Summer is here and many of us are planning and going on vacations, leaving homes unoccupied and prime targets for burglars. Don’t be a victim – be sure your home is protected whether you are work or away on a trip. Here are a few simple ways to keep your home safe this summer and year-round.
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Installing a home surveillance system can be rewarding, providing you a sense of security and peace of mind. However, the process of choosing, installing and using the right cameras is a delicate task. It’s important to evaluate your needs, understand what features will help you accomplish your goals, and execute installation and use correctly. Avoid errors in the process by reviewing these common security camera mistakes.
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When was the last time you evaluated your home security? With summer, and likely a vacation or two, around the corner, now is a great to time reassess your home security measures and upgrade or improve them as needed.
A surprising amount of burglars enter homes through the front door, so be sure that all of your doors (especially the front door) are strong and secure. Inspect the door frame, ensure the hinges are protected, and if your door has a mail slot, make sure someone can’t reach through and unlock the door.
To further safeguard your doors and entryways, you can install a deadbolt and/or add a strike plate. You can even upgrade to smart locks or install a doorbell camera. And if you have any sliding glass doors, remember to reinforce them by using a window bar or dowel in the track. Or you can invest in a door sensor or glass break sensor, which will alert you if the door is opened or tampered with.
Another common entry point for burglars is windows. And unfortunately, window latches and locks can be flimsy and rather ineffective. To better secure your windows, install improved locks or key-operated levers, or implement window bars. You can even reinforce the glass with window security film and install window or glass break sensors. In addition, you can plant prickly bushes under first-floor windows, but be sure to keep them trimmed.
Lighting & Landscape
Intruders want to be as inconspicuous as possible, so why not shine a light on them? Outdoor lighting can help to keep burglars at bay. Light up your yard (front and back) and pathways and place lights near the garage or other outdoor structures. Motion-activated lighting, solar-powered lights and timers can be helpful as well.
While the lights help to prevent burglars from hiding in the darkness, maintaining your landscape plays an important role, too. Be sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed down to eliminate any hiding spots. If there are trees near windows, remove them or add extra security to those windows. And remember to put away stools, ladders, and other tools and lock your gates and sheds.
An attached garage offers another way to access your house. But even if it is detached, burglars know there’s likely good stuff stored in there. You should always lock all doors to the garage, both interior and exterior. Consider keeping your garage door opener in the house. That way, a burglar can’t steal it from your car. You may even consider upgrading to a smart garage door opener, which alerts you when the door is opened or closed and enables you to control it remotely.
Securing your home wireless network is also an important part of your overall home security. To keep hackers off your home network, be sure to secure your wireless router and enable WPA (Wi-Fi protected Access) or WPA2 encryption. You should also rename and hide your network, use a firewall, install antivirus and anti-malware protection, and always create strong passwords and change them periodically.
These days, you can find a home security system that suits your needs and budget. Depending on your unique situation, you may consider DIY versus professional installation, along with the upfront and monthly costs, and the different features offered.
If they are not part of your security system, you may want to install security cameras outdoors, indoors, or both. Some features to look for include remote access, motion detection, night vision, and Wi-Fi capability. If you need assistance, you can visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call us at 888-203-6294.
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Despite the presence of security cameras being a visual deterrent for potential burglars, some home owners would rather conceal their surveillance system. When security cameras are present, intruders may often attempt to damage or disable them, so hiding them may help to keep them safe. Visible security cameras can also be an eyesore, and may make it a bit awkward when you have guests over.
However, if you’re going to conceal your security cameras, be sure to abide by the laws in your country and state. To be safe, you may want to consult with an attorney about legalities and the specific ways you plan to use your hidden cameras.
Here are some clever ways you can hide your security cameras.
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For the best selection of indoor and outdoor security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Aside from our surveillance systems, we also offer installations services, site surveys, and free quotes – call 888-203-6294 to speak with one of our experts today!
Spring is almost here! With warmer weather on the horizon, many of us may have vacations or weekend getaways planned. Before you leave your house unattended, make sure you’re doing your best to keep your home secure. Here are some helpful home security tips to safeguard your home and property.
Your landscape can be an asset or a weakness to your home security, depending on how you utilize it. To protect your property, you want to limit the potential hiding places that your shrubbery can provide. Consider planting thorny bushes under your windows and be sure to keep them trimmed. You may also want to install motion-activated lights along your landscape to further discourage intruders.
Deter Porch Pirates
While online shopping is convenient, it leaves you susceptible to porch pirates. If you’re having packages delivered to your doorstep, work with the delivery companies to improve security. You can request a text when a delivery is made, require a signature upon delivery, or ask for packages to be left in a less prominent location. Another way to deter package theft is to install security cameras at your front door and around your home to monitor activity.
You don’t want anyone passing by your street to be able to see all of your valuables. Instead, arrange your furnishings in a way that they are less visible from the street-side window. Also, keep your garage openers and car keys out of sight from any window. Store these in a cabinet or drawer to keep them hidden.
Reinforce Entry Points
You want to be sure that any point of entry, whether window or door, has the proper protection. Exterior doors should be metal or solid wood and at least 1 ¾ inches thick. Protect your windows with locks or burglar-resistant glass, and reinforce sliding doors with a metal bar. A security alarm can also be beneficial by alerting you when a door or window opens as well as alerting authorities when your system is breached.
Practice Safe Behaviors
Personal habits can play an important role in your home security. Make it a habit to lock your doors and windows and arm the security alarm system whenever you leave. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days or on an extended vacation, you should make it look as if your home is occupied. Leave blinds as they would be usually, plan to defer your mail and other deliveries, and use light timers and smart home devices in different areas of your home. Bonus tip: If you are leaving your keys with a parking attendant, remove your house keys – tech-savvy thieves can duplicate your house keys by simply taking a picture of it.
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Security cameras help to protect homes, businesses and various properties from burglaries, vandalism and more. Unfortunately, if they are not installed properly, they can do more harm than good. Before you invest and install a video surveillance system on your property, review these security camera do’s and don’ts.
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Your security is our priority! If you need help choosing the best security cameras for you, feel free to browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative directly.
These days, IP security cameras are much easier to use and are more commonly utilized for home security. Whether home owners want to watch their property or their pets, IP security cameras seem to be the surveillance solution of choice.
Unfortunately, these home security systems are often targeted by hackers and bots. To better safeguard your IP cameras and privacy, check out these helpful IP security camera tips.
Modern IP security cameras provide user-upgradeable firmware. When a security vulnerability is found, the manufacturer will fix it by issuing a firmware update. If your cameras are operating with an older version, they may be vulnerable to exploitation from hackers or online voyeurs. Always be sure that your firmware is up to date and routinely check for updates to protect your system.
Keep Cameras Local
The concept is simple – If you are worried about your live feed ending up on the internet, do not connect your cameras to the internet.
To protect your privacy, keep your security cameras on a local network and assign them non-routable internal IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or the like). But even then, your cameras may still be exposed by camera software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the internet. Make sure your cameras are set up on local-only mode – consult your installer or check the manufacturer’s website to learn how.
Assign Passwords To Cameras
All too often, users forget to add password protection on their IP cameras, and sadly, this is not usually turned on by default. Without this, IP cameras are left wide open and vulnerable.
Luckily, most cameras offer at least some form of basic authentication, and although it may not be much, it is better than nothing. Remember to protect your cameras by assigning a username and strong password and changing it periodically.
We cannot stress this enough – Always, always, ALWAYS change the default usernames and password for your devices. In case you didn’t know, the default admin name and password for your IP camera is usually available on the manufacturer’s website in the support section. That said, if you don’t change these defaults, anyone could potentially access your security system, view your feeds, and control your cameras.
If you’re using a wireless camera, you should only connect it to a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. This will minimize the risk of wireless eavesdroppers connecting to your network and accessing your video feeds.
Be Mindful Of Locations
Don’t place IP security cameras in areas of your home that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with strangers seeing. Regardless of the security measures to protect your camera feeds, there is always a possibility of getting blind-sided by a Zero-Day vulnerability that hasn’t been found by the manufacturer yet.
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After you purchase and install a home security camera system, it is important to maintain it in order to preserve its quality and performance. From the surveillance cameras to the cables to video storage, all parts must be working properly to ensure optimal surveillance and security. Here are some helpful maintenance and troubleshooting tips for your surveillance system.
Check your hard drive regularly by simply playing back recent video. To make sure your cameras are properly recording, check the field of view and filter through different dates and times. Make sure you are getting the proper recording duration. A surefire sign that something is wrong is if the duration of footage stored has significantly decreased. For example, you used to get weeks or months of footage, but now it seems you are only getting a few days worth.
Cooling fans assist in preventing your DVR from overheating. Unfortunately, when they suck in the cool air, dust begins to build up as well. The accumulation of dust can damage the fan, resulting in overheating. Cleaning your cooling fan regularly can prevent this and is relatively easy. Computer dust sprays are available at many computer stores and you simply aim at the vent areas and spray.
The IR (Infrared) lights on your security cameras tend to attract spiders and bugs. Because of this, spiders tend to build their webs around the cameras in order to catch the bugs attracted to the light. Consequently, these spider webs interfere with your videos. Check your playback or live feed to see which cameras are affected. If you cannot kick the problem, it may be better to use cameras without IR and install a separate light source to illuminate the area.
Every so often, you should use a soft cloth or wipe to remove any dust or debris and clean the camera lens. A dust mop with a long handle can help you reach higher mounted cameras that are typically out of reach.
Camera sensors and other parts can wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, camera connections may need maintenance as environmental factors such as heat, cold, and moisture can affect them. If you see any signs of connections issues, such as lines in the image, flickering or other image issues, you should address these immediately to prevent further damage or total image loss.
Issue: Security cameras are out but the DVR is working.
Issue: DVR or NVR is not reachable by Internet (no phone or computer access).
Issue: DVR is not playing back video.
If you need help choosing the right security cameras for your property as well as installation services, feel free to contact us! You may browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or get a free quote. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Whether you rent or own your home, you want to make the property as unattractive as possible. Things like outdoor lighting, guard dogs, alarms and security systems act as deterrents for would-be burglars and trespassers. Unfortunately, common mistakes can weaken your security measures. Discover the most common security mistakes and ways to avoid them.
Although they may take away from your home’s aesthetic, your security cameras should be visible from the street. One of the benefits of security cameras is that they act as a deterrent for burglars. By hiding your cameras, you negate that benefit. And even if they do not succeed at discouraging thieves, you will have video footage that can help to identify the trespassers.
But remember, you want the cameras to be visible, but also out of reach to prevent tampering and vandalism. A sign warning that your property is under surveillance can also help.
Choosing the right locations for your security cameras may seem easy, but there are lots of factors to take into account. Security cameras should be able to provide proper coverage around the clock. You need to consider direct sunlight in the afternoon, which can washout the footage, or how things such as rain, snow, or tree branches, may compromise the field of view and produce unusable footage. In addition, internet-connected smart cameras need to be installed where there is strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal.
Keep your camera in a sheltered area that’s in the shade all day. You may even want to invest in camera housing for added protection. Also, test your live feed in a variety of weather conditions to ensure your cameras produce usable footage in all situations.
While low-priced systems may seem appealing, often times you get what you pay for. These systems may not come with the special features you want or need, but if budget constraints limit your options, something is better than nothing. However, if you have a more flexible budget, you should be sure your basic needs are met.
The most important takeaway: do your research. Read reviews and users’ feedback, search online for examples of the video output, and look into warranties and technical support should you need it in the future. You should trust that you are investing your time and money into a quality camera that will satisfy your surveillance needs.
When you have an internet-connected system, you are able to access your feed remotely. A default username and password are used for the initial access. A common mistake is that users do not change these default username and passwords, which are usually available on the manufacturer’s website. Hackers know this and if you fail to change these, they can gain access to your feed. From there, they can learn about your daily routines and get an idea of the layout of your home.
It is strongly advised to change the defaults as soon as possible and create a password that is unique, but that you can remember.
Professional installation can help you avoid many of the aforementioned mistakes. They will choose appropriate locations for your cameras based on your needs and the environmental factors. If your cameras aren’t functioning properly, they will come back to fix the issue and most companies will offer a warranty. If you opt for a DIY installation, you are responsible for any issues that arise.
Need help finding the right security system for you? Choose SecurityCamExpert.com! We can guide you through the process of choosing the security cameras that will best suit your needs. If you are in Southern California, we can even install the system for you. Visit us online or call 888-203-6294 to learn more. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.
With Independence Day fast approaching, many of us are making plans to celebrate. Whether it’s a family outing to the beach or a fireworks show, or simply a backyard barbecue at home, heed these safety tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Fireworks are safest when admired from afar (at least 500 feet). Look for local public fireworks displays and try to secure a prime spot early (as these tend to be crowded events). If your city allows fireworks and you decide to light them at home, please follow these safety precautions:
What is summer without backyard barbecues? As much as we love grilling under the sun, injuries are all too common when using backyard charcoal or gas grills. To prevent injury and maintain safety, follow these tips:
If your beach visit includes swimming in the ocean, be sure to learn how to swim in the surf within the designated swimming area and only when/where a lifeguard is present. In addition, be sure to obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
Rip currents are relatively strong, narrow currents flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone, posing a potential hazard to swimmers. In fact, rip currents are responsible for many deaths and lifeguards rescues on our beaches. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents, so be aware of the dangers and remember these things:
You should limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 (reapply often). Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly (thirsty or not) and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent UV sunlight. Also remember to protect your feet – hot sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke – hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
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Don’t forget! We will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 for Independence Day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. From everyone at SecurityCamExpert.com, we wish you a safe & happy Independence Day!