5 Myths and Misconceptions About Home Security

Security is one of those topics we’d rather not discuss because it requires us to acknowledge the fact that we are vulnerable to miscreants bent on doing harm. Sorry, but this is Real Life 101 here—which, unfortunately, means most people don’t do anything about their security proactively; hence, so many people are victimized and end up in complete disbelief about how that could possibly have happened.

Here are 5 things I hear as to reasons why people don’t think they need security:

The “can’t happen to me” syndrome seems to be an American thing. I find in my travels that Americans, more than any other culture, simply don’t believe they can be a victim of a crime such as a burglary or home invasion. But believe me, it happens often—every day, as a matter of fact. The FBI says a home is burgled every 15 seconds. Seriously.

“I live in a safe neighborhood.” Your neighborhood is safe…until one of your neighbor’s kids decides to start doing meth or a sex offender decides to move in because he thinks he’ll go undetected. Safe neighborhoods are a myth.

If they want to get in, they will get in.” There’s some truth there, but it’s misguided. Sure, burglars can ram a truck through your front door, but the attention they get will prevent them from going too far. Having multiple layers of security, alarms, monitoring, etc. decreases the chances of your home being chosen and increases the bad guy’s chances of being caught.

“I have nothing of value, so know one will break into my home.” You might not have much, but the act of breaking into a family’s home at 3:00 a.m. and pulling them out of bed and torturing them for fun is appealing to many. A break-in isn’t always for profit.

“I don’t want to live paranoid, so no alarm for me.” Did you really just say that? Are you an idiot? Do you really think having a security system meant to prevent a predator from assaulting your babies while they sleep makes you mentally ill? Paranoia is what you get after the assault; it’s an effect of post-traumatic stress. It makes you question the safety, security, stability, structure and protection of everything around you all day.

Stop the nonsense. Get an alarm system.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Why Home Security Matters

Your home is your castle, as they say. This means it’s supposed to be a place of safety, security and respite. But what happens when it’s burglarized and it’s no longer that safe haven? I’ll tell you: people move. And they are never the same after.

Let’s face it—people are crazy. Some studies have shown as much as 50 percent of all people are mentally ill in some way. That’s a lot of nuttiness going on. As a result, there’s drug abuse, kidnapping, assaults, rapes, robberies and just plain murder for fun. Crazy often means violent—and crazy combined with violent means no safety or security.

As a species, we require security. Note these words from Abraham Maslow about safety needs, published in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation”:

With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. In the absence of physical safety—due to war, natural disaster, family violencechildhood abuse, etc.—people may (re-) experience post-traumatic stress disorder or transgenerational trauma.

That’s serious stuff, but think of it like this: If your child experiences some form of trauma at school, like bullying, he or she will most likely not want to go back. And in some cases, the child even takes his or her life because of that trauma. And if your home is ransacked, you will be traumatized too.

But frankly, don’t worry about it. I don’t. But you should DO something about it. I have systems in place that work to keep my family and me safe. Home security isn’t something that you or I should take for granted, because when the “security” of your home is taken away, life becomes a struggle.

Peace of mind can come from locking your doors, having a home alarm, and putting additional systems in place that allow you to rest comfortably, knowing your home is being watched over.

Take control over your domain. Let’s face it—we all require a degree of control over our lives, and by investing in home security you are taking necessary steps in gaining that control.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Top 10 Components of the Ultimate Home Security System

You’ve been thinking about getting a home security system but haven’t because you want to do it right and not invest in old, outdated technology. Well, you’re in luck, because now’s the time. Home security system technology is as advanced as it’s ever been, and just about anyone can afford a basic system—and, for a few more bucks, the Ultimate Home Security System is available too.

The basics for the Ultimate Home Security System include:

  1. Control panels near every door and in many rooms that can activate the alarm or trigger a panic alarm.
  2. Alarm central monitoring: If it’s not being monitored, what’s the sense in it?
  3. An alarm or siren to freak out the burglar and alert the neighbors.
  4. Motion sensors everywhere—enough motion sensors to detect movement, but not sensitive enough that they will send false alarms all day.
  5. Security cameras in every room, and more surveying every point of the exterior of the home.
  6. Viewing monitors in every room, keeping the homeowner fully aware of any activity. It’s nice to have a monitor wherever you are.
  7. Glass break sensors in every room, alerting the homeowner to smashed doors or windows.
  8. Door and window sensors on every door and every window on every floor.
  9. Mobile applications to control the system from any tablet, mobile phone, computer or laptop.

10. Sensors for light control, fire, carbon monoxide, extreme heat or freezing.

All of this can be had for under $500 if you have a small house or apartment; as you add more rooms, it adds up. I have most of this above, and it was around two grand for my 3000 sq ft home—and it was, and is, worth every dollar.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

15 Tips for Back And Forth To School Security

The security-minded folks at Schlage locks want America’s families to know their options as their kids head back and forth to school. Always keep in mind that security is like the journey to school; it’s an ongoing process that requires you to keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Tips for kids and parents:

  1. If your child has a mobile phone, make sure he or she carries it in hand with Mom/Dad and 911 on speed dial. Never hesitate to call 911 in case of emergency.
  2. Use the buddy system: When walking, biking or just standing at the bus stop, arrange to buddy up with a friend or family member.
  3. Always travel along well-lit common paths. Avoid shortcuts that put you into a vulnerable situation, including areas with higher crime rates, drug activity, teens hanging out, or even highways or railroad tracks.
  4. Follow the law and bicycle safety rules and wear a helmet.
  5. If an adult ever approaches a child for directions, to look for a lost puppy or because “Mom (or Dad) is hurt and in the hospital,” the child should know these are lures predators use to abduct a child.
  6. It is never appropriate to accept a ride from a stranger or even a known adult without the absolute permission of the parent.
  7. If the child is ever followed on foot or in a car, he or she should seek help immediately by calling 911 and going into the nearest police station or store.
  8. Trust your gut. When something seems wrong, it is wrong. If your belly feels funny or the hair on the back of your neck or arms stands on end, run to a safe place.
  9. Learn how to resist. Self-defense for kids is a necessary tool for fighting off a predatory adult. Kids should learn to kick and gouge and scream in the event an adult tries to compromise them.

10. Provide your child with your location and emergency contact info, along with a backup of another adult.

11. Never accept money, gifts or food from an adult under any circumstances.

12. Set up GPS tracking on your child’s mobile phone. Check with the phone’s manufacturer for setup instructions.

13. Beware of what’s being posted on social media. Always be aware that anyone, including authorities, predators or school administrators, may be watching. Post appropriately and do not reveal locations.

14. When getting home, make sure the house is locked before walking in. Always look for red flags that might signal an intrusion. If something seems wrong, it is wrong.

15. Consider Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt, which is a keyless lock. Eliminating keys eliminates lost keys and lockouts.

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

8 Things to Do After a Burglary

You come home and notice your stuff on the floor…then you see broken glass…and next you notice the window on the back door is shattered. Your heart starts to race, you start sweating and you begin to feel like you are going to get sick. You don’t want to believe it, but you’ve been burglarized. And you say to yourself, “This expletive sucks.”

It does suck. And it just might have been prevented if you had a home security system.

Anyway, this is what you do upon discovering a burglary:

Get out: Leave your home immediately. The criminal might still be in the house. Consider him or them armed and dangerous.

Call 911: Use your mobile to get the police on the line, quick. Let them come there and secure your home to make sure it’s safe. But don’t use your landline because in some cases, police may want to dust your home phone. It’s rare, but ask first.

Don’t touch anything: Doorknobs, windowsills, remote controls, toilet handles, refrigerator doors, etc. may have burglars’ fingerprints. You’d think police get all CSI and dust everything, but they often don’t. But if they detect an obvious entry point or a dirty fingerprint, they will.

Seek safety: Go to your car and lock it behind you, or to a neighbor’s, local store, whatever—just get out. But be within eyeshot for the police when they arrive. They will want to talk to you.

Expect to be questioned: Police will ask lots of questions, and you may not understand or appreciate the line of questioning. Just know that they are doing an investigation and have their reasons.

Call your insurance broker: Your insurance broker will have a process you must go through to record what was stolen to determine what’s covered.

Expect to feel violated: In the days and weeks following a break-in, you will notice more things missing or broken. The feelings of violation won’t go away anytime soon. In some cases it might be necessary to move, as burglarized properties develop a black cloud over them in the victims’ minds.

Be proactive: Don’t let this happen again. Invest in better doors, locks, security cameras and home alarm systems. Get a big dog, take a self-defense class, properly insure your goods, live your life and try not to worry about it.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Police Officer’s Home Burglarized; Learn How Not to Become a Victim Too

Nobody is immune to burglaries. I’ve seen celebrities, priests, politicians and even police officers become victims of burglary.

SFGate.com reports that two people were arrested and charged in the burglary of a central Iowa police officer’s home in which the officer’s gun was stolen.

Not at all cool. Not cool because the cop is just like us and doesn’t deserve his home broken into. Not cool because his gun was stolen and could be used by the whack-job burglar to kill someone. And not cool, frankly, because he is an officer of the law and really should, at a minimum, have a home security system protecting his home and a safe protecting that gun.

Meanwhile, police in Seattle and the West Seattle Herald provided some insight into how burglars operate: “The general profile of our burglars are juveniles in groups of two to three (there are, of course, adults as well), often times [breaking into homes] while people are at work and kids are at school. The modus operandi is to have one person knock on the door (while in communication with the others, usually by cell phone). Meanwhile, the other two are working their way into the backyard where they will break into a window or door once the coast is known to be clear. Once inside, they generally focus on high-end electronics (Apple products are a favorite), gold and silver jewelry, cash and guns.”

Don’t want to end up in the paper? Memorize these prevention tips:

  • Stay safe at home: If someone’s breaking in while you are home, yell out, “Hey, what are you doing!” or “Honey, can you get that?” to make it clear someone (or more than one) is home. Leave, or get to a safe, locked room and call 911.
  • Watch your perimeter: Keep your yard and home easily visible to neighbors so they can see mischievous burglar behavior.
  • Home alarms: Home alarm systems and posted signs letting everyone know they are in place can also act as a deterrent.
  • Summertime security: Don’t leave windows slightly ajar to keep the house cool when you are gone.
  • Neighborhood watch: Start up a block watch with your neighbors. This means folks watching out for folks and their property—and for people on the block who don’t belong.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

6 More Tips for Apartment Security

Did you know that 1 of every 5 homes will experience a break-in or violent home invasion? And that 80 percent of break-ins occur forcibly through a locked door—and, even scarier, that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States? And if you live in an apartment, the National Crime Prevention Council says you will have an 85 percent greater chance of being burglarized than a single-family dwelling.

When looking into apartment living, consider my first six tips on apartment security, as well as the following:

  1. Gated access: Keypad, remote controlled and including an emergency firebox.
  2. Key building access: Look for a schedule that involves locking exterior doors and making sure the property is secured.
  3. Neighborhood watch-type programs: If a stranger is in the area or paying unwanted attention to us or the property, we call one another to decide what we may do in response. There’s always strength in numbers.
  4. Background checks: Does the landlord do anything in regard to background checks?
  5. Neighborhood crime: What is the immediate neighborhood like? Are there drug houses, etc., nearby? Contact local law enforcement and ask for a record of recent crimes committed. Get some statistics. Some law enforcement agencies will be more or less cooperative. You want to know about the prevalence of violent crimes, sex offenders and theft. One of the most effective ways to get the pulse of the community is by buying the local newspaper. Reading the police blotter over a one-month period is telling.
  6. Interview the landlord: While the landlord may interview you, you should interview the landlord. Find out what his/her processes are for security. What is the annual investment? What is the landlord’s philosophy regarding apartment security? Does the landlord even have one? What is the existing security at the property? Ask about lighting, cameras, locks on doors and windows, and whether the keys have been changed since the last tenant left.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Drug-addicted Teen Burglar Sentenced to Prison

Burglars aren’t the people you see in the movies driving expensive cars, living lavish lifestyles and vacationing in the Caribbean. Burglars are usually addicted to drugs, unemployed because of their habit, and have sucked the lives and savings out of their families and so must turn to crime to get their fix.

You’ve heard “desperate people do desperate things,” and that statement can be directly equated to the mindset of a drug addict. People under the influence are sick and irrational and will stop at nothing to get what they need. Often, their illness has such a grip on them that in their minds, scenarios that actually result in violence leading to murder begin to seem normal. To them, it makes perfect sense that such things are what they need to do to get high.

People often ask, “Why?” “Why would anyone do that?” Because drugs have such a grip on them that the ability to make sound, rational decisions is no longer a part of their psyche.

It’s even worse when a teenager is the addict and perpetrator. At a young age, his reality isn’t quite developed. Leo Ray and his wife were victims of an invasion at their Idaho home. Ray told the Times-News in an interview that he answered the door at about 6 a.m. the day of the robbery to three guns in his face, then two men held guns to his head while another—whom he later identified as a 16-year-old boy—stood across the room with a rope and another gun. The men tied up the Rays and ransacked their home, stealing guns, computers and other valuables.

The prosecutor stated, “The teen has had significant substance abuse treatment and significant opportunities for counseling in the juvenile justice system.” But he obviously was beyond repair.

Bad, sick, dysfunctional people are everywhere. This doesn’t mean you should hide under your bed and worry; it means you need to keep your head up, be aware, know your options, live your life and invest in your personal and home security.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Home Invaders Caught on Resident’s Surveillance Video

Video rules! I have 15 cameras in and around my house designed to keep me informed of who, what, when and where, 24/7/365. I see my cams on my iPhone, iPad, laptop and PC. My cams work both day and night and record video anytime they sense motion.


There are cameras everywhere today. Most businesses have cameras on the exterior of their buildings monitoring their perimeter and cameras inside to keep employees and customers in check. And just about every home security system today comes with the option to also install cameras, too.

All which goes to say that you never know who has video surveillance, right? And which also brings me to how two idiots were caught after robbing and invading two different homes.

NBC Connecticut reports two women, ages 71 and 58, were returning home with groceries when a man with a gun and another man confronted the two women, forced them inside and tied them up. The assailants fled in one victim’s car.

Then, the next day, a 38-year-old man and 32-year-old woman were inside their home when two masked men with handguns confronted them, tied them up and ransacked the residence for valuables. The invaders also stole their car.

Police must have gone door to door asking residents who had security cameras to provide footage, because they were able to recover surveillance footage of the vehicle taken during one of home invasions, as well as footage of a suspect.

Home invasions happen because people are unaware of their environment or are “too comfortable” in their surroundings and completely drop their guard. Don’t become a victim.

#1 Be aware of what’s going on around you—that’s 50–100 feet around the perimeter of your body—at all times. If something seems wrong, it is wrong.

#2 Lock your doors. I’m home, kids are inside, doors are locked, dog is watching guard.

#3 Get, install and use a home security system. My alarm is almost always on. Having an alarm on all the time, while you are home or away, is a great layer of protection.

#4 Install cameras with your alarm system. They are the best way to deter or catch bad guys.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Should I Get a Dog for Protection?

Dogs are much like video surveillance. They can both listen and see all day and all night. They are an extra pair of eyes and ears. They are on watch 24/7/365. They are like a bodyguard in that they are both defensive and offensive.

Getting home protection in the form of a furry beast is a big decision. Protection dogs aren’t to be taken lightly. Dogs bark. They bite, they eat, they poop, they pee and they are dirty. They require time, money and significant attention.

My dog is the furriest beast ever to roam the earth and is sweet, lovely, psycho, a pain in the ass and very territorial. When someone with obvious bad intentions comes around, like someone with a bad attitude, a predator or even someone who’s drunk or rowdy, this excites her, as these characteristics tend to get her attention even more.

There’s a slight drawback to her vigilance. I live in proximity to lots of foot traffic and whenever anyone comes within 100 yards of my perimeter, she starts barking…which means she’s pretty much barking all day, which isn’t always a good thing. She barks until she can no longer see or hear a human. And when she barks, my head starts to swivel. I’m looking out the window, seeing what she sees—and if I don’t like it, I start barking too.

Not all dogs are bred for protection—a real protection dog is trained for protection because it possesses what’s called “prey drive.” (Read up on it.) Most are bred as pets. Only a few, like Dobermans, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois, Bullmastiffs, German shepherds and a handful of others are natural protection dogs, but not even these top breeds always produce the right temperament. Knowing what type of dog is a protection dog is and isn’t, is key to knowing what you are getting into. A protection dog does not mean that it will bark nonstop, or that it will snarl and behave aggressively at everyone. A good protection dog is generally sublime, aware, alert and careful. Its every action has a calculated reason behind it.

Let me say it again: A dog is a big deal. And if you have the resources and the right attitude, you should get one.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.