11 Tips to Hotel Safety and Security

Can you name 11 tips for hotel safety and security? How about just five?

4HHave you ever walked down the hallway of a hotel and passed by rooms with doors left wide-open by cleaning staff? Ever thought of how easy it would be to enter and pretend the room is yours? Imagine what you could steal.

This is why a hotel that takes security seriously will be very strict about whom is issued an electronic key to rooms, and will issue regulations regarding housekeeping tasks. In more remote hotels or those in less developed countries, the hotel staff itself may be the thieves.

Nevertheless, whether you’re in the ritziest hotel or the shoddiest dump, Schlage locks wants you to know there’s a baseline of precautions you should take.

#1. Never leave valuables in your room unless you’re present. If you must, use the hotel safe and be sure to get a receipt.

#2. When in the room, keep the door locked, including the chain feature.

#3. Always use the peephole before opening the door.

#4. If you anticipate the door won’t have a lock (such as in a foreign country), bring along a traveler’s door lock, a motion detector that you hang on the knob that sounds when the door opens, and/or a doorstop alarm—it wedges against the door’s base.

#5. Don’t open the door to strangers.

#6. If the “stranger” claims to be a hotel service person, call the front desk for verification first.

#7. Consider have all food deliveries made to the lobby. This isn’t convenient, but it’s safer. You never know if the delivery person is actually a predator looking for a target. Men should also practice this procedure; men can be targeted for violent crimes too. The delivery person may also case you as a potential target later on.

#8. Be mindful of what you leave outside your door. E.g., what appears to be leftovers from one person’s meal, indicates you’re alone.

#9. Before going to bed, double check all possible entry points.

#10. Make people think you’re there when you’re not: Place the “do not disturb” sign on the door—after you put the TV on loud. But first make sure this won’t coincide with maid service.

#11. If your hotel wants you to turn your key in when you go out, keep the key so that nobody knows you’re out.

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

Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolts are Smart!

Deadbolt technology just gets smarter and smarter. There are now electronic deadbolts that can be manipulated with an integrated keypad, a smartphone or opened with a key. After all, relying on the traditional key can be a nuisance, for obvious reasons.

1LThe Camelot Style deadbolt from Schlage offers the latest technology.

  • The device can be registered with multiple z-wave enabled hubs including, Nexia Home Intelligence and Staples Connect and uses batteries.
  • Keyless entry codes are pre-programmed but can be changed.
  • Up to 30 codes can be stored and can be programmed to grant access on designated days and times, if you use the lock in tandem with an automation system .
  • An alarm can be set to sound if the lock is manipulated by an unwanted person.
  • Never being locked out again due to the device’s three methods of authentication (code, app and key).
  • The auto-lock feature that engages after 30 seconds, based on a timer.

Some Details

Do your homework before installing the device so the installation process goes smoothly. The average handy individual can install this lock and others may wish to use a lock smith. The pre-existing deadbolt slot should match up

By pressing the Schlage logo, you secure the deadbolt from outside. To unlock the deadbolt, it’s faster to enter the keypad code than to insert and turn a standard key. Lastly, the auto-lock feature will take up to 30 seconds to kick in once the door is shut.

And every bit of set up is all worth it

Once the device is installed, you’ll be happy you bought this high tech lock. You don’t have to buy a z-wave enabled system to use it, but more features are enabled when you do connect your deadbolt. The device practically settles anxiety about lost keys and will give you peace of mind.

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.

House Keys for the Kids…When Your Children are Ready

Education.com reports that according to the U.S. census, one third of all school-age children in the United States are, for some part of the week, latchkey kids—that is, they go home to an empty house or apartment. The total number may be between five and seven million children between five and 13 years old. (I say five is just way too young.) Anyway, the Census Bureau found that 15 percent were home alone before school, 76 percent after school.

Whether due to necessity or because providing a 12-year-old house keys frees up a parent to run errands, the day will come when the decision to hand over the keys arises.

Parents are (mostly) the best judge of their child’s character and can disseminate when their kids are ready to be on their own and hand over the house keys. My parents, like many others, worked when I was a young teen and didn’t have many options for child care, so I got the keys at 14. And, like many kids, I promptly abused that privilege by having boatloads of kids over to the house.

Today, with technology at our fingertips, it has become much easier for a parent to monitor their child’s comings and goings with various mobile applications, security cameras and GPS devices.

Another advancement in technology is keyless door locks with a programmable touch pad. So latchkey kids become “touch-pad” kids! Ha!

Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt is also enabled to work with Nexia Home Intelligence, a home automation system that allows you to control locks, thermostats, lights, cameras and more from wherever you and the internet happen to be. Lock or unlock your door from anywhere with your cell phone, or schedule lock codes to be active only on certain days at specific times. You can also receive text alerts when an alarm triggers or when specific codes provided to your kids are entered at the lock.

Once a parent comes to the conclusion it is necessary to provide keys to a kid, it might now be a good time to consider ditching the keys and handing over the passcode!

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

5 Tips to Backdoor Home Security

The old adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link rings true with home security too. A home is only as secure as its weakest door, window or lock. So in this post, I’ll address means of egress: doors.

Front doors are often decorative and, most often, heavy with a solid core, giving the impression of security. What’s funny to me is that all a burglar has to do is go into the back yard to find a flimsy wooden door that often has up to nine panes of glass. This is called a “9-Lite Entry Door” and is often an easy target for thieves. The reality is that all a burglar has to do is break one of the nine windows nearest the doorknob and reach in to open. We’ve all seen this in a movie when the villain is going after his target. Side-entrance garage doors and walkout basement doors are often constructed the same way.

Protect your alternate entrances:

  1. Solid-core doors: The obvious solution here is to install solid-core “front doors” with minimal (or no) windows at the garage, side entrance, walkout basement and back door.
  2. Doorjamb reinforcement: Consider door reinforcement technologies that beef up the hinges, strike plate, doorjamb and wrap around the knob and deadbolt.
  3. Camera surveillance: Rear entrances are attractive to criminals because they are often hidden and out of plain sight. Installing security cameras with signage may make a burglar think twice.
  4. Home security: Install a monitored home security system—or, at a minimum, install motion sensors, stickers and signage alerting a burglar your home is alarmed.
  5. Lock your doors: It’s not enough to have quality locks like Schlage locks as your doorknob and deadbolt—you also have to lock them! Many burglaries happen simply because people don’t lock their doors!

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

Keeping Tabs on Your Kids From the Office

Look, I hear this all the time: “I want to respect my children’s privacy, but I also want to keep tabs on them.” OK, I get it. Kids need their privacy. But at what age does that start? In my mind, they can have their privacy at 18 years of age—because up until that time, a parent is 100 percent legally responsible for what those kids say and do. So if you condition your children early on that there is no privacy until 18, then to a degree it is at least understood that their life is an open book to Mom and Dad. Plus—let face it—as teens, we didn’t always make the right choices. Today, those choices can be made very public with social media. So for many reasons, you want to keep tabs on your kids.

You might be at work eight to 10 hours a day and when the kids get home, it’d be nice to know they are safe…and not having a keg party. There are many technology offerings to keep you in tune, from mobile apps to home security cameras. The key is to balance functionality with cost and keep basic privacy in mind.

Security cameras: Want to see the kids getting home? How liberating would it be to discreetly glance down at your smartphone during a meeting and see exactly what’s going on in your living room? You can—Nexia™ Home Intelligence has teamed with Schlage Home Indoor Cameras to create convenient scenarios like this, and more. Today’s wireless home security cameras are easy to install, connect to the internet, and can be viewed on a PC/Mac browser, smartphone app or tablet. Cameras are so cost effective and provide such peace of mind, I have 16 of them.

Mobile phone spy software: There’s no mistaking what Stealth Genie does. The company says it has the most powerful cell phone spy and tracking software anywhere that lets you monitor ALL the activities of any jailbroken iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone. It starts uploading the monitored phone’s usage information and exact location instantly, which then can be viewed by logging in to your StealthGenie user area from any computer in the world within minutes.

Life360 app: This is pretty cool. You may want to wring their necks sometimes, but you’d do anything to keep your family safe. Everything Life360 does is designed to help you manage the chaos that is daily family life. From seeing where everyone is on a map to letting them know you’ll be five minutes late, Life360 is designed to make things a lot easier and help you keep tabs.

Canary: This is a mobile phone safe driving application that keeps you in tune with your kids’ driving speeds and talking/text habits to end distracted driving. This is a no-brainer that keeps you abreast of potentially dangerous activity when they are on the roads.

Know your kids’ passwords: You bought the phone and the computer, you pay the phone bill and you own the devices. Your kid basically uses your electronics. All the passwords for the phone and its apps have to be provided to you as a condition of its use. Simple as that.

Friend them: If your kids are on Facebook, then they need to friend you. Keep in mind they may have more than one profile, which is when spyware and having access to their (your) devices comes in handy.

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.

The Benefits of Having Keyless Locks

You already know what a keyless lock is. It’s simply a “combination lock,” but much more advanced and sophisticated than the ones you had on your high school locker. The old combo locks required three turns in a clockwise/counterclockwise direction to open. Combo locks are cumbersome, confusing and sometimes don’t pass the “grandmother test”.

But today’s keyless locks are push button or touch pads numbered 0-9, like a telephone keypad or ATM. Newer-model automobiles have keyless locks too. Pressing “1276” is much easier for Grandma, and she doesn’t have to worry about fumbling around for or losing her keys. (And, just like combo locks and automobiles, keyless locks also have a key as a backup.)

When going keyless, there are no more keys to lose, hide, carry or forget, so you can secure your home while you run or walk around the neighborhood. I run and used to have to wear a small runner’s pouch just to keep my house key on my person, but not anymore.

Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt is the best keyless lock out there. It’s a motorized bolt that automatically locks and unlocks when a four-digit user code is entered and its lock-and-leave functionality requires only one touch to instantly safeguard the home.

Every aspect of the Touchscreen Deadbolt has been designed with homeowners’ security in mind. Backed by more than 90 years of inventive Schlage design, the Touchscreen Deadbolt delivers an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade 1 security rating, the highest residential rating awarded on the market, as certified by Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA).

The Touchscreen Deadbolt can hold up to 30 unique access codes and is designed to support temporary codes for homeowner convenience. For example, codes can be tailored to specific days and times of the week to provide home access only when scheduled, such as for cleaning service personnel.

Built-in Alarm Lock Technology

Keeping families safe, the Touchscreen Deadbolt is armed with built-in alarm technology, sensing a range of activity and alerting homeowners with three different automated sounds for three different situations. For example, the Activity Alert sounds when it detects that someone is leaving or entering the house; the Tamper Alert sounds when the lock is being disturbed; and the Forced Entry Alert sounds after identifying significant pressure, such as a kick to the door or a shove to the lock.

It’s a battery-operated lock, so if the power goes out you’re still covered. The battery lasts approximately one year,

What happens when the battery is dead? Well, you’d need to use your key. However, keyless locks are pretty much idiot-proof—meaning there are numerous warning lights and alarm sounds telling you to change the battery when it’s low. My recommendation is to change your keyless locks’ batteries when you change your smoke alarm batteries which is supposed to be with Daylight Saving Time, but January 1 and July 1 are the dates I use to make my changes. Learn how to change the battery here.

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

Cops Say: ‘Check Your Locks’

Burglaries happen everywhere. But sometimes, in some places, due to numerous reasons, burglaries become more frequent and sometimes by a lot. It doesn’t matter how high or low the crime rate is in your town; it is essential to keep your home as secure as possible. Just outside of Seattle, the Quincy police department recently stated, “To help with the recent burglaries, we have compiled a list of tips to help you protect your home from being targeted.”

One thing is clear about their tips: They recommend good, strong locks on all doors.

  • Make your home look occupied and make it difficult to break in.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the post office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take it in regularly.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
  • Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors like the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
  • Always lock your garden shed and garage.  
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. 
  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed. Stores like Home Depot and Lowes have great residential brands, such as Schlage.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There are a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.
  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.  
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home. This is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters as well as burglaries. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 immediately.
  • Join the block watch. Work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.

For residents who arrive home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:

  • Do not enter—the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Use a cell phone (or a neighbor’s phone) to call police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.

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.

Easily Install Locks and Increase Home Security

It’s not that hard to protect your home. In less than 30 minutes, you can install a strong lock, like a Schlage, to fit common prepped doors and you only need a screwdriver.

Ever install a door lock? There are certain activities in life that everyone should know how to do. Change a tire, give CPR, perform self-defense, swim, and change a lock. All of these things revolve around safety and security, and I’m betting you know how to do maybe two or three out of the five. (P.S. – if you know all five, then you are awesome!)

Knowing how to DIY a lock change isn’t entirely necessary, as you can always get someone else to it for you. (In my own life I can count at least a handful of times when someone called me to change locks in an emergency situation whether due to losing keys or a bad roommate situation) But why go through all the time of finding someone and maybe even a significant expense if you can do it yourself in less than 30 minutes – sometimes even in less than 15?! Today’s doors are pre-fit with all the necessary holes, so all you have to do is assemble the lock in place. Rarely will you need to retrofit or drill additional holes. When installing, most locks require two to four screws and you’re done! It’s the simple!

Installation instructions are always included in new lock packaging, with detailed examples of all the parts and how to put them together. Videos such as this one for Schlage’s Keypad Entry Lock, show exactly how to install a new lock.

More videos and installation instructions for Schlage’s strong locks can be found here.

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

Summertime is Burglary Time: Lock up!

According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, an American home is broken into about every 15 seconds. Summer marks a busy time of year when Americans need to be extra aware of heightened home security breaches. According to the FBI, July and August have the highest monthly burglary rates, as intruders look to take advantage of increased travel during the summer months.

Homeowners are advised to take action and prevent intrusions by strengthening home security. The best defense against burglary is preventionand with proper planning you can help make your home unappealing to burglars. Burglars watch to see when you are traveling on vacation and even look for signs you are gone for minutes or hours at a time.

Here are a few tips to keep your home secure during summer months:

  • Protect your home’s main point of entry by installing a strong lock like the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt. I like this product because it offers the highest grade residential security available and has a built-in alarm, anti-pick shield and is even easy enough for you to install on your own.
  • Don’t leave windows open and unlocked while you are gone. Close and lock them even if you are just leaving for a few minutes. This will cut off easy access to your home.
  • Don’t leave outside lights on 24 hours a day. Using timers on indoor and outdoor lights is an easy way to give the illusion that you’re home – even when you are not.
  • Don’t leave your driveway empty and even ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway while you are gone.
  • Don’t allow your overgrown grass to grab attention. Schedule time for a landscaper or have someone trusted mow your lawn if you’re going to be gone for weeks at a time.
  • Don’t pack your car openly before a trip. This should be done in your garage or late at night under the cover of darkness.
  • Do have trusted friends, family, or neighbors collect your deliveries and let the police know you are traveling.
  • Don’t list your vacation plans on social media. Burglars love when you tell them you are 2,000 miles away and wait until you get home to post all those photos.
  • Lock all your doors and unplug garage door openers.
  • Don’t share your travel plans on a voicemail outgoing message and make sure to collect all your voicemails so the “mailbox is full” messages don’t play.
  • Don’t leave valuables sitting on dressers or in unlocked draws and make sure to lock everything of significant value in a safe.
  • Use a home automation system like Nexia Home Intelligence to check in on your home from afar. By using a system like this with a Schlage Camera, homeowners can monitor unusual activity to spot anything out of the ordinary.

Summertime doesn’t have to be burglar time if you follow these dos and don’ts!

Robert Siciliano Home Security Expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

A Brief History of Home Security Locks

Have you ever actually read the name stamped on your door locks or key? I always have – and I’ve equipped every home I’ve ever bought with Schlage. You can check out my favorite locks at Schlage.com.

Locks keep families and businesses safe and secure from predators. Door knob jiggling is the most effective way to break into a home. All the badguy needs to do is see if the doorknob is locked and if not he simply opens the door and makes his way in. The first step in home security is to lock your doors with quality locks. Locks have had a significant place in the history of security as an effective layer of protection and I thought it would be interesting to share a brief history of the home door lock:

  • 2000 BC—Locks appear in ancient Egypt. Records show wooden locks in use some 4,000 years ago.
  • 445 BC—Locks appear in the Old Testament. In the book of Nehemiah, Chapter 3, it is stated they “set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.”
  • 870-890—All-metal locks begin to appear
  • 1774-1920—Lock-making begins to take off. Between these years, there were 3,000 varieties of lock devices and the level tumbler lock was invented in Europe and improved in 1778 by Robert Barron.
  • 1909Schlage receives its first patenton Walter Schlage’s first invention, a door lock that turned lights on and off.
  • Early 1920’s—Schlage advances cylindrical pin-tumbler locks. Walter Schlage advanced the concept of a cylindrical pin-tumbler lock, with an emphasis on security. Of equal importance to the modern architect and decorator, the lock became an intricate part of the door design. It was now possible to select complimentary styles of locks, metals, and finishes.
  • 1940— Six years before his death, Schlage is named a “Modern Pioneer”. The brand has continued to carry on his legacy for more than 90 years, creating incredibly strongand technologically advanced locks to help consumers secure their homes.
  • 2006 – Schlage introduces keypad lock for exterior doors, eliminating the need for a traditional key to make access convenient for families, etc…
  • 2009 – Schlage introduces line of keypad locks and complementary home automation systems like Nexia Home Intelligence that provide access and control over the home while away.

Robert Siciliano Home Security Expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.