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It has recently come to our attention via several postings on security boards and blogs that a few alarm companies are trying to “trick” homeowners into thinking that their current alarm company is out of business.
Here’s an example of what’s happening:
You will receive a phone call or possibly an unannounced home visit stating that XYZ alarm company has acquired your current alarm company and will need to reprogram your alarm system.
What you should do if this happens?:
1) If they call, take down the company name and number. Let them know you will call back when you have time to talk. If they stop in for an unannounced visit ask for some information on the company and tell them you will get back with them when you have the time to talk.
2) Contact your current alarm company to find out if this information is true. Normally, you would be notified of a change like this by mail or telephone, not by an unannounced visit or phone call by a representative from another company.
What if I fell for their scam?:
According to Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq:
1) A subscriber fraudulently induced to sign an alarm contract can have it nullified and can get out any time prior to ratification after the fraud is discovered.
2) If you have an existing contract with your alarm company, it can still be enforced.
For more information on this topic give us a call today at (937) 262-7937 or visit our web site!
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For years we have all had the same “basic” keypad in our business. Now DSC as well as several other manufacturers have come out with a Touchscreen Keypad for your businesses alarm system.
The slim modern looking design and the ease of use of the touchscreen are just a few of the nice features that DSC has added to their new touchscreen keypads. However, my favorite feature of this keypad is that you can use it as a photo album, meaning you can actually use it to display your new products or other photos you would want your customers to see while they were waiting in your office or lobby.
I also like that you can also customize your home screens so that the most used functions of your alarm system are easily accessible.
Below you will find a list if features that DSC highlights on their web page:
- 7″ full color display
- Slim modern design (800×480 resolution)
- Intuitive LED indication of security system status
- Picture frame feature
- Clock feature
- Output control
- Intuitive user interface
- Customizable home screen and wallpaper
- Menu user programming
- Installer programming
- Virtual keypad
- SD card
- Digital picture frame mode
If your business is looking to upgrade the look and feel of their alarm system this keypad is compatible with the following DSC models: PC1864, PC1832, PC1616 and is available in English, French, and Spanish.
For more information on how to upgrade your DSC Security Alarm System keypad contact American Fire & Security today at (937) 262-7937 or toll free at (877) 237-8918.
The Security Girl
According to a 2008 survey from the U.S. National Retail Security the average retail burglary cost business owners $5,209. That kind of loss could be detrimental to the livelihood of your business right?
Retail burglary involves breaking and entering into a business with the intent of stealing items. It often involves costly damage to the building and the loss of valuable merchandise. To make matters worse, once a business has been burglarized, it is at a higher risk for repeat victimization.
According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Justice:
• Burglary accounted for 23.6 percent of the estimated number of property crimes.
• Burglaries of non-residential properties accounted for 27.4 % of all burglary offenses.
• Of all burglaries, 61.0 percent involved forcible entry, 32.6 percent were unlawful entries (without force), and the remainder (6.5 percent) were forcible entry attempts.
Retail Burglary Patterns:
Most retail burglaries occur at night or after regular business after-hours and the thieves typically leave before the authorities are able to respond. During these types of burglaries the thieves tend to enter through a door or window.
However, a new type of retail burglary is becoming more popular amongst thieves; “ram raids” and “smash and grabs” involve ramming a car or other objects into a retail building, attempting to grab as many items as possible, and then making a quick escape.
Most retail burglars select stores located in isolated areas or those known to have poor security features, such as low lighting, insufficient locks, no window bars, or lack of formal security systems.
How do businesses prevent retail burglary?
- Install reinforced glass doors and windows to reduce the possibility of “smash and grabs.”
- Employ the use of roll down security panels or screens over vulnerable glass doors.
- Access control/door buzzers are essential for daytime security.
- Keep a minimum of cash on the premises. If excess cash is necessary to have on hand use a time delayed safe.
- Leave cash registers empty and open at night.
- Move valuable merchandise and business equipment away from windows and doors during night hours, preferably in a vault.
- Leave security lighting on at night. Directed and focused on vulnerable areas.
- Change locks if keys are lost. Consider updating systems to access card that can easily change employee access or deactivate lost and/or stolen cards.
- Be sure to have security cameras on the interior and exterior of your business. If a burglary does happen the forensic evidence on the video footage could help the authorities identify and apprehend the thieves.
- Be sure to have adequate indoor and outdoor lighting. The better your business is light the less likely it is to be burglarized.
- Be sure to have a secure safe/vault on premises to store your valuable merchandise and equipment when your business is closed.
- Have a security policy for staff to follow.
- Have an monitored alarm system. Your alarm system will most likely be the first alert to the authorities that your business has been broken into. You will also want to make sure your alarm system is equipped with a duress code in case the would be thieves try to enter when your employees are arriving or leaving for the day.
- It is also a good idea to have your employees open and close for the day together. Thieves are less likely to try and enter your business if there is a group of two or more people opening/closing your business.
If you would like more information about preventing retail theft at your business talk to your safety coordinator or call American Fire & Security at 937.262.7937.
The Security Girl
One of the biggest complaints we hear from business owners is false alarms. Most cities will fine your business if they have too many false alarms, which is an unnecessary cost for your business.
Here are some tips to help reduce the number of false alarms your business has:
1) Train all employees on how to use your alarm system correctly.
2) Hold regularly scheduled trainings for your employees to ensure that your employees are aware of any changes to your alarm system. For example: A change in your alarm pass code.
3) Move hanging objects away from motion detectors and sensors.
4) Make sure all doors and windows are locked/secure before arming your system.
5) Be aware of holiday related false alarms due to untrained seasonal or temporary help.
6) Carelessness due to long hours or office parties.
7) Inform your alarm company of any change in pass codes and of new or unauthorized users.
8) Service and maintain your alarm system regularly before a false alarm occurs. I recommend that your have your alarm company test your system annually to help prevent false alarms.
If there is a question as to weather or not your security system is working properly contact your alarm monitoring company immediately and have them check the status of your alarm system and devices. Also, be sure to upgrade your alarm panel every seven to ten years to make sure your business has the best alarm system possible.
If you have a question about any of the above listed tips please contact your alarm monitoring company or American Fire and Security at 877-237-8918.
The Security Girl
We have received a question from Amber P. of Lebanon, OH:
How often should my company change their alarm code?
Normally if a business is asking that question it is because they are not sure how long it has been since the alarm codes and security passwords have been changed. Businesses often overlook this major component with their security.
However, the answer is simple. Every time an alarm code or security password holder is no longer employed with your business you should do the following four things:
1. Call your alarm company and your local police department and have their name taken off of any contact list.
2. Have your alarm company take that persons code out of your alarm system. Even if you trust your former employee, you never know who else they gave their code to.
3. Never reassign an alarm code number or security password to another employee. Always start fresh.
4. Have your alarm company password changed immediately as well. That away if the said employee or one of their friends breaks into your business your alarm company will know immediately that they do not belong there and dispatch the police right away.
If you have not had a change in staff I still recommend that you have your alarm codes and security passwords be changed every six months or so for security reasons. This ensures that the alarm codes and security passwords have not wound up in the wrong hands. Plus if your service companies have your alarm codes and security passwords for off hour deliveries and they have gone through employee changes this will help control the number of people that have the current passwords and codes for your business.
If your not sure how long it has been since your alarm code or security password has been changed contact your alarm company or you can contact American Fire and Security at 877-237-8918.
Hope this helps and Stay Safe Amber!!
The Security Girl