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2 The Basics of Home Security Topics Covered: Home Security Basics Home Security Guides Home Security Products and Services The Value of Insurance in Home Protection Top Ten Tips for Your Home Security Essentials of Home Security 5 Absolute Essentials of Home Security Apartment Security Home Security Advice 5 Essential Things to Check for When You Are Buying a House 3 Essential Steps to Build a Secure Community Home Security: Do It Yourself Home Security with a Small Budget

3 The Basics of Home Security Home Security Basics If you want to keep your home secure from burglars, thieves, trespassers and other unwanted people, first you will need to make sure that you are familiar with home security basics. Of course, professional security systems, alarms, video monitoring and other devices will help, but they are useless if you do not follow the basic rules of security, the basic steps that will keep your home and your family secure. The first basic step is to make sure that when you buy your house, you can see what is going on outside of the house from windows. If you have large trees and bushes that are preventing you from seeing your yard, this may prevent you from noticing that someone is trying to break in or to vandalize your property. For example, someone may try to vandalize your car that was parked outside and you might not even notice it. That is why you need to take measures to make sure that you can see what is happening outside of your house. This means that you may need to trim some of the bushes in your yard and cut some of the tree branches. But in the end it will pay off by making your house more secure. Another step to make your house more secure is to make sure that your doors and windows are protected at all times. The doors must be made of quality materials that make them strong and hard to break. Windows should also be thick enough and professionally installed. This may be a little expensive but it is definitely worth it. Another important point is to install good locks on your doors and windows. The door locks should be professional and should provide the top protection from thieves that may try to break in by opening these locks. Window locks should also be securely attached to the window frames to keep your windows firmly closed and protected. Having shades on the first floor windows will provide additional protection from people who may try to look inside your house. You will be more protected and will have more privacy this way. You should also think about installing sensor light outside of your house. First of all, this will provide more visibility outside, especially if you have trees growing in your yard. You will also be immediately alerted when someone is coming close to your house. The system will detect the outside movement and will immediately turn the lights on. In addition to the above benefits, sensor lights will distract many of the possible thieves that may try to break in your house. Many of the sensor lights are not expensive to purchase and to install. You should, however, have a professional install your sensor lights to make sure they are working properly and are detecting only the types of movements that you would like to detect. Another one of the home security basic steps is to make sure that you keep your valuables protected inside your house. If you have some items that you value a lot (money, jewelry and other

4 expensive objects), you should make sure that they are hidden and locked when you are not using them. This is especially important when you are not at home. The safe will be the best choice but even if you don t have one, you still should lock all of your drawers. If you can, however, afford to purchase a quality safe, you should definitely do that. Just make sure that the safe is properly installed and cannot be removed from the house with your valuables inside. The best advice here is to hire an expert to install it in a hidden place in your house. When you do decide to purchase various security products for your house, make sure that you purchase only top quality products. You don t have to buy the most expensive products. Simply make sure that the item that you are buying provides all the required protection. There are many trusted companies that manufacture the security products that are both not too expensive and are of top quality. Taking a look though various security product guides and security related materials offline and online will definitely help you to select the best manufacturer. Home Security Guides If you would like to make your home more secure and your family more protected, you can use the help of various security guides. The first and a very important advice is to pay attention to the provider of the security guide. There are many different guides available offline and online and there are many available from trusted sources. For example, many police departments, security companies and even law firms offer access to their security guides. You can probably get most of your security related questions answered by using a guide. There are some things, however, that are best left to experts in the field. When you are looking through various guides, you will find that it is helpful to look through the guides that are broken down by specific subjects. For example, there are special guides for alarm systems, guides for video surveillance equipment and guides for security services. It will save you a lot of time if you can find a guide that deals with the security issue specifically of interest to you. However, if you would like to find some general information, a more general security guide will most likely be the best source. There are even guides created for those who live in a specific region and which include local contact information. There are many reasons why you may need a security guide. One of the reasons is to find out the information about local laws and regulations guiding the installation of security devices. Many regions, for example, have laws dealing with fake alarms and other security issues and it is helpful to know these laws before any security system is installed. If the security system is installed in a way that it does not follow the regulations, it is quite possible that you will be required to reinstall it later. This will result in additional expenses and may actually cost you a lot of money. These costs can be prevented by reading through the security guides with

5 necessary regulations information. The best place to check for this type of guide is the local police department or city government office. Another reason why you might want to read through the security guide is to find out the information on how to install the security systems yourself. There are many different do it yourself security guides that will provide you with detailed instructions on how to properly install and configure your security system. Having a security system installed by a professional is always a preferred choice but may be very costly for a lot of people. In this case a good do it yourself security guide prepared by a security professional will be of great assistance. After carefully reading through the guide you will be able to take care of the security system installation with your own hands and without having to pay any fee. It is important to mention that there are security guides that provide you the information on how to protect your house when you are on an extended leave. For example, if you decide to go on vacation, you should definitely think in advance on how to secure your house while you are gone. A good security guide will provide you with the basic steps that you will need to follow to protect your house before you leave on vacation. It is a good advice to check out several different guides. This way you will have the security recommendations prepared by several different experts in the home security industry. With the advancement of internet you can access most of the security guides online nowadays. There are, of course, a lot of excellent security guides that are available only offline. But if you do have access to the internet, you will definitely find a proper security guide in a short amount of time. Online security guides are usually more convenient. There are many guides that are free to access but some companies will allow you to access their security guides only after you pay the certain access fee. There are arguments both for the free security guides and for guides with a fee based access. The type of guide that you will need will depend on your specific needs and the budget that you are willing to spend. Home Security Products and Services If you are a homeowner, you are most likely aware of various dangers to your home and importance of different home security systems. There are many different products and services that allow you to make your house secure and protected from various threats like burglaries and vandalism. This article will describe several security products and services. These security systems will differ from one company to another but their general characteristics usually stay the same. The first and the most important security product is the alarm system. There are many different types of alarm systems. The system s main purpose is to sound the siren when someone unlawfully enters the protected property. This is the simplest type of alarm system. It is usually necessary to enter the security code within a certain short period of time to deactivate the alarm. If the security

6 code was not entered correctly of was not entered at all, the alarm system will assume a theft attempt and will go off. The more advanced alarm systems will have such feature as motion detection. Motion detector will trigger the alarm if there is any movement in the house when the alarm is turned on. Many security companies will also offer an alarm monitoring service. In a case of a theft attempt the alarm will signal the security company, which will notify the police department of the situation. The alarm monitoring service offers more protection as compared to a regular alarm because the police unit is dispatched right away. There are many other types of security products. One of the examples is a sensor light. The sensor light will light up if there is a movement outside of your house. This is more of a security prevention type of device but is a very useful one. Not only it will protect your house but it will also protect your car and outside equipment. Another security product that you might want to have in your house is a safe. You should keep most of your expensive belongings in the bank, but those valuables that need to be at home can be stored securely in the safe. This minimizes the chance that they will be stolen. It is important to mention video and audio home security equipment. There are many different types of video cameras that you can install outside and inside of your house. These cameras can be regular wired cameras or wireless. Wireless cameras don t need to be connected to the receiving device. Outside cameras are usually made weatherproof. The video (and audio) stream is recorded and is displayed on the security monitors. The recording is done either on the VCR or on a digital recorder. Personal computers can also be used to store recordings on the standard hard drive. Many of the video cameras are equipped with motion detectors that start the recording only when there was a movement detected. Various types of locks are also available for sale. Installing a good lock makes your house more secure. The lock should be designed to protect your home from those people who may try to break into your house by trying to pick the lock. There are many different types of locks: from regular locks to electronic locks. Your door should be at least equipped with a good quality regular lock. For additional protection you may decide to use an electronic lock. Keep your keys in a secure location. If you do lose a key, there is no reason to take a risk. You should reinstall your lock immediately to make sure that in a case a key was stolen, it can not be used to open your door. There are many other products and services. For example, you can install various fire alarms in your house. The monitoring services include monitoring for possible fire threat and medical emergency. Various software packages allow you to connect your security systems to your personal computer and combine them into one easily manageable computerized system. Home automation software and hardware is also available for sale. The automation systems allow you to control you home accessories by turning them on and off when you are not at home. And the list of security products goes on and on.

7 The Value of Insurance in Home Protection It is very important to make sure that your house is protected from various dangers. Whether you are increasing the protection of your house from the possibility of a break in or burglary, the possibility of an inside danger of something else, you also need to provide a back up solution in case your protection methods fail. For example, if somebody succeeds in breaking into your house or there is a fire that destroys all of your belongings, you need to think what you can do in this case to return all or a part of your belongings. The solution to this situation is insurance. The value of insurance in home protection is enormous. It allows you to protect your home and your personal belongings and valuable even if something does happen to them. There are several different types of insurance programs. One insurance may protect your belongings and your house from one danger; another insurance from another danger. Some insurance programs provide several levels of protection and may combine protection from different dangers. You should at least have homeowners insurance, but it is not possible to say whether your homeowners insurance will protect you from all the dangers. Different insurance companies offer different insurance programs. You might need to purchase additional level of protection or even one or several additional insurance programs. Your most expensive valuables will most likely need a separate protection. For example, if you have expensive paintings, they will most likely need a separate insurance. The suggestion here is to read through your specific house insurance program and see what it covers and what additional protection needs to be purchased. You should definitely purchase an insurance that will protect your house in case of a fire. A protection from other inside dangers (a water flooding, for example) is also advised. With the fire protection insurance, in case your preventive and security measures fail, you will be compensated for the damage to your house. With that compensation you will be able to repair or rebuild the house. You will still lose a lot of time and money, but you will not lose it all. Check whether your insurance protects your belongings that are destroyed by fire and if this type of protection is possible at all with your insurance program. You will, most likely, have to show your insurance company that you have a certain type of fire protection system installed in your house. For example, you may be required to have a fire protection system monitoring service at your house before you can get an insurance policy. Another important type of insurance is the one that will protect your house in case of a burglary. You should also find out what is the exact level of protection that your insurance provides. Check if your belongings are insured. Also check if your house is insured from damage and vandalism. The more protection you can get, the better off you are. This way, in a case of a successful burglary, you will be able to return a large

8 part of your losses. However, this type of insurance also requires you to install some specific type of security system in your house. For example, you may be required to install an alarm system and to sign up for the alarm monitoring service. If some of the expensive items in your house are not protected, it is a good idea to purchase a several insurance to protect them. The last advice is related to the process of shopping for various insurance programs. You should see if you can get a better deal if you purchase your insurance from one company. You may be able to get a package deal that will cost you much less them purchasing insurance protection programs separately from several different companies. Make sure you read about the details of your insurance policies and the details about the claim process. Also make sure that you satisfy all the requirements that your insurance company demands from you to satisfy. This will allow you to eliminate any possible problems in the future, if case something happens and you do need to file a claim with the company. Top Ten Tips for Your Home Security There are many different home security tips that are very helpful in making your house safe and secure. This article will list ten of the most important security tips. Following these tips will decrease the chances that your house will be robbed or vandalized. The first and the most important tip is to purchase a homeowner s insurance. Purchasing insurance for your most valuable possessions is a next step. If you have the proper insurance, even if all your security measures fail, you may still be able to return a portion of lost valuables. Many of the insurance companies will require you to install some type of the security system before an insurance policy will be issued to you. The tip number 2 is to store the most expensive and most valuable items (including jewelry, money, etc.) in a safe deposit box in the bank. This step will definitely protect your valuables. The expensive items that are needed in the house can be kept in the safe. The tip number 3 is to install the alarm system and sign up for the alarm monitoring service. When you are installing the alarm system, make sure that the fire and smoke detectors are integrated with the system. The alarm monitoring service is also very important. Without the monitoring, you can not be sure what time will pass before someone will notice the fact that the system went off and will call the police. With the alarm monitoring system the police department is contacted right away. The tip number 5 is to include motion detectors as a part of your alarm system. Motion detectors can be installed inside the house and near windows and doors. With motion detectors you will become aware of any movement inside the house. The alarm system will be triggered by the detector and the monitoring company will be notified. It is also a good advice to have a motion sensor light outside your house.

9 The tip number 6 deals with the situation when you are installing video cameras as a part of your security system. When you are installing video cameras, you should purchase the cameras that provide infrared functionality. There cameras will usually switch to the black and white mode and will turn infrared LEDs when it gets dark. The tip number 7 deals with the power down situations. You should purchase and charge the back up power supply in advance. In a case of a power down situation a back up power supply will keep you security system up and running and your house protected. Without a power supply you risk a complete stop in the functionality of your security system. The tip number 8 is to go wireless. If you have wired cameras, you should probably upgrade them to wireless cameras that don t need a wire connecting them to the VCR. Wireless cameras are easier to install, manage and hide. The chances are that it will be harder to notice a wireless camera then a wired one. If you signed up for the alarm monitoring systems, you should check if the security company has a wireless option (when the system can use cellular link to contact the company if the alarm goes off). The tip number 9 is to make sure that you lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house. Also don t forget to turn your alarm on before you leave and turn it off when you come back. If you don t do these simple steps, even the most expensive security system may not be able to protect you. The tip number 10 is to join a neighborhood watch program, if there is one. This is definitely very important. If you are not at home, some of your neighbors may be. If they can keep an eye on your house, this will provide an additional level of security. Talk to your neighbors and see if you can join a program. If there is no neighborhood watch program in place, it might be a good idea to discuss the possibility of creating one with your neighbors. Essentials of Home Security We all know how important home security is and how important it is to follow the necessary steps to make sure our home and our families are safe and protected. There are a number of possible ways to increase the security level of your home. This article will talk about the most essential home security issues and the main steps that will help you to protect your home in a more efficient manner. It is important that you spend some time improving your home security. This work and the time that you spent will pay off by providing you with a home that is protected from many possible dangers. The harder you make it for the burglar to break into you house, the less chances there will be that a break in will be attempted and the more chances there will be that a burglary in progress will be stopped. The first step is to take an inventory of your property and your valuables. Make sure that you have all the identifying information for your valuables (like serial numbers). If it is possible to store the most expensive items in the bank, do that. If not, make sure they are protected in a safe and are in

10 a hidden place. In case of a burglary attempt it will be much easier for the police to find your stolen items if you provide them will all the inventory and item identification information. It is essential that you install some type of alarm system. It is even better when your alarm system includes fire detection and protection equipment. Not everyone can afford to install an advanced alarm system, but at least a simple system with a siren needs to be installed. If you can spend a little more money on the alarm, you should think about installing motion detectors and signing up for the alarm and fire monitoring service. Video surveillance is a good addition to an alarm system but is usually costly. Make sure that you doors and windows are strong and secure and that you have proper locks installed. If it is necessary, enforce your doors with additional (including electronic) locks and with a steel inside plate for more protection. If your windows have standard locks and regular glass installed, you should change the locks to more secure ones and replace the regular glass with an enforced hard to break glass. Especially enforce the glass sliding doors, if you have any. The doors for your shed and the entry gate also need to be checked for security problems and enforced, if necessary. All these steps will ensure that your home is protected from possible break in attempts. If your area does not participate in a neighborhood watch program, talk to your neighbors about starting one. This is essential since the community with a watch program in place is many times more secure then the community without one. Your neighbors will surely agree to spend a little of their time to watch after each other and to make their neighborhood a more secure place to live in. This is an easy security improvement since you will be assisted by your local police department and will be provided with all the necessary information on how to start and improve the program. An additional benefit is the fact that you will communicate with your neighbors more and will have someone to help you with your security efforts when you are away from home or are on a long trip or vacation. You should also be very careful when talking to strangers. If someone you don t know asks a lot of questions about you, your neighbors or your area, make sure you don t give out the security information and report this case to your neighbors and your local patrolling officer. When someone you don t know asks to enter your house, check that person s identification and make sure that that this stranger is indeed who he claims he is. There are many burglars who may try to trick you to enter your house without actually breaking in. You should also never give out any important information when you are talking to a stranger on the phone. For example, if someone asks you for your detailed daily schedule information, never give it out. 5 Absolute Essentials of Home Security

11 There are many different ways you can secure your house. You can, for example, install various security systems that will protect your house from burglary attempts. You can also install systems that protect you and your property from inside dangers. You can follow certain home security steps that will ensure that you also prevent the possibility of a burglary attempt. This article will talk about 5 absolute essentials of home security Äì items that cover security protection, protection from inside dangers and even the preventive measures that you need to be taking. The first essential home security topic deals with your alarm systems. You need to make sure that your alarm system provides all the necessary protection that your house requires. There are many different types of alarm systems that can be installed. The type of a system that you should install depends on your specific needs and a budget that you have access to for home security purposes. The basic alarm system will simply sound a siren when someone enters a wrong security code or doesn t enter any code at all. The more advance system will include motion detectors that will also trigger the alarm if there was any unauthorized movement detected inside the house. More advanced alarm systems may also incorporate video surveillance systems that will record any activity inside and outside the house as soon as any movement was detected by the alarm system or by the video surveillance system itself. The second essential home security topic deals with the alarm system monitoring service. You should definitely think about signing up for the alarm monitoring service as it will provide your house with a much higher level of security then a regular alarm system. With the monitoring service, if your alarm is triggered, your security system sends a signal to the monitoring company. The monitoring company will attempt to contact you to determine if this was a fake alarm. If it is unable to do so or cannot verify your identity, a police department will be contacted right away and a police unit will be dispatched to your house. As you can see, alarm monitoring service provides your house with more security, especially when you are not at home. The third essential home security topic deals with the inside dangers for your house. There are several inside dangers that can pose threat to your property and even to your life. The list of these dangers includes but is not limited to fire, water flooding, electrical shortage or fire, gas leak and many others. It is absolutely essential that you try to prevent these dangers. There are many different ways to do that. For example, you will need to make sure that you have smoke and fire detectors installed inside your house. Having carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors also installed is a big plus. You should also make sure that you turn off all of the electrical, gas or water equipment when you are not using it. The forth essential home security topic deals with the prevention methods that can protect your house from possible burglary attempts. The most dangerous time for your house is when you are not at home, especially for a long period of time. In order to protect your property and make sure that you can prevent possible burglary attempts, you need to make sure that your house looks occupied.

12 You can do this by installing an automation system, putting your mail and newspaper deliveries on hold, hiring a house sitter, etc. There are many different steps that you can take to ensure your house looks occupied. The fifth essential home security topic also deals with the burglary prevention methods. The main idea here is to add additional protection to your house by signing up for a neighborhood watch program. With this program, your neighbors will be watching after your house and in return you will do the same for them. As a result, the possibility that a burglar will attempt to break into someone s house in the neighborhood watch area is significantly reduced. You will enjoy a much higher level of security without having to spend more money on various home security systems. Apartment Security There are specific home security steps for people who rent or own apartments instead of living in a house. The home security steps for apartments and for houses are essentially the same, but there are some steps that differ. There are also some home security steps that apply only to apartments. This article will list some of the most important steps for apartment security. The first thing that should be mentioned is the fact that if you rent an apartment from someone or some rental company, you should know that your landlord is required to make a safe living environment available to you. This is required by law and if you believe something can cause a threat to you or your family, you should ask your landlord to eliminate this threat and your landlord is required to act in accordance with your request. There are several things that pose a danger to your security and that you should make sure you are protected from. For example, you should make sure that there is sufficient lighting outside of your apartment complex. If it is dark outside, this is very dangerous since there are more chances that you can be attacked and robbed. You should talk to your landlord and ask him or her to install additional lightning. If there are any burned out bulbs, your landlord is also responsible for replacing them. If you have your laundry outside of your apartment, you need to make sure that you are safe when you walk to that location, especially if you are walking there at night. This also applies to other facilities like a pool or a fitness center. It is a good idea to do your laundry during the time it is light outside. If it is not possible, ask your neighbor or a friend to do their laundry with you so you can both walk to the outside facility at the same time. There are other security steps that you should follow. For example, if you have your name printed on the mailbox, see if it is possible to move the label inside of the mailbox so only the post office agent and you can see it. If this is not possible, make sure that the label doesn t display your full name. You can have only your last name to be printed or a last name and a first letter of your first name. This way a burglar will not be able or will have a hard time trying to find out your phone number, which can be used if a burglar needs to call your apartment to find out whether you are at home or

13 not. Another precaution step is to make sure that if someone buzzes you from the entrance, you open the door only to those people who you know or expect. Never buzz in a stranger, even if he or she says that they are visiting someone in the apartment complex. If you have a main building door, make sure that it is locked at all times. Many apartment complexes will have a main door and you will usually be provided with a separate key from this door or a security code for the electronic lock. Make sure that you lock this main door after you come inside the building or go outside. If this main entrance door has an electronic lock, you should never tell anyone what is the security code used to open this door. If there is an external security outside (like a main entrance gate), you should also make sure that you never give out the security code that is used to open this gate. As far as you own door, ask your landlord to install a door chain and a peephole. If someone asks to come inside your apartment and states that your landlord sent him or her, check with your landlord first to make sure your landlord indeed sent somebody and that this person is not trying to trick you to be able to steal something from you. Be very careful when dealing with stranger as they can be bogus callers trying to rob you. The basic security steps that you should follow in this case are the same for people who live in apartments and for people who live in houses. Home Security Advice If you would like to improve the security level of your home, the best way to start is to look through various tips and suggestions related to home security. Some of these tips may not apply to your situations but some may be very helpful in determining the next thing that you will need to improve and the steps, which will result in the most secure outcome. This article will cover several home security concerns and will provide tips and suggestions to the possible improvements that need to be done. As a result of following these steps you will be able to create a more secure home, neighborhood and live a more secure life. Your family will be protected and your valuables will be safe. The first suggestion deals with the situation where people simply forget to take preventive security measures and do something that is completely insecure. For example, many people don t follow an excellent advice not to hide a spare key neat the door. Whether you hide your key under the doormat, above the door frame, under rocks or at some other location, you are reducing the security of your home. These are the places there the burglar will always look first before attempting the burglary attempt. This king of behavior can even trigger the burglary attempt. For example, imagine if a burglar is looking for a house to break into and sees that someone is hiding a key under the door mat. That tells the burglar that the house is unprotected and there won t be many obstacles stopping him in the progress of the burglary. Even if you keep a spare key in your work desk, this creates an additional danger for you.

14 Another type of danger comes from the situations when people forget to lock their doors or windows. If your window is unlocked or even completely open, this is a sign for the burglar that there is an easy entry inside the house. Windows should always be locked. There are, however, situations when you do need to keep your windows open (usually when someone is inside). In this case there are other preventive measures. For example, there are locks that keep your windows open only half way and don t allow getting into the house through the window. You should also always remember to lock your doors and turn on your alarm before you leave the house. Even if you are at home, you should still keep your doors closed. Being careful makes your life much more secure. Make sure that you can see what is going on around your house. If there are tree branches that hide the yard from your direct view, it is better to cut some of the branches to make sure you can see everything that happen outside. If you can see that someone is approaching your house in advance, you will have more time to react to that. If your car is parked outside, you should also be able to see it from your window. This way you can make sure that no one is trying to steal it or vandalize it. It is a good idea to install a motion detector light outside near your door. This way if someone walks close your door at night, the light will allow you to see who that person is. Another good advice is not to attract the attention of possible burglars. If you have an expensive car and have a garage--always park your car in the garage. If you have expensive items at home, keep them away from the window so a burglar who may be walking by your house does not see that you have many valuables inside. It is also a good idea to have curtains covering your windows. If you purchased something expensive recently, don t simply throw away the empty box outside. Throw it away in such a way that people outside don t see it or would not understand what type of item this box is from. You should also never throw away the paperwork with important personal of financial information printed on it. For example, if you want to throw away your credit card statements or check copies, you should use the paper shredder first. 5 Essential Things to Check for When You Are Buying a House There are several security steps that you need to follow when you are buying a house or an apartment. Following these steps will ensure that you selected a secure home at a secure location. The first thing to do is to meet your prospective neighbors. Talk to these people, get to know them, ask them to describe you the neighborhood and the local community. The more information that you will have about the local community, the better decision you can make about purchasing the new house. You will know upfront about the possible security issues in your new community and will be able to determine if there are any dangers to your home or to your family. You will also know who your neighbors are and what kind of people they are. This is very important if you plan to communicate with your neighbors a lot and maybe even rely on them for something. If you have kids, you might want to know if your neighbors also have kids and whether these kids are good enough to spend time with your own children.

15 The second thing that you should check is if there is a neighborhood watch program already started in this area. If not, talk to your prospective neighbors and see if they will be interested in starting this type of program. If everyone agrees that this program is beneficial, this is a good sign. If, on the contrary, everyone declines to participate in the watch program, this is a negative sign for you. A watch program provides a higher level of security and reduces the chance of a potential break in attempt. Burglars consider an area with a watch program as a higher risk area and tend to attempt their robberies in other locations that don t have a neighborhood watch program. This information can be used when you are making a final purchase decision. The third thing to check for is whether the community or an apartment complex has an externals security system. For example, many communities and apartment complexes are fenced around the area and have an entrance gate. This entrance gate may require you to enter a security code to open the gate or may even have a security guard on duty both during the day and during the night. A security guard, of course, provides a higher level of security then an entrance code (a burglar may simply find out a code and still get inside the secure area). If you are purchasing a house or an apartment located in a community that provides this type of additional external security, it is a big plus. The forth thing to do is to talk the local patrolling police officer. He or she will be happy to provide you with the local crime statistics and will be able to provide his or her opinion of how safe and secure is the local community and your house in particular. Since this officer has a detailed information based on experience of patrolling the entire community, it is a good advice to take his or her opinions and information into consideration when you are making a decision whether to purchase and apartment or a house or not. You can also check the crime statistics for this area by contacting the local police department or the local government office. The fifth thing that you should check is whether the actual house is secure. Check if the door and windows are strong and protected and whether the locks are good. You will be changing your locks after you move in, but the doors and windows should be already strong and secure. Make sure that the house has smoke and fire detectors installed. Having carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors installed is also a good security measure. An alarm system is also big plus, especially if this system already includes motion detectors. As far as the alarm monitoring service, this is not necessary as you will need to sign up for this service yourself. Another thing to check for is the possibility to install a video monitoring system. You should also check the condition of gas and water equipment and electrical wiring and find out whether any if this equipment needs replacement. 3 Essential Steps to Build a Secure Community

16 A goal to have a secure home is very closely related to the goal to create a secure community. If you do live in a secure community, this fact already provides you with a lot of additional security protection for your home and your family. The chance that someone will break into your house is much smaller. Your family and your kinds are more protected. There are many other benefits. This article will list the 3 essential steps that you can follow to build a secure community. If you succeed in this objective, you will also be able to achieve your personal goal of home security for you and your family. The first important step that you need to take to build a secure community deals with the neighborhood security program. This is probably the most important step that deserves the most of your attention. This program may or may not already be available in your location. The main point of this program is to allow neighbors to protect one another by watching over each other homes and property. Most of the neighbors already do this anyways. A start of the watch program will allow you to do that in a more formalized and effective manner. You should talk to your neighbors and discuss the possibility of starting a watch program. If everyone agrees to participate (the most common outcome) in the program, you can start working on the organization of this program in your community. First of all, you will need to contact your local police department and notify them that you would like to start a neighborhood watch program. The police department will send their representative to your group. This officer will go over the program organization steps and will provide your group with the official neighborhood watch sign. You can also ask this representative various question related to crime prevention and home security. As soon as your program is organized, you will start to notice how much more secure your community became. For example, communities that do have an affective watch program usually enjoy much lover crime rates as compared to the communities that don t. There are also a lot less break in and burglary attempts in an area covered by the watch program. There are many additional benefits. You can find out more details by contacting your local police department. The second essential step that you need to take to build a secure community involves yours and your neighbors participation in various home security related training programs and seminars. These programs are generally offered by your local police department, your local government office or even your fire protection department. If these authorities don t currently offer any programs in your area, they at least will be able to direct you to the trustful organizations that do. These training programs and seminars are usually either free or very low cost. You will be able to learn different home security information: how to improve you home security, how to prevent robbery and burglary attempts, how to protect your house from inside dangers, etc. You will also be able to learn different ways to make your community more secure and safe for all residents of the community. Many of these programs will provide you will the list of specific steps that need to be followed to achieve your personal and community objectives. As you can see, participation in these training programs if very beneficial to you personally and to the whole community where you live. It is

17 usually a good idea to send at least one member of the community to these types of trainings so this member can later share the learned information with other members of the community. The third important step that you need to take to build a secure community involves the prevention of domestic dangers. Domestic dangers are very important as they pose a threat both to your property and to your life. They also pose a threat to the property of other residents of your community. Making sure that you follow the prevention steps related to these dangers will benefit both your family and other community members. You will be able to contribute to the security efforts of the whole community. Home Security: Do It Yourself Every person understands the importance of home security. However, not everyone can afford to hire a professional to install and configure their security system. That is the main reason why so many security companies are selling various do it yourself security kits. Various do it yourself security guides are also available for use. Installing a security system yourself will take a lot of time and effort. The more time is spent, the better the security system will work. However, before you start installing a new security system or work on other home security improvements, you should check if you need to get an approval (a permit, for example) from some type of regulating authority. Many types of work being performed on a house require an official approval before the actual work can be performed. After the proper approvals and permits were obtained, the actual work can begin. There are two possible ways you can start working on home security improvements. If you purchased a do it yourself kit, the installation and configuration instructions are most likely included with the kit. You will need to carefully read and study these instructions before you can start the actual work. That will protect you from making a mistake and having to spend a lot of time trying to repair the system. After you completed reading through the instructions, you can start the installation process. Follow the manual s steps very carefully. Don t skip the steps that may see unnecessary--there is most likely a reason why they are there. Pay a close attention to safety warnings, especially if you are working with the electrical equipment. The last advice is to test your system carefully after the installation work is complete. The second way you can start working on home security improvements applies to the situation when you purchased all the security equipment separately and don t have the manufacturer s instructions on how to install and configure the security system. In this case you will need to find a proper installation or configuration guide or manual. The possible search locations include the manufacturer s website, various technical websites and websites of different security companies. Make sure that the security guide that you will be using is prepared by an expert in the home security industry. Check the author of the guide and check the feedback left by other people. After you select the proper guide, carefully follow the installation instructions, safety precautions and testing procedures.

18 There are two different types of systems or home improvements that you might be working on. The simple one includes but is not limited to the installation of doors, locks, windows, safes, etc. This type of home security improvements is still hard to do and requires a lot of patience and care but it does not deal with the more advance technological gadgets and electrical equipment. When you are installing more advanced security systems like alarms and video surveillance systems, you will need to be even more careful and details oriented. In the end, however, the hard work and patience will pay back with a security system that works well, does not break and does not require constant fixes and repairs. Another quick advice is to pay a close attention to the way you are going to install the security system or security improvement. Make sure you install the system without reducing the safety of your home. There may be places in your house with electrical wiring and different mechanisms behind the walls. Safety measures should be taken during the design phase so you don t break any systems that were installed up to that time. The materials used during the installation should be selected carefully. Follow the offers listed in your design manual or guide. Consult with the agent of the store where you are buying the equipment. Check the advice sections on the home security related websites. Contact your electrical company if you are dealing with electrical wiring. You can also contact the authority that issued you the permit for installation or improvement work. All these sources have information that can be very helpful in your effort and that can make your work much faster and easier. Home Security with a Small Budget Every person understands the importance of home security. We all want our house or apartment, our family and our personal belongings to be safe and secure. However, not everyone is able to spend a lot of money on purchasing advanced security and surveillance systems. People who have a small budget available for home security purchases still can significantly improve the security of their homes without spending a lot of money on security products and services. This article will describe several low cost security methods that can be used by people with low security budgets. The first advice deals with alarm systems. Even though advanced expensive alarm systems provide the best level of protection, even a regular alarm system will significantly increase the level of your home security. The standard type of alarm system that turns on the siren if the alarm is triggered doesn t cost a lot of money and can be purchased by people with low budgets for security purposes. The do it yourself alarm kit can be purchase and will allow the owner of the house to install the system without having to pay the installation fee. Even low cost motion detectors can be purchased and added to the alarm security system. People who have a little extra money to spend might find it useful to sign up for the alarm monitoring service. Some of the monitoring companies offer their monitoring services for as low as $10 per month. This is a nice addition to the security system if it can be fit into the budget.

19 Another low cost security protection for your house involves the installation of fire and smoke detectors. These home security products are generally not expensive and can be easily installed yourself. They do, however, provide you with a lot of additional protection from inside dangers-- more specifically from the fire danger. The installation of carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors also provides a good additional security measure and doesn t cost a lot of money. Another inexpensive way to increase the level of the house security is to participate in the neighborhood security program. This will generally cost you nothing. You will only have to put in a little of your time and effort. All you will have to do is to watch out for your neighbors and their property and your neighbors will do the same for you. You will also be provided with the neighborhood watch sign. Participation in the watch program significantly reduces the dangers to your property. The area that participates in the watch program is considered risky by the robbers and enjoys a lower crime rate and lower number of burglary attempts. And all of these security benefits don t require you to pay any money. All you have to do is to spend some time to make sure that your community is safe and secure. Another low cost way to increase your security protection is to make sure that your house looks occupied when you are not at home. This is especially important when you are leaving on vacation or on a long work trip. You should ask someone to pick up your mail and your newspapers so they don t pile up in your mailbox or on your door steps. You should also stop your deliveries for the time you are away. Ask your friends or neighbors to stop by your house in the evening and turn your lights and radio on for a few hours. The only cost that you will have to pay is the additional electricity charges. Hiring a house sitter is a good idea, but this will be more expensive and may not be possible if you have a limited budget. If it is a winter time, make sure that one of your neighbors leaves a few footprints on the snow near your door to make an appearance that someone is at home. You can also ask your neighbor to park in your driveway during the time you are away from home. The last low cost security method is to make sure that you don t give a burglar a reason to break into your house. Make sure that you don t throw away the boxes from items that you purchased. If you do have expensive items, make sure that they cannot be seen through the window or the open door.

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