Over the festive period consumers launch into full spend mode, purchasing millions of pounds of products in the run up to Christmas day. With busy schedules and general hectic lifestyles, we are very rarely at home to take delivery of our goods. What does this mean? Our packages are often left on our doorstep in full view for everyone to see and unfortunately deliveries left in this way by couriers are likely to be stolen by opportunist thieves.
You can take a few simple steps to prevent your deliveries from being left on your doorstep.
1. Leave Instructions For Your Courier
When placing an order you can leave a message at the checkout with specific delivery instructions.
Notify of a safe space; Add specific delivery instructions like ‘Please leave inside the BBQ’
Change delivery address; Send your parcel to your workplace, friend or neighbour and collect later.
Send Signed For; Sending your parcel with a signed for service requires your signature on delivery.
Live Tracking; Some couriers allow you to live track your parcel so you know exactly when it’ll arrive.
2. Utilise Home Surveillance Home security surveillance can protect your deliveries.
Install a camera; Having a video camera pointing directly at your doorstep is sure to deter thieves.
Add Smart Locks; Using smart locks enables you to lock and unlock your door remotely, meaning you can ask a neighbour to take your parcel inside.
Receive notifications; Receive notifications that your camera has been triggered
Utilise Camera Microphones; Once you receive notification that your camera has been triggered you can speak directly to the courier through your camera, as if you were actually home.
If you suspect your delivery to be stolen you can take measures to recoup your loses. Firstly, you need to contact your courier company and find out if delivery was successful. Secondly if you have paid just that little bit extra to insure your package you should have no issues with claiming a refund or replacement item. Still at a loss? File an official complaint with your courier and start a claims process. A claims process can be lengthy. To ensure you will be covered make sure you send insured!
When it comes to securing your home what do you think of securing? We usually think of securing the outside of the building to prevent break ins, adding surveillance equipment and secure locking systems to the exterior. If you are a new parent you may not have thought about securing the inside of your property. We know we would do anything we could to protect our children from potential harm so securing the inside of your home is a must for any new parent.
It is impossible to be with our children 24/7, whether we are in the home or not. Below we detail 3 top security must haves for new and existing parents to ensure you can keep tabs on your children always, when present and away.
1. Video Surveillance Camera’s
Install video surveillance cameras to keep tabs on your children when you cannot be in the room. You can verify the safety of your child from anywhere in the house and only enter to check on them when necessary.
Conceal power cords; Use covers to hide cords.
Set motion sensor; Turn on motion detection to alert when movement is detected.
Place at safe distance; Place out of reach from a baby’s cot.
Consider vantage point; Make use of space by positioning camera at optimum vantage point.
2. Image Capture Sensors
Enable image sensors to keep track of your child around the home. Connect to your mobile device to receive instant image notifications.
Image sensors allow you to
Detect movement; Detect movement in the nursery and address immediately.
See instant images; See images when other security devices are triggered, such as a door alarm.
Receive notifications; Receive notifications when your child leaves a room or enters areas off limits.
3. Safety Locks
Install safety locks to prevent children from entering dangerous areas. Safety locks can be placed on cabinet doors that contain medicines or cleaning substances. Also use to prevent children from entering hazardous areas like the kitchen or utility room.
Check lock installation; Ensure the locks are secure at all times.
Use a professional; Use a trustworthy professional to install or check installation of the locks.
General safety tips
As well as securing the inside of your home consider more general safety tips to ensure a maximum safe environment.
Secure furniture; Add brackets to wardrobes, cabinets, dressers and TVs to prevent them falling.
Be first aid aware; Take a course in CPR for life threatening emergencies and learn how to unblock airways.
Install fire guards; Add guards to open fires or fireplaces.
Install safety gates; Partition rooms with gates to prevent access to restricted areas.
When you think about home security, you think locks and gates, security guards and CCTV. We very often overlook fire detection, and fear intruders far more. But as the past has taught us, flames have the power to cause the type of damage no human ever could.
There are plenty of different noisemakers on the market – alarms triggered by smoke and heat – so in the very unusual instances that we do consider fire detection, we simply opt for the cheapest. What we fail to consider and are all too quick to overlook even when pointed out, is how useless a fire alarm is if it isn’t monitored.
Our homes are left unattended all the time. And it only takes a second or so for something to catch fire and spread. If we’re in the house and an alarm goes off, great – it’ll wake us up when we’re asleep and alert us to either address the situation or get out. If we’re away, on holiday say, then… what?
The chances of a neighbour hearing, let alone acting quick enough, are very slim. It is for this reason that we always suggest a monitored system that comes as part of your home security package.
The Benefits of Adding Monitored Fire Detection to Your Alarm System
Non-monitored smoke alarms don’t have the ability to summon assistance. Sure, you’ll meet most building codes and regulations but this won’t help you if ever you find yourself at home, overcome by thick smoke, or away trying to catch a break unaware of an emergency!
Besides the protection of your possessions and family members, there are pets to consider – many of which are left home alone all the time. The last thing you want is for them to be trapped in a burning building with no one to rescue them.
Fire monitoring will help you to avoid the horrific repercussions a house fire can have. It could also work well in your favour when it comes to getting yourself a good home insurance deal.
Everything You Need to Know About Heat and Smoke Sensors
The best alarm monitoring systems rely solely on security cellular connections. Not all wireless devices will run off this – some use a phone line or Internet connection. The most secure is the cellular, so look for a device that combines that with these three following fire detection technologies:
The smoke detection aspect uses photoelectric technology, which is able to sense airborne particulate. The sensor basically samples the air and if it discovers smoke or ash, it’ll let you know immediately – possibly before you could even smell it see it yourself.
Fixed temperature sensor
Heat is detected uses a fixed temperature sensor, which triggers an alarm at 135 degrees F. This aspects is a crucial one, but could not be used as standalone safety technology – hence the smoke detection and rate of rise temperature sensors to support it.
Rate of rise temperature sensor
The rate of rise temperature sensor works by determining if a room temperature is increasing at a dramatic rate (over 15 degrees F within a 60-second period). If this sensor detects an unusual rate of rise in temperature like this it will activate its monitored alarm.
You will find plenty of fire detection options that contain one of the above, but again the trick is to look for one that combines all three and utilises cellular connections.
The Best Places in the Home to Put Your Smoke and Heat Sensors
It’s a common misconception that you should put smoke and heat sensors in the corners of your home, where the wall and the ceiling meet. Though this won’t hinder the effectiveness of the sensor altogether, it’s not the best position. We recommend placing them on high on the wall or actually on the ceiling, as this is where you will get the most accurate response.
Many people believe that, as there is often an open flame in the kitchen, this is a good location for a smoke and heat sensor. Though this is the case, it is also true that there’s a heightened possibly of a false alarm in this area. We advise saving your fire detectors for hallways, bedrooms, staircases and main living areas. Bathrooms are also ones to avoid, as sensors can often misinterpret the steam as smoke.
So there you have it. A full breakdown of the reasons why fire detection is just as an important part of home security as intruder alarms, and a guide on what to look for when it comes choosing the right system for home. We hope you’ve found this post useful and ask that you kindly pass the link onto your friends and followers using the links below if you have!
With thousands of homeowners and renters already using Air BnB as a means of making some spare cash, it’s becoming increasingly important to weigh up the risks involved.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of guests hosting crazy parties and opening up pop-up brothers. And we think it’s safe to say that these types of mishaps are something we’d all like to avoid.
But just how easy is it?
Today we’re going to share some of our top tips for protecting your home, including everything ranging from insurance & valuables and rules & expectations. We’ll also run through a few smart security solutions, to ensure you’re covered for all eventualities.
Ready to be hostess of the mostess?
Insurance & Valuables
Even though AirBnB has its own insurance system that’ll cover certain types of damage, they don’t protect your debit or credits cards, financial papers, cheques, jewellery or birth certificates.
The best way around this without spending a heap of money looking for an all-inclusive policy is to simply store your valuables in a safety deposit box, either at the bank, on your person or in a discrete place within your property.
Of course, for a safety deposit box to be of any real value, you must ensure it is kept under strict lock and key – at all times!
Rules & Expectations
To book a reservation at any Air BnB, guests must agree to their hosts’ lists of house rules. These often include off-limit areas, pet policies and smoking arrangements.
If a guest happens to break a house rule, the host is able to cancel their reservation without penalty, which is why it’s incredibly important to compile a comprehensive list with all specifics for the upmost protection.
Failing to do so means that you could have to house guests that have no respect for your home or the possessions within it. The ability to set out clear rules means that you’re able to better manage expectations and therefore attract the right visitors.
Tech & Tools
While smart security solutions do have a real purpose in the Air BnB market, it is of paramount importance that you’re aware that the company prohibits hosts from using hidden cameras or any sort of surveillance system to spy on guests.
The presence of any such device must be disclosed clearly, or you face penalties. See the official statement for assurance:
“If you’re a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you let guests know by including this information clearly in your listing description and photographs. If a host discloses the device after booking, AirBnB will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund. Host cancellation penalties may apply.”
Nevertheless, there’s an abundance of technology you can and should make great use off. These include:
To ensure your private letters aren’t picked up and opened by nosey guests.
To verify identities of guests, even when you can’t physically be there!
To provide you with full access control and allow for seamless key exchanges.
To keep a keen eye on specific areas, such as font and back entrances.
To take a less invasive approach to home security by alerting you of decibel spikes.
To keep you posted whenever a surface with valuables on it is disturbed.
To secure your router and protect yourself against cyber thieves.
Do you have experience as an Air BnB host? Share your stories with us on one of the channels below! Alternatively, call us today for a home security overhaul and ultimate peace of mind.
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.
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…
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….
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.