Tips for Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

You know it’s fall when the smell of roasted turkey, stuffing and all things pumpkin fill the air. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many; however, heightened safety risks associated with the feast can foil your plans. Follow these three tips to keep your loved ones safe this Thanksgiving.

1. Understand Food Prep Safety

When a meal is the center of the festivity, you better be sure it’s prepared safely. Foodborne pathogens are a risk during the holiday. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever.

An unclean or cluttered kitchen, coupled with improper sanitary food prep standards, can put you and your family at risk.

To maintain food prep best practices:

  • Thaw poultry in the refrigerator. When poultry is stored in warm places, such as out on the counter, foodborne bacteria can multiply quickly.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, cooking instruments, and surfaces that come into contact with raw meat.
  • Heat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Contain contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meat versus non-meat food items.
  • Use or freeze leftovers within three to four days.

2. Prevent Kitchen Fires

Putting together a Thanksgiving meal can be tricky. You’re preparing so many foods that it can be easy to lose track and let something cook too long, which is a fire risk. The below pointers can help:

  • Write out a cooking schedule. Include what time you will put each dish on the stove or in the oven.
  • Label timers — either with built-in technology functionality or a post-it note. This will help you keep track of what timer correlates with which dish.
  • Do not leave your kitchen unattended while food cooks. An unattended stove or oven is a recipe for disaster.
  • Follow cooking safety protocols. Deep-fried turkey has become a popular tradition for many families. Be sure you have the right equipment, attire and safety precautions in place for this or any unique cooking method.

Most importantly, test your smoke/fire detectors to ensure that they are working properly. If something goes wrong, you and the local fire department will be alerted immediately.

3. Keep Kids Safe

If your kids have a tendency to wander around the kitchen, take extra precautions to ensure their safety.

  • Turn pot and pan handle toward the back of the stove, so that nothing is accidentally reached for or pulled down.
  • Ensure kids are always supervised by an adult in the kitchen.
  • If helping cook, teach children proper kitchen hygiene — i.e. to sneeze or cough away from food, to wipe hands on a paper towel instead of a dishtowel, and to wash hands between each task.

We’re here to help

If you do experience a fire or medical emergency on Thanksgiving, remember: Boyd & Associates is here for you 24/7, and that includes holidays!

Don’t have a Boyd & Associates professionally monitored fire alarm system? Call us today to speak with one of our security experts.

Halloween Safety

Halloween can be known as a scary time of year, but it’s also a time for fun costumes and delicious treats! Scaring should always be good-natured and not pose any real threats. The best Halloween is a safe Halloween. Here are some safety tips to make sure you and your family have a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience.

Treats, not Tricks

Parents: even if your younger children are going in a large group it is still advisable to walk with them while they trick or treat. Also, make sure you tell kids not to eat any candy while trick-or-treating (as difficult as that may be for them) until you have inspected it thoroughly. Make sure all wrappers are closed and there are no signs of tampering. If a candy wrapper is open, discard the candy.

Many homes go all out for Halloween with decorations and may even invite trick-or-treaters inside. Never enter a stranger’s home alone, and make sure a trusted adult is with any children before entering an unknown home. If a house is completely dark, it is best to skip that house and move on to the next one. It is never good to encourage a child to approach a dark home, and typically this means the residents do not want to be bothered.

Walking at Night

While walking around at night, visibility is crucial. Carry flashlights and give each child a glow stick to wear around his or her neck. They can even be incorporated into the costume. Cracking the glow sticks to activate them can also be made into a fun Halloween activity! You can also purchase reflective tape at hardware or sporting goods stores to apply to costumes and candy buckets.

Stay on the sidewalk whenever possible, or if there isn’t one then stay as close to the side of the road as possible and walk against traffic. Remind children that safety is still the number one priority, and they should never dart out into the street even if it is full or trick-or-treaters. You cannot depend on motorists to drive more carefully just because it’s Halloween.

Costumes and Makeup

Halloween costumes and makeup can pose dangers of their own. Some costumes are made from materials that are highly flammable, and candles are often used in Halloween decorations. Make sure your costume is flame resistant, and make an effort to stay away from any open flames. Costumes that are ill-fitting can also be dangerous. Costumes that are too long or baggy can cause a child to trip or get caught in decorations. Good shoes are also extremely important when walking at night. It will be dark, and there could be lawn decorations or even just bumps in the road that cannot be seen. Shoes that do not fit well can cause you or your child to trip.

Some makeup is made from substances that are harsh on the skin or won’t wash off. Factor this into your plans for the evening, as sleeping with heavy makeup can cause it to get into your eyes which can result in an infection. If makeup is a major component of your costume, plan on showering before bed to get it all off.

SCARE SAFE

To easily remember all these safety tips, just remember to SCARE SAFE:

Stay in groups

Costumes should be will-fitting and flame resistant

Always test makeup

Remember to look both ways before crossing the street

Examine all treats before eating

Stay on the sidewalk

Avoid dark houses

Flashlights and glow sticks for visibility

Enjoy with caution!

Have fun, be safe, and have a happy Halloween!

 

The Best Hiding Places For Valuables In Your Home

Installing a home security system in your home is a great way to ensure you and your family stay protected. It also ensures any valuable possessions you have are also secure. But it never hurts to add those extra layers of security. Especially when considering the best hiding places for valuables in your home.

It may feel a little overcautious or paranoid. And in some cases, hiding your possessions seems like something out of a heist or spy movie. But for those precious family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, or prized collectibles, why risk the possibility of losing them at all?

Check out this list of great hiding spots and ideas that you might not have thought of.

The ‘Safest’ Bet For Hiding Places For Valuables

Outside of storing your most precious valuables somewhere outside of your house, like a bank safe deposit box or a secure storage facility, investing in a high-quality safe is a great place to start. Some things to consider when buying a safe include:

  • Size and location – you want to be able to conceal it while also practically storing what you need to protect.
  • Type of lock – combination, lock, and key, or electronic keypad. Your choice will depend on your protection needs, frequency of use, and how many people will need access.
  • Consider bolting your safe to a floor or wall for added security.
  • Hidden safes like vent safes and safes built into the wall.
  • Some safes offer dehumidifiers and fireproof capabilities to protect sensitive materials further.

But depending on your living situation, a safe just might not be that practical to have and use. Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to store, hide, and protect your valuables. Just be sure to avoid the obvious places. Forget about under your mattress, in a sock drawer, under a mat, in the cookie jar, in a desk or nightstand drawer, or fake rock by the front door. And keep valuables out of the master bedroom if possible.

Sometimes, the best hiding spot is the one that seems like it would be the last place you’d choose. Consider a few of these locations, which may even spur a few ideas of your own.

Find A Picture Frame

Not the back of the frame but rather the part between the frame and the picture. Most burglars won’t open up the frame to see what is inside. It’s a great way to hide important documents that you don’t need to access regularly. Now your favorite picture serves even more purposes!

Under The Carpet

Just like the picture frame idea, a small, accessible area of your carpet can be a useful hiding place. Simply pull back the corner of a room’s carpet and put cash or paper items underneath. And for even more protection, put heavy furniture over the area.

Use The Freezer

If you have a large storage freezer, you might also consider using it to store more than just food. Wrap valuables in aluminum foil and put them in the freezer with other frozen foods. Burglars probably won’t go through all the items in a freezer. Just be sure the items can’t be damaged by the cold!

Consider Lesser Used Rooms

Do you have a cluttered office room, storage attic, or even the laundry room? Obviously, you want to do everything in your power to prevent burglars. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. Instead, think about your defense as areas that potential thieves wouldn’t think to look in.

Fake Containers And False Bottoms

The ultimate trickery is to hide items in other items. Sometimes, those items can be decoys or fakes. Think fake canned goods that double as stash jars, in line with the real food in your pantry. Or even a garbage can, suitcase, or other storage container with a false bottom. From medical bottles to hollowed-out books, the possibilities are truly endless!

For More Security  Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

Obviously, avoiding a burglary or home invasion altogether is favorable. And you should never confront a  burglar directly. This is why your best bet is always a monitored security system. But staying one step ahead of would-be criminals with some of the best hiding places for valuables never hurts your peace of mind!

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

How to Prevent Home Invasion: 5 Important Tips

Burglaries and home invasions are a primary fear for any homeowner. Your home should be a place of peace and comfort, and no one likes to think of their neighborhood as unsafe. But of the 2.5 million burglaries that occur in the United States, 66% are home invasions. Luckily, there are important steps you can take to learn how to prevent home invasion.

In general, if your home is clearly secured and well protected most burglars will likely bypass the home for an easier target. Especially if you’ve invested in a home security system. But it never hurts to over-prepare. Check out our round-up of tips to prevent home invasion and make your home as safe as possible.

  1. Secure Your Doors

Since doors are the primary entrance points for burglars, it makes sense to invest in the proper protection. And consider doorways beyond just your front door. Garage doors are often the easiest to breach, followed by the back door simply because they may be less monitored in general. Once hidden from view a burglar has more breaking-and-entering options available to them. Some general reminders to consider:

  • Replace rotted door frames so thieves cannot pry the door off its hinges. Use heavy-duty strike plates with 3-inch screws into wooden door frames.
  • All entrance doors should have a solid core (preferably metal).
  • Use heavy-duty, quality deadbolt locks with a knob-in-lock set and dead-latch mechanism.
  • Prevent fraudulent entry by installing door chains and wide-angle peepholes mounted no higher than 58 inches off the ground.
  1. Watch Your Windows

Of course, doors are not the only entry option for burglars. Since windows can also provide easy access for an intruder, it is essential that you take the proper measures to secure them. Particular attention must be paid to ground floor windows and windows visible at street level. Even upper floor windows can present a threat to your home, especially if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. The following are some general recommendations to better secure your windows:

  • Use blocking devices to prevent an intruder from being able to slide a window open from the outside.
  • Block the window open no more than six inches and make sure you can’t reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device, or reach through and unlock the window.
  • In sleeping rooms, any window-blocking devices should be capable of being removed easily from the inside to comply with fire codes.
  • Use anti-lift devices to prevent intruders from lifting your windows up vertically.
  1. Lights, Camera, (No) Action!

Luckily, as technology has advanced, there are new ways to integrate exciting new features into your home. Simply put, home automation has changed the game. With amazing features like smart lights and door cameras, you not only add an incredible degree of convenience to your home, but you also provide an extra layer of safety. With lights that you can set schedules to, your home appears occupied no matter where you actually are. Plus all that light eliminates any potential opportunities for burglars to hide.

Cameras are a little more obvious in their benefit to home invasion prevention, but that’s a good thing! In many cases, a door camera can ward off a potential burglar before a crime ever occurs. And if it does happen, there’s video evidence to provide evidence in the event you need to recoup the value of anything lost.

  1. Lock It Up

Another upgrade to consider adding to your front doors is a brand-new electronic smart lock. Electronic locks for your front door are more secure and reliable than traditional keyed deadbolt locks. Additionally, they provide an abundance of other benefits like:

  • Coded keypads for safe, secure, and convenient keyless entrance for you and your family.
  • Control (and monitor) your locks from anywhere through a single app.
  • You can also assign unique and temporary codes for guests and workers when needed.

Smart locks have better durability than traditional locks that wear and tear from constant key use. Plus, keypad locks do not use traditional locking mechanisms, which adds to their overall security. Without the mechanical key and tumbler system, keyless systems are unable to be picked or bumped like a traditional lock. This gives your home an added layer of security and protection from potential intruders.

  1. Monitored Alarm Systems

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to secure and protect your home is to invest in a quality security system. But alarm systems are at their most effective as a deterrent to burglars when used properly, and when properly maintained. Get the most out of your home security system:

  • Keep your yard sign visible and put alarm company decals in your windows and doors.
  • Do not write your alarm code anywhere near your keypad or entryway.
  • Be sure to update your alarm company and central monitoring station with pertinent information including your response call list.
  • Test your alarm regularly to ensure all access to your property is protected.

For More Security And Home Automation Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

It’s impossible to be 100% safe in anything, but with the right precautions and proper maintenance of your home security features, you can position your home and family to be as safe and protected as possible.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Back To School Safety Tips

Back to school is always one of the busiest times of the year. The change in routine—or the return to one–can be difficult for your entire family. Follow these safety tips to help your children and family stay safe during back-to-school season and throughout the new school year.

Use An Alarm System With Remote Alerts

If you don’t already have one, consider installing a home security system. You’ll receive alerts when your child enters their code into the alarm system, letting you know that they’ve arrived home safely. You can also set up sensors in sensitive areas of the house such as near gun cabinets, liquor cabinets, or medicine closets. With home automation, you’ll always be able to monitor the activities of your household through your phone.

Remind Your Kids To Lock The Door

Your children should know how to lock the door and know to do it every time they leave or enter the house. Educate your children about never opening the door to strangers, especially when they are home alone.

Show Your Kids How To Use The Alarm System

Ensure that your children know how to arm and disarm your alarm system. Show them how to hit the panic button and tell them what to do in case of an emergency. They also need to know the difference between burglar, fire, and carbon monoxide alarms.

Plan A Safe Route To School

If your child walks or bikes to school each day, plan a safe route to and from school. Avoid as many street crossings as possible and remain in areas that are highly populated. Encourage your children to refrain from using their cell phone while walking but to always have it on them in case of an emergency. If they ride a bike, be sure they have a properly-fitting helmet and always wear it.

Use And Teach Safe Driving Habits

While driving, always pay attention to the road. If you have children in the car, be certain that their seatbelts are buckled. Never use your cell phone while driving. It is important that you teach younger teen drivers these safe driving methods as well—and modeling good behavior is one of the best ways to instill it in your kids.

Help Children Memorize Important Numbers

Teach your children to memorize their home address, their home phone number, your cell phone number, and an emergency contact. It is important that they know how to contact someone in case of an emergency.

Teach Children About Strangers

Kids shouldn’t talk to anyone they don’t know. They should never accept a gift or a ride from any strangers. In case such an incident arises, children should also know whom to go to for help, such as a teacher or a police officer.

Get A Video Doorbell

With a video doorbell, you’ll be able to see who is at the door as well as answer it even when you aren’t home. This device also allows your children to see who is at the door, and talk to them, without having to answer the door.

Know Your Child’s Routine

Make sure you and your child know their routines before, during, and after school for each day of the week.

Keep Lines Of Communication Open

Ask your children to check in with you as they move through their daily routine so that you know they’re safe. Let them know it’s okay to call you at any time.

Practice Safety At Home

Decide whether your children are old enough and mature enough to use certain appliances or have visitors over while you’re not home. Be clear about your expectations. Children can’t follow the rules if they don’t fully understand them!

Review Social Media And Internet Usage At Home

Let your children know that you will have access to their social media accounts and warn them about appropriate usage. Warn them about the potential dangers of online strangers and how to avoid online bullying.

Our team at Boyd & Associates wants you and your children to remain safe throughout the school year. Start this new school year right by preparing for anything and protecting your home and family.

Tips To Keep Children Safe When They Are Home Alone

It’s hard for a parent to feel comfortable leaving their children home alone. Luckily, we’ve gathered some child home safety tips to help you be sure your child is home alone safely and responsibly.

One of the easiest solutions that provide peace of mind is your home security system that’s already in place. You can rest assured knowing your home surveillance system and security cameras are there to keep them safe. And you can even monitor them while you’re away, no matter where you are.

Child Home Safety Tips: Home Alone Age Guidelines

But is your child even old enough to stay home alone? You know your child better than anyone and the responsibility they may or may not be able to handle. But for reference, there are some general age guidelines to keep in mind.

7 Years Old And Younger

These children are too young to be left alone for any period of time. They should never be left unattended in cars, playgrounds, backyards, or even inside your home.

8 To 10 Years Old

These children should not be left alone for more than an hour, especially at night. If you plan to leave your 8 to 10-year-old home alone, make sure it is during the day.

11 To 12 Years Old

These children are capable of being left alone but should not be left home alone at night. It is recommended to leave them only for around 3 hours at a time.

13 To 15 Years Old

These teens are safe to leave unsupervised but probably not for an entire night.

16 To 17 Years Old

This is the age where they can be left at home alone for longer periods of time. They are old enough to take care of themselves and capable of taking care of any issues that may occur. Additionally, they likely have a cell phone and can get in contact with you if need be.

Child Home Safety Tips And Rules To Teach

Aside from teaching them the basics of your home security system, it’s always good practice to teach some basic home safety practices. No matter what their age, here are some safety tips to go over with your kid whenever the time does come to leave them by themselves.

  1. Tell Them To Lock The Doors

Even if you have a home security system, you should always remind your children to lock the door as soon as they’re in the house.

  1. Never Open The Door To Strangers

This rule applies even when you’re at home. Your child should never open the door for anyone that they do not know. Remind them to always look through the peep hole or window before opening the door for anyone, even if they are expecting someone. This includes anyone with a delivery as well.

  1. Talk About Telephone Rules

It’s important to teach your children how to communicate on the phone. Most importantly, they must never tell anyone that they are home alone. Teach your children to tell whoever is on the phone that you are busy and to take a message, even if you aren’t there.

  1. Use Social Media Responsibly

Social Media is becoming more and more common among younger children. It is important they never post about being home alone. Teach your children to be cautious with what they are sharing online. And be sure to brush up on your cyber security practices as well!

  1. If They Leave The House, They Need To Tell You Where They’re Going

Many parents are okay with their children heading over to a neighbor’s home or playing in the neighborhood. However, you need to teach your children to communicate with you when they reach their destination and whenever they plan to leave where they are. This is important because if something were to happen, you would have an idea of what your child was doing and where they were.

  1. Teach Them About Fire Safety

If you plan to leave your child home alone, make sure they are old enough to understand fire safety. Let them know that if they see or smell smoke, to immediately leave the house and call the fire department. Find a trusted neighbor that they can go to in case of an emergency such as this.

And be sure your home is always protected with monitored smoke and CO detectors.

For More Security Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

Talk to your kids about staying safe in your home. Make sure they know what to do in case an emergency does happen. The more you teach them about safety, the better off they’ll be when left home alone. Again, you know your child better than anyone, especially in terms of what they can comfortably and responsibly handle by themselves in the home. But it never hurts to be sure your child knows and understands basic home safety practices!

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

6 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe in 2022

Even if you don’t own a home security system, there are inexpensive tactics you can implement to protect your household. Boyd & Associates experts offer some key tips below.

Identify potential risks. Before you move to a new neighborhood, connect with families in the area to evaluate whether it is in line with your expectations and needs. While it may seem safe, don’t be misled by appearances or notions presented to you by your realtor.

Do a gut check. Evaluate what you are most trying to protect and use that as a starting point to develop your home security program. The wellbeing of your family members will likely come first, with valuable assets falling next in line.

Don’t underestimate old-school locks. Whether you’re a renter or homeowner, ensure that door and window locks work appropriately and are used. If necessary, install window stops for an added layer of protection. Unwanted visitors typically look for easy access to a home.

Leave the light on. Leaving lights, and even a radio or TV, on in the house can go a long way in making your home look active. Implement inexpensive motion sensor lights to add safety for anyone coming home late and to deter burglars.

Commit to landscaping and upkeep. Trim bushes and shrubs, mow the lawn and remove leaves and snow. Don’t allow newspapers or mail to pile up whether you’re home or on vacation. A groomed appearance gives the impression that you are regularly present and protect the value of your home.

Participate in the community. Knowing your neighbors is invaluable to your home’s safety. Develop relationships with families on your street to ensure mutual safety. Notify each other of suspicious activity or nearby threats.

The Ultimate Level of Security

Though the above tips help, a home security system backed by a 24-hour monitoring center is the ultimate safeguard. If an emergency occurs, a security system will ensure responders are dispatched through Central Station monitoring, saving critical time for your family.

Smart home security can also alleviate the inconveniences associated with managing home safety on your own, such as maintaining your alarm system, remembering to lock up, or turning lights and appliances on and off. Through a mobile application, homeowners monitor and control smart devices from anywhere and at any time.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Halloween Safety Tips

Planning to trick or treat this year? Halloween is a night when some of our best childhood memories are created…just so long as things are fun scary, not actually scary. With a bit of planning, you can keep everyone safe this October. Make sure your children have an enjoyable, secure celebration with these child safety tips on Halloween.

Design Costumes for Visibility

Glow sticks, flashlights, and even reflector tape can help to ensure that any drivers see your children in the street. Incorporating these safety features into the theme of your child’s costume might take a little creativity, but they often can add another layer to really take the festivities up a notch. Think a glowing ghost or the bright lights of a Star Wars character. Plus, it’ll give you that extra peace of mind.

Also keep in mind that makeup is generally preferable to a mask, which can obstruct your child’s vision and put them at risk.

Take it Slow

Slowing things down a bit is a key safety tip on Halloween. Be sure kids walk slowly rather than run from home to home, especially as they cross neighborhood streets. While everyone is on the lookout for trick-or-treaters, children can dart in front of motorists, who may not have enough time to react. Try to plan to spend the evening in a neighborhood you know has sidewalks and is particularly active with other trick-or-treaters. These areas are less likely to cause potential risks with motorists.

Make Eye Contact with Drivers

A good habit to generally teach the kids: when crossing the street, make eye contact with the driver to make sure that they acknowledge you before you step into the street. And nothing beats the golden rule of intersections: always look both ways before you cross!

Know Where to Go

If your kids are getting to the age where they can trick-or-treat without an adult escort, make sure they stick to familiar areas and that you know the route they will be taking. Sharing their location on smartphones is an easy way to keep tabs on their whereabouts.

If you need to make a trip by car, drive slowly, and turn your headlights on early in the evening so that you can see the kids, and the kids can see you.

Home Safety Tips on Halloween

Halloween night can be easy pickings for burglars since they already know that so many families are out and about. Not to mention, they can knock on your door to see if you’re home without drawing suspicion. If your home isn’t passing out candy and welcoming visitors, keep an eye on things while you’re out with your home automation features.

For More Home Security Tips and Solutions, Stick with Boyd & Associates

The safety of all children comes first on Halloween. With some basic precautions, you can help to ensure a safe, fun night out, and with Boyd & Associates, you can rest assured that your home is safe.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at www.boydsecurity.com. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

Burglary Prevention: 7 Signs Your Home Is A Target

One of the major keys to burglary prevention is awareness. And much of that awareness comes from understanding the ways in which your home may be a target for would-be intruders. There are many tell-tale signs to watch out for, and some are less obvious than others. For your home burglary prevention, here are 7 signs to look out for that may indicate your home is a target for burglars.

  1. Strangers Surveying Your Property

This one might be a little more obvious, and will also depend greatly on your neighborhood or general area you live in. Is it heavily populated? Is it normal to see people you don’t know? You shouldn’t be paranoid every time a stranger walks by your house. But there’s a major difference between someone passing through, or even taking a passing glance at your home or property, and someone potentially surveying your home for a future break-in.

And, if you notice someone suspiciously snooping around or intruding on your property in a way that makes you feel comfortable, take note and even call your local police if necessary. Burglary prevention is a community effort; be sure to share with neighbors any suspicious activity and work together to keep one another safe.

  1. Random Strangers Knocking On Your Door

It sounds simple, but one of the oldest tricks to get into someone’s home is to just knock on the front door. Maybe this mystery guest asks to use the bathroom or even tries to sell you a fake product. Always trust your gut in these instances; you don’t have to answer the door for everyone. And always be wary of any strangers that ask to enter your home.

A great SmartHome solution for burglar prevention is a doorbell camera. Screen visitors before you ever answer the door and have video evidence on-hand of any suspicious activity.

  1. Uncertified Workers

You may contract for work to be done on your home, whether on the interior or for outside projects. But make sure all the workers are certified. In some instances, a burglar may see workers coming and going and use it as a chance to survey or even to enter your home. You should know the scale of the project at hand and the size and specifics of the personnel doing the work. Always make sure to contact the company if you are unsure of a worker’s legitimacy.

  1. Unsolicited Fundraisers 

Much like random strangers knocking, other burglary prevention comes from being aware of who is right at your front door. A twelve-year-old girl selling Girl Scout Cookies may not be a threat to your home, but other solicitors should always be treated with caution. Burglars are looking for any opportunity to see the inside of your home and any potential valuables and points of access.

  1. Strangers Taking Photos Of Your Home

These days, everyone is a photographer. With advances in smartphones, it’s easier than ever for anyone to stealthily take photos. And that ease makes it a great tool for burglars to canvas your house and create an intrusion plan. If you see anyone take a picture of your home, you need to immediately act. Notify local law enforcement, document what you see, and share with your neighbors and community leaders. Two can play the photo game; if possible, take a picture of the suspicious photographer as well. Just be sure to do so safely.

  1. Stickers Or Flyers

Promotional flyers or coupons and menus from local establishments aren’t necessarily a burglary threat. But if you’re noticing a higher volume of stickers or flyers on your front door, or stickers and flyers you don’t recognize, it could be a sign of potential danger. A burglar may attempt to use this method to see if a home is well guarded or not.

This, of course, is not always a signal that someone is trying to break into your home, but it is something to keep an eye out for. If you’re going to be away for a period, have a neighbor check in on your home to ensure nothing is piling up on the front lawn.

  1. Strange Markings On Your Home

Many burglars will use subtle markings to identify a house they are casing. This could be a simple symbol like a string placed on the house or a marking on your lampposts. If you see any unexplained marking that doesn’t appear to have happened naturally or accidentally, move it immediately.

For More Security Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

It’s important you’re aware of what is going on around your neighborhood. You can protect your home and your neighbors by keeping an eye on anything that may seem out of place. Communicate with your neighbors so they can be aware as well.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

Vehicle Theft Prevention

Motor vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for most of us, and often an indispensable part of our lives. But what would happen if your vehicle suddenly disappeared? Over 700,000 drivers fall victim to this costly crime each year.

Reducing Motor Vehicle Theft

In 2019, about three-quarters of a million vehicles were stolen in the United States—and nearly half of those thefts were due to driver error. Vehicle theft is a multi-billion-dollar crime, with the cost of stolen vehicles coming in at about $6 billion in 2019 alone. 75% of those vehicles were automobiles. Summers prove to be the worst season for vehicle theft. So, to help drivers keep their vehicles safe, NHTSA is continuing its annual Vehicle Theft Prevention Campaign during July — National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month.

A motor vehicle was stolen every 43.8 seconds in the United States in 2019.

Use common sense when parking and exiting your vehicle:

  • Take your vehicle’s key; do not leave it in or on your vehicle.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas if possible.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside the vehicle.

Thieves want vehicle parts and valuable items, too.

Radios and wheel covers aren’t the only popular stolen vehicle parts thieves take. They want whatever sells, from the mandated labeled parts to those that aren’t. Some of the most popular vehicle parts or valuable items stolen from vehicles include doors, engines, transmissions, airbags, radios, GPS units, cell phones, iPads, laptops, and purses.

Protect Your Ride

There are numerous antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal or easier to trace and recover. Here are how some of them work:

  • Audible and Visible Devices: These devices, such as a horn alarm, deter theft by bringing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter a vehicle. Visible devices create a visual threat/warning/deterrence, such as the use of steering-wheel locks, as well as theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching.
  • Immobilizing-Type Devices: These prevent thieves from bypassing a vehicle’s ignition system and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some incorporate computer chips in ignition keys or disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.
  • Vehicle Recovery Systems: These devices use electronic transmission technology that helps law enforcement reveal the location of stolen vehicles—and possibly catch the thief in the act.

Where’s My Ride?

If you are a victim of vehicle theft, follow these steps:

  • Contact police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. You will need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following information:
    • License plate number
    • Make, model, and color of your vehicle; and
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and any identifying characteristics.
  • Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of your vehicle being stolen.
  • If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.

For More Security Tips And Solutions, Stick With Boyd & Associates

If you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.