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Security 101

We're not in the business of spreading paranoia. In our experience, that is not what prevents burglary. Instead, we recommend you be proactive. Familiarize yourself with property crime, and develop good habits that will minimize your chances! While studies show burglars are less likely to commit crimes when confronted with a monitored home security system, there are also everyday things you can do to make your home a less appealing target.

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Know the stats - understanding burglary

Proper yard maintenance

    Yard maintenance
  • Use large, reflective numbers outside on the front of your home and mailbox to make it easy for police, fire and ambulances to find your house in case of emergency.
  • Never store a ladder on the outside of your garage or home.
  • Never put your name on your mailbox. Anyone can look up your number, call, and find out you are not home.
  • Never hide a spare key near your front door. Find a trusted neighbor or friend to keep a spare key.
  • Always trim shrubs and trees so they don't provide cover and hiding for an intruder.
  • Keep all points of entry to your home well-lit with the use of motion-sensor lights on the rear and sides of your home.

Protecting your valuables and your identity

  • Don't hide valuables or money in the freezer, under your mattress, or in the cookie jar.
  • Do not leave empty boxes from new purchases of electronics or valuables on the curb for trash pickup. It advertises that you have things worth stealing in your home.
  • Break boxes down or cut them up before discarding.
  • Use a paper shredder before you discard sensitive documents.
  • Keep expensive jewelry in a safe-deposit box.
Protecting your valuables

Preparing for a vacation

Preparing for vacation
  • Set lights on timers to turn on and off in the evening. You can also set a timer for your TV or radio to create the illusion that someone is home.
  • Suspend newspaper delivery so papers do not pile up in front of your house and put the mail on hold.
  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house, pick up any fliers, newspapers, or packages left outside and shovel your walkways if it snows.
  • Make sure that someone takes care of mowing the yard while you are away.
  • If you have an extra car, leave it parked outside in the driveway or ask a neighbor to park there while you're gone.
  • Never record a message on your voicemail or answering machine indicating that you are away.
  • Make sure to leave all your shades, curtains and blinds in the same position you normally would when you are home.
  • Consider having your home phone forward to your cell phone when you are away to give the illusion you are home when you answer the calls.

Keeping your windows secure

  • Make sure you replace or repair broken and cracked windows immediately.
  • Always keep expensive items away from windows and use window treatments on windows and doors that are easy to see into.

Miscellaneous tips

  • Get to know your neighbors as that is the only way for them to have a chance of noticing anything suspicious.
  • Never share personal information with people you don't trust and be careful who might be listening when you talk in public.
  • Often times, burglars will target the elderly, so be friendly and keep a watchful eye out for your elderly neighbors.

Resources

  • Interview with a Burglar - Who is the face behind the mask? Researchers interviewed over 400 career burglars to compile information for this e-book to help us better understand why property crime occurs and how you can use that knowledge to better protect your home.
  • Home Fire Escape Plan - Save a life and plan ahead by completing our home fire escape plan.
  • Preventing Burglary: a Guide for Citizens - With a small amount of preparation, you too can thwart would-be burglars. Read our burglary prevention guide for easy tips to protect your home and valuables.
  • Pet Fire Safety - Don't forget about your pets! Read this guide for some quick tips to protect your pets in case of a fire.
  • HomeSafe: an After-School Safety Guide for Parents and Kids - Latchkey children have unique safety needs. Read this guide for some tips and suggestions for protecting your kids when they're home alone.
  • Halloween Safety for Families - Spooking shouldn't be scary. Unfortunately, Halloween offers dangers to children in the form of traffic, food, and fire safety. Read our Halloween safety guide to see how you can make your 'witching hours' more safe.
  • Halloween Pet Safety: 10 Tips for Protecting Your Creatures of the Night - Halloween can also be a scary time for pets. Read our guide for tips on how to make Halloween a safe one for your furry friends.
  • National Crime Prevention Council - The NCPC produces tools that communities can use to learn crime prevention strategies, engage community members, and coordinate with local agencies.
  • McGruff.org - McGruff® teaches parents and children alike how to stay safe both in the home and out.
  • Home Safety Council - a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing home related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year.
  • Youth Crime Watch of America - With programs across the United States and around the world, Youth Crime Watch demonstrates that young people can make the difference in keeping their schools and communities safe from crime, drugs, and violence.
  • Fight Crime: Invest In Kids - A national, bipartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization of more than 3,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors.
  • Maine Security Resources - despite its name, this site provides a wealth of information regarding home security.
  • Neighborhood Watch Institute - For supplying excellent crime fighting material.
  • National Safety Council - News and information on safety in the home and workplace.
  • Transportation Security - Transportation Safety Administration.
  • Disaster Safety - Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Glossary

Protect America makes it easy to become a security expert with our wireless home security systems. But sometimes there are terms or home security 'lingo' that is a bit technical. While we are always happy to answer any questions or concerns, we have also provided a glossary of a few terms that you can use to become your family's home security expert.

  • Security Risk Assessment - A study that identifies potential weak spots in security and proposes ways to eliminate them, increasing safety for the property owner.
  • Security System - A device or network of devices that monitors for unauthorized activity. If such activity occurs, the system automatically notifies the property owner and appropriate authorities.
  • Select Brackets - These pieces of equipment secure the sensors to a wall or other surface.
  • Sensor Extensions - Used when a surface is not ideal for installing sensors, such as on the narrow frame of a window or door.
  • Sensor Magnets - Magnets function in connection with sensors to detect activity. Magnets attach directly to doors/windows, while the sensors attach to frames.
  • Sensors - The main method of detecting activity within the protected area. Sensors, when triggered, send signals to the monitoring system.
  • Shipping - Shipping by UPS, with options from overnight to regular shipping. Costs depend on items shipped and delivery speed.
  • Smoke Detector - A basic household fire safety device. Powered by battery or home electricity; emits a loud noise when smoke is in close proximity.
  • Soft Key - The keys on the keypad allow the user to navigate options on handsets and other devices, reflected in a display.
  • STAY - The STAY setting is in effect when the property owner is on site. Indicated by a signal when activated and deactivated.
  • Surveillance System - A tool to monitor activity in a given area remotely.
  • TCP - Allows networked users to send and receive information. Stands for "transmission control protocol."
  • Temperature Sensor - A specialized device that measures temperature and detects changes. Useful for highly sensitive security monitoring.
  • Tempered glass - Tempered glass is safer and stronger than normal glass. It resists breakage and does not shatter when broken. Commonly used in doors to provide extra safety from intruders.
  • Terms Of Product Sale - The final agreement between purchaser and seller of a home security system.
  • Terms Of Service - The agreement between property owner and security system provider. The agreement specifies the responsibilities of each party during usage of the system.
  • Theft protection - Any means of securing property from theft or of replacing it via insurance if stolen.
  • Two-way keypad - A convenient method of controlling a security system remotely. The user can activate or deactivate the system from any location, or alert the communication center of intrusion.
  • Window Lock - A physical locking mechanism operated from inside that keeps a window shut. Specific type of lock depends on the style of window.
  • Wireless Home Security - Wireless security systems are less visible, intrusive, and vulnerable than wired systems. Sensors transmit wireless signals to monitoring devices.
  • X10 system - The X10 system provides wireless switching ability to the user, for activating a variety of on/off functions within the home.
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* Standard home security alarm monitoring agreement required with approved credit. Offer subject to change. Offer valid for new customers only. Void where prohibited. Offer Expires: 02/28/2017

* Information used for home security alarm system comparisons was obtained November 2011 through telephone and online research. ADT prices: based on total out-of-pocket expense to obtain services; installation based on fees for similar home security equipment packages; "Monitoring" price listed includes the additional "warranty" or "extended service plan".