10 ways to help protect your home from break-ins

Sentech Security – Fruitland, Maryland – Delmarva Peninsula

Unfortunately, there are crooks all over the place trying to steal your identity or personal property whenever they see an opportunity.

Justin Senter, owner of Sentech Security & Communications says that in the United States, a home is burglarized every 15 seconds and burglaries occurred most frequently between noon and 4 pm. Justin adds that no one was present in the residence during 80% of the burglaries.

Justin gives us 10 tips to keep your home safe:

  1. Make sure all exterior doors are in good shape and that the locks are in good working order. Push button style door handle locks are very easy for a burglar to break into. All exterior doors should have a deadbolt installed on them for the best protection. Sliding doors are the most vulnerable. There are a variety of special locks available for these.
  2. No matter where you live or how safe you think your neighborhood is, lock your car while it is in your driveway. In addition, anything of value should be removed or placed out of site.
  3. Keep the bushes around the house trimmed to prevent hiding spaces. Tall bushes make for perfect cover and allow burglars to work on breaking into windows from a hidden spot. In addition, tall bushes could also give someone a please to set up an ambush for you when you get home.
  4. Do not place empty boxes of high value items, such as electronics, on the curb for trash pick-up. These boxes are like advertising for burglars. Break them down and make sure they are out of site in your garbage or take them to the nearest recycling center.
  5. Light it up! Make sure all exterior lighting is operational. Exterior lights should have dusk to dawn sensors and/or motion sensors. It is also a good idea to leave a small light on inside, that can be seen from the street, such as a foyer or lamp in the family room.
  6. If you are going on vacation; make sure to put a hold on your mail and newspaper and set timers for lights and a radio in your home. The new home burglar alarm systems actually have automation built-in. So you can set light timers right from your smart phone. Remember, we are trying to make it look like someone is there. If you can, get a family member or close friend to check on things while you are gone. If you have a trusted neighbor, inform them of your travel plans and what types of vehicles will be coming and going from the home. I know this is difficult, but save the social media posts about vacations until after you get home. Do you trust every friend of a friend on Facebook? Don’t advertise that you are going to be away.
  7. Move any projectiles. Must burglars are don’t tote around an bunch of tools. They check for open doors 1st then resort to other measures. Any loose bricks or pavers should be moved to prevent someone from using them to break glass.
  8. If you live in a 2-story home, Store your ladders inside or lock them up with chain and pad lock. Having a ladder laying on the side of the garage or house gives a burglar an invitation to your upstairs windows.
  9. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  10. An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market. If you have a home alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system — Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them. If you do not have an alarm and would like to learn more about what they can do, give us a call, we provide FREE low pressure consultations. 410-546-0046 or http://sentechsc.com/security/contact-us/

 

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Sentech Security – Fruitland, Maryland

For over ten years, Sentech Security & Communications has been providing both residential and commercial properties with custom security solutions.  Sentech sells, installs, and provides services for burglar alarms, fire alarms, surveillance camera systems, and access control.  In addition, Sentech can provide structured cabling solutions for voice, data, or CATV.

“It’s been an exciting 10 years,” says Justin Senter, the owner of Sentech. “We started out just doing surveillance cameras and now we handle all aspects of electronic security.” Whether you are looking for a home burglar alarm or a sophisticated surveillance camera system for a multi-location business, Sentech can design and install the perfect fit.
With the advancements in the surveillance industry, technology has drastically improved and the cost has decreased.  It is now possible for even the smallest business to add surveillance cameras to their property.  “Surveillance cameras are used for much more than security,” explains Justin Senter, “They’re now being used for employee management, training, and even marketing studies.” Along with burglar and fire alarms, surveillance cameras have now become the norm in most commercial settings.

The popularity of smart phones and the use of apps have taken the security industry to a whole new and exciting level. Business owners and home owners alike are thrilled to control their alarms or view their cameras from anywhere in the world. “We use the ALARM.COM interface for all of our new customers,” said Kaleb Fisher, one of Sentech’s ALARM.COM Certified Technicians. Fisher goes on to explain that the ALARM.COM app integrates home security and home automation seamlessly. “It brings everything all together in one app. You can turn your lights on and off, get a video of who just rang the doorbell, close the garage door, and even turn your yard irrigation system on and off,” said Fisher.

Sentech Security holds a special position in the security space. As a locally owned and operated company, they provide a personal level of service you just can’t get at one of their national competitors. Imagine picking up the phone and calling your cable television provider about a problem with your alarm. Do you remember the last time you called your cable television provider? In most cases, if you call Sentech, you will be able to talk to the technician that has actually been to your home and installed your system. “Providing a personal level of service is what sets up apart from the competition. We strive to meet each customer’s needs without selling them a bunch of equipment they will never utilize,” said Sentech’s lead technician Russ Blewitt.

Sentech Security is proud to be a part of The Fruitland Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Sentech belongs to The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, and sponsors many local organizations including the Fruitland Little League and The Annual Ben Layton Memorial 5K Run/Walk. If you would like more information on Sentech and the products and services they offer, please reach out to them at 410-546-0046 or visit them on the web at http://www.sentechsc.com.

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Saving money and staying safe

Last week, we told you a little more about the “free” alarm deals you see online and on TV all the time. They’re a little too good to be true for many people. But, still, we see people going for the free option over the less expensive one, over time. Lucky for you, many security companies will work with you so you can have the best of both worlds.

If you are really concerned about money, ask your security company if there are any specials or deals they are running to save a little bit of money. Usually, there is a system that is on sale or will be. Many companies also run referral programs offering cash or a gift card for a qualified referral. If the monthly monitoring fee is getting to be too much, ask the company if you can refer for free monitoring. They may already do that, but if they don’t, I’m sure they will be accommodating.

It can be hard to ask for help in monetary situations. We all know how that feels. But you have to think about your bottom line. And we firmly believe that cutting security out of your life is not the way to go. So before you cut your alarm system for good, call up security companies and ask them the best way to save money with their products. Oh, and most security systems will get you a deal on your homeowners insurance, which can save you a bundle. With a security system, you can save money AND stay safe.

For more information about Sentech, visit www.sentechsc.com.

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Free alarm deal – too good to be true?

If you are in the market for an alarm system, you have probably run across companies that offer a free alarm in exchange for a signed monitoring contract and an installation fee. So, you may pay only $99 to have everything up and running. It seems like a great deal: you were planning on getting an alarm anyway, the monitoring is a nominal monthly charge and you can get everything free! Unfortunately, it is not as great of a deal as it appears.

Usually, and there are exceptions, but usually, a “free” alarm isn’t free. Most of these free systems are leased to you, pending a credit check and approval by the leasing company. And leasing an alarm is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are expecting to own your alarm, you will not. And unfortunately, your alarm company can come and take the alarm back if you choose to not renew your contract.

To make this a little clearer: imagine there are two alarm companies. One is offering a free alarm and the other is selling a comparable alarm system for $300. The first company, with the free alarm, charges $35 a month for its monitoring service. The second, with the $300 alarm, charges $25. The first company charges $99 for installation. The second installs your alarm system for free. A standard monitoring contract is 3 years, or 36 months. So let’s do some math (I know, I know, but bear with me). After your contract is up, you will have paid $1359 for your “free” alarm with the first company. With the second company, you will have spent $1200. And, you’ll own your system outright with the second company.

This is not to say all free alarm deals are bad. Obviously, they work well for some people or they wouldn’t exist. But it is important to know exactly what you are getting with the big companies’ alarm deals.

Because alarm systems are custom built for each home, they can greatly range in price: anywhere from $100 to $2000. But, if you are working with a reputable company, you will find that they will not sell you anything you don’t need or want to protect your home. And in the long run, you might save money by going with a local company.

For more information, visit Sentech at www.sentechsc.com.

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Salisbury crime stays strong in 2011

It is no secret that Salisbury, Md., has a little bit of a crime problem. After consistently being Maryland’s town with the most crime per capita, there is the evidence to back up Salisbury citizens’ fears. And unfortunately, the crime rates continue on a steady, upward trend.

So far in 2011, over 51 homes and businesses have been burglarized and 12 people have been robbed, according to crime statistic website SpotCrime. Overall, there have been more than 300 cases of property crime. And it has only been 2011 for 32 days.

You probably lock your doors every night before you go to bed. And that feels like a strong barrier against crime, doesn’t it? But as hard as it is to break into a locked door, it’s just as easy to break a window, which leaves your house just as vulnerable if you’d never locked the door in the first place.

Criminals do not discriminate. They go after any and every target to get what they want. And they love to see homes with holes in the security.

I bet you can think of a million reasons not to get a security system. All that hassle and trouble. And what about the cost? But it is better to be proactive than reactive. No, really. Security companies in Salisbury are always installing alarms after a crime has already been committed.

With tax refund checks rolling in, now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a gift: safety and peace of mind. Don’t let living in a county with an excess of crime keep you from living your life. Just live it with more security.

For more information, visit Sentech on the web at www.sentechsc.com.

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How quickly can someone break into your house?

Depending on your level of current security, a burglar could be in and out of your home in under a minute: with all of your valuables. But, as we’ve told you before, a burglar with a lot of time on his or her hands will use it. That is what law enforcement officials are seeing such a rash of break ins through garages.

As you can see in the video, it takes only mere seconds to enter your home. And many criminals are doing just that: entering through the garage. Because once they are inside your garage and close the door, they have free reign. Some burglars even use your own tools to cut into your home’s drywall and enter that way. And if no one can see them, it’s almost like they aren’t there.

For more information, visit Sentech online at www.sentechsc.com.

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Don’t get scammed by your customers

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric took a look this week at a problem business owners know all too well: slip and fall cases. If you haven’t heard of this, it is exactly what it sounds like. Business owners are liable for customers that are injured in their store. And some (savvy?) customers have caught on to that and are looking to cash in, in a big way.

But with security cameras in your store, you may just prevent a nasty lawsuit, and send a criminal to jail. In fact, in 2010, there were more fraudulent reports of injuries in stores than any other year. Watch the video, have a few laughs and protect yourself-and your business-from situations like these.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Find Sentech on the web at www.sentechsc.com

 

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It’s an American winter wonderland!

Snow is on the ground in 49 of the 50 states. Only Florida couldn’t find snow on its shores. Even the tropics of Hawaii boasted a dusting.

Scientists do not know if this 49 state snowfall has ever happened before. But it is obviously very impressive that warm, Southern states, including Louisiana and Mississippi have a solid covering after this week’s blizzard. And the average ground covering is more than just a dusting. Eight inches is the average depth of snow on the ground. And in some places, it just keeps falling.

Here at Sentech, we are keeping warm and cozy. But we have some words of caution for those of you who are surrounded by snow.

Stay home. If you absolutely must leave, drive slowly and carefully. Double your anticipated commuting time and do not get flustered by the conditions. There are always people who are more comfortable driving in snowy conditions. Do not let them bother you. Go at your own pace and take your time.

Keep warm. In case your power goes out, put on several layers and bundle up under blankets. Centralize yourself and your family to one room in the house and close all other doors. If you have a wood burning fireplace, try to light a fire for warmth. And if you are starting to worry about the dipping temperature of your home, drive (slowly and carefully) to an open hotel or relative’s home. If that it not an option, stay put. Power companies will be working around the clock to fix the situation.

Do not panic. In snow, functionality in pretty impaired. Getting around is difficult and dangerous. But, if you panic or worry about the situation, you are going to worry yourself into a frenzy that cannot be fixed until you thaw out. Some level of concern is normal, but you can literally worry yourself to death (or at least a careless accident).

So, if you are anywhere but Hawaii, go outside, make a snowman and hope for a spike in warmer temperatures. Drink cocoa and enjoy your snow day. And dream of your next vacation of Hawaii.

Oh. And stay SAFE!

Find Sentech online at http://www.sentechsc.com.

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Six things burglars hate to see

Last week we told you the things that burglars love to see in and around your home or business and how you might be vulnerable to an intruder. This week, we’re going to give you some of the things that burglars HATE to see around your home, and how that might make you safer.

First, hide everything. Think about it. If a burglar can see your brand new flat screen TV through your bay window, it’s screaming: “Take me home with you!” But if a criminal has no idea what is in your home, or even if there is anything valuable, they may pass it up in favor of a home with more valuable on display. If you go away from your home, do not make that apparent to anyone. Leave cars in the driveway. Stop your mail and other deliveries. And advertise your alarm or video camera system, if you have one.

Last week we told you to clean up the perimeter of your property and make it difficult to get into your home or yard. Let’s take that one step further. Burglars hate to look out of place or have any sort of delay. You make think a window or door screen is not much of a barrier. But the process of cutting through that one item takes time. That is time they do not want to waste. And place cacti or other prickly plants below your windows so intruders are met with an unwelcome surprise. If possible, install motion floodlights in your yard to put a spotlight on possible intruders. And even if the burglar does manage to make it inside, hide your valuables or bolt them down. If they can’t find it, they can’t take it.

Burglars hate friendly neighborhoods. They are really just concerned about getting away from the house unnoticed. If you and your neighbors communicate often, any unwelcome activity will probably be noticed. You home should also be largely and clearly addressed. Police need to respond quickly to prevent more damage from being done and potentially apprehend any suspects. But, if they can’t find your house, you’re out of luck.

Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Well that same principle can be applied to alarms as well. Obviously, we recommend that people get alarm systems in their home to be as protected as possible. However, skimping and buying a low-quality alarm is almost as bad as not having one at all. Sometimes, alarms will go off without reason. This is called a false alarm. But low-quality alarms are much more likely to have false alarms. And after a few of those, police and neighbors are not as gracious with their help.

And another thing that we mentioned last week is security cameras. Burglars absolutely hate security cameras. Several criminals will try to bypass alarm systems, if they think they can. But if they see security cameras, they will move on. Security cameras can catch their faces and body structures. Most alarms cannot. Even if you do not have external security measures in place, keep your home organized and make sure everything is in its proper place. That way, if something is disturbed, it will be easily noticed.

Now you know what burglars love AND hate to see. Take these things into consideration when you know your home is empty or vulnerable.

Find Sentech online at http://www.sentechsc.com.

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Six Things Burglars Love to See

We hear it all the time: criminals are not like us. They think differently and see

the world differently. But in the rosy glow of crime, you need to know just what exactly they’re looking for when they scope out your house.

If it is around holiday time (like it is right now) burglars are scoping out garbage cans for big boxes and lots of wrapping paper. They love advertising that blatantly says: “look here, I have a lot of things.” And with your decorations, big piles of trash and new valuables on display through the windows, your house is ripe for the picking. But even if it’s not the holidays, criminals are looking for signs that you are not home. For example, do not leave notes on the door for your children saying when you’ll be home. Try to avoid social media postings that market your absence to the world. And if you’re simply going out of town on a much needed vacation, stop your mail.

This may be a good time to walk around your home and look for easy access points. If it is easy to get into your home, you are giving potential burglars an open invitation to take whatever they want. Do you leave your back door unlocked? Are there windows that just don’t close right? What about overgrown shrubbery? Criminals love to hide themselves and sneak into your home. Don’t give them the opportunity.

Think about your daily routine for a moment. You probably leave the house at the same time every morning and come home at the same time every night. You may leave the garage door up once you get home and only put it down when you’re sleeping or out of the house. These habitual acts are more noticeable than you think and may lead a burglar to know your patterns. Change things up as often as possible. On days when you can change your schedule, leave work early or go in late. Throw a burglar off your tracks.

Does your neighborhood have neighborhood watch? What about attentive neighbors? If not, you may want to make an effort to start a protection program. If a criminal can drive slowly down your street without anyone noticing, you have a problem.

Do you have anything protecting your home while you’re away? Seriously. Think about mechanisms you’ve put in place to keep your home safe. Because we all know that criminals are in for the quick score: in and out as fast as possible. But if they know they have extra time, they’ll certainly use it. Usually, this slow reaction time is because you or your family members are at work or school. But it’s important to have something or someone monitoring your house even if you’re not home.

Let’s say the worst does occur. You are robbed. Your house is looted. Now what? Well, do you know what the burglar(s) look like? Do you know what was stolen? How well can you describe your stolen property? Now this isn’t something burglars have any control of. If you don’t keep track of your valuables, they’ve just gotten lucky. The best way to keep this from happening is to record your possessions. Take pictures and store those pictures in a safe deposit box or someplace safe. And if you are really concerned about your home being burglarized, keep one step ahead. Install security cameras to take the target right off your front door. When burglars see cameras, they avoid. The last thing they want is to get caught.

Don’t worry if your house isn’t quite as protected as you want. Now you know what to look for and avoid in the future.

Find Sentech online at http://www.sentechsc.com.

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