simple or elaborate, the choice is yours. The point is that you want to do something to keep the bad guys wondering who’s in the house.
Do you have any low tech ideas for home security? I’d love to hear them. Reply in the comments or give me a call to talk about anything security related.
Online shopping is on the rise. Eight out of ten Canadians now shop online. I’m not here to talk about your shopping habits. I’m here to discuss the pickup of those deliveries.
How many home deliveries do you think are made in a year?
According to Canada Post, they delivered 900,000 a day during the “slow” summer of 2015. (Report) That rate is increasing on an annual basis. They now routinely have Million Parcel Mondays. That’s where Canada Post will deliver a million or more parcels in a single day. It’s on Mondays because of the surge in weekend shopping online.
But what about all of those deliveries? What if they don’t require a signature? They’ll sit on your front step or hanging out of your mailbox until you get home. It’s wonderfully convenient for you….and the bad guys.
Here are a few quick tips you can use to make sure that new shirt is still there when you get home.
- Have the packages delivered to your office or somewhere you trust.
- Get a PO box and pick up all of your mail there.
- Install a camera that’s motion activated so you get notified when someone is near the door.
My family and I use all three of these methods. Our favorite is the doorbell camera. It serves double duty because we know when someone rings the doorbell, can chat with the person at the door, and even unlock it…RIGHT FROM OUR PHONES!! It also notifies us if someone is just lingering around at the bottom of the stairs. Of course we sell it, so I like it.
Do you know who’s at your door right now? Call me so we can make sure you do.
I know it seems a little counter intuitive to talk about exterior lighting while the days are getting longer but the timing is right.
On March 12th, we move our clocks ahead an hour. A recently published paper presents estimates of the effect of ambient light on violent crime. They found a large decrease in robberies being committed when daylight-saving time begins in the spring, with a particularly significant drop during that extra hour of sunlight in the time right after work. It makes sense – more light equals less crime.
For this post, I say, “Let’s keep things bright and the bad guys running!”
Having the exterior of your house well lit helps to dissuade our enemies from lurking around and trying to access your home. You have several options for lighting. One of my favorite looks is down lighting professionally installed in the eves all around the house. Since that setup wouldn’t work with our house, we sourced out solar powered motion lights. It’s a flood light and motion sensor that’s charged during the day by a small solar panel. You can also opt for low voltage pathway/spot lights or wall sconces.
At minimum, the extra lighting will certainly add to your homes curb appeal. If the bad guys are prowling your neighborhood, they’re not likely to go near the house that’s well lit. That is the goal, isn’t it?
If you like these tips, come and check us out at the Home Show this weekend. We have some pretty cool give-a-ways at our booth. Not your typical pen or hat…something actually useful!! I’ll also be giving two free seminars on home security – Seminar times are Saturday at eleven and Sunday at noon. I’ll be going over all things security related from the street view right down to the sump pump. Don’t miss out.
Our storefront will still be open on Saturday for our usual services including automotive key cutting.
In fact you should test out our newest service right now!
Text “TIPS” to 450-990-4691 to get a free estimate on your replacement car key.
We’ll save you even more money by giving you an extra 10% off your chipped key.
Four things to remember:
- Bad guys like lurking in the shadows – Keep things well lit.
- Check us out at the home show – It’ll be fun!
- Make sure you adjust your clock – You don’t want to be late for work on the 13th
- You’ll pay more at the dealer for car keys – We’re faster, and you don’t need an appointment.
See you Saturday and don’t forget to text us.
This is the time of year that many of us start thinking about holiday visits to relatives or warm weather destinations. It makes good sense to think about your empty home whether you’re leaving for the winter, the week, or just the weekend. There are simple steps you can take to keep the bad guys guessing and not shout out to them that your home is vacant.
If you know a snowbird who leaves for the winter, pass this blog along to them and tell them I’ve included some solid tips for winterizing their home for an extended period. Here and Here
Quick side note: Neither article mentions putting RV antifreeze in the toilet or drains…flush the toilet first and then put it in the bowl. A cup or two down the drains keeps sewer smells out.
For the rest of us who are here for the winter months, some consideration needs to be taken when out of town.
Snow removal should be high up on your priority list. It doesn’t need to be pretty but snow accumulation SCREAMS empty home.
Lights on timers make it look like someone is moving around the house. Previous Security Tip Here
Our alarm systems can include a sensor for air temperature or water pipes. Yours should too. If your existing system doesn’t have this feature, we can certainly add it for you. Its far cheaper than your deductible when you have to call your insurance to tell them your pipes have frozen.
Social Media should be used to post photos AFTER the trip. We’re all excited to leave. Posting a selfie with your mountain of luggage is funny but sends out the wrong message
Unplug all non essential appliances. It takes 30 seconds to program the clock on your coffee pot. That’s less than the cumulative electrical waste of all these electronics sitting there idle while you’re gone.
Finally, lower the temperature on your thermostat. Most programmable units have a “Permanent Hold” feature that wont let the schedule resume. We can also integrate a thermostat into your alarm system so that it lowers the temperature whenever you’re away regardless of the schedule. Trust me…it’s cooler than the other ones on the market and if you call me, I’ll happily explain why.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you want to offer feedback or need anything security related, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’re not close by, we can certainly find a security expert who shares our passion for keeping what matters most to you safe.
You’ll be hearing from me again before the holidays but if you’re leaving early, everyone at Northern Security hopes you have a safe trip.
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