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3 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Rental Property Safe - 1st Ace Security

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As a landlord or holiday house owner, you can’t always be on-site to ensure the safety of your rental property. But, as we know better than most, this doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to deter burglars looking for an easy break-in. So, without further adieu, let’s explore some practical ways to protect your rental property from intruders…

Secure All Entrances

Of course your property has a door, maybe even a few! But are these doors safe, installed with double-cylinder deadbolts? If you’re not sure the answer to this question then you must check all entrances, making sure the locks are secure and the doors aren’t hollow. Metal and solid wood doors are your safest bet, as they are incredibly sturdy and hard to kick through without spending lots of time making a huge racket.

If you are a landlord, you should also encourage tenants to take their own safety precautions – suggesting that they leave certain lights on at certain times of the day/night when they are out and providing door jammers for added, simple precaution.

In addition, you’ll also want to consider changing the locks upon evicting a tenant to certify the safety of newcomers. Even if you have been able to obtain the keys, you cannot be sure the tenant hasn’t had them copied. This will give you peace of mind and is good practise.

Install A Security System

If you leave your rental property unoccupied for long periods at a time, or simply want to take responsibility for the protection of your property, it is worth installing a security system. Security systems are often deemed a big investment, but they become priceless in the instance of a break-in. Consider the price of your property and the possessions inside and you’ll soon see why it’s a vital asset to have…

The are a variety of different options on the market to choose from, so finding on to fit within your budget shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve got an idea of what you need in mind. Many modern security devices are self-installed and able to be integrated to operate on your smartphone, so if your tenant looses their keys you’ll be able to let them in.

Tenants are likely to be willing to pay a little extra for added security measures, so if you can’t afford to fork it out it may be worth asking them to contribute.

Hire A Property Manager

If you own a large property, like a block of flats or sizeable house, that serves several tenants, then hiring a property manager is definitely something to look into. You can employ someone part-time or full-time, whichever you feel will work best.

The idea of a property manager is to have some presence on the premises that you can rely on. This is off-putting to burglars and reassuring for renters, not to mention a huge comfort to landlords unable to perform regular upkeep of their own.

Property managers can be trained to screen tenants before you take them on, produce reports of the local area and make note of suspicious activity. Dependant on the area, this may be more necessary that one would hope.

Rentals can be a great investment, but only if you keep them safe and retain their value! If you’re ready to squash your security issues, get in touch with 1st Ace Security for more advice and professional products.

Moving Home? Don’t Let Security Issues Ruin The Experience! - 1st Ace Security

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Whatever your reason for moving home is, the chances are you want the process to run as smoothly as possible. Relocating is renowned for being a stressful, chaotic time but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hope for the best and do our best to arrange what we can to ensure anxiety is kept to a minimum. One of the most overlooked things to consider when putting a plan of action together for the big move is the security of your new home, your old home and all of your precious possessions.

Today we thought we’d give you a helping hand, highlighting some of the biggest risk factors to be aware of and advising how best to ensure they do not affect you and your overall experience! Ready? Grab and pen and notebook, you’ll want to remember this:

Why does moving house put us at risk?

OK, so stress is a factor that puts us at risk immediately. We all know that the more overwhelmed we are, the more forgetful and carefulness we become. It is really easy to be distracted when you’re in the mist of moving house, picking up boxes, moving things around and loaded one or maybe even two removal vans – it’s a lot for anyone to manage, even professionals.

But stress isn’t the only risk. Your front door is likely to be unlocked and your home left unaccompanied for much longer than it usually would be. The chaos attracts opportunists, and it only takes a few seconds for someone to turn their back and a burglar to grab whatever they want…

How do I protect my household possessions during this chaotic time?

It takes awesome organisation skills, to put it simply. Be hands on, even if you have hired a team to do all of the heavy work for you. After all, the ultimate responsibility lies on your hands, and a failure of any kind will affect you the most. The best tip of ours is to create an inventory of boxes and note exactly what values are in which box. A more obvious tip is to load the boxes from the house directly into the van, without leaving them outside for even a short period of time unattended.

You’ll have to be really cautious of the removal van also, as it can be tempting to leave it unlocked or unattended while concentrating so much on your possessions. The ideal scenario would be for you to get a driver, friend or family member to keep a watchful eye over both the van and the items at all times. Of course, extremely valuable items, important documents and fragile items are best kept on your person at all times. This includes jewellery, passports and birth certificates.

How do I know what the risks are in if I’m new to an area?

To add to all of the above, you also have to give thought to the security risks in your new area. You know what to watch out for (to some extent) in a neighbourhood you know, but this may not be so clear if moving to a completely new location. Our only advice here is to make friends with the neighbours as soon as you can, research the local crime rates and even ask the question in private online forums.

You can’t predict someone else’s actions, ever, but you can obtain a fairly accurate idea of the level and types of crime in a specific area, which will indicate trends that you can compare to your current area and therefore apply the correct safety measures.

What do I do to protect my new home upon arrival?

Again, this is no time for faffing about making a scene – you have a job to do and it certainly doesn’t involve unloaded boxes just to leave them pilled up outside… Take them straight on through to a safe spot in the house, preferably somewhere away from a window or at least that will be easy put up some makeshift blinds/curtains for the night. Don’t unlock the back door unless you’re using it and have a close eye on every entrance.

Also, take the precaution of changing all of the locks, as it is impossible to tell how many duplicate keys were cut (and lost) by previous owners beforehand. The new house may have an alarm system already installed and you’ll want to know exactly how to use it, especially if you have no idea of its existing password used by the previous owners. Contact the seller for a manual and ask any questions you may have. If you’re due an update, don’t prolong it. And if the house is a blank canvas, without any alarm, protective gate or other home security measures, get in contact with 1st Ace Security to see how we can install safety features that will give you utter peace of mind today…

Unusual Home Security Tips - 1st Ace Security

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William Golden, an ex-offender, started stealing from high street stores when he was just 14 years old. With his mother struggling with her diagnosed HIV and his sisters complaining of hunger, he turned to burglary as a means to feed his family.

In 2012 William’s luck ran out as he was spotted robbing a house. A neighbour caught a glimpse and quickly rung the police to turn him in. He has spent over a month in prison for aggravated burglary and now calls himself a “changed man”.

In the hope to somewhat give back what was lost due to his actions, he is now sharing his top home security tips for those looking to safeguard their home from thieves….

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8 Ways To Protect Yourself From Package Theft - 1st Ace Security

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When you order something online or send your friend a gift, you expect it to be delivered safe and sound. Though most parcels and packages do make it to the correct front doors in good condition, they don’t always stay put for long – especially in holiday seasons. This is because thieves will actually cruise round neighbourhoods in search of boxes left on doorsteps… and steal them. Others go as far to stalk specific delivery trucks, so not only do they know where to find the goods, but they also know exactly what they’re getting.

Much like any theft, package robbery can cause huge upset and is able to strip decent people of considerable sums of money. Take measures to minimise your potential of being a victim of package theft by reading these 8 precautionary suggestions:

Install a locking mailbox and check it early on in the day

This won’t stop thieves from trying to break into your mailbox, but it will certainly make it a whole lot harder for them to get at your goods. Plus, if you check your mail early enough you’ll leave a really small window in which you could become a target. If for some reason you cannot retrieve your mail daily, ask a trusted neighbour to collect it for you.

Use UPS or FedEx to ensure you can track the progress of packages

Tracking and tracing your package or parcel is a really good idea, especially if you’re living in flats, are on holiday or are constantly at work. Tracking the progress of your parcel is the most accurate way to obtain an estimated time of arrival. Using such a service also means that you can arrange a close friend or family member to go and collect the package for you, without requiring them to wait around for the delivery.

If the above is not possible, ask the shipper to provide you with a window of time when the package will be delivered

Even having a very basic timeframe in which you can expect the package to be delivered can be highly helpful. If the shipper says, “it will be with you between 11am – 1pm” then you won’t have to stay in waiting the entire day. Instead you can go for your morning stroll and even pick up your kids from nursery like usual! Why waste the day when you don’t need to?

Alert recipients when sending a package, so they know what to expect and when

If you’re sending a gift or even money in a card, be clever enough to alert the recipients beforehand. This way they can keep their eye out for a parcel in the post or let their neighbours know that something will be coming for them. In addition to this, you’ll also be able find out whether or not the item was delivered on time and to the right place.

Insure the contents you’re sending

Although making recipients aware of a parcel they should receive is helpful in terms of delivery confirmation, it won’t do anything other than disappoint or upset the recipients if the package gets stolen somewhere along the way. To avoid this situation, insure all of the contents you’re sending – especially if they’re irreplaceable or expensive.

Send packages via recorded delivery

Recorded delivery gives you extra peace of mind when sending a precious parcel, as it includes proof of delivery and requires a signature on delivery. Using the Royal Mail recorded delivery service, you can check online to see whether or your item has been delivered.

If you’re going away, have packages shipped to your work place instead

Work places are usually very busy and well protected, which makes them a great delivery address option for when you’re ordering something online. Having CCTV cameras, a reception area and a constant flow of people coming in and out makes it hard for thieves to go for your goods with any success.

And most importantly, set up a reliable surveillance camera as part of your home security system

Of course, there is another deterrent that has proven to work and that’s displaying obvious home CCTV cameras. This option is great for those who don’t have a local newsagents or suitable place of work that they can send their deliveries to, though is it highly recommended for anyone who can afford to fork out a small amount for general protection purposes.

What Is Wireless Security & What Does It Mean For My Home - 1st Ace Security

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You may think you know the definition of wireless, but when it comes to shopping for home security, the likelihood of you quickly becoming confused is high. You see wireless has two principal meanings in the world in household electronics, as follows:

  1. Some wireless security systems work by communicating alarm signals to a monitoring centre using a cellular connection. In this instance, the connection is delivered by a cellar radio that is embedded into the control panel.
  2. Other wireless security systems sometimes referred to as wireless sensor communication solutions work slightly differently, in that the communication path between the sensors and the control unit in your home operates on a short-range radio frequency.

With these definitions in mind, separating the different systems and solutions should become a whole lot easier. Nevertheless, it may not (yet) be clear which definition counts, or what any of this means for you and the safety of your property, so allow us to elaborate…

Burglars cut phone lines and Internet connections prior to or when targeting a home that they suspect to have an alarm system. To do this, all the burglar requires is a simple pair of wire cutters.

Cellular connection, however, is far more difficult to interfere with and while we know no technology can be temperamental at times, this type of communication is far less vulnerable when compared to a phone line or WiFi.

That being said, who said you had to choose either?

Forget what you’ve heard from dodgy salesmen and take it from the experts; always opt for an alarm that combines wireless sensors and a cellular radio. That way, you’ll be doubly protected.

How Often Should I Change My Locks? - 1st Ace Security

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Houses come in all shapes and sizes. They have different layouts, different purposes and different interiors, but there is one thing every home has and that’s at least one lock or more. Locks are predominately used for two things: to protect your personal safety and to safeguard important possessions. In 2016, we don’t know one homeowner who doesn’t have a lock on their front and back doors, which isn’t surprising, considering the type threat not having one leaves.

Nevertheless, what is surprising is how often these locks are changed. Even in the 21st century, where robbery is a widespread worry, a recent study showed over half of movers do not change their locks after buying a pre-owned property.

As alarming as this may sound, changing locks isn’t something suggested for home security. There aren’t any campaigns to promote awareness on this subject, nor is it something brought up or talked about in friendship groups, which is why we thought it important to share a few specific instances in which a lock-change is vital. Take a look:

  1. When moving into a new place

As we hinted above, it is extremely important to change all of the locks in any property you buy, both pre-owned and new on the market. Not only will this protect your new home from unwanted visitors, it will also ensure your home insurance policy is valid, as if there is no force of entry at a break-in it’s not actually classed as a ‘break-in’. If you think this is an overreaction then consider how many hands those keys have been in prior to you – they would have circulated among not only potential buyers but also buyers’ agents! As they say, it’s best to be safe than sorry!

  1. When locks become stiff, unable to turn

One of the most obvious signs you need to change your locks is when they become difficult to turn. Though locks are usually well-designed and durable, wear and tear will affect them over time and as they are the only things standing in between your possessions, irreplaceable heirlooms and more importantly, your personal safety, there’s no point in taking the risk for the sake of a few bucks.

  1. Immediately after a break-in

Break-ins are the type of thing you never think will happen to you, until it does. It can be super distressing to experience a break-in and as a result many victims are so shocked by the incident that they are distracted enough to forget to change their locks right away. Of course, support during this time is just as vital, so get a professional security service on board to help you set up a new safety system. Making the home safe again will put you and your families mind at ease, allowing you to still get a good night sleep after all the drama.

  1. When you’ve lost your keys outside

We all get flustered, unorganised moments where you panic and forget where you last left your keys – it’s a human thing. However, misplacing your keys within the comfort of your own home is one thing, loosing them out on the street is another – anyone could pick them up! To save trouble later on down the line, change your locks as soon as you realise they’re gone for good.

  1. After lending keys to 3rd parties

Many of us hire house sitters or have family members come in to feed pets while we are away and though it’s likely the person you get to carry out these tasks are trustworthy, it’s never a good idea to dish out open-access to your home. You may trust your house sitter, but she/he may trust someone else to the job for you, meaning the keys to your home could be passed out to someone you don’t even know. There are all kinds of possibilities to watch out for when someone has the ability to unlock your castle – take control, let them know you, and only you, are the king!

With these five instances in mind, do you think it’s time to change your locks? Have you found this article useful? Let us know using the comments section below and if you have any questions, head over to http://www.1stacesecurity.co.uk/ where you can chat with a professional.

Happy National Home Security Month! - 1st Ace Security

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Home security has all-year-round importance, but sometimes it’s good to refresh people’s memories and remind them just how vital it is to safeguard your house and protect your belongings from burglars and break-ins. National Home Security Month was created for this very reason and now returns for its fourth consecutive year, to raise awareness and spread advice!

Here at 1st Ace, we’re always looking for opportunities to share our expert expertise and help homeowners improve their security protection. Today we are going to do that just, providing a checklist for you to follow, in honour of home security month. So, get ready to press print and start ticking off tasks – and remember, we’re only a phone call away if you ever need specialist security support…

GATEWAYS

  • Install gates at the front and rear of your property
  • Secure gates with professional, weatherproof padlocks
  • Put spikes or anti-climb paint on gates that can be climbed

OUTBUILDINGS

  • Install locks on all windows
  • Secure expensive items, such as bikes, with anchors or cables
  • Make note of all property in sheds, garages and outbuildings
  • Install battery powdered alarms
  • Secure doors with weatherproof padlocks and hasps

MAIN ENTRY & OTHER EXITS

  • Install a residential access control solution
  • Secure all doors with a mortise locks or nightlatch
  • Consider updating all doors to composite British Standard models
  • Make use of a door chain
  • Put in a letterbox restrictor

CCTV

  • Ensure you have a reliable internal and external system
  • Choose a system with HD camera quality and LED night vision
  • Request remote access via tablet or smartphone apps
  • Ensure your system has a recordable hard drive

ALARM SYSTEMS

  • Install a reliable alarm system with PIR detectors
  • Ensure your chosen system has a remote key fob
  • Install a panic button(s)
  • Request remote access via tablet or smartphone apps.

Stay safe! And feel free to share this checklist with your family and friends to guarantee their home security is consistent, modern and expertly advanced to deter criminals.

How to Keep Your Garage Secure - 1st Ace Security

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There aren’t all that many of us who would be proud to show of the contents of our garage. Usually, garages are where we store stuff that has no other place in the home. They’re not kept as tidy or clean as the insides of our homes but this doesn’t mean that they don’t contain expensive equipment and important keep-sakes, not to mention cars and motorbikes.

You see, when you add up the contents of the average garage, it amounts to an impressive sum of money. Keeping your garage secure is therefore just as vital as safeguarding your home, especially if the two are connected via an internal door. Today we thought we’d share some advice on garage security, to ensure you have all the information required to implement the necessary security measures.

Take Extra Precautions Depending on Location

The first thing to consider when looking to secure your garage is whether or not is overlooked. Is it easily accessible via an alleyway? Can it be seen from the street? If you believe your garage to be particularly venerable, you should take extra precautions. Installing an alarm system, fencing or surveillance cameras could be what it takes to keep burglars at bay.

Upgrade Locks and Doors

It’s real common for families to move into a house with a garage and never actually check the security of the doors and locks. We assume everything will be fine, but that makes us a tempting target. No matter where your garage is located or how confident you are in the area, your garage door should be certified security level 1 by the Loss Prevention Certification Board. Your lock should have a SS312 Sold Secure Diamond rating and a 3 star TS007:2012 British Kitemark rating.

Fix Up Internal Doors

If, in the worst-case scenario, none of the above precautions work and your garage does get broken into, then it is critical that your internal door prohibits easy access. If you have an internal door that connects your garage to your home, then this door should be just as secure as your front door. Front doors are often made from soild-core wood, reinforced steel or uPVC. It’s down to you to decide which you opt for, but whatever you choose request a peep hole – that way you won’t ever have to actually go into the garage to investigate suspicious activity!

Need help securing your garage from intruders? Then contact us today to see which crime prevention tools we can suggest for you.

Personal Safety Devices for the Independent Homeowner - 1st Ace Security

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Choosing to be independent can have its downfalls but it can also have its benefits. With more single adults than ever before, the amount of properties being sold to individuals rather than families and couples is growing. As security advisors and advocates, 1st Ace is dedicated to helping keeping homes secure.

In today’s article we’re going to look at maintaining independence without compromising on personal safety. Though having a second eye on the ball can undoubtedly help, new technology advances mean safety devices and apps available on the market are just as, if not more, effective when it comes to protecting your home. Ready to hear more? Great! Lets get started…

Door Stop Alarm

It may not be revolutionary, but a door stop alarm can help give you peace of mind when you’re alone in the house. Slide it under the front or back door when it’s unlocked to ensure you have a heads-up and are able to scare away any intruders.

Cat Defence Keychain

And if the door stop alarm doesn’t cause fear enough for them to take flight, there’s always the cat defence keychain. The cat defence keychain can be easily reached for and as the cat eyes become finger holes and the ears become solid spikes, there’s no chance an attacker will get away unharmed or undetected.

Access Control

There’s no better way to protect your home than to ensure you have secure locks, doors and windows. However, residential access control can be especially beneficial if you’re living alone. Choose from code, card, retinal scan and finger print access systems to put off unwanted visitors drawn to your property.

Keyholding Services

Living alone is peaceful most of the time. But when you go away, even if its just for the day, it is important to know that someone is ready and waiting to respond, rapidly. Such keyholding services are able to be on-call, around the clock.

Do you live alone? Will you be looking into any of the systems or products we’ve mentioned above? Leave us a comment below to let us know!

Home Security: Tips and Quotes from The Experts - 1st Ace Security

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Having running water, hot food and a roof over your head is the first step to surviving.

Living requires a whole lot more luxuries, and one of the most important comforts in the 21st century is effective home protection, to ensure your house is safe from intruders. It used to be that a good, hefty front door and a little wooden gate was enough to discourage criminals from breaking into your home and stealing all your goods, but sadly as technology advances so do burglars.

In 2016, there’s only one way to address this issue and that is to install the very best security systems and take extra precautions to guard your home. However, while some homeowners are able to spend a ton of money on complex, professionally installed security systems, other homeowners simply have to deal with the reality that they are unable to do the same. Luckily, there are home security options on the market today to cover all budgets and requirements, but before you buy check-in with the experts for some tips and tricks:

Shep and Nancy Bryan, Co-Founders of Maximum Security Safes

“In the event that parts of a security system should fail, the last line of defence for any home security system should be your safe. This means that you have already implemented other lines of defence to deter a burglar, such as a dog with a good bark, signs saying you have an alarm system, and of course your actual alarm system. If you want to take your security system a step further, you can also sync your safe with your alarm system. This way, in case of a home invasion, if the burglar tries to get you to open your safe, you can enter an alternate code, which will open the safe, but notify your company at the same time!”

Steven J. Coppola, President of APB Security Systems

“Don’t automatically assume that do it yourself systems are less expensive. In an industry where most licenced professionals routinely offer free or highly discounted installations in return for a central station monitoring commitment, consider the benefits.”

David Nance, Nationally Acclaimed Safety Expert

“My most important tip for homeowners installing DIY home security systems would be to invest in securing all main entrance points and all ground floor windows and doors. More than 50% of home invasions are occurring through first floor entry points.”

Timothy Dahl, DIY Enthusiast

“You not only want to choose a security system that fits your budget and has the devices you need most, but you also need to consider costs for upgrading your system and if they have enough products to fit your future needs, as most people end up expanding on their current system if they are happy with it.”

Dr. Steve Albrecht, Security Consultant & Threat Assessment Expert

“Always get cameras that can work in all types of light. Cameras that give great images during the day don’t always show anything useful at night and vice versa. Related to that is the image itself; the need for a high-quality image, that can be captured to a DVR and printed as a screenshot and given to the cops following a burglary or other incident is critical. Fuzzy, blurry, grainy shots that can’t help the cops identify the face clearly are useless. I’ve seen camera images where it’s hard to identify if it is a mammal!!”

Checklist of Lessons Learned, to Conclude:

  • A safe isn’t old school, it’s important.
  • Protective animals can provide great home protection.
  • DIY security systems aren’t always cheaper.
  • Not all security systems are compatible with each other.
  • If on a budget, focus on first floor entry points most.
  • Check camera quality in both day and night, before buying.