Top 10 Home Security Mistakes

Are you making common mistakes that could leave your property or family vulnerable to theft or attack?  Here are our top 10 home security mistakes you simply must avoid:

  1. Leaving Doors and Windows Unlocked

Security mistakes 101, lock the doors to your home! Almost all thieves can enter a home through an unlocked door or window. What is the point of having locks if they aren’t locked? Burglars walk around testing doorbells and door handles all day. 30% of all burglaries occur through an unlocked door or window. Stay in the habit of keeping your doors and windows locked, and you might avoid opportunistic thieves.

  1. Installing Cheap Locks

Cheap locks are just that. Cheap. This is arguably the most important of all security mistakes affecting burglaries every day. Keep in mind when you’re shopping around for security locks that over 33% of home burglaries occur through the front door. Hardware stores have a wide variety of locks at a wide variety of prices, and you should invest in some good quality deadbolt locks and entry doors.

  1. Hiding Your Keys

Easily one of the silliest security mistakes in this day and age is not taking care of where you hide the keys. A burglar knows they are under the mat, in the mailbox, or under that flowerpot, and chances are someone may have been watching you. It’s probably not the wisest idea in this day and age to hide your keys anyway. You should consider installing a keyless entry system that will provide you with top-notch security while still allowing easy access.

  1. Allowing Valuables to Be Visible from Outside

Look through the windows of your home from outside. Can you see your television, computer, or other electronic valuables? If you can, would-be thieves can, and there’s nothing like the sight of some unguarded bounty to tempt burglars. Draw your shades and curtains or move your electronics to an area where they aren’t visible from the street. And when you’ve just unwrapped your new television screen, don’t leave the box outside where someone might see it as an invitation to target your brand new purchase. Flatten the box and dispose of it inside a trash bag for privacy.

  1. Not Arming your Alarm

If you were smart enough to get an alarm system, it won’t do you any good if you don’t arm it. Always activate it when you are going to sleep, on vacation, or out, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. If you do not have a system, consider getting one as soon as possible. According to one study, 1 out of 5 burglars reported cutting phone lines before attempting to burglarize a home. Also, consider getting a wireless setup. It would be the best choice in this scenario.

  1. Ladders in the Yard

Ladders are one of the best tools of the trade. A ladder serves as the red carpet to the second floor of your home. If you happen to have upper levels, make sure you don’t leave any ladders in the yard below, and don’t leave upstairs windows unlocked either. Lock away your ladder in the storage shed or garage.

  1. Posting your Vacation Plans on Social Media

Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but never advertise when your home will be empty or when you’ll be out of town.

A recent survey found that as many as 75% of convicted burglars used social media to target their victims. Avoid using apps with location-sharing features too. You simply never know who could be watching your social media updates waiting to pounce.

  1. Allowing your Home to Appear Vacant

You don’t want newspapers and mail piling up outside. This is the easiest way for burglars to identify your home as being empty. Try to maintain your home’s “lived-in” look. Pay someone to cut the grass, clean the yard and trim the bushes. Ask your neighbor or someone else to collect and hold your mail while you’re away. Install timers on lights so your home is always “occupied.”

  1. Leaving the Garage Door Open All Day

Unlocked garage doors are easy to access to the rest of the home, and just because it is closed doesn’t mean a burglar won’t just walk right and try it anyway. An open garage door invites entry and access to your property. Always keep garage doors and home garage access doors locked.

  1. Trying to DIY or Self Monitor your Home Security System

There is some peace of mind from at least having a security system. However, without professional alarm monitoring, there’s always the risk you might miss an important notification or not alert authorities in time. Monitored smoke, heat, intrusion, panic, or medical alerts need immediate attention. With a professionally monitored security system, the alarm center can call for help even when you can’t, often within a matter of seconds. This response has proved to save lives and property. Having that responsibility on your shoulders while trying to enjoy a vacation, during an important meeting, or sleeping deeply is an unnecessary burden and potentially costly.

Everybody makes mistakes, it’s normal. But you can learn from other’s mistakes too instead of repeating them. Remember to lock up and follow these easy fundamentals to avoid the most common home security mistakes and enjoy some peace of mind and a safer home.

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.

 

A Security System With Monitoring: Why It Beats DIY Security

These days it seems more common than ever to find everyday do-it-yourself solutions and projects, especially for homeowners. While DIY skills are great for building furniture items or renovating an old room, it’s tough to beat the protection a security system with monitoring brings.

With so many new security companies and advancing technology, it’s tempting to try to tackle home security like you would any DIY project. But you shouldn’t DIY your peace of mind! Learn why a security system with monitoring always beats DIY options.

Professional Installation

DIY options like individual door cameras or home sensors are tempting on the surface. You think you’re only selecting the gadgets and protection that you need, and a single price tag is a lot more appealing than a subscription-based security service.

But we hate to break it to you: you’re not a security professional. Watching a video tutorial will not teach you all of the essential technical skills needed to properly place motion sensors.

With our home security solutions, you’ll receive a professional, onsite installation and walkthrough from a dedicated security technician who knows and understands the neighborhoods we protect.

What You Can Expect from a Professional Home Security Installation:

  • A customized plan that fits your budget and security needs
  • A dedicated, local service representative who will conduct an onsite survey
  • An in-person demonstration of your new system, teaching you all of the ins and outs
  • A support team that’s there to answer your questions and provide solutions

24/7 Protection You Can Rely On

The big difference between most DIY security options and a security system with monitoring is exactly that: the monitoring. Which, in hindsight, seems like a pretty important part! If you’re a tech-savvy consumer, the DIY gadgets and SmartHome integration might be tempting. You set up your sensor and surveillance feeds and get simple notifications when anything is tripped.

Most of the time it’s just a neighbor or a package delivery that you easily confirm. But what happens in the event of a real emergency? What if you’re not home and don’t notice a notification until after your home has been burglarized.

Or worse, what if you’re home and simply unable to contact the proper authorities? With a monitored security system, you get the 24/7 protection from a security team that always has your back.

How It Works:

  • Your alarm triggers
  • Monitoring stations notify you and the authorities
  • First responders are dispatched quickly and efficiently
  • You can rest easy knowing your home is protected around the clock

And, monitored security doesn’t start and end with door sensors and enhanced video monitoring surveillance services. Get complete home protection including flood monitoring and monitored smoke and CO detectors to keep every disaster at arm’s length.

Flexible Plans And Easy Upgrades

Technology changes, and so does the way you interact with it. DIY security solutions aren’t future proof, especially when you consider you’re solely responsible for upgrading or adding to the gadgets and features needed.

With monitored security from a trusted professional, you can be sure that your technology is not only up to date, but in excellent working condition. You can also be sure that as home security and SmartHome technology grows, your plan and protection grows with it.

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

There’s nothing wrong with being resourceful and knowledgeable, especially when it comes to the safety and security of your home and family. But don’t be stubborn either. Trust the professionals who have the resources to give you the best protection 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.

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.

7 Tips to Reduce Neighborhood Crime

When you turn on the evening news, it may seem as though there is constant neighborhood crime throughout the nation. However, the FBI recently reported that crime decreased across all categories between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. In their report, they show robberies falling 7.4% compared to the prior year. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that crime can make its way into any neighborhood. There are plenty of preventative measures you can take to promote safety in your neighborhood.

So, what can we do?

We can work together toward a safer community and consider getting more involved in crime prevention. As a matter of fact, throughout the 90’s, there was an average of a 30 percent decrease in burglaries nationwide due to communities getting more involved in crime prevention.

So, let’s keep it up. Check out these seven ways for more community involvement to keep it safe.

  1. Join the Town Watch (or Start One)

Join in a town watch program (or get the community involved in one). Staying in tune with the neighborhood’s regular activity and keeping streets and homes well-lit can deter any possible burglaries. When criminals see a well-marked neighborhood with town watch and security system signs, it makes them think twice before committing a crime. Town watch programs have helped communities experience a 16 and 26 percent reduction in crime compared to areas not involved in a town watch.

  1. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Whether you are going on vacation or heading to work, knowing your neighbors can provide an extra set of eyes on your house (and maybe an extra set of keys in case of emergency). People care about those they know, so getting to know your neighbors and building relationships provides that layer of community and a sense of wanting to watch out for each other.

  1. Educate Kids About Bullying

Educate kids on a safe way to help others. Encourage confidence in resolving problems peacefully and not through violence. Make it clear that you expect kids to take action if they see someone being hurt, or if they are hurt themselves. By leading by example, you can teach empathy rather than violence.

  1. Initiate a Buddy System

The buddy system is not just a system for kids. It’s less likely a criminal will approach two people instead of one vulnerable person. A buddy can be more than just a walking partner. Your buddy can also make sure that you have everything you need to be safe. Whether from a long trip or just a simple walk down the street. And, of course, a buddy can always be there to call for help in those times of emergency services.

  1. Get Involved in Local Organizations

By getting involved, neighbors become better acquainted and make the connections necessary to keep the community safe. The Bureau of Justice Assistance offers ways your community can get involved and pair with local businesses and organizations to create a safer community.

  1. Create a Favorable Rapport with Local Police Enforcement

Encourage involvement from local law enforcement in community events. Get to know who they are and what they do. By creating trust with your local law enforcement, you can communicate community concerns more effectively and build a better relationship.

  1. Stay Current with Crime Trends

Knowing what is happening in your neighborhood and those around you can help you understand the possible warning signs of impending crime. Know what is happening and report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement. Staying up to date with the news and crime trends can help your community stay proactive and involved.

By focusing on a safer community, you can work toward protecting you, your family, and those around you from falling victim to crimes that could leave your community devastated. By getting more involved or following any other tips mentioned above, you can help lead the way in creating a safer community for everyone.

 

Home Security Tools for Seniors Living Alone

As we get older, our home security concerns change. What works for families or young people may not meet the unique needs of seniors who live alone. And, just over one in four adults over the age of 65 lives alone. Concerns about seniors’ health, memory, and physical safety can create anxiety for loved ones and caregivers. But there are several strategies that can help seniors maintain both their safety and their independence. Read on for some of the best home security tools for seniors.

Medical Alert Devices

Every 11 seconds, an older adult suffers a fall serious enough to send them to the emergency room. If a senior is injured in a fall in their home, they may not have the ability to get up and call for help. Boyd & Associates Medical Alert can help. It is a safety and medical alert system that allows an individual to signal for help from a wireless alarm pendant.

These systems immediately alert an emergency operator who will dispatch the appropriate help. In the event of an emergency, the local 911 Emergency Response Team will be dispatched. Otherwise, a family member, neighbor, friend, or caregiver can be notified for assistance.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common kind of poisoning worldwide and is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in the exhaust of generators, stoves, furnaces, cars, or anything that burns fuel and most victims have no idea they’re being poisoned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 500 people die from unintentional exposure in the U.S. every year. Another 8,000-15,000 people are examined or treated in hospitals.

Most of carbon monoxide injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. That is why carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to have in your home, especially seniors who are living on their own.

Monitored Fire and Burglar Alarms

According to the Bureau of Justice, 59 percent of violent crimes against seniors happen at or near their homes and they are more likely to be victims of property crimes. A monitored home security system can offer seniors living alone an added layer of protection in the event of a burglary or fire by alerting an alarm monitoring center. An alarm monitoring agent will contact emergency responders quickly, saving precious minutes.

Most home security systems offer a feature that allows you to remotely control your home security system. This feature is accessible through an app by using your smart phone or tablet. This is a great feature for those who want to check the status of their senior family member’s system and receive alerts when an alarm or event triggers.

Video Doorbell

With smart video doorbells, seniors can answer their front door remotely via a tablet or smartphone to ensure visitors don’t know they are home alone. Family members of seniors can also use this feature to ensure the safety of their loved one.

Environmental Monitoring

It’s a scenario that can be more frightening and dismaying for an elderly individual than anyone else: a pipe burst, or a water heater leaks, causing damaging flooding that can go on for hours while they are away or asleep.

Environmental monitoring can alert seniors of the problem right away no matter where they are. The longer a leak goes unfixed, the more likely structural damage will occur. By getting the news right away, seniors and their families can avoid expensive and inconvenient repairs.

Home Automation Tools

A senior’s financial security is as important as their physical safety. With home automation tools, you can save time, money and energy by setting scenes and schedules, turn lights on or off, or control the thermostat.

Ask an Expert

Modern security technology means that it’s easier than ever for seniors to enjoy security and independence in their homes. If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of security planning, processes, and technology available for every budget, give us a call today to request a free quote.

The Importance of Flood Alarms and Flood Alarm Monitoring

Flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring are essential to preventing damage when a disaster arises. In the U.S., statistics show that households report roughly 850 water main breaks every single day. And for homeowners, it is estimated that the average cost of repairing flood damage is about $15,000. These damages are not only a nuisance but very costly to repair. And sometimes, the real damage goes much deeper.

It only takes 24 hours for mold to develop in water-damaged areas, so it is essential to repair damages as quickly as possible to avoid adverse long-term effects. With flood alarm and monitoring from Boyd & Associates, you receive real-time flood alerts via text message or phone call the minute a flood is detected, so you can quickly cease the flow of water.

WHAT CAUSES FLOODS?

There are many causes of home flooding which can include natural disasters as well as manmade causes.  Natural disasters might include:

  • Mudflows
  • Flash floods
  • Heavy rains

It is also important to consider the environment around your home. Are you located near major bodies of water like lakes or rivers that can be at risk of flooding? Do you have a basement or other area in your house that is particularly exposed and susceptible to potential damage? General awareness is a major step.

Most manmade floods occur with a pipe bursting, plumbing problems, or when a malfunctioning water heater is present. 70% of floods are actually due to water heaters bursting or leaking. So outside of flood monitoring, you should be aware of the age and condition of your household utilities. Generally speaking, try to commit to an annual inspection from a professional to ensure your home utilities are in safe working order.

HOW DOES FLOOD ALARM MONITORING WORK?

What if there was a way to interrupt a potential flood, before any damage can occur? Here’s how flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring from Boyd & Associates protects you:

  1. Water sensors are installed near appliances such as your hot water heater and washing machine.
    2. When overflowing water is detected, a flood alarm signal is sent to the home alarm panel.
    3. When water is detected on the alarm panel, an alert will notify you via call or text.
    4. Alarm systems with the Flood Avert feature are designed to automatically cut off the water source at the onset of flooding.

HOW DO YOU PREVENT OR PREPARE FOR A FLOOD?

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable. While you cannot always control natural disasters, you can control how you protect yourself against the unknown. Some quick flood prevention and preparation tips include:

  1. It is always a good idea to have flood insurance.
    2. Ensure that all pipes, water heaters, plumbing, and foundation are working properly on a regular basis.
    3. In the event of a natural disaster, attempt to seal the perimeter of your home with waterproof materials that may help prevent damage.
    4. Create an emergency plan for your family’s safety and any valuables.
    5. Consider adding a flood monitoring system and flood avert automatic shut-off to prevent costly repairs.

FOR MORE SECURITY AND HOME AUTOMATION TIPS AND SOLUTIONS, STICK WITH BOYD & ASSOCIATES

It is important to protect your home before a flood or disaster occurs. The best way to protect your home from damage is with a flood monitoring system installed to always ensure you are aware as soon as the flooding starts. Contact Boyd & Associates today for information on flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring protection.

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 are 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.

Dogs and Home Security: 5 Ways Pooches Boost Home Safety

How often do we see dogs and home security crossover scenarios play out in pop culture? Think about the classic watch dog moment in countless movies and TV shows, where we’ve seen man’s best friend cast in a heroic, starring role. The burglar breaks into the home with something nefarious in mind, but before he knows it, the tables are turned as the family’s faithful pooch backs him into a corner or chases him out.

While they’re no replacement for an actual home security system, there are plenty of ways dogs can add an extra boost to your home protection.

1. DOGS ARE GREAT PERIMETER DEFENDERS

One of the best things about dogs are their heightened senses. They will first smell, then hear people coming long before you ever notice them. A K9’s sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than that of a human’s, and will often notify their owners if something out of the ordinary is nearby.

The difference is distinguishing your dog’s “normal” behavior, like barking at the mailman, versus warning you of a possible disturbance on your street or property. But in essence, a good watchdog is another set of eyes that can keep a close watch over your “den.”

2. DOGS WARN OTHERS OF DANGER

Another home security advantage to a barking dog is that it not only alerts you to possible dangers and disturbances, but your neighbors and any passersby as well. Just like a loud, ear-piercing alarm sounding off, a non-stop roaring dog is going to draw attention.

If you have neighbors that know your animal, they may know the difference in sounds of barks, too. Not to mention, the hour could make it glaringly apparent to others that something is out of the ordinary. A loud bark disturbing the middle of the night, for instance. A concerned neighbor might be drawn to investigate, and call authorities in some cases when necessary.

3. DOGS CAN SCARE AWAY INTRUDERS

There are plenty of reasons not to confront an intruder in the event of an actual home invasion, but in some cases, the situation might be unavoidable. If you have a particularly large breed of dog, that can be a major intimidation factor to home intruders. Especially if for some reason your dog doesn’t bark at first, or those initial noises don’t scare off a burglar, the physical presence of your dog (and the reality of being in the same space) might make all the difference in a dangerous situation.

4. DOGS ARE LOYAL TO OWNERS

As we said earlier, dogs are protective of their den (your home!). And that means everyone in it, too. Your dog’s loyalty to you and your family adds an entirely new dimension as a home security asset. You know your dog better than anyone, which means you understand their behavior and can sense when something is truly amiss in the way they’re behaving toward outside disturbances.

And in the event of a home invasion, your dog may even attack an intruder to protect itself and its family, giving you time to escape and contact the proper authorities. But unless your pooch is military trained, an attack would likely be instinctual. And this may put your pet in serious physical danger,  and should be avoided at all costs. But in the cases it isn’t, it’s nice knowing your watchdog has your back, right?

5. COMPANIONSHIP AND PEACE OF MIND

The point is, most dog owners feel a strong sense of companionship to their animal. And in many cases, that loyalty is reciprocated. Beyond the natural advantages a dog can provide to home security, their comforting presence alone can make a world of difference to your day-to-day peace of mind. In general, it’s a comforting feeling to have an active, physical presence in your home to beef up security. And that’s just the icing to the canine cake – dogs are “man’s best friend” for a reason!

HOWEVER, DOGS HAVE THEIR LIMITS

It’s important to note that not every dog breed is suited for home security. The American Kennel Club suggests that some of the best guard dog breeds include Akitas, Boxers, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, various Shepherd dogs (German, Australian, etc.), and more. These are mostly larger breeds, but there are smaller and medium sized dogs that fit the mold based on their natural behavioral instincts.

However, proper training is also another major factor. You don’t want a dog that barks at every noise; you want one that tells you when something is wrong. It’s also important that you’re able to call your dog off and tell him to ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ Dogs aren’t born knowing these skills. You’ll need to participate in their training and reinforce what they’ve learned throughout their lives. But even an untrained barking dog may still deter burglars.

FOR MORE SECURITY TIPS AND SOLUTIONS, STICK WITH BOYD & ASSOCIATES SECURITY

Dogs are not a replacement for  24/7 home security and alarm monitoring services. Instead, think of them as a furry extra layer to supplement your home safety! 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.

 

Home Security and Spring Cleaning Guide: How to Prep for Safer, Warmer Months

Depending on the weather in California, you may find yourself in flip-flops one day and furry boots the next. But there is no denying that warm, glowing orb that’s suddenly making more frequent appearances: Sun’s out. Spring is coming!

During COVID-19, many of us have already become legitimate cleaning and disinfecting ninjas — so a little spring cleaning? No sweat! Take advantage of this mindset, and any extra time you have at home, to make your home a more pleasant place to be.

But don’t stop at dusting and power-washing; it might be time to clean up your home security, too!

Why spring cleaning is the perfect time for a home security check

As stay-at-home orders and state guidelines continue to shift, people everywhere will be pumped to step out into the sunshine. Summer may still not be completely back to normal this year. But overall, we expect the trend of people spending more time away from home during the warmer months will hold true.

Crime often rises after we “spring forward” at Daylight Saving Time.

When temperature rises outdoors, we take more time off, get more active, go on more vacations, and just stay out later. It’s probably no coincidence that home burglary rates increase during summer months, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Some spring cleaning tasks can make your home safer.

For some, spring cleaning may be the one time of year you do a thorough deep cleaning and decluttering of your entire home. This is when we address the areas that might often get passed over, which means furniture is getting moved, and doors and windows are being examined. It’s a good opportunity to uncover safety issues, or spots where a burglar might try to break in.

Like anything else in your home, security alarm systems need regular maintenance.

If you have a smart home security system, you have probably noticed they do a lot of the thinking for you (that’s the point!). It’s easy to adapt a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. But a little bit of maintenance and regular check-ins go a long way — and milestones like Daylight Savings and the start of spring are great reminders to do just that.

Set yourself up for a safer, more secure spring and summer by making home security part of your spring cleaning ritual.

If you own a smart home security system, there are a few extra tasks we suggest adding to your checklist:

 

  1. Sanitize your security and home automation equipment.

Some of the equipment you use to control and secure your home may be hands-free — like a motion sensor — and some you might touch every day, like your panel.

From your smart thermostat to your security panel to your cameras, make sure your security and home automation devices are on your spring cleaning list. Too much dust and debris can interfere with how devices like smoke detector’s function. Play it safe and keep ’em clean!

  1. Set up a schedule to test your system.

If you have professionally monitored security, it is important to test your system to make sure it’s communicating properly with the monitoring center. It is simple to do and will give you peace of mind.

We recommend testing once a month, and after making any adjustments in your home that that may impact your system, such as landline, internet, and broadband service changes. If you are planning to do any remodeling or home renovations, make a note to test your system afterwards. It’s also a good idea to do a test a week before taking a vacation as an extra precaution.

  1. Update your emergency contacts.

Take a minute to make sure all of your account information is correct, and update your emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts are the people your monitoring team will call if anything goes wrong, and they can’t get in touch with you.

  1. Set up your security notifications.

All the bells and whistles that come with a smart home system are amazing, but ultimately, your safety and peace of mind is what it’s all about. Alerts and notifications provide instant awareness anywhere via your smartphone. If you haven’t programmed any alerts or notifications for your system yet, get started now!

Get smart home security for better home protection this spring

A professionally installed and monitored smart home security solution will give you peace of mind and confidence, especially during your warm weather excursions.

Even if you’re still on the fence or aren’t sure what you need in a system, you can learn more about the benefits of smarter security by contacting us today!

 

 

 

5 Security Tips for Safe Online Shopping

E-commerce has made shopping faster and more convenient. Today, approximately 69% of Americans have made an online purchase. By 2023, the United States will have 300 million online shoppers (91 percent of the country’s population).

However, online shoppers who do not properly secure their personal data are more susceptible to cyber attacks and identity theft.

Below, we provide five tips to secure personal and financial information online and ensure safe delivery of online purchases.

  1. Buy from Credible Websites

Understand the potential risks of shopping online, such as identity theft or fraud, to properly safeguard your sensitive information.

Shop only on credible websites. Cyber attackers often pose as e-retailers to obtain personal and financial data or gain access to devices. Avoid falling victim to a cyber attack with the following precautions:

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious emails or links. Cyber attackers may use vicious malware in emails or links to obtain sensitive data, such as credit card information or social security numbers.
  • Familiarize yourself with the e-retailer’s privacy policy. Ensure your confidential information will not be disclosed or sold to a third party.
  • Read customer reviews. Research unfamiliar online retailers and be wary of particularly negative reviews, and look for suspiciously positive reviews (which may be false or unreliable).
  • Understand the e-retailer’s return policy. Be aware of proper return procedures should you be unsatisfied with a product.
  1. Connect to a Secured Network

An unsecured network could leave your personal and financial data vulnerable to attack, as it is easily accessible to cyber criminals. Be aware of online shopping risks while on the go, and use the following security tips:

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi networks. Cyber attackers may easily intercept sensitive data through an unsecured network.
  • Connect to a virtual private network (VPN) whenever possible. VPNs encrypt your data and protect sensitive information from being stolen.
  • Shop on websites that contain “https://”. Look for sites that include “https://” in the address, which indicates that data is encrypted and not accessible to cyber attackers.
  1. Use Secure Payments

Compromising personal payment information could lead to identity theft or fraudulent use. Credit cards are the safest payment method for online transactions as opposed to ATM or debit cards. This is because online shoppers are typically less liable for loss from unauthorized use. Take the following actions to secure online payments and protect financial data:

  • Continually check credit card statements for irregularities. Identify and promptly respond to any fraudulent activity. Contact your bank to see if an automatic feature that alerts you of suspicious account activity is offered.
  • Never store credit card data on your devices. Re-enter credit card information for each transaction to prevent users with access to your device from taking advantage of stored information.
  • Refrain from providing unnecessary information. Avoid supplying retailers with highly sensitive information, such as your social security number or date of birth.
  • Utilize “virtual” credit cards. Use the alternate card number provided by the issuer to protect your actual credit card information in the case of a breach.
  1. Protect Smart Devices

Shopping on a mobile device offers convenience for shoppers. However, it can significantly increase security risks. Properly secure your smart device to mitigate the risk of compromising personal information:

  • Download and purchase from credible retailers’ mobile applications to ensure secure transactions.
  • Install updated security software, such as antivirus or anti-spyware, on your device as it becomes available.
  • Protect your phone with a unique and complex password, PIN or pattern.
  • Use two-factor authentication to confirm your identity with at least two types of credentials. For example, your phone may require your passcode and your fingerprint to unlock, or your email may require a password and a numeric code sent to your phone.
  1. Utilize Video Surveillance Cameras

After making an online purchase, ensure your package arrives safely at your doorstep with surveillance cameras or doorbell cameras. Monitor your front door from any web-enabled device in real-time to:

  • Confirm your package arrives on time.
  • Ensure delivery workers handle items with care.
  • Ward off or identify burglars who may attempt to steal your packages.

Cyber security should not be taken lightly. Work with your trusted security provider at Boyd & Associates to properly equip your home and devices for the best cyber protection.