25 of Americas Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

What’s the point in even knowing what the most 25 dangerous neighborhoods are? For one thing, if you live in one, you may already have a sense of it, but it would be good to know you’re considered high risk and might want to take the extra precautions and batten down the hatches. Plus for those of you who think it can’t happen to you it may be one more reason you should LOCK YOUR DOORS.

If you plan to move, it is always good to understand the crime climate of the environment you are considering. Checking this list and also contacting the local authorities will help give you an idea of what is going on.

Another great way to determine crime climate is the police blotter. If the police blotter mentions lots of violent crimes vs. another town that mentions lots of cats stuck in trees then you know what to expect. For example in Wellesley Massachusetts, a few towns over from where I live the headline in the police blotter is (and I kid you not) “Escaped cow takes to Wellesley streets” Nice.

Otherwise if you travel on business or plan to send a kid to college, knowing the crime climate of any given neighborhood is a good idea.

Chicago took the number one spot. Cleveland second. Then a couple in Vegas, and Atlanta took 4 places and Ohio a few more. So that being said see the 25 Of Americas Most Dangerous Neighborhoods all HERE.

Every family must have a plan for home security and a home security alarm.

Consider a trained German shepherd as a protection dog as well.

Another consideration is a home safe-room also known as a “panic room” where families can hide out in a relatively bullet proof, well stocked room equipped with wireless communications and wait for law enforcement to show up.

Never talk to strangers via an open or screen door. Always talk to them through a locked door.

NEVER let children open the doors. Always require an adult to do it.

Install a 24-hour camera surveillance system. Security cameras are a great deterrent.  Have them pointed to every door and access point.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home invasions on the Gordon Elliot Show. Disclosures

Condo, Apartment Neighborhood Watch Safety Is Key to Peace of Mind

In New Jersey, a condo board president was instrumental in launching a neighbor watch program which has received the attention of city officials.

The condo association has taken the extra steps of installing home security cameras too. The local police approved on the idea of using camera security and agree that every layer of protection is a good one.

A neighborhood block watch, which residents can initiate through local police, bands together an educated public to work with police on safe neighborhoods. But it is just one of many ways an apartment or condo resident can help to improve security. Other protections run the gamut from doormen to alarms and surveillance cameras.”

A home surveillance system is effective in 2 ways. The best way is for it to be monitored by a human who can call the authorities if they detect something suspicious. The second best way is to incorporate a digital video recorder that records around the clock. Each method should include software that detects motion and sends an alert. This alert can trigger a human to interact with a non-monitored system and allow for a call to the authorities when necessary.  The recording by itself is a reactive way to catch the bad guy or to at least keep tabs on what goes on around the property.

Recently my own home security system caught an altercation between two neighbors. One neighbor was clearly the aggressor which helped the other neighbor build a case against him.

Sometimes you never know what those cameras will pick up. My neighbor who was assaulted is now making his own investment in home security cameras. Sometimes adverse situations can help people learn to proactively more forward.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Daytime Burglaries on the Rise, Police Say

Many studies show burglaries actually happen more in the daytime than in the evening. Depending on whom you ask, the hours of 7-10 a.m. seem to be the most attractive times for burglars.

This is a time of the day when people are leaving for work. The bad guy may see you leave and take the opportunity to check if you locked your doors. First, he rings the bell and knocks on the door to see if you are home. If there is no answer, he jiggles the handle, if you didn’t lock your doors, he is in. If you locked the door, he may use a screwdriver or crowbar to force it open. If you don’t have a home security system, then, he is in with relatively little resistance.

In Downey California the local police sent out this message:

“In recent months the city of Downey has experienced a rise in the number of daytime residential burglaries reported to the police department. Many of these incidents have occurred in the same fashion and the police department is asking for your help in the prevention of such occurrences.

The following is a scenario often used by suspects looking to burglarize homes in your neighborhoods:

A suspect may simply walk to the front door of a residence and knock on the door. If someone answers, the suspect will make an excuse for being at the wrong house and walk away. If there is no answer, the suspect will either leave the location before returning a short time later, or make his way into the back or side yard to find a way into the house.

Once out of view of the street, he will look for open windows or doors to gain entry into the residence. If the house is locked, the burglar will oftentimes force entry by breaking a window or forcing a door open.

A car with additional suspects will oftentimes wait a short distance away for the suspect to return with stolen property. The suspect may also call them to respond to the house to assist in the actual burglary of the location.

Because the actions of the burglars are usually not visible from the street, it is difficult for police to discover the crime in progress. Because of this, it’s imperative that residents in the area pay close attention to suspicious subjects in their neighborhood. This is especially true if you see someone knock on a door of a residence, then go to the back of the house when they fail to get an answer.

If you see people in your neighborhood – whether they are walking or sitting in a vehicle – that you feel may be looking for an opportunity to commit a crime, please call the Downey Police Department”

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston. Disclosures.

Police Offer Home Security Tips

Wichita Kansas, an estimated population of 366,046 makes it the 51st largest city in the country and the most populous city in Kansas. It’s a city by anyone’s definition.

And like all cities, it has had its share of successes and bad apples. Including Dennis Lynn Rader (born March 9, 1945) is an American serial killer who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991.

He was known as the BTK killer which stands for “bind, torture and kill” and describes his modus operandi. He sent letters describing the details of the killings to police and to local news outlets during the period of time in which the murders took place. After a long hiatus in the 1990s, Rader resumed sending letters in 2004, leading to his 2005 arrest and subsequent conviction. Fortunately he is behind bars serving 10 life sentences. But that doesn’t mean crime doesn’t continue in his absence.

Recently Police launched new efforts to help curb burglaries.  Local police say residential burglaries increased last year by 9% even as overall burglary numbers dropped 1.5%.

Police are reminding people that they need to practice safe techniques to make sure homes and belongings are secure.  That includes making sure doors and windows are locked and not leaving your garage door open.

You’d think a metropolitan city that has had a killer as bad as Dennis Rader would lock their doors. But the societal and cultural phenomenon known as “It can’t happen to me” is everywhere and people forget that a serial killer used to walk their streets. But not you Dear Reader. The fact you’re reading this you know there very well could be another Dennis Rader there right now.

Here are home burglary prevention tips direct from the police who once dealt with Dennis Rader:

Residential burglars work mostly during the day and when a residence is more likely to be unoccupied. Most burglars work alone and tend to probe a neighborhood looking for the right residence and the right opportunity. Home alarm signs and decals, bars on windows, strong locks and doors, big dogs, and alert neighbors can sometimes deter burglars. Also, burglars will avoid a confrontation and will usually flee when approached. Most burglaries do not result in violence unless the criminal is cornered and uses force to escape.

· Keep all doors locked at night and every time you leave your home.

· Use doors that feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use.

· If you have glass panels near or in doors, make sure glass is reinforced so they cannot be shattered.

· Make sure the door leading from the attached garage to the house is solid wood or metal-clad and protected with a quality keyed door lock and deadbolt.

· Lock the overhead garage door – do not just rely on an automatic door opener.

· Make sure sliding glass doors have strong, working key locks.

· Keep grills, lawnmowers and other valuables in a locked garage or shed.

· Inscribe valuable items, such as televisions, stereos and computers with an identifying number approved by your local police.

· Have an up-to-date home inventory that includes pictures. Keep a complete copy somewhere outside of the house.

· Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home.

· Trim all shrubbery that could conceal criminal activity near doors and windows.

· Consider using timed interior lights and outdoor timed or motion lights to make your home appear occupied when you are away.

· If you park your car outside, never leave a garage door opener inside your vehicle.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston. Disclosures.

Ten Things to Look for When Choosing a Monitored Home Security Company

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a monitored home security system, begin researching security companies in your area.  Below is a list of questions you should ask when narrowing your search.

Do some research into the home security company you choose. What is their reputation and history?  How large is the company?  How many current customers do they have?  Is it a local company or nationwide?  Additionally, find out if home security is their primary business and their level of experience.  Check with the Better Business Bureau if you’re unsure.

How “new”is the home security product you are installing? Today’s home security systems are far more superior to those available in past years.  Make sure you are getting the most recent product available.

Does the home security company offer central station monitoring? A security system is only as good as the company that is monitoring it.  A reputable home security company should provide its own central station monitoring instead of having another company monitor for them.

Does the home security company’s monitoring facility have back-up systems and are those facilities UL-listed?

Does the home security company’s monitoring facility have back-up systems in case of power failures? Find out if the monitoring facility has gas or electric-powered generators – as well as battery back-up to ensure that monitoring continues despite power failures.  Monitoring facilities should have at least two types of back-up power supplies.

Spend time thinking about the “amount”of security you need. The size and layout of your home and property must be taken into consideration when designing a security system.  However, the basic elements of a standard system include a key pad, a control panel, a siren, an inside motion detector, at least two door contacts, as well as connection to a central monitoring station for around the clock coverage.

Secure your home from “hidden”household dangers, too. Don’t forget to equip your home with effective smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and flood detection systems as these are hidden dangers to your home and family.  Be sure to also equip your home with fire extinguishers and develop a fire escape plan and route that is familiar to all household occupants.

Ease-of-use and convenience of the home security system ensure a high level of usage. Many homeowners admit that they don’t use their home security systems to the full extent because they are inconvenient or “scary” to use.  When choosing a home security system, be sure to choose something that can be armed and disarmed easily by all family members.

Make sure the system you install has a battery back-up unit. A security system is only useful when it’s active and working – even when there is a power failure.  Make sure the system you install has a battery back-up unit so home monitoring and protection is continuous. Monitoring facilities that have a UL rating (Underwriters Laboratory rating) have gone the extra step to ensure that they have reliable systems that will not fail.

What other benefits does the company offer besides installation and monitoring? Check to see what other benefits the home security company offers, including:
A money-back service guarantee in case you are not satisfied – including a full refund of your installation price and any monitoring fees paid?

Any guarantee against theft protection – if your home is being monitored by their service and is still burglarized, with the home security company contribute money towards your insurance deductible?

Are you a customer for life?  Does the home security company offer a relocation package so a new security system is installed in case you move?

What kind of customer service do they provide?  Is there a Web site that provides customer information and care?

Once you have selected a reputable monitored home security company, be sure to spend time with your security specialist to develop a security plan and system that meets you and your family’s specific needs.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home invasions on the Gordon Elliot Show. Disclosures