The Hackett Security, Inc. Tip Of The Day #6 - Doors & Locks

Always keep in mind that a burglar will simply bypass your home if it requires too much skill, effort or time to enter. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors and if they are experienced, they know that the garage door is the easiest to enter, followed by the back door. (The garage also provides the most cover)

The most common way to force your way through a door with a wooden frame is to kick it open at its weakest point, the strike plate that holds the latch and/or lock bolt in place. The average door strike plate is secured with only two half-inch screws set into the doorframe molding. These lightweight moldings are often tacked on to the doorframe and can be torn away with a firm kick.

With this in mind here are a few steps to "harden" yourself as a potential target.

  • Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points.
  • Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt.
  • Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead latch mechanism.
  • Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden doorframe.
  • Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches
- The Hackett Security Team


The Hackett Security, Inc. Tip Of The Day #5 - Home Safes

The price of a good home safe has fallen dramatically the last few years. With that in mind, there is no reason not to have a good home safe to store some of your most valuable possessions. Their real use is designed to keep the small-time, smash and grab type of burglar from accessing you valuables, or even to stop a dishonest babysitter, maid, or any other spur-of-the-moment type of thief. They also buy you extra time; increasing the likelihood that police will arrive while the thief is still in your home.

  • Use the safe as often as possible so that it becomes part of your routine.
  • Protect the code and change it every so often.
  • Install it in a not so obvious location, away from the master bedroom.
  • Keep in mind their real use, they buy you more time, increasing the potential for the police to arrive as they burglar is still there.

- The Hackett Security Team


The Hackett Security, Inc. Tip Of The Day #4 - Windows

Because windows are left unlocked and/or open at a much higher rate than doors, and because an open window, visible from the street or alley may be the sole reason your home is chosen, window safety is paramount. Ground floor windows are obviously much more susceptible to break-ins, however keep in mind that upper floor windows can become very attractive targets if they can be accessed by a tree, a fence or other item. If you need to have your window open for ventilation, a good idea is to have through-the-frame pins installed or use wooden dowels to protect the window from being opened far enough to allow for someone to sneak in. A lot of new window models have such devices built right into them. It is also a good idea to have the window open no more than six inches, and make sure that you cannot reach the latch or blocking device from the outside. For fire safety it is vital to make sure that you and your entire family can easily remove any blocking devices. You can also consider placing highly visible decals on the window that indicate the use of an alarm system, a guard dog, or neighborhood watch program.
  • Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices.
  • Open any accessible windows no more than six inches for ventilation.
  • Make sure that someone cannot reach through this six-inch space and unlock a door or remove the secondary blocking devices.
  • Like sliding glass doors, use anti-lift devices on horizontal windows.
  • Use window decals displaying your use of an alarm system, the use of a guard dog, or of the neighborhood watch program in place.
- The Hackett Security Team


The Hackett Security, Inc. Tip Of The Day #3 - Be A Good Neighbor

One of the most overlooked aspects of home security is being a good neighbor. If you maintain a good relationship with your surrounding neighbors, establish routines, and communicate often, you establish trust. Good neighbors will watch out for each other, and if you mention that you are going to be away on vacation, they will pay even closer attention. Good neighbors can pick up your mail or newspapers and occasionally park their car in your drive way to give the appearance of someone currently living there. Of course or this concept to work you will have to return the favor.
  • Get to know all of your adjacent neighbors.
  • Invite them into your home and establish trust.
  • Agree to watch out for each other’s home.
  • Do small tasks for each other to improve territoriality.
  • While on vacation, pick up newspapers, flyers, etc.
  • Offer to park your car in their driveway.
  • Return the favor and communicate often.
- The Hackett Security Team

New Illinois Law To Require CO Detectors in Rental Homes and Apartments

As reported by Security Sales & Integration, a new Illinios law requires at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector in most homes and apartments when it takes effect in January. The new law, entitled “The Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act,” enacted by Illinois lawmakers this year, will require a CO detector within 15 feet of every bedroom opening.

Click here for full story

-The Hackett Security Team


The Hackett Security, Inc. Tip Of The Day #2 - Lighting

Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence. A dark home night after night sends the message to potential burglars that you are away on vacation. Light timers are an inexpensive and easy to find solution. Typically they are best utilized in both the front and the back windows of your property, with the shades or curtains down. Another good idea is to attach these timers to televisions and radios as this can further simulate someone being home.

Exterior lighting is also very important, as burglars do not want to be seen as they break in or as they are leaving with your goods. Exterior lighting needs to be bright enough for you to clearly see 100 feet. Exterior lighting should always be on a timer to establish a routing and appearance of occupancy at all times. A good idea for your lighting in the back and sides of your home is have exterior lights with motion detectors set to go off if someone crosses their path. These are a very inexpensive way of providing a deterrent plus leaving a light on all day, such as an external garage or porch light is a dead giveaway that no one is there.

These tips are just one more step in making your home an unattractive target to burglars.

- The Hackett Security Team


Tip Of The Day - Sliding Glass Doors

Today's tip is in regards to sliding glass doors and how to keep them secure. Because these doors are usually installed in the rear of a home or apartment, they are prime candidates for entry by a burglar. Aside from keeping such doors locked, here are some more tips to further "harden" the entry of your home.

  • Insert a blocking device, such as a wooden dowel, into the track to further prevent these doors from sliding open.
  • Keep the latch mechanism and the sliding door rollers properly adjusted and in good working condition.
  • Sliding doors are known for being able to be accessed if the door is lifted off of its track. Use an anti-lift such as a through-the-door pin or an upper track screw to prevent such lifting. (These as well as other good quality blocking devices are available in any good quality hardware store.)
  • Use highly visible alarm decals such as a beware of dog sign, a neighbor hood watch sign, or a warning sign notifying burglars of your alarm system
- The Hackett Security Team
The Hackett Security Homepage


SDM's Guide to Fire Alarm Detectors

SDM, Security, Distributing, & Marketing, has put together a great guide covering all types of fire alarm detectors. In it, they cover the Manual Fire Alarm Boxes, Heat Detectors, Smoke Detectors, Duct Smoke Detectors, and Radiant Energy Fire Detectors, as well as some various fire alarm code requirements for each said product.

Click here for the whole article

- The Hackett Security Team


Video Verification Comes Of Age, by Security Systems News

Security Systems News is reporting that video verification systems are coming of age. For those of you who do not know, video verification is the process in which a Security Company will video verify if a situation requires escalation and if so, it will then contact the local authorities. This process greatly helps to reduce the amount of false alarms. They say that by being pushed by new city ordinances with stiff penalties (fines) for false alarms, falling prices of DVR's (Digital Video Recorders), and ROI, video now plays a vital role in Central Station monitoring. In fact, Mike Hackett, my boss and president of Hackett Security, estimates that one in every 10 new accounts is requesting video monitoring, and that rate is increasing more and more as time moves on. Mike also goes on to say that when local authorities know that you are video verifying an alarm, they "have asked us to do a couple of things. One, when we do spot somebody-say we have an auto-body parts lot, where people will come and try to take things-when they trigger motion, police have asked us to hold the camera up live until they get to the site, so that, two when they're on the site, they'll call back to the operators and ask whether we still see someone. We'll say, 'yes,' and they'll let the dog in on them. They love it, because they're not just wandering around a parking lot hoping that somebody's going to jump up and run away. That gets down to the grass-roots level."

Click here for the full story (free registration required)

- The Hackett Security Team

False Alarm Prevention Guide by City of Mesa, Arizona

The City of Mesa Arizona has compiled a list of tips into a False Alarm Prevention Guide. The city even provides an Alarm Awareness Class, which is something I believe all big city's should consider doing to help prevent false alarms. Click here, for more information, however I have posted some of the best tips below:

  • Make sure that you and your family has been instructed on how to properly operate my alarm system.
  • Make sure that you have the monitoring company telephone # in an easy to locate area for you and your family to use for cancellations, to test my alarm, and to request service.
  • Make sure that you and your family understand that You cannot cancel a robbery/panic alarm activation.
  • Make sure that you conduct periodic testing of the alarm system.
  • Make sure that you instruct any “New” alarm users on how to operate the alarm system, how to cancel a false alarm activation, and will provide them with a proper cancellation code. (“New” alarm users include; house sitters, cleaning crews, realtors, new employees, babysitters, repairmen, and construction crews.)
  • Understand that remodeling may inadvertently cause alarm system problems, so I will contact the alarm company prior to any remodeling. Make sure to also contact the alarm company when the remodeling is complete to reset door/window contacts, and motion detectors to provide optimum alarm coverage again.
  • Make sure to secure all protected doors and windows before arming my alarm system.
  • Building defects such as loose fitting doors or windows can cause false alarms. Please repair as soon as possible.
  • When false alarm activation occurs, follow the alarm company instructions to cancel the alarm activation.
  • Provide all alarm users with a valid cancellation code.
- The Hackett Security Team


Hackett Security is UL 681 & UL 2050 Certified

Our home office boasts a 24/7 UL listed central station and is located in Saint Louis, Missouri. In fact we are UL 681 and UL 2050 certified. This means that as well as providing corporate and home security solutions, we offer protection for mercantile premises, safes, vaults, ATM's, night deposit boxes, as well as locations of utmost importance where national security is at stake.

Click here to view our UL certification page for UL 681 - Mercantile.

Click here to view our UL certification page for UL 2050 - National Industrial Security Systems.

- The Hackett Security Team


CCTV - is only part of the security solution

CCTV is typically introduced as a solution to a crime or disorder problem, often as a spontaneous reaction to problems that have occurred.

It is seen as an all-powerful technology by some people. Suggestions are often voiced that if CCTV is installed, it is the total solution to the problem. However, although CCTV is an extremely useful technology, it is best used in conjunction with a number of other crime prevention measures. These other crime prevention facilities include physical security measures, access control, and response and guarding facilities.

Physical security includes fences, barriers, alarms and perimeter protection. These are all measures to prevent or restrict access to an area or goods, to alert security personnel to the presence of someone in an area, to channel the movement of personnel or to warn of violations of some kind. CCTV cannot provide a similar barrier function.

It can, however, complement physical security measures through auditing of facilities, detection of breaches, providing a follow up investigation function and identifying causes of alarms, and even replacing some of the alarm functions through video motion detection and other video analysis techniques. In this context, CCTV has an important part to play in maintaining the integrity of physical systems that can be broken, breached, or bypassed.

There is also a reciprocal relationship between some aspects of physical security and CCTV. For instance, lighting has a direct impact on reducing crime, but is also required to create the conditions under which CCTV can function effectively. I have heard on a number of occasions when the effectiveness of a CCTV system has been compromised because the available lighting is not enough to deliver appropriate results to the system.

While CCTV can assist with physical security, it cannot replace it, and in fact it requires it. The need for secure CCTV control rooms and the protection of operators and data is a simple example of this.

Click here for the rest of the story.

- The Hackett Security Team