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Security Articles

More Holiday Safety Tips

holiday safety tips After a year of anticipation the holidays are finally here. Follow our holiday safety tips. This weekend many friends and families across Canada will be exchanging gifts, attending parties and celebrating this wonderful time of year. The holidays truly can be amazing but they can take a turn for the worse if you don’t take the necessary steps to protect yourself from break-ins and property damage. It is an unfortunate fact that during the holiday season incidents of home break-ins increase. Here are a few holiday safety tips to keep you, your family and home protected this holiday season.

Holiday Safety Tips to Follow

One of the main reasons incidents of burglary and break-ins increase during the holidays is because criminals know that families are buying expensive gifts. On top of that during Christmas a criminal knows that the best place to look for these expensive gifts is under the Christmas Tree. One way to combat this issue is by not displaying gifts or other valuables where they can be seen easily from a window or doorway. If a criminal knows where to go once they are inside your house, it significantly reduces the amount of time they need to be in your home before they can make off with your valuables. On Christmas morning when you are done opening gifts make sure to break down boxes of expensive gifts and place them in bags before you put them outside your house or on the curb for garbage collection. If a criminal sees a box for an expensive item like an HDTV sitting on the curb they may target your home.

During the holidays potential burglars often research the houses they are interested in breaking into. One trick that has been used is finding an excuse to come to your front door. A burglar may pose as a delivery person, donation collector etc. in order to get a peek inside your home. During the holidays you should be cautious of a suspicious individuals who come to your front door. Criminals will also look for any indication that you have gone away for Christmas. If you are going away it is important to create the illusion that someone is in your home. Hiring a house sitter is an excellent idea. A house sitter can pick up your mail, turn on your lights and make sure you alarm system is properly armed. Getting someone to park in your driveway while you are away is another great strategy to protect your home. If you are going away and have a home alarm system it is a good idea to contact your security company and let them know. That way they will be more alert to any potential disturbance at your home. The holidays are a great time of year, make sure to follow these holiday safety tips to have peace of mind.
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Beware of Electronic Pick Pocketing this Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us. The streets are full of snow, houses are decorated with bright colourful lights and Santa Claus is making appearances at malls throughout North America to see what children want for Christmas. Now that we are in the final few weeks before Christmas those of us who left the holiday shopping to the last minute are dashing off to the malls to purchase gifts for friends and family. This time of year stores and malls are packed full of people and unfortunately this type of environment can be a prime target for criminal activity. In the past, the main security concern in big crowds was pick pocketing, if you let your guard down for even a second you could lose your purse, cell phone or wallet. However, these days a new criminal phenomenon is emerging called electronic pick pocketing, where a criminal can steal your credit card number without even touching you.

Electronic pick pocketing relies on RFID

electronic pick pocketing Electronic pick pocketing relies on radio frequency identification technology or RFID. This is the technology present in credit or debit cards that allows you to make a purchase with a simple swipe over a scanner placed at the cashier of many stores throughout North America. While this technology allows for a great deal of convenience while making your holiday purchases it could also leave you open to electron pick pocketing. Criminals can purchase the RFID scanners that stores use online for as little as $100. Once they have the scanner they can conceal it in a computer case or bag and attach it wirelessly to a small notebook computer. They can then walk through a crowd scanning people’s purse or pockets with the concealed scanner and in seconds transfer individuals credit card numbers, expiry dates and even names to the nearby notebook computer. Over the course of an hour a criminal could get hundreds of credit card numbers. Once the numbers are in the computer they can easily be sent around the world and used to make purchases in your name.

According to WREG News in Memphis, Tennessee, over 140 million Americans are susceptible to electronic pick pocketing. Another scary fact about this new criminal phenomenon is that every US passport issued after 2006 has RFID technology. This means that a criminal could steal an individual’s identity incredibly easily by simply scanning the pocket a passport is kept in at a busy airport. While RFID technology is not as widely used in Canada as it is in the US it is a growing technology and one everyone should be aware of.

While this type of crime is not wide spread yet, the potential is there for it to grow. As RFID technology continues to expand the threat will become more of an issue. In the meantime there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. There are a few products on your market designed to house credit and debit cards in hard plastic containers that can’t be scanned by RFID scanners. You could also just be more diligent about protecting your credit card or passport while in a crowded store or airport this holiday season. No matter what you choose to do the first step is always just being aware that this is a potential threat.
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SafeLink Protects Your Home

safelinkThis week the GTA experienced its first major snow storm of the year. While parts of the city experienced light snow, other sections North of Toronto got hit so hard many residents had to shovel their driveways three times before they even left for work. When winter storms begin to hit everyone has to be more cautious, driving becomes more difficult, sidewalks become slippery and the cold air can be dangerous. One thing we don’t think about is how winter storms can affect the safety and security of our home.

Why SafeLink?

With winter storms come inevitable power outages. Canadian storms are famous for either blowing down power lines or freezing them. Thus storms can sometimes result in the temporary knock out of power, cable and phone lines to residences. Most home alarm systems are monitored through home phone lines; therefore in the event that a winter storm has knocked out your phone lines, your alarm’s central monitoring station becomes disconnected from your system. When connection with the monitoring station has been lost your home is susceptible to break-ins, an intruder can break into your house and you will have no way of contacting to the monitoring station to send authorities. The monitoring station will be unable to maintain view of your motion sensors, or window contacts. Alternatively if the alarm goes off as a result of a mistake you will not be able to contact the monitoring station to let them know it is a false alarm. This could result in a hefty fine from the local authorities. To combat this problem SafeTech Offers SafeLink.

SafeLink is a GSM device that SafeTech uses to help better manage the communication between our monitoring station and ours clients. Each alarm system uses a home phone for communication but that doesn’t have to be the only form of communication. SafeTech can install a backup GSM device that can communicate via wireless transmission to our central monitoring station. Through this if someone breaks in when the phone line is down, we will still get all of the information that your alarm system is reporting. It does full supervisory, which means all of your alarm devices, whether it is a door or window contact or a motion sensor will be able to report information to our monitoring station. Regardless of whether the phone line is down or not we will be able to get the authorities to your home immediately following the signal. Having SafeLink is a great way to ensure your homes safety and security even in the event that a winter storm knocks out your phone line.
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Holiday Security: Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season

holiday security The holiday season is upon us. Malls have begun to put up their holiday decorations, houses are starting to become lit up during the evening and their have even been a few flurries in the skies the past week. The holidays present one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Many of us visit relatives over the holidays, while others take vacations to warmer, more tropical climates. No matter what your travel destination, if you are leaving your home this holiday season, you have to keep holiday security in mind. Here are a few necessary steps you can take to protect your residence while you are away.

Install and Arm a Home Holiday Security System

This is obviously the best holiday security tip for your home. A simple security system consisting of window and door sensors can protect all of your home’s entry points. Furthermore a home alarm system can be monitored by a security company’s central monitoring station. These monitoring stations are alerted if your alarm is triggered and will dispatch the authorities in the event of a security breach. A monitored home alarm system serves as a virtual security guard while you are away.

Mail and Newspapers

One of the tell tale signs that burglars look for to determine if a home’s owners are away is the build up of mail or newspapers outside of the home. If you are going away this holiday season it is important that you ask a friend or neighbour to pick up your mail and newspaper daily. This will create the illusion that someone is home.

House Light Timers

Another excellent tip to keep your home safe and secure is to set your house lights to timers. House light timers can be picked up at any hardware store and can easily be plugged in with your lights. Timers allow you to control when your lights go on and off while you are away. Some more advanced systems can even be controlled remotely from your smart phone. Regardless of the system you purchase it is important to not just set the lights inside to timers but also any exterior lights. Exterior lights prevent intruders from getting close enough to your residence to determine if anyone is home.

Mobile Security Guard Patrols

holiday securityA final suggestion you can implement to improve your home holiday security is hiring mobile security guards to patrol by your home every night. If you are going away you can contact a security company to hire a guard to stop by and do an exterior inspection of your home once or twice every night while you are away. These security guards are good about making their checks unpredictable, so if a criminal is staking out your home the security checks by the mobile guards will act as a deterrent. Many neighbourhood associations hire mobile security patrols so before you hire one make sure to check if you can opt in to an already established service.When you go away for the holiday season you leave your home susceptible to theft, break-ins and damage. In order to avoid these unpleasant outcomes it is important to take some of these suggested steps. For more information on how to protect your home call SafeTech Alarms today.
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False Alarm Fine Bylaws Need to be Reevaluated

false alarmSafeTech Alarm System’s President, Sean O’Leary feels that bylaws that fine Toronto home owners for false fire alarms are excessive and restrictive. In the last six months over 800 Toronto residents have been fined $1050 by the Toronto Fire Department for false alarms caused by their home security system.

If a home equip with a monitored security system experiences a fire alarm, the alarm company’s central monitoring station is alerted and will attempt to contact the home to see if there is a fire. If the home owner can not be reached the central monitoring station will dispatch the fire department. In some cases the fire department arrives to find it was an equipment malfunction or a small incident that did not require the dispatch of fire engines. Due to the high cost of dispatching firefighters to a residence earlier this year the Toronto City Council passed a bylaw enforcing a $1050 fine for any resident who cause a false alarm.

False Alarm Report

In an article on November 25th, 2010, the Toronto Star detailed the story of Andrew Cole, a home owner who recently received the hefty fine when his home alarm system malfunctioned and triggered a false alarm. Cole returned home from walking his dog to find three fire engines outside of his house. It was the first false alarm Cole had ever experienced and he was shocked when he received a fine in the mail. Cole explained in the article that he may just let his alarm system contract expire without renewing it because the cost of the false alarm outweighs the benefits he feels he gets from his system.

false alarmCole’s reaction is frustrating for Sean O’Leary, President and CEO of SafeTech Alarm Systems, to hear. O’Leary feels that the new bylaws place home security companies between a rock and a hard place. O’Leary explained that he has two choices, the first being dispatching the fire department when SafeTech receives an alarm call that can not be confirmed. This choice could lead to angry clients who receive a hefty fine and then choose to discontinue their service as a result. The second choice is to only dispatch the fire department when a fire can be confirmed. This choice however increases liability because a fire could actually be taking place and waiting longer to contact the fire department reduces the impact of having a security system in the first place.

O’Leary takes his criticism of the new Toronto Bylaws a step further by arguing that they might not even be constitutional. “Section 2B of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, restricts the government from passing laws that are too restrictive or too expressive, justice requires that reasonable middle ground be achieved”, says O’Leary. “Dispatching three fire trucks instead of one to investigate a potential fire may be excessive. Not allowing a dispatch in progress to be cancelled by the home owner or monitoring station if they realize it is a false alarm is too restrictive. Finally maintaining a zero-tolerance policy and not allowing a premise owner at least one warning before assessing a large fine is too excessive”.

Since the new bylaws have been established three of SafeTech’s customers have had the fire department dispatched to their homes for false alarms. To avoid further false alarm fines for his clients O’Leary has implemented a program called “Call Crisis Only”. Under this new initiative a fire engine is not deployed unless a fire is verified. While this program will combat the fines for SafeTech’s customers the main answer lies in a revaluation of the bylaws.
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Security Cameras Protect Businesses: A Case Study

Security Cameras Protect Properties from Crime

If you have been following the news over the last few months chances are you have heard of David Chen. Chen is the grocer in Toronto’s Chinatown who made a citizens arrest of a shoplifter that had been routinely stealing inventory from his store. Chen’s brave fulfillment of civic duty has caused stirs across the country, there is great debate as to whether or not he should have pursued the serial shoplifter or left it to authorities. The aspect of the story I would like to focus on is how Chen was able to recognize the shoplifter when he returned to the scene of his earlier crimes. This was because he had cameras installed and security cameras protect businesses.

How Security Cameras Protect You

security cameras protectLike all store owners Chen was greatly concerned with the security of his inventory, for after all his inventory was his livelihood. As a result Chen installed a security camera and positioned it looking over his store. When Chen noticed that some of his plants had gone missing he immediately reviewed his security tapes and was able to watch the crime take place. This is just one of the many ways that security cameras protect properties from crime. Thanks to his security camera Chen was able to place a positive identification on the thief and instantly recognized him when he returned later that day in an attempt to steal more. Once Chen spotted him pursued him and made a citizens arrest. Thanks to his security camera Chen was able to protect his businesses from further theft while at the same time apprehending a criminal who had victimized him.

security cameras protectChen’s story is an excellent example of how security cameras protect businesses. Whether you own a small grocery store in Toronto’s Chinatown or a large warehouse in an industrial park you are susceptible to theft, break-ins, property damage and other crimes. It’s important that you understand how security cameras protect properties and what makes them so crucial. Security cameras can help to deter crime if they are placed in a highly visible area as most criminals will not take the chance of being recorded in the act of committing a crime. If a criminal does commit a crime in front of a security camera the recorded evidence will help authorities catch them and hold them accountable for their actions.

This is just one of the many ways that security cameras protect properties. Chen’s security camera protection does not end with his citizens arrest story. Two days before he was to appear in court to get hear the final ruling on his citizens arrest case he caught two more shoplifters through the aid of his security camera. For more information on security cameras please visit the SafeTech website.

Also you can download this audio file and you can listen on your personal MP3 player.
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Smartphone Security: You Can Watch Your Security Cameras from Anywhere

Smartphone Security: Watch Your Security Cameras from Anywhere

Smart phones have revolutionized the way we communicate and do business. Through the development of mobile applications designed to do everything from receive e-mails to track global positioning, our cellular phones have evolved to essentially become mobile computers. The wide success of smart phones has fuelled the emergence of an entire industry built around designing these innovative and advanced applications. Smartphone security is important. The security industry has consistently stayed ahead of technological trends and smart phone technology is no exception. Various security companies have developed smart phone applications that sync up with internet-enabled security cameras, thus enabling you to view your home or office cameras anywhere you go through your phone.

No matter what make or model smart phone you use chances are there is security camera mobile application for it. Honeywell recently launched an application for Blackberry users called “Total Connect”. This application, allows Blackberry users the ability to control their Honeywell security systems and view live, streaming video from any remote location. The convenience of interacting with your security cameras remotely using your phone is made available to users through a simple download off the Total Connect website.

For those who prefer the iphone there are also a number of mobile applications available to sync up your security camera with your phone. The most impressive of these applications is iRa Pro, which Apple claims “delivers a video command center to the palm of your hand”. Among iRa Pro’s many features are the ability to watch up to 6 live streaming camera feeds at once in addition to full screen viewing and the ability to pan, tilt or zoom your security camera by simply dragging or tapping your finger on the iphone’s touch pad. Much like the Blackberry mobile applications iRa Pro is easily downloadable from the itunes website and can be up and running on your iphone in minutes. If you are an ipad user Apple has available uNetCams as an application that syncs up with your video surveillance equipment. uNetcams offers the same features as iRa Pro for the much bigger ipad system.

smartphone security smartphone security If you are a user of Android smart phones you too can enjoy the convenience of syncing your security camera to your phone by downloading, IP Camera Viewer. This Android developed application allows users the ability to view multiple IP security cameras with ease from the palm of their hand. Through a simple download you can engage in a one time setup and begin watching live stream of your security cameras in no time.

smartphone securityThe technology that smart phones and mobile application designers are developing is truly revolutionary. Today no matter what your preference of smart phone is you have the ability to view your security cameras from anywhere. This smartphone security system adds a great deal of usability to your home security system or office security system.

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Security System Benefits for Everyone

Security System Benefits: The Most Advanced System On The Market

At SafeTech Alarm Systems we pride ourselves in offering the most up to date and state of the art security systems on the market. One of the latest technological advances in home security is 2gig’s Go!Control system. The Go!Control is the first all-in-one home alarm security system. There are many security system benefits of it. It offers a great deal of new features never seen before in one security system including a colour touch-screen interface, a GSM cellular radio, integrated two-way voice control and many more.

Go!Control: The Functional Security System

security system benefits One of the most technologically advanced features of the Go!Control home alarm security system is its ability to sync with other forms of technology you may have. The security system’s intuitive, user-friendly interface is easily linked up with your home or work computer or your web-enabled smart phone by harnessing the power of the internet. This technology allows you to gain access to your home security system when and where you need it, regardless of where you are. Among the functions that you can control from your phone are lighting, setting and disarming your security system and many more. What is even more impressive is that you do not require any additional hardware. Everything you need is contained within the Go!Control panel.

One of the unique security system benefits that this cutting edge security system possesses is a GSM cellular radio. What this means is that your home alarm system is connected to your monitoring station and emergency services through the most reliable communication option available in the industry. Traditional phone lines that are wired into homes are susceptible to a number of security concerns. First and foremost wired phone lines are able to be cut be a burglar or intruder when they attempt to break into your home. Secondly, when residential phone lines are brought down in a snow or wind storm your home remains protected thanks to the GSM cellular radio. No matter what circumstance you face your security system will always be able to stay in communication with SafeTech’s central monitoring station.

Additional Feature of The Go!Control Security System

Another groundbreaking feature of the Go!Control home security system is the integrated two-way voice communication. This feature allows our central monitoring station to listen and talk to the homeowner when an alarm is triggered through an intercom system built into the panel. This feature is incredibly important in the event that an intruder enters your home and you are unable to get to the phone or control panel. Our expertly trained monitoring station staff can listen into the situation and if they sense something is wrong they will call the authorities right away.

These are just a few of the dozens of exciting security system benefits and technologically advanced new features of the Go!Control security system. What is even more amazing is this is just the beginning! Numerous money and time-saving applications are currently being developed for 2gig’s Go!Control system. To learn more about Go!Control or to have one installed in your home contact us today.
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