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Crime Prevention Blog

Home Security Info for Orlando, Gainesville & Ocala

5 Times You Should Change Your Locks

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Door locks are the first line of defense against crooks and intruders. The front door is one of the most
common burglar entry points, so using effective locks to secure your doors is extremely important. So, how do you know when it’s time to change the locks?

Consider changing the locks on yours doors after the following events:

1. Moving Into a New Home

It’s a good idea to change the locks when you move into a new home – even if the house is new construction. You never know who had access to the home before you and whether they made a spare key.

2. Someone Moves Out

Changing the locks after someone moves out is a priority – especially if the terms of the move weren’t amicable. Whether a roommate or ex-spouse, it’s better to be safe than sorry, even if you think they may not be capable of retribution.

3. After a Break-In

If you are the victim of a break-in, take time to review the condition of your door and change the locks. A damaged lock is more susceptible to additional break-ins. It might also be a good time to increase your home’s overall security. Having a professionally monitored home security system installed is a proven way to reduce the risk of future break-ins.

4. After Losing Your Keys

If you lost or had your keys stolen, you have no idea into whose hands they could end up. Better to err on the side of caution and change the locks rather than be a victim of a break-in.

5. It’s Been Awhile

Locks can be damaged or weakened by wear and tear. Worn locks are easier to break into. If it’s been a while, go ahead and change those locks rather than letting a crook take advantage of an easy target.


When it’s time to change your locks, consider upgrading to home automation complete with interactive locks, easily controlled right from your smartphone. Need to give temporary access to your home? Assign a temporary code for the lock and receive a notification when that code is used. You can even lock the door and arm your security system confirming your home is secure, locked, and armed.

Door locks are a just a small part of your larger home security strategy. Installing a monitored home security system with home automation gives you peace of mind, knowing your home and family are secure. For a free home security consultation, contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today.

 

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Apartment Security Tips

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Apartments come with unique security needs. The risk for burglaries and intrusions can increase because of residents’ close proximity and increased foot traffic throughout the apartment complex. You can take steps – both before and after you move in – to amp up your apartment’s security.

Before Signing the Lease

Research the apartment complex and surrounding area to assess potential security risks.

  • What are the crime statistics for the surrounding area?

  • Has the landlord or property owner disclosed any recent break-ins?

  • How close is the nearest police station and fire department?

  • Does the apartment have a gated entrance limiting access to non-residents or is the complex accessible from the street?

  • How well-lit is the apartment complex? Are there areas where an intruder could sneak in unnoticed?

  • Do the apartment doors and windows come with the right kinds of locks?


Make sure you conduct a walkthrough of the apartment you plan to lease. The location of the apartment – such as the ground floor – may change security concerns.

After Moving In

Take steps to bolster your apartment’s security.

  • Doors are common burglar entry points. Reinforce strike plates with longer screws to make the door more difficult to kick down. If your doors don’t have interior deadbolt locks, have the landlord install one immediately.

  • Sliding doors are particularly vulnerable to burglars. Reinforce any sliding glass doors with blocking bars, security pins and shatterproof film.

  • Keep your valuables out of plain sight. Crooks know all the usual hiding spots, so consider getting a safe to protect your valuables.

  • Keeping lights on or off all day can be a giveaway someone isn’t home. Home automation allows you to set up timers for your lights to give the impression someone is home – even when you’re away.

  • Home security systems have been proven to deter burglaries. And with wireless installation options for 24/7 professionally monitored home security systems, you can keep your apartment safe without worrying about losing your security deposit.


Ensure your apartment is a safe home for you and your family.
Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today for a free security consultation. 


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Staying Safe When You Live in a Bad Neighborhood

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It is an unfortunate reality that often the most affordable neighborhoods have higher crime rates than more affluent neighborhoods. In fact, people living in households at or below the poverty line are
more than twice as likely to experience violent crimes than those living in high-income households.

In an ideal world, if you found yourself living in an unsafe neighborhood, you just would pack up and move to a safer neighborhood. But, it is not always that simple. If you do live in a higher-risk neighborhood, it is especially important to take these steps to stay safe.

1. Be Street Smart and Stay Alert

Stay alert when walking in the neighborhood, especially at night. Don’t look at your phone or anything that may cause you to be distracted. If you’re new to your neighborhood, avoid using a map while on-the-go. Instead, study a neighborhood map ahead of time. Wear nondescript clothing – keeping in mind to avoid any local gang-related colors.

2. Know Your Neighbors

Getting to know the people who live nearby is another way to increase your security in a bad neighborhood. You should be able to get a sense of which neighbors to avoid, and who may be potential friends. Consider joining or starting a Neighborhood Watch for added safety in numbers.  Members of the Neighborhood Watch keep an eye out for suspicious activity and alert the authorities.

3. Secure Entry Points and Valuables

Even in the worst neighborhoods, crooks still want to find an easy target. To make your home or apartment less appealing to a potential burglar, keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Install effective door locks, secure your garage and any sliding glass doors as well as other popular criminal entry points. Don’t forget to lock up any valuables thieves frequently steal such as jewelry, electronics and guns.

4. Install a Home Security System

No matter what type of neighborhood you live in, a home security system is an important aspect of keeping your home safe and secure. In a bad neighborhood, installing a 24/7 professionally monitored home security system is even more important. Monitored home security systems are more affordable than many people may expect, and studies have shown home security systems deter crime.

Whether you live in a low-crime risk or high-risk neighborhood, you can have peace of mind knowing you have taken the necessary steps to keep your home and family safe. Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today for a free home security consultation.


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Child Identity Theft: What Parents Needs to Know

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When you think of identity theft victims, you may not think of children. But, many identity thieves view children as easy and desirable targets because of their clean credit history and the possibility of fraud going unnoticed for years. 

Child Identity Theft Warning Signs

Many children may not discover their identities have been compromised until they apply for their first credit cards, but there are warning signs parents can look out for.

  • Pre-approved credit and loan offers addressed to your child

  • Calls or notices from collection agencies in your child’s name

  • Court notices for unpaid bills or parking tickets for your child

  • Denial of a bank account, driver’s license or government benefits because the Social Security Number (SSN) has already been used

  • Calls from the IRS saying your child hasn’t paid income tax

What to Do If Your Child is an Identity Theft Victim

If you believe your child’s identity has been compromised, you can take steps to minimize the damage.

  • Contact each credit reporting company – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – and ask them to remove all accounts and collection notices associated with your child’s SSN

  • Have one of the credit agencies put a fraud alert on the file

  • Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and local authorities

Preventing Child Identity Theft

Take proactive steps to prevent your child’s identify from being stolen.

  • Pay attention and keep an eye out for warning signs, then act quickly if you have any suspicions

  • Be selective about giving out your child’s Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Secure all documents containing your child’s personal information – such as their birth certificate and Social Security card

  • Invest in professional identity theft monitoring, protection counseling and restoration services

Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems to learn more about child identity theft and identity theft monitoring, protection counseling and restoration from ID Shield.


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How to Start an Orlando Neighborhood Watch

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Orlando police do their best to consistently patrol every neighborhood in our great city, but they can’t be everywhere at once. A well-run Neighborhood Watch group can dramatically improve neighborhood safety for everyone by providing additional eyes and ears to watch out for and report crimes to police.

Talking to a group of Orlando Neighborhood Watch participants, Mayor Buddy Deyer said, “You play a significant role in helping us reduce crime in Orlando. National Crime Prevention Council statistics show that residential burglaries decrease by as much as 40 percent when citizens are involved in Neighborhood Watch.”

So, what is Neighborhood Watch?

Neighborhood Watch is a community crime prevention program started in 1972 by the National Sheriffs’ Association. It helps neighbors organize to look out for each other and prevent crime and vandalism within their neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Watch members are expected to be vigilant in observing their neighborhoods for suspicious activity, but never to take action on those observations. Instead, they are instructed to always call 9-1-1 to contact law enforcement if they suspect a crime is in progress.

Orlando Neighborhood Watch groups receive regular training, educational sessions and crime updates free of charge from members of the Orlando Police Department (OPD) Neighborhood Watch Unit. A few examples of session topics include:

Having a Neighborhood Watch in your community brings neighbors together, encourages community involvement, promotes observation and gives residents tools for enhanced home security and personal safety.

How do you get started?

Starting a Neighborhood Watch group is easy. Just contact the OPD Neighborhood Watch Unit. You will then pick a location and time for your first community meeting. OPD will provide you flyers promoting the meeting to distribute throughout your neighborhood, community, apartment complex or condominium community.

At that initial meeting, your assigned Neighborhood Watch Specialist and Community Liaison Officer will provide attendees an overview of the program and answer any questions. If your neighbors are on board at the conclusion of that meeting, you will be supplied all necessary materials to officially start your Neighborhood Watch.

For a Neighborhood Watch to remain active, you must meet twice per year, have participation from at least 40 percent of residents, and elect a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain to serve as the liaison between your neighbors and OPD.

Take steps now to prevent crime and keep your family and neighbors safe. For more information on starting a group, contact the Orlando Police Department Neighborhood Watch Unit at 407-246-2369.

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How to Minimize Risks from Common Household Dangers

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Last year,
more than 130,000 people died from unintentional injuries. These injuries, including poisoning, falls and drowning, are often the result of common household hazards. Fortunately, you can take simple steps to reduce the risk of injury from these hazards.

Poisoning

Poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional-injury-related deaths for all ages combined. Proper storage is key to preventing poisoning – especially among children

  • Store all chemicals and household cleaners securely and out of reach of children

  • Dispose of unused medications, and keep medicines away from children and pets

  • Use safety latches on any cabinets containing poisonous substances such as laundry detergent or pesticides

  • Never keep your car running inside a closed garage

Falls

Falls are another major cause of injury-related death, particularly for those over the age of 70. Many of these falls occur inside the home, so creating an environment with limited fall hazards is vital.

  • Remove any clutter

  • Keep rooms and walkways well-lit

  • Clean up spills immediately

  • If you have young children, install gates at the top and bottom of stairs

Drowning

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-2. Most of these drowning deaths result from children falling into pools or being left alone in a bathtub.

  • Install a gate around your pool

  • Have your young children learn life-saving swimming techniques

  • Never leave your child unattended in the tub

Fires

In 2015, there were approximately 365,500 fires in homes across the United States. Fires can cause complete devastation of property and loss of life.


Understanding these home safety hazards is important to keep your family safe. We’re here to help.
Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today for a free home security consultation.

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Identity Theft Protection Tips for Travelers

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Spring break is just a month away, meaning many families will soon hit the road to enjoy some well earned down time. Identity theft is the last thing you want to worry about while you’re away on a relaxing vacation. Give yourself peace of mind by using these tips to keep your personal information safe while traveling.

Book Your Vacation with Reputable Merchants

When booking airfare, hotels and other vacation expenses, only use reputable well-known sellers. Not only are you paying a lot of money upfront, but giving your personal information to a non-reputable merchant could put your identity at risk.

Pay with Credit Cards

Credit cards give you more protection than cash or debit cards. You can dispute charges and close the account if any fraudulent charges are made. And since a credit card isn’t directly linked to your bank account, you are at less risk of identity theft if the card is stolen or lost.

Clean Out Your Wallet

Before heading out on your trip, take any non-essential cards out of your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, there will be less opportunity for identity thieves. You may also have to travel with your passport or other identifying information. Don’t carry these around with you unless you have to. When you don’t need them, store them in the hotel safe.

Limit the Personal Information You Share

Don’t share more than necessary on your luggage tags. Only use your last name and phone number. Any additional information you provide makes it easier for identity thieves to take advantage.

Put Your Mail on Hold

A stack of mail sitting outside your home is a potential target for identity thieves. Your mail may include personal information such as social security numbers, bank statements and other items you’d rather not see in the wrong hands.

Check Your Statements

After you get home, review your bank and credit card activity to ensure there aren’t charges you don’t recognize. Identity theft often starts with small charges, hoping to go unnoticed before they attempt to make larger charges.

To learn more about identity theft monitoring, protection counseling and restoration, contact Crime Prevention Security Systems and ask about ID Shield.


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How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft While Shopping Online

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Shopping online is a great way to find deals right from the comfort of home. But, without taking proper precautions, your online shopping spree could put you at risk of becoming a
victim of identity theft.

Here are some common online shopping mistakes to avoid.

Using an Unsecured or Public Network for Purchases

Before inputting payment information, verify the site uses a secure connection. Most reputable merchants will send you to a secure or encrypted page when you checkout. Check for a URL starting with “https://” instead of “http://” to ensure the site is using a secure connection. Also, be wary of inputting any personal information over public wifi hotspots as these networks are not secure.

Making Purchases from Unknown Merchants

Only make online purchases from reputable sellers. Look through sales ratings to see if previous buyers have had good experiences with the merchant. If they do not have any ratings or seem to be too good to be true, trust your instincts and don’t make the purchase.

Using a Debit Card or Check

Debit cards and checks link directly to your bank account. So, if a thief steals that information, your money is at greater risk. Instead, use a credit card or payments service such as Paypal. These are more secure payment methods for online purchases and offer greater protection if funds are stolen.

Waiting to Inform Your Credit Card Company about Fraudulent Charges

Many ID thieves will make small charges at first, hoping to go unnoticed. If successful, they go after bigger scores. If you see something fishy on your credit card statement, even if it’s only a small charge, call your credit card company immediately. They can cancel that card and send you a new one to avoid further fraudulent charges.

Storing Your Credit Card or Login Information

It may be convenient to store your credit card information for future purchases, rather than typing out the number every time, but this makes you more vulnerable to ID thieves. Never save your credit card or login information and always make sure to log out completely of any banking or shopping site.

No deal is worth the cost of having your identity stolen. Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today to sign up for identity theft monitoring, protection counseling and restoration from IDShield.



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3 Home Security Tips Parents Should Teach Their Children

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You teach your children how to stay safe in a variety of situations, from looking both ways before crossing the road to being cautious of strangers. As they get older, many children spend time at home alone, making home security another area where they need your guidance. Ensuring your children understand and follow these tips will help keep them – and your whole family – safe and secure.

Keep Doors and Windows Locked

Kids may not always think to lock the door as they run out of the house or behind them as they come home from school. They may also want to leave windows open on a nice, sunny afternoon. Windows and doors are the most common entry points for burglars, so it is vital to teach children to always keep them locked – especially if they’re home alone. Worried your children may still forget to lock up? Home automation services provide a dependable solution. Receive a notification anytime an entry point is unlocked, remotely arm and disarm your alarm system and check in on security cameras via smartphone, tablet or computer.

What to Do in an Emergency

Emergencies can happen at any time, so it is best to prepare your children. Teach your kids what to do in various emergencies such as a fire, break in or inclement weather. Make a list of emergency numbers and contacts as well as what information they made need to provide to an emergency operator. Run practice drills for each emergency scenario so your child knows where to go.

How to Operate Your Alarm System

Installing a home security system is key to your home safety plan, so your kids should understand how your system works. Teach them how to arm and disarm the system system and walk them through away and stay modes. Quiz them on your alarm code regularly to ensure they remember it. Remind them not to share this code with other people without your okay.

We understand every parent needs the peace-of-mind knowing their child is safe. Teaching your children these simple home security tips is a great step.

Contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today for a free home security consultation.


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Home Security Tips for Single Moms

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Single moms often have to single-handedly deal with all the responsibilities of raising happy, healthy and safe children. A top priority is creating a secure home. Since crime can happen even in what may seem like the
safest neighborhood, you need to take extra precautions to keep your family safe.

If you’re a single mom, these home security tips may help:

Trust Your Instincts

Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Some crooks may wait outside your home for a few days to learn your routine and plan the best time to break in. Look out for any strange cars parked near your home – especially if someone is sitting in the vehicle for an extended period of time with no obvious reason. If something feels off, trust your gut and call the police.

Maintain Your Privacy

Burglars may view a single mom as an easier target, so be careful not to advertise the fact that there’s only one adult in the household. That can be a signal to would-be crooks that the home is less likely to be occupied throughout the day, putting your home and, potentially, your children, at greater risk. Avoid putting your first name or “Ms.” or “Miss” on your mailbox or phone listing. Instead, use your first initial and last name.

Know Your Neighbors

Get to know the people in your community. Your neighbors  can be an additional line of defense for you and your children. They could provide a safe place to go if your children are home alone and see someone suspicious lurking around. They can also help keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Lock Your Doors and Windows

Doors and windows are some of the most popular burglar entry points, so keeping doors and windows locked at all times is a key aspect of your home security plan. Even if you’re out for a short walk with the kids, make sure to lock your doors. If you recently moved into a new home, change the locks on all the doors. Reinforce any doors with access to the outside. You don’t know who the last residents were and you can never be too careful.

Landscape with Security in Mind

Keep any trees or bushes near your windows trimmed. Many crooks hide behind bushes or trees to try and enter into the home without being seen. By keeping your windows clear, you minimize criminals’ opportunities to sneak into your home.

Install a Monitored Home Security System

A professionally monitored home security system protects your home from burglars and intruders as well as fire and medical emergencies. Home automation allows you to watch your kids come home from school, turn the lights on or off, lock the doors behind them and set the alarm all while you’re at work.


Protecting your family and home is a main concern for every single mom, so don’t leave your family’s safety up to chance. For your free security consultation, contact Crime Prevention Security Systems today.

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