Category: Home Security Tips

Winter Burglary Season Has Started

The winter burglary season is once again here.

Are you home or away?

Halloween – a scary time of year

The clocks have gone back and Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas are all around the corner.
Burglaries and malicious domestic damage increases by 160 per cent during this time of  year. Bonfire Night is statistically the worst night of the year for burglaries and car theft, research has shown.

The dark nights, fancy dress costumes and noisy big bangs are the ideal way for a burglar to hide in plain sight. This highlights the the importance of keeping your home protected.

With homes empty and lots of masked guests arriving on your doorstep its no surprise that the London metropolitan police highlight Bonfire night and Halloween as the busiest time of year for burglaries.
Police advice is to create the illusion of occupancy through the use of lighting.  Leaving lights on all day can be counter productive and expensive. A light left on during the day is often a good indicator that the home is empty. Its best to have your light turn on when it gets dark only. Programme your mains lights to tun on and off in your absence with the police approved light switch timer.

 

Wireless Alarm Systems WIFI Cameras

 

Research conducted by the crime prevention unit reiterates the importance of burglar alarm systems. Experts have identified through post arrest interviews that a burglar is less likely to attempt to enter a home with an alarm system installed. These very same alarm systems have now evolved with the advent of the digital age.  Wireless alarms have become more sophisticated and reliable over time and are now more mature and reliable.  Systems are being created at an astounding rate with each and every system surpassing its predecessors in both design and functionality.

CleverLoop

Smart Security – Its time you was told straight away if your being burgled rather than find out when you return!

WI-FI Camera Alarms

Wireless alarm systems are quick and easy to install conveniently blending in with aesthetics of the home without the need to disturb the decor.  Many modern systems now take into consideration the aesthetics of the sensors and the centralised control panel making them look attractive and in sync with the contemporary home decor. The absence of wires also gives users the ability to mount the system in any desired location within the home.

The modern alarm systems no wire no hassle characteristics can save a huge amount of effort and time. This reinforces the idea of easy and clean installation.

The technology utilises battery powered sensors that directly connect with radio signals. (over RF frequency).  Various sensors are available including PIR, door, microphone, smoke etc making them very expandable. The sensors all communicate with the control panel and can trigger a siren and alert the owner.

The new systems present an added benefit to those individuals that rent a house. The portability feature allows the user to install and remove the system without any wiring.

The system is not limited to just protecting your home but can incorporate a number of added features to maximise its use and improve usability. Wireless key fobs are amongst the most popular. Rather than have to enter key codes that can be forgotten, the fob can simply activate and deactivate the system remotely. The centralised control panel can also be programmed to detect smoke and flood maximising its potential to perform more than one function at any given time. The new wireless system aims to improve overall home security by centralising whilst also simplifying all security features into one network and product.

There are two main types of Wireless alarm systems, on the market.  one is a stand alone system which will only communicate with the owner via a connection to the owner’s existing telephone line.

Smart technology – changing the way we view our homes

Smart home technology is an idea that’s beginning to gain strong traction around the world. As individual needs and wants continuously change people are quickly adapting to an ever growing home automation range, helping them become more efficient and even more connected. The smart home movement is changing the way we take on new tasks, interact with our belongings as we all aim to build a better quality of life. In doing so what we are starting to do is change the way we view our homes. Smart home automation has grown in popularity because of their easy DIY applications. Most smart products now only require a user and a smartphone making the technology accessible to pretty much anyone now.

The development of smart home technology signalled a big shift in home security as homeowners began to receive a greater control in their fight against criminals. Smart security systems give real-time updates so a user can be far away from his or her home and still be completely connected.

What is a smart home security system?

To enable interconnectivity you have a base station that communicates with a number of cameras over your wifi network. Cameras are available for indoor and outdoor use, and can run off the mains or batteries.

The other end of the system is an app on your smartphone. This lets you set up, and control the security system as well as receive alerts and footage when something is happening in your home.

How you can take control

With a smart home camera security system, you get control in ways that were never possible with burglar alarms.

  • Being based around your existing Wi-Fi network means that setting the system up yourself is easy
  • You choose where cameras are located, inside or outside, and you can easily move them as your needs change
  • Many systems have low, or no ongoing costs
  • Smart learning and clever settings can help minimise false alarms
  • Geofencing lets many systems know when you are home and the cameras turn off
  • Alerts go to your smartphone, so you can keep your home safe no matter where you are
  • You decide if alerts are important, and you decide what happens about them. Ignore the courier dropping a parcel at your front door, call the police for the person that just crowbarred your back door
  • Cloud storage of footage means that even if the thieves get smart and try to disable or steal your cameras and security system, you have still got the incriminating evidence to show the police.

What it means for you

The bottom line is that home security is no longer complicated, expensive or ineffective. With a smart wireless system, it’s simple, cheap, flexible and highly effective.

Best of all it puts you in control.

More advanced systems now connect to the user’s home router allowing remote access via a smartphone or tablet.  These give users the ability to view alerts and arm the system remotely.

Newer Phone Based wireless ssystems are also making there way onto the market.

The Ring Doorbell, for example allows you to see who is at your front door & talk to them from your phone.

Other wifi camera based systems offer remote viewing with smart alrts when movement is detected.  Cleverloop system camera system will automatically alert you any time movement is detected in your home.

 

 

Summer Holiday Burglary – How To Protect Your Home

Don’t want to return from a fantastic few weeks away in the sun to realise your home has been burgled?

It’s easy to forget what you’re leaving behind in the excitement of going away and were all guilty of doing this including me. Were in such a rush to get our sunglasses on, sit on a plane and enjoy the luxuries of a well earned well needed break in the sun that we overlook what’s most important to us, our homes security. 78% of burglaries take place when nobody is at home.

Don’t Let More Than The Breeze In This Summer

Longer evenings are here, burglars are ready.

Burglary rates rise in the UK

How safe is your postcode?

Burglaries often increase during the Spring and Summer months, when burglars take advantage of people leaving doors and windows open during the warmer weather. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the change in weather but it’s important to keep the burglars out.

According to Halifax Home Insurance, opportunistic thieves ramp up their activity during summer, resulting in a 10% increase in domestic burglaries and a 40% increase in outdoor thefts.
The majority of offenders look for the path of least resistance when attempting to gain entry to a property, and finding a door or window unlocked presents them with an attractive opportunity.
Even if you’re just nipping round to the neighbours for five minutes, hanging out the washing, or doing a spot of gardening, you should get into the habit of locking all doors and windows before you leave your home.

You should never leave windows open during the night if they can easily be used to gain access.

A senior police officer has been criticised for suggesting some burglaries should not be investigated if doors and windows have been left open.

Phil Kay, assistant chief constable of Leicestershire police, said he would “far rather” officers focus on preventing crime and protecting the public than investigate break-ins where carelessness may have played a role.

The senior officer posed the question while discussing a high rate of burglaries.

Remember also to lock your doors properly as it may void your insurance policy and you will not be able to make a claim should the worst happen and you are burgled.

  • If your away at night use your mains lights to give the impression your still at home
  • Make sure your doors are double locked all day especially when you are in the back garden
  • A Visible alarm box make burglars think twice – make sure you switch them on when you go out.
  • Lock garages and sheds
  • Be alert to strangers loitering in the street.  If you don’t recognise them or they are acting suspiciously, call the police on 101
  • Police also suggest using prickly plants around the fence line to deter access.
  • Install passive security lighting.
  • Mark tools bicycles with a a UV Pen using your postcode and house number

 

If you don’t have an alarm it might be a good time to think about getting one installed.

Another option is to get some IP CCTV cameras which alert you when they are activated and send a message to your phone.

 

 

Remember  to adjust your light switch timer schedule to reflect the longer days and shorter nights.

Click here for our quick programming guide

8 Burglary Facts – Change Your Mind Set

Everyday life continues day by day with the vast majority of us thinking nothing bad could ever possibly happen. If a crime is committed we watch or hear about it and then move on with our lives. However according to some insurance companies a large proportion of us are careless about looking after ourselves and our properties.

One – A figure that will you shock you is that an astonishing 64% of people attaining property insurance admit that they do not always lock their front door and windows when heading out. The most common entry point is an open window or unlocked front door.

Two – A distinctive statement that burglars have been known to make is that burglar alarms are hugely ignored and unarmed most of the time. People can be naïve in thinking they will never need it with 34% in a poll admitting their alarm doesn’t get used. In addition in a separate poll another 33% of homeowners admitted that they ignore any sounding alarms in the street.

Three – The most common target for burglars is a semi-detached (38%) bricked (51%) house occupied by a family with young children. The house has three bedrooms and is situated in an urban location (59%). A garden at the back of the house (82%), approximately 160 sq m and surrounded by fencing (66%). Usually with no garage (63%) at the property but there is one car sitting on the drive (32%)

Four – Only 22% of burglaries happen when the property is occupied so any measures that can be taken should be. Even small measures such as keeping your keys away from letter boxes and leaving a radio in inside can easily defend your home. And of course not leaving lights on during the day advertising that you are out and won’t be back till after dark.

Five – The cost of repairing the damage and replacing the stolen goods costs on average £1,730 – very few ever getting their stolen goods back.

Six – It isn’t uncommon for a burglar to hit the same house more than once. After all, they know the vulnerabilities, may have keys and are expecting you to replace your stolen items with an insurance claim. If you’re the victim of a break-in, improve your home security, if you haven’t don’t wait until you are!!

SevenUnfortunately, burglaries are hard to solve. Three out of four crimes are going unsolved, the lowest clear-up rate for five years. So your chances of recovering your property are even less likely to happen.

Eight – Burglary rates are likely to be under reported. Many burglaries are not reported either because they may be very minor or the victim doesn’t want to bother the police.  Sometimes victims are insured and so doesn’t see the point in reporting the crime.

The lessons, do the obvious easy things to protect your home,

  • Lock windows and doors.
  • Use your alarm
  • Keep sheds and gates locked
  • Use a lightswitchtimer.co.uk when its dark

January Sees Burglaries Peak

Get ready for the January blues and to send out the red alert for cat burglars.

Christmas has come and gone and your home is full of new exciting goodies. Flat screen plasma televisions and games consoles, coffee machines and new smaller than your remote mobile phones. You’re the absolute thrilled showing off your new gear to all your friends and family. But whilst you’re demonstrating all your new gadgets and gizmos just who else is getting a fleeting glimpse of your sparkling new merchandise?

Despite being the quietest month when it comes to shopping trips and other events burglaries have the tendency behave in the exact opposite direction. With new games and gadgets on show in all homes around the country thieves are on high alert to target any easy catches when they are left unguarded. However there are some measures that you can take to ensure your home is as safe as it can be, whether you’re at home or not.

A really obvious first step is to keep all high profile items out of sight. Whether it’s hidden by a closed door or tucked in a dresser drawer. Placing a plasma television in full view near a window is definitely not a good idea. One reason is the frontal view seen by all offending eyes, the other being the glare from the sunshine on the screen.

Just because thieves can’t see the items it doesn’t mean that they’re not there. It also doesn’t mean they won’t try looking for it. Locking your windows is just as important if not more than locking your doors. Even though doors are first port of calls, windows are commonly used to prevent leaving any trace of entrance points to the building. Always check every window in the house before you leave even if it will be just a five minute trip. If your day has come that five minutes will be all it takes to lose your favourite Christmas presents and more.

For a cheap deterrent to stop thieves breaking in many residents try leaving radios on during the day and a timer light on during the evening. A solution which gives off the impression of either people talking, or watching TV in the room next door. A lot of burglaries are purely for items and pricey merchandise so contact with people is often avoided at all costs.

For those who can afford it a burglar alarm is a good deterrent. Some can be fitted yourself or fitted by a professional.

Do take a moment to Log the serial numbers of your new possessions, the IMEI number of your phone and put your postcode on valuable items with a UV pen.  Also update your insurance company if you have made any particularly large purchases to ensure your insurance cover is not affected. There are a number of stories of people not getting paid out because they have forgotten to do this.

Taking in all these measures the January blues won’t be on you but on the burglars instead. Keep your belongings locked up and safe.

Protecting Yourself Online

Find out the Hacking Methods used by criminals use to crack your lifestyle wide open.

Hacking methods

Online scams: Scam attempts have gotten way more sophisticated than the stereotypical Nigerian Prince trick. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov) lists dozens of variations on email and online scams – from fraudulent automobile auctions to online dating schemes – in its annual Internet Crime Report. In 2013 alone, more than a quarter of a million complaints were submitted related to online scams. And if you think it only happens to older people, think again: One fifth of scam victims last year were younger than 30.

Phishing: One particularly nefarious form of online scam uses legitimate-looking websites to trick a victim into sharing their username, password, or other sensitive information. Phishers will design their sites to look exactly like the website of your bank, credit card issuer, or another financial institution. The hope is that you won’t realize you’re on the wrong site, and just punch in your password like you normally would. Then, they use it to log into your real accounts and transfer out your money.

Massive data breaches: The above methods are all aimed at getting information about individuals. However, there’s a whole profusion of hackers who are looking for the big score. Recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, and other major retailers have led to millions of credit card numbers being compromised. Hackers turn around and sell these numbers on a black market website for anyone who might be willing to buy them.

Staying Protected

Vigilance: Look carefully at a website before giving any information, especially sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Especially look out for slightly misspelled words or words that use unexpected characters, such as substituting a “0” (number) for an “O” (letter) – for example, H0ME DEP0T. If something looks even a little bit fishy, delete the email or close the site immediately.

Browser bookmarks: Rather than clicking on links in emails, create bookmarks in your browser to commonly used sites, like your bank, insurance company, etc., and use those bookmarks every time you visit the site. That way, you know you’re always going to the right website, rather than trusting in an email that could’ve been sent by anyone.

Two-factor authentication: More and more sites (especially those of financial institutions) are using two-factor authentication. With such methods, after logging in with your password, the site will text or email you a single-use code that must be entered. Only the registered phone number or email address will receive the code, making it that much harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

Protected servers: Consumers may not have direct control over how companies store their information, but with larger and larger hacks occurring regularly, you have a right to demand that companies take more responsibility for securing your personal information. For example, SingleHop embeds security features into their dedicated servers at the physical access level all the way down to the network, server, application, and account levels. Close monitoring along with antivirus protection, application patching, private networking, and firewalls all work to ensure that company data is protected and isolated.

 

Best Timer Light switch

With the wide variety of timers on the market, how do you know which is the best for you.

What timer switch should you buy?

Interior lighting is used as a deterrent as it gives the appearance of the residents still being home.   It is so effective that UK police forces recommend people leave lights on when they are away from home. But what is the best timer light switch to buy?

Timer light switches work by deterring intruders from targeting their home in the first place, but it may also alert neighbours and passers-by to suspicious activity in the event of a break-in. Studies show that burglars are far less likely to target a house if it seems that people may be at home.

Why use a timer light switch anyway?

Internal security lighting is therefore based around the idea of making it look like the home is occupied. This is achieved by the use of timers to simulate the lighting patterns of people at home. You can keep it simple by having lights turn on and off every few hours, or plan a more realistic lighting sequence.

Remember that whichever type of security lighting you choose, it is still important to complement it with a high quality alarm system. Lights are not a replacement for a house alarm. With that being said, let’s quickly make sense of each type of internal security lighting, and go over some advantages and disadvantages of each.

Best light timer switch

Lamps, how effective are they?

Plug Timers

This is probably the most common type of timer you will have come across. The timer device is simply plugged into the wall socket, and then you plug your lamp (or any other mains appliance), into the timer. These tend to be cheap and easy to use. Most of them now have digital interfaces, but analogue timers are still available. Although these tend to be one of the easiest to install of all the different type of timers, they are also one of the most inflexible. You are limited to only using lights that you can plug into a wall socket. This is ideal if you regularly use lamps in your home but may in fact be a tale tell sign to a burglar that no one is home if they see a solitary dimply lit lamp left on.  Small plugged in lamps may not be enough to deter a potential burglar.

Mains Wired Timers

Timer plug

best timer switch plug

These timers are slightly more advanced than the plug timers. They are actually wired in to a light socket, meaning your main lights can be set  on a timer. These are digitally controlled and allow you to create very intricate on-off patterns for your lights. The biggest drawback is these types of timers is they require you to perform rewiring of the switch, which takes some time and expertise. They can be a good option if you are regularly set your lights on a timer and know how to do basic wiring. These types of timer cannot be used with energy saving light bulbs or LED’s and most require a neutral wire to be present in order to be installed.

Light Bulb Holders

If want to control your main lights but don’t know how to do any wiring, then light bulb holders are a viable alternative. Instead of inserting a timer at the wall socket, you install it into the light fitting itself and insert the bulb into the timer. These operate on a dusk-till-dawn basis. They are not customisable as there is no control interface. These are ideal if you have a light fitting with a single bayonet Light bulb type fitting. They will require you to actually get up on ladders to install or remove them. Many people have also reported they do not work correctly if used with a lamp shade.

Light Switch Timer

The Light Switch Timer is a relatively new product on the market that allows you to control your main lights. It is very similar to a timer plug expect it is fitted over the light switch on the wall. The device simply slots over the top of your existing switch and as it is battery operated requires no wiring to install. The seven day timer allows you to program when you want your lights to come on and off on different days of the week to create a realistic “lived in” look. It is the only timer which can be used with any type of light bulb and on single double or triple switches. The only disadvantage is that it cannot be used with dimmer type switches. Obviously in our opinion it is the best timer light switch available.

Summary of Timers

  Plug Timer Mains Wired Timer Light Bulb Holder Unwired Light Switch Timer
Installation No wiring, easy to install. Requires wiring to install.Replaces existing light switch. No wiring, but requires ladders to install. No wiring, slots over existing switch with minor adjustment.
Programming Digital or analogue, can be fully customisable. Usually fully customisable. Not programmable.Automatic dusk-till-dawn setting. Fully programmable.
Removal No wiring, just unplug. Requires wiring so cannot be removed quickly. No wiring, but requires ladders. No wiring, only loosening of screws required.
Overall Rating ***
Can only be used with plugged in devices.
****
Excellent for security, but Limited application.
***
Not programmable and requires ladders.
*****
Fully programmable, easy to install and remove.

So in summary what is the best timer switch for your home?

Whichever timer you should choose you want to make sure you home looks realistically occupied and the timer meets your needs in terms of ease of installation and performance.

Holiday Check List – Timer Lights

The dos and dont’s of holiday security

DO –
Make your home look occupied.
Set your lights on a timer
Ask a neighbour to pop round occasionally
Ask a neighbour if they don’t mind parking their car on your driveway.
Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
Register for the Royal Mail ‘Keepsafe’ service
Double-check that you’ve locked all outside windows and doors.
Check your front door is lock is not vulnerable to lock snapping or picking – surprising how common they are.
Mark your property with UV pen or smart water
Think about hiding a safe when it is secure and can not be found
Think about removing valuable and items of sentimental value
Get an alarm if you haven’t already – even if its just a fake box.
Take a picture of your passport and credit cards on your phone.
keep a few emergency numbers written down – in case you loose your phone
have lots of fun whilst you are away and have a great Holiday

Dont
Advertise that you are going away on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Forget to Set your burglar alarm.
Leave valuables in sight
Don’t say you’re ‘away’ on your home or mobile answer machine
Do not draw all the curtains in your house, as this wouldn’t look like someone was living there during the day.
put your home address or phone number. on your luggage tag – people will know that you’re not at home
forget the garden and shed – keep tools and ladders safe and secure
worry too much as long as you have taken the necessary precautions

Lake. Suho Island. Russia.

Timer Plugs – Keeping Your Home Safe When You Go On Holiday

Many people use timer plugs to leave a light on when they go on holiday

Timer plug advantages

timer plug

  • Give the appearance of being in when you’re out.
  • Turn lights, radios, etc on or off even when you’re not there.
  • can be programmed to switch the connected appliance ‘On’ and ‘Off’

But using timer plugs when you’re away also means

  • You have to use a lamp
  • Potentially means leaving lamps in places where they could be a fire hazard
  • Means you are not able to turn all the sockets off at the mains
  • Can make it look obvious you have left a lamp on a timer as you are away from home.
  • that annoying clicking noise they make

 

Timer plugs work well when you have a bed site lamp or a light in the study or that you would usually use in the evenings but putting a lamp in the hall way is a real no no as it can be a real giveaway.

The smarter solution is to time the lights you use on a daily basis. Why bother setting artificial lights on timers when you can just as easily program a couple of main lights in your home to go on and off to make it look like your moving about the house.

This way no on will suspect your away and wont draw any unwanted attention to your home.

Why not just leave the light on before you go out?

This is actually a really bad idea as it sends a clear signal to burglars that you’re not in and won’t be back till after dark.

Think about it – burglars don’t have day jobs and any one walking down the road seeing a visible light on during the day will know that you may not be home and likely wont be back till after dark.

 

Review of the best timer plug