When you live in a condominium, you may not pay the same attention to condo security as you would if you were living in a house. This is especially true if you are in a high-rise condominium. The fact that you may have a security desk or an entry phone system, combined with the fact that your unit may be located on a high floor, can sometimes be enough to make you feel as though you don’t need to be concerned with security at all. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Here are a few condo security tips.

You can still be a victim of crime when you live in a condominium, even on a high floor. The threats are different than in a standard house and so the precautions that you take will also need to be different. Here are some condo security tips.

Condo Security Tips for Your Safety

One of the best things you can do is to investigate the condo security features before you move in. You do not want to move into a condo – either new or resale – that has weak security. Some buildings feel that security is less important in a condo than in a house, but this is certainly not true. If you already live in a condominium, you may wish to speak with your building’s superintendent, property management office or security team. Knowing which security features your building has and finding out exactly how your condominium keeps you safe is incredibly important. Stay safe with our condo security tips.

The main entry point to a condominium is obviously the front door. However, your building could also have alternate entry points such as side and rear doors or garage doors. All of these doors should be secured, not just the front door. It should be impossible to get into your building without being noticed. If your building has a security guard or concierge at the front door, find out how he or she monitors the building’s other entrances as well. Many buildings have surveillance cameras that are monitored by building security. This is necessary to keep you safe in a condominium. Condo security tips for your own safety are beneficial.

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Security Tips for Mac OS Users

Apple products are becoming more and more popular each day. iPhones and iPads are leading the charge, but laptops and desktop computers from Apple are generally increasing in sales as well. While it’s traditionally been the case that Windows computers face more malware attacks and other issues than Macs do, Apple’s larger marketshare could mean that Macs will become targets as well. In March and April 2012, a Trojan horse known as “Flashback” affected more than 600,000 Mac OSX users. The malware could hijack a user’s web browser and was designed to steal personal information.

In early April it was estimated that 56.6% of computers infected by Flashback were located within the United States. 19.8% were in Canada, 12.8% were in the United Kingdom and 6.1% were in Australia. Apple released an update to fix the vulnerability on April 3rd, 2012 and a further update on April 12th to remove the most common Flashback variants. Estimates state that there are currently less than 30,000 computers that are still infected. But is security now a problem for Macs?

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of security company Kaspersky Lab, has stated that Apple is “10 years behind Microsoft in terms of security.”

He added that Apple “will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software.”

In the meantime, how can you protect yourself from being affected by a similar malware problem?

One key is to keep your computer updated. Run “Software Update” on your Mac and apply patches whenever they are available. Many of the computers that have been attacked recently were running out-of-date software. Common programs such as Java, Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office are frequent targets due to their popularity and accessibility. Update these and all other software programs frequently.

Install anti-virus software. Macs need virus, spyware and malware protection too, not just Windows PCs. This will become more and more necessary as Mac computers become more popular. Two well-known anti-virus programs for Mac OS are “ClamXav” and “Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition.” Both programs feature real-time virus monitoring, automatic updates for malware definitions and they both allow you schedule scans. Keeping your software and malware scanners up-to-date will help keep your Mac secure.

Only visit, download and install anything from websites that you trust. However, malware programs can infect trusted websites which could lead to you downloading something from a “trusted” site only to find yourself infected. This is is why keeping your computer updated and having proper scanning programs is so important.

The Importance of Fire Safety

Fires are incredibly devastating. They can quickly turn from small and manageable to out of control in a very short period of time. Fires can result in property damage, injury and death. It is incredibly important that you focus on fire safety in your home and that you stress the importance of fire safety to all members of your family, especially your children.

Your entire family should have a plan for what to do in the event of a fire and this plan should be practiced and memorized by all family members. During some fires you will only have a few seconds to escape, so it is critical that you are able to act quickly from memory. Hold a family fire drill at least twice a year to ensure that everyone knows how to escape the home in the event of an emergency. Your fire plan should include two exits from every room. In most cases this will be the door and the window. Make sure that windows can open easily from the inside. If you have security bars installed, they should be the quick release type. You will also need to choose a safe location to meet once you have escaped your home. This place should be easy to remember and a safe distance from your house. A tree, lamp post, park location or neighbour’s house are all good choices. You should call the fire department from this location, rather than from inside the house where you won’t have much time.

It may seem pointless to have such a detailed plan and a pain to rehearse it frequently, but having one and being prepared could safe your life if a fire breaks out. Stress this fact to your family when you’re releasing your plan. Your plan should also take into consideration that some people will need assistance escaping from your home. Children, the elderly and people with disabilities may need extra help. Take this fact into consideration when coming up with your escape plan and decide exactly who will provide assistance and how this assistance will be provided. It’s also a good idea to draw the floor plan of your home and to label all exits so that everyone is aware of how to leave during an emergency such as a fire.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives as well. Make sure to place one on every floor of your home and near every sleeping area or bedroom. It’s incredibly important to regularly check that your smoke detectors are functioning properly. Test them monthly and replace the batteries immediately if something is wrong. If your smoke detector is not working and replacing the batteries doesn’t help, get a new smoke detector right away. Even if there are no problems, you should replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year if not twice. It’s easy to remember to replace them if you do so whenever you change the time on your clocks for daylight savings time.

Hardwired smoke alarms have the advantage of not requiring batteries. However, it’s still important to test them regularly. You should also consider having your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monitored by a 24-hour monitoring team. This will ensure that the fire department will be contacted in case of a fire, even if you are not at home. For more information, please visit our fire protection page.

Jewelry Buyer Attacked During Store Robbery

A Toronto jewelry buyer was assaulted inside his own store during a robbery on April 20th. Harold Gerstel, known as “Harold the Jewelry Buyer,” after the name of his store, needed 10-to-20 stitches and staples in his head and he suffered a black eye after being hit with a gun by a robber in his store.

The attacker had been to the store several times before to sell jewelry. On the day of the attack, the alleged attacker brought in some additional jewelry items to sell. Gerstel then stated that the man then pulled out a gun from his waistband. Gerstel tried to grab the gun, but the robber attacked him.

“Then he started hitting me on the head with the gun and I kind of blacked out for a few minutes,” Gerstel said. The man then fled the store with some of the jewelry. He was arrested a few days later. The alleged criminal had left his identification behind and was captured on security camera committing the crime. This resulted in a quick arrest.

Toronto Police seized a handgun at the suspect’s home when they arrested him. He was charged with robbery while armed with a firearm, aggravated assault and careless storage of a firearm.

It’s important that local businesses take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from robberies and assault. As this case shows, anyone can attack your store at any time. It is therefore very important to be protected. Security cameras are an incredibly valuable tool in this regard. Having visible cameras will deter criminals from attempting to commit a crime. People will not want to risk being identified on camera as video surveillance footage is very powerful evidence that can be used by police and also in court during a trial. Even if a crime does take place, the security cameras will capture exactly what happened so that tracking down, charging and convicting the criminal will be much easier and faster. For more information on how security cameras can protect your business, please visit our commercial security cameras page.