Don’t Sleep on Security This Holiday Season: How to Arm Your Home, Business Against Intruders
Don’t be fooled by a false sense of security this holiday. Here are some tips to help protect your home or business against criminals on the prowl.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year to be with your family and just have fun and relax. However, you need to be warned that criminals are ready, willing and able to take full advantage of this burglarious opportunity.
If you have an alarm system, use it and make sure that you have it professionally inspected, tested and maintained on a regular basis. If you do not have an alarm system, be proactive now (not reactive) and get a professionally designed, installed and monitored alarm system for your home and for your business as well.
Furthermore, it is important to verify if you have sufficient homeowners or renters insurance for all of your high-value possessions, such as fine arts and jewelry. If they are not scheduled with your insurance company, which is an agreed value of what each of the items are worth, you will not likely be covered at all in the event of a loss. Or if you have coverage it will have a cap that does not even remotely equate to the value of everything that you have, which can be easily and rapidly removed from your home.
As to where you keep your jewelry, this is yet another significant risk and vulnerability because often times everything of value we keep near us, such as in your master bedroom closet. My recommendation is that you need to immediately get your high value stuff out of this commonly used area and put it into a burglary resistant safe. And when I speak about safes, I am not talking about the glorified file cabinets that are dressed to look like a safe, or safes that are fire resistant only. I am focusing on safes that are listed and labeled in accordance with UL 687 Standards for burglary resistant safes. To that end, these classes of safes are specifically designed to delay and hopefully deter an intruder from forcibly entering and breaking into your safe with tools and torches, and they may also be manufactured to be explosive resistant as well.
When you purchase a safe, you cannot do a one-size-fits all approach; you need to first quantify the value of what you intend to store in it and then chose the best safe for your risk, all the while having each of your high value items scheduled with your insurance company. Yes, there will be an extra charge and premium for scheduling your valuables, but compared to not transferring your risks to your insurance company, the loss of your valuables from burglary — especially when they are uninsured — can be financially catastrophic, not to mention anything that has sentimental value to you, your family or your heirs.
Finally, weight does matter when it comes to selecting a safe. Even if your safe is rated for high-security, if an intruder or more than one intruder can pick up your safe or roll it out of your house, they can successfully open it with time after they leave your premises. Be warned that before you purchase any heavy safe, you must quantify if your home or apartment floor can handle the additional load. In other words, trying to bolt any safe into your wall or floor is not something that can be relied on for security. Moreover, safes in the ground are great for security, but usually they are seldom used due to the inconvenience of accessing them. Please go to UL-687 for more specific details on burglary resistant safes and don’t forget you can always opt to buy a used or rebuilt safe which will save you money.
Under the security management theory of the crime triangle, we have motive, intent and opportunity of the criminal. However, the only thing that the security industry can help minimize is the opportunity prong of this equation. The combination of effective physical security, combined with the proper electronic security utilizing alarm science, will help you harden the target of your home and/or business against criminal activity.
Also be aware of holiday scams that aggressively try to take advantage of you when you let your guard down or are just caught up in the holidays and all of the wonderful emotions that many feel during this time of the year. In today’s world, it is mission critical to have a heightened sense of awareness because not only do criminals target your property during the holidays, they also focus on your vehicles and persons shopping since you may have extra cash on hand and other valuables that can be taken from you.
Don’t become a victim to crime by thinking that it can’t and won’t happen to you; that is what the criminals want you to believe. There is just too much at stake!
Bio: Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-IV, SET, CCI, MBAT, is president of Tenafly, N.J.-based IDS Research and Development, Inc., which provides expert forensic, consultation and training services across the country. He has over 40 years of specialized expertise in security and alarm systems, and is an active 18-year designated expert instructor to the New York City Police Department [NYPD]. Zwirn is also the author of “The Alarm Science Manual,” a book review of which can be found here.
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