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History and Timeline of the Home Security System

The concept of the home security system is nothing new. An intrusion door alarm was invented in the early 1700s. Much like today’s security systems, it alerted homeowners of potential intruders. It was invented by Tildesley, an English inventor who linked a set of chimes mechanically to a door lock. There were other early inventions, but home security was nowhere near as advanced as today’s smart home systems.

Early Advancements in Home Security

Milestones in home security systems enabled people to rely less on guard dogs and startled animals or mechanical equipment that wasn’t always reliable. Some important names in the evolution of security alarm systems include:

  • Augustus Russel Pope: In 1853, Pope developed a prototype electro-magnetic alarm system in Boston. The battery-operated system activated when an electrical circuit was closed as a result of a door or window opening. A flow of current would cause the system’s magnets to vibrate and cause a hammer to strike a brass bell. Additional components kept the bell ringing even if a window or door was closed after the alarm was activated.

 

  • Edwin Holmes: Although not the talented inventor Pope was, Holmes bought the rights to his invention and founded the first electrical alarm system company. He was also a master at advertising, targeting a general public that was skeptical about electricity in the 19th Holmes published the names of his prominent “burglar alarm telegraph” customers in New Yorker magazine and created a brand out of the system. He even connected his customers’ alarm systems to a central control station using the New York City telephone network.

 

  • Edward A. Calahan: Calahan further developed this concept and helped form the American District Telegraph (ADT) in 1871. It divided New York City into districts connected to a central monitoring station. This was the first alarm system that could alert homeowners of a burglary and notify police and fire services simultaneously. Calahan’s emergency call boxes became standard for emergency and messenger services. His company later expanded to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.

Video Surveillance and Fire Safety Emerges

While video surveillance technology existed in the 1940s, it didn’t become mainstream until the 1970s. The images were grainy at first, but users could see images of visitors on a television monitor. An early advancement was made in 1966, when nurse Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home video security system. It was the first time a remote control could be used to open a door.

During this same era, fire alarm technology evolved. Canadian researchers conducted a study in 1962 to examine the life-saving potential of heat and smoke detectors. They found that fatalities from residential fires could be reduced by 8% using heat detectors and 41% with smoke detectors.1 Between 1975 and 1998, smoke alarms attributed to a 50% drop in fire deaths in the U.S.

In the 1980s, security became a large part of home automation technology, as automated garage doors, infrared controls, and fiber optics became mainstream. These systems became more affordable in the 1990s. Today, automated home security systems are commonplace and controlled via familiar devices, including smartphones.

Security, Monitoring, and Automation with Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates offers complete burglar alarm, fire and life safety, and alarm monitoring systems. In addition to home automation services, commercial intrusion detection, access control, and video surveillance systems are also available. To learn more about the latest in automated home security systems and services, contact us at 805-321-6664 today!

Source:
  1. McGuire J, Ruscoe B (1962) Value of a Fire Detector in the Home, Fire Study No. 9. Division of Building Research, National Research Council of Canada, p 12

Advantages of Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras, once associated with the security infrastructure of businesses, government buildings, parking garages, and other high-profile areas, have been popping up in many residential settings. These include both urban and suburban locations and in apartment buildings and single-family homes. Ease of installation and security monitoring services have made using home surveillance cameras and video systems more practical.

Here are some of the greatest advantages of installing a security camera in your home, and even your small business:

Deterrence of Criminal Activity

Real-world studies have found that security cameras and alarm systems affect a burglar’s decision on whether to move forward with their plan. In a 2013 UNC Charlotte study, half of convicted burglars said they would have left a home alone if it were under surveillance. But the effect of security cameras isn’t only on break-ins; they can reduce the theft of packages at the front door as well.

Surveillance cameras are effective when installed in individual homes, townhouses, bungalows, apartment buildings, and condominiums. But they can also protect schools and universities, stores, and shopping malls, as they’re effective at spotting vandals and shoplifters in the act.

Monitor Your Home from Anywhere

Many modern surveillance cameras can be monitored over the internet, even from a mobile device. This is useful when you’re away from home and want to keep tabs on your children or their babysitter. Smart doorbell cameras send alerts and video to your phone when the doorbell rings, so you can see who is at your front door and even communicate with them. You can also see whether packages were delivered, when your child returned home from school, or that they’re safe when you go out to dinner.

Gather Evidence

Security cameras are sophisticated devices in today’s world. They include clear images, video, and audio, so can provide just the evidence needed in a legal scenario. Whether in a legal setting or a dispute among employees or family members, the content of a video feed can help make the most appropriate decisions. Violence or harassment in the workplace and on college campuses can also be recorded so the facts of a case are apparent.

Reduced Insurance Costs

Installing a security camera and/or video surveillance system can reduce your insurance premiums. How much depends on the contract you signed with an insurance company. It helps to have a public record of installing such a system. Doing so protects insurers from fraudulent theft or robbery claims. For a business, whether office or home based, tax deductions can be made on a security system purchase.

Convenient Features

Today’s security camera systems are designed with features that enable you to get the most out of them. Some of these include:

  • Wide-angle lenses
  • Night vision
  • Two-way talk functions
  • Push notifications
  • Motion detection/activation
  • Package delivery alerts
  • Integration with smart locks/lighting
  • Mobile app monitoring/control
  • Playback of video from any time period

21st Century Home Surveillance Systems from Boyd & Associates

Boyd & Associates provides security cameras and other home automation systems for your protection. We can easily add cameras to your home security system, which record live HD video and deliver on-demand video clips to your smartphone. Alerts and notifications can be provided, while video can be monitored by our central station operators. We also provide outdoor and doorbell cameras as well as interior camera systems.

For information on these plus our alarm monitoring services, smart locks, and commercial access control systems, intrusion detection, and video surveillance, contact us today at 888-248-6617.

5 Holiday Security Tips for Businesses

Retail and commercial theft remains a significant problem in the U.S. The 31st Annual Retail Theft Survey from Jack L. Hayes International, Inc. found more than 279,000 instances of theft involving shoplifters and employees at 20 large retail companies, in 2018. The loss prevention/inventory shrinkage control consulting firm also revealed one out of every 40 employees was apprehended for theft.

Theft (including shoplifting), fraud, and other crimes increase during the seasonal spike in holiday shopping. Stealing can lead to significant losses at any store or office. Here are five security tips to help your business improve its loss prevention strategy:

Combat Employee Theft

Employee theft accounts for more inventory shrinkage than shoplifting, administrative error, and vendor fraud. A cashier may pocket change that shoppers don’t wait around for, while a sales associate may refund an unpurchased item and add its value to a gift card. There are many possible scenarios involving staff, but these precautions can help:

  • Balance the cash register after each employee’s shift
  • Rotate employee assignments
  • Compare daily receipts to items sold
  • Schedule frequent physical inventories
  • Conduct random sales audits

Reduce the Threat of Shoplifting

It’s harder to track customers who shoplift than employees who steal. They’re less easily recognized, but you can put at-risk items closer to the checkout counter to monitor them. Also, place desirable items where there’s a good line of sight. Store managers should greet customers and make their presence known, paying careful attention to people with bags, strollers, and carriages. Other precautions include posting shoplifter prosecution policies and using electronic tags detected by sensing devices at the front door.

Take Extra Security Precautions

Additional security precautions include:

  • Installing security CCTV cameras that can provide proof of theft and enable you to report a thief to law enforcement.
  • Hiring a background-checked, trained security officer who can deter and catch shoplifters in the act.
  • Ensuring your store is well lit and that inventory is well-organized.
  • Locking dressing rooms so customers must interact with retail staff.
  • Creating a clear anti-shoplifting policy to post in dressing rooms and other highly visible areas.

Review Surveillance Information 

Having a surveillance system is not enough. You must proactively monitor it; to do this, double check security cameras to ensure they’re working and capturing potential criminal activity. If not, reposition video surveillance cameras. If there are decorations and other obstructions on your commercial property, check for, remove, or reposition them so cameras, alarm systems, or motion detectors aren’t blocked.

Monitoring your live feed is also important. These days, feeds can be conveniently accessed via mobile phone apps and remote video monitoring services provided by security companies. Consider revising your alarm notification list and submitting it to the company as well. Your intrusion alarm service provider will then know who to contact during an emergency.

Encourage Employee Vigilance

Train employees to spot and report suspicious activity. You can improve office security by training workers to react to any strangers in the office building. For example, if a suspicious individual is on the property, code words can be used to relay someone is watching them or it’s believed theft is occurring. Using tenant security activity scheduling unlocks offices only when enough employees are present to supervise an area and offer adequate protection. Access control is reactivated later in the day to lock vulnerable areas.

Work with a Private Security Company

Boyd & Associates, the largest family owned security company in Southern California, provides advanced security and burglar alarm systems as well as commercial patrol, intrusion detection, access control, and video surveillance services. To learn more, request a free quote online or call 888-907-1659.

The Best Tips for Holiday Home Safety

The holiday season is a time to be festive, but it’s also a time to consider home safety, especially regarding fires.

About 30% of home fires occur during December, January, and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), resulting in 38% of home fire deaths. The NFPA also found fires involving Christmas trees and seasonal décor cause twice as many injuries and five times more fatalities than the average home fire during the winter holidays. 1

Cooking, heating, and open flames, including those from fireplaces, contribute to the danger. Christmas trees, garlands, and other holiday decorations are also sources of fires. While fire isn’t the only hazard this time of year (falls, electrocutions, and poisonings are high on the list), there are fire safety tips that can protect your home, family, and guests.

Below are tips to avoid dangerous situations and ensure children and adults remain safe this holiday season.

Christmas Tree Safety

An average of 260 home fires per year start with Christmas trees. As a result of these fires, there are about 12 deaths and $16.4 million in property damage.2 To avoid your household becoming one more statistic:

  • Choose your tree wisely: If you purchase a live tree, make sure it is green, which means it’s fresh. The needles should not break when you bend them and shouldn’t easily come off the branches. An artificial tree doesn’t guarantee fire safety despite the absence of live trimmings. If you choose to purchase one, look for a label that states it is fire-resistant. Non-combustible materials will prevent it from easily burning.
  • Place your tree carefully: Set up your tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, portable heaters, and radiators. It should be out of the way and not block doorways, so there’s no danger of someone accidentally knocking the tree over. If the tree is live, fill the stand with water, as a dry one will be less flame-resistant. Also, cut a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood that will more effectively absorb water.
  • Be careful lighting and decorating your tree: Many Christmas tree fires have electrical To avoid a problem, inspect the lighting and check for cord damage. Any damaged lights and strands should be thrown away.

Turn off lights and decorations before bedtime, or install an automatic timer, and use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to lower the shock risk. To avoid an overload, don’t connect more than 70 strings of 50-bulb mini lights or 300-600 strings of LED lights (50 bulbs each) to one circuit; don’t overload extension cords either.

  • Properly dispose of the tree: Christmas trees dry out the longer they’re in your home and become more flammable over time. A lot of tree-related home fires occur in January for this reason. When a dried-out Christmas tree burns, a complete flashover can occur in less than a minute, as found during a burn test conducted by the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission.3

Holiday Outdoor Lighting

Whenever you install holiday lights outside your home:

  • Place them near only non-combustible, flame-resistant, and flame-retardant
  • Check the label to ensure the product is certified for outdoor use.
  • Avoid damaging a cord’s wire insulation (use hooks or insulated staples rather than nails or tacks).
  • Plug outdoor electrical cords and decorations into a GFCI circuit to avoid shocks from improperly grounded
  • Even if a light string has been used before, look for damage before plugging it in.

Candle Safety

Candles cause one-third of all home decoration fires each year, whether used for decoration or during outages. Most home candle fires happen on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. 4 Fortunately, they can be easily prevented.

  • Use flameless candles: They can be as decorative as traditional candles; except they operate on batteries. Just remember to turn them off when you leave the house.
  • Don’t let a candle burn unattended: Never leave the room with a candle burning, even for a few minutes. Blowing it out easily avoids a potentially hazardous

Also, exercise caution when using candles to decorate your home. They should be at least 12 inches from any flammable item. And, use a sturdy candle holder to prevent them from tipping over.

Holiday Entertaining

To ensure the safety of your family and guests, keep in mind the following tips for entertaining:

  • Test your smoke detectors and alarms before the holiday (make sure they can be heard in the bedroom, halls, and everywhere else in your home).
  • Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working.
  • Have a fire escape plan and inform visitors of what this plan is when they arrive.
  • Keep an eye on the kitchen to make sure cooking appliances don’t catch fire.
  • Store matches and lighters up high, locked in a cabinet, and out of reach of children.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays and check them often for burning materials.

Chimney & Fireplace Safety

Failure to clean chimneys is a major contributor to home heating fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A professional chimney sweep can take care of the problem. It’s best to hire one that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, who can thoroughly inspect and clean both your chimneys and fireplaces. They can check any wood-burning stoves as well.

You can also address a few safety factors on your own, such as:

  • Clearing debris from the fireplace: Logs and firewood quickly burn into ashes, which should be cleaned up to reduce flammable material that can collect in the chimney. Also, open the damper before any fire is lit.
  • Use safe materials: Avoid using painted or pressure-treated wood. All the fuel available in the fireplace should be consumed; otherwise, the fire will burn too slowly, and hazardous materials can build up in the chimney flue.
  • Set up your fire properly: By placing larger logs on the bottom, topped by a cross-layer of smaller ones and crushed newspaper and kindling, you can have a hotter, cleaner fire. This “top-down burn” method works by lighting the newspaper and letting the flame do the rest.

Don’t Forget About Home Security

Fire and electrical safety should be your top priorities this holiday season. Fire/smoke/carbon monoxide alarm systems are available for a complete home environment monitoring solution. But you also don’t want to skimp on security, as home break-ins and theft are on the rise this time of year too. Whether you’re entertaining at home or traveling, you can depend on Boyd & Associates for state-of-the-art security systems and 24/7 alarm monitoring services.

We’re trusted throughout Southern California and provide everything from simple touchscreen controls to video surveillance systems, door and window sensors, pet-friendly motion detectors, and window break detectors.

For advice on the best systems for your home this holiday season, and for professional installation, call Boyd & Associates at 888-919-3326 or contact us online today.

Sources:
  1. https://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-data-and-statistics-359
  2. https://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-data-and-statistics-359
  3. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Winter-holidays/Holiday-fires-by-the-numbers
  4. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/holiday_infographic.pdf