Thursday, December 27, 2012

How a Monitored Security System Can Benefit Your Business

In 2011, there were 4,220 burglaries of residences and businesses in the Baton Rouge area alone. Larceny - taking away someone's personal property while trespassing on private property – affected 7,947 home and business owners.

Every day more homeowners are choosing to have a monitored alarm system installed in their homes, making their homes three times less likely to be broken into. With the rise of property-related crimes in Baton Rouge in the last few months, business owners would be wise to, also, consider getting a monitored alarm system installed in their establishments.

Having security cameras and a keypad installed in your business and being monitored by a reputable, local alarm company can not only keep you safe from after-hour burglaries, but can help protect your employees and assets. A monitored alarm system does not just protect from thieves, but can also safeguard from fire and vandalism. Business owners should also check with their insurance providers, as they sometimes offer discounts to businesses that have a professionally-installed security system.

One of the key benefits of having an alarm system is having total Access Control over your business and property. A business with multiple employees can assign a separate access code for each employee, allowing the business owner to log who is coming and going, and when. Also, lost or stolen keys are a problem of the past.

According to's "Do I Need Electronic Access Control?":
You can evaluate your need for EAC by asking these three questions:
  1. Do I need an audit trail, i.e. a time and date stamped record of every opening or attempted opening of a door?
  2. Should different employees have different access privileges based on time and day?
  3. Does a lost or stolen key represent an immediate security threat to my facility?
Answering yes to any of those questions can justify the investment in an EAC system.
Our U.L. Listed and Approved Central Station is located right here in Baton Rouge and monitors and processes your alarm system's signals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Issac, we never went offline. Depending on the signal received, we will dispatch the Police, Fire Department, or an Ambulance and notify you within seconds of an event.

Give us a call today - (225) 292-5276 -  to see what we can do for you in helping to make your business safer and better protected, or consider switching to us from your regular alarm company and get 6 months free!

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We will be closed tomorrow, December 25, for the Christmas holiday.

We here at Alarm Center wish you and yours a safe and very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let Us Help Protect Your Family from Holiday Fires

According to the latest findings by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), "U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 371,700 home structure fires per year" and that "roughly one of every 310 households per year had a reported home fire."

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) contends that the holiday season, from December 1 to January 7, is "a time of elevated risk for winter heating fires" and  "during this period, structure fires increase and the dollar loss per fire is 34% greater than normal, due largely to the decorative use of Christmas trees, other combustible materials such as wrapping paper, and candles."

There are a number of things you can do to protect your home and loved ones from the elevated risk of fire during the holidays, but perhaps the most important is to add a monitored smoke detector to your home alarm system.

What Is A Monitored Smoke Detector & How Is It Different From Store-Bought Smoke Detectors?

A monitored smoke detector is connected to your home alarm system and will not only sound an alarm but – unlike a plain smoke detector – notify the fire department and then you within seconds.

If you are not at home, a fire may not be called in until the neighbors (hopefully!) happen to see smoke billowing from your windows – at which point it's usually too late to save the home. If you are at home, the monitored smoke alarm will give you time to focus on getting your loved ones out safely without having to worry about stopping to call the fire department.

Even if you have a regular smoke detector/alarm in your home, can you remember the last time you tested it or changed the batteries? The National Burglar and Fire Association (NBFA) found in a recent study that as many as 50% of regular, battery-operated smoke detectors in American homes are "inoperable".

How We Help Keep You Safe
Our alarm systems can monitor your home (or business) for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide (CO), and heat. If a fire is detected in your home, a unique alarm will sound – different than the siren for an intrusion – and, for your safety, will sound regardless if your alarm system has been activated or not.

Almost immediately, a call will go out from our local Central Station to the nearest fire department; even if you aren't at home, your house, possessions, and pets can best be saved by the quickest response to a possible fire.

Statistics state that 64% of house fires occur during the day and the majority of these, without a monitored smoke/fire detector to alert the fire department, are a total loss. Check with your insurance company as they may offer a further discount to your homeowner's insurance if you have a fire/smoke/heat detector and alarm added to your monitored alarm system.

Call us today - (225) 292-5276 - to find out about adding a smoke/fire alarm to your monitored home alarm system, or about getting a full system installed in your home.  Give you and your loved ones the greatest gift this holiday season – peace of mind. Knowing your home, family, possessions, and pets are being looked after, even when you're not there, is priceless.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Let Your Christmas Tree Go Up in Flames!

What could be more festive or fun than a beautiful, live tree twinkling with lights gracing your living room during the holiday season? It's just not Christmas without the tree and, for some people, that tree must be real.

A real, live tree is a beauty to behold and, though it can require more upkeep, is often worth the extra hassle just to enjoy the smell of pine and the look that only a real tree can provide.

Along with that extra cleanup, however, comes extra safety precautions. Let Alarm Center provide you with the information and tips you need to keep your home and loved ones safe this Christmas season.

The first thing to remember about natural trees is that there is a significantly higher fire risk than with artificial trees, which have often been treated with flame-retardant materials.

Christmas tree fires, though rare, are - according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - more hazardous. When they do occur, they cause more damage and have a higher likelihood of causing death. In fact, according to the NFPA report, Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires:
On average, one of every 18 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death compared to an average of one death per 141 total reported home structure fires.
What the NFPA found is that natural trees kept moist and regularly watered are "are unlikely to catch fire unintentionally".

To show just how quickly a dry tree can go up in flames and fire can consume the room it is in, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) put out this important, yet terrifying, video demonstration:

And while you may have seen the above video, you might not be aware of it's equally important and eye-opening cousin, which shows a shocking side-by-side comparison of both a dry and a properly maintained "wet" tree catching fire.

Both videos, and more information, can be found on the NIST's informative Fire Safety for the Holidays page. Other pages with equally good information that we recommend you check out:
You can also review this handy, visual guide, Christmas Tree Safety, compiled by the NFPA. Click here for a printable .pdf version.
We here at Alarm Center want to help keep you, your home, and especially your loved ones safe this holiday season - and always! Check back here for more safety information and tips to help you do just that year-round.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Friday, November 9, 2012

Want An Existing Alarm System Monitored? No Problem!

If you have an old or pre-installed alarm system in your home and would like to be monitored, we can help!

Perhaps you have moved into a new home that has an alarm system already installed, or maybe you had an alarm system installed yourself years ago but have never, or no longer have, it monitored. You have decided you would like your home to be monitored, but aren't sure if you have to get an entire new system installed or if an alarm company can work with what is already there.

Alarm Center has the solution! We can monitor any system, no matter who installed it!

Our customers are monitored through our local U.L. Listed and Approved Central Station; the largest in Baton Rouge. Central Station is never offline and so reliable that it stayed online and functional through Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Issac, keeping our customers safe during and after the storms.

What About Switching?

Do you have a system but are unhappy with your current company or unsatisfied with their response time? Give us a call at 225-292-5276. If you switch to us we'll give you 6 months FREE!

Alarm Center offers flexible solutions for your security needs, whether you're a homeowner who wants to keep their loved ones and possessions safe or a business owner with commercial property to protect. We work with each client individually to build a protection plan tailored to your specific needs.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alarm Monitoring - What It Is & How It Works

Having an alarm system is an important aspect of smart home safety, but homes with a monitored alarm system are 2-3 times less likely to be burglarized. Alarm Center offers monitoring from a local, state-of-the-art facility known as Central Station.

Our Central Station is U.L.-approved and located in Baton Rouge. The largest monitoring station in the city, it has the most up-to-date, high-tech equipment and software to monitor and process our customers' alarm signals.

Central Station is online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In fact, even during the widespread outages caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Issac, Central Station never went offline!

Your Alarm Is Going Off – What Happens Next?

Depending on the signal coming from your alarm panel, which is wired to a phone line, the police or fire department or an ambulance will be dispatched immediately to your home or business. You will, also, be notified with a phone call (to your work and/or cell) within seconds of the alarm sounding and the call going out to the appropriate department.

To break it down even more for you, this is what happens when your alarm is tripped:
  1. A signal is sent from your control panel to our monitoring facility.
  2. We call your premises to verify the alarm. Your password is on file with us so that you can identify yourself in the event of a false alarm.
  3. Our Central Station dispatches the proper authorities. (Police, Fire or Medical)
  4. Our operators contact your emergency call list to notify you or your assigned emergency responder of the alarm and dispatch.
But I Don't Have a Home Phone!

We can still monitor you! Alarm Link will transmit your signal to our Central Station even if you don't have a telephone line.

Whether you don't have a phone line at your residence, or want to monitor a location where phone line access is not available, such as a boathouse or garage, our Alarm Link Wireless Monitoring is the solution.

Whatever Your Needs, Alarm Center Has You Covered!

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Alarm Center Celebrates Crime Prevention Month

It was in 1984 that the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) first designated October as Crime Prevention Month. Throughout the month, local governments, schools, businesses, and the like are encouraged to work together in educating the public about crime prevention.

If you are interested in getting your school, business, or community to take part in this October's Crime Prevention Month, the NCPC has kits to help get you started. The theme for this year can be downloaded at 2011-2012 Crime Prevention Month Kit on the NCPC website.

One of the main focuses of Crime Prevention Month is on getting citizens to join together to help create safer communities. One way that this is accomplished is by making people aware of, and getting them involved in, the NCPC's Celebrate Safe Communities program.  From the website:
Celebrate Safe Communities (CSC) is crime prevention done the right way – local people working with local law enforcement to address local issues. CSC spotlights communities' crime prevention efforts, enhances public awareness of vital crime prevention and safety messages, and recruits year-round support for ongoing prevention activities that help people keep neighborhoods safe from crime and prepared for any emergency.
Visit their website today to utilize resources and tools for your community, or to register your own CSC-inspired event.

Working together, we can all help to create safer communities for our families and children here in Louisiana.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Locks Aren't Enough to Keep Your Home Safe

Simple is always best, and – unfortunately – breaking into a home can be just that. In fact, two of the most common methods burglars use to gain access to your home are also two of the most simple: kicking in the door and lock-bumping.

Crime statistics tell us that most burglaries occur when a thief simply kicks in your door. Another, less well-known, method is by bumping your lock. The method is simple – a regular key is filed down to trigger the pins in a tumbler lock.  In minutes and with a quick internet search, a thief can learn how to bump a lock, order "bump keys" for as little as $3/key, or even read how to make them himself.

Door kick-ins and lock bumping are simple and, frighteningly, effective. The FBI states 74% of burglars kick-in doors, making this method the most common type of forced entry. Statistics on lock-bumping are hard to come by, as a bumped lock shows no sign of damage or forced entry (often causing headaches for a victimized family trying to prove to their insurance company they have been burglarized!); however, according to Lock, a public service site about the procedure, more than 90% of American doors use an old style cylinder lock which is vulnerable to lock bumping.

The bonus for burglars – and the blow to you – is that both methods take shockingly little time to execute. A thief kicking in your door can be inside your home in less than a second. One utilizing a bump key will gain access in 1 minute or less.

While getting stronger doors and better locks is recommended, it cannot ensure your home's safety. Thieves have many other ways of getting into your home, including using tools to force open doors as well as windows.

The FBI states that a burglar breaks into a home every 15 seconds in the U.S. and that a home with a monitored security system is 2-3 times less likely to be broken into. The only way to guarantee your home's continued safety is by having a fully-monitored alarm system controlled by a key panel – no unreliable doors or locks to be concerned about, no windows that can be forced open without an alarm sounding.

Local Crime Woes

The widely-reported crime wave rocking Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas is not something local residents should take lightly. Of all the crime-related news you do hear about, there is far more that goes unreported. In fact, most burglaries and home break-ins are not reported in the news, but that does not mean they are not happening.

Alarm Center is proud of helping to keep the Greater Baton Rouge area and beyond safe since 1978.  We are fully licensed and insured, and with over 10,000 systems installed, we are confident we can meet all of your security needs.  In fact, all of our systems are guaranteed or your money back.

Owned and operated by local residents with a stake in our community's safety, we take great pride in our history, and the fact that we continue to offer protection and security to thousands of satisfied customers. In addition to no up-front costs (with approved credit) and the possibility of an up to 20% discount off your homeowner's insurance premium, depending on your insurance carrier, you can fill out our online form for a Free Estimate on our Comprehensive Homeowner's Package.

Your neighbors have trusted us for over 34 years – you can too!

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We're Open for Business!

In May of 2012, we began construction on a brand new building  here in Baton Rouge on the corner of Airline Highway and Siegen Lane. On October 1, we officially moved in!

Originally located on Coursey Boulevard, we are now at 11410 Airline Highway at Siegen Lane. Come by and visit us today.

If you need help finding our new location, visit the Find Us page on our website, or contact us at (225) 292-5276.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hidden Keys - Don't Do It!

On September 2, in Monroe, Connecticut, a homeowner came home to find his deadbolt unlatched and items missing from his home, including a video camera, laptop, and $500 in cash. There were no signs of forced entry and police noted that a key he kept outside was missing.

The victim made what is an all too common mistake among homeowners – leaving an extra key "hidden" outside the home. Everyone is familiar with the fake rock that you can buy to hide an extra key in your yard. Over the years, this has evolved into any number of seemingly ordinary yard, garden, or porch items to hide that extra key inside. Those not wanting to splurge on fake yard décor often hide their key in what they already have on display – under the door mat, on top of the door, in a flower pot.

Know who else is familiar with those rocks and rugs and flower pots? The burglar wanting to get into your home!

The problem with all of these "hiding" places is that they are so well-known and so many people use them, and thieves are well aware of this. Other security experts agree - a quick online check shows everyone from  from insurance companies to police departments to simple home protection articles  – advise against doing this. In fact, the only places that believe hiding an extra key outside of your house is wise are the places selling those rocks we just talked about.

Our unfortunate homeowner in Connecticut was hit, likely when he was at work, at a time when the FBI says more than half – 62% - of home invasions occur (precisely between 6am-3pm). Not only are you at work, but so are your neighbors, giving burglars time and leisure to snoop around and find that hidden key.

There are many reasons to need an extra key nearby and many will tell you to place that key in the trust of neighbor, friend, or family member. Yet, that's not exactly convenient if you're locked out and you can't get in touch with them. So what's a homeowner to do?

If you're determined to have that extra key stashed away, the safest option (or the lesser of the evils) is a combination-lock key storage box (pictured right). There's hundreds of brands and types to choose from, and they are widely available.

However, the only real way to guarantee the safety of your home, family and valuables whether you're a convenience-key-hider or not, is to have a fully-monitored alarm system with a keypad panel. This way, even if someone does come across your house key, they're still stopped in their tracks without your alarm password and the authorities are quickly notified that there's an intruder in your home.

Worried a home alarm system is beyond your means? You may be surprised. We have a wide range of security products and features to fit many needs and budgets, such as iAlarm, Alarm Link, as well as fully-monitored alarm systems. You also may qualify for our $0 Down Internet Special, where you can get a home security system installed with no up-front costs with approved credit.

If you'd like to know more, contact us today, or just fill out our online form for a Free Estimate on our Comprehensive Homeowner's Package.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

As Familiar As Pecan Pie

If you have been reading this blog, you know the statistics of high crime in Louisiana and specifically the Baton Rouge area. Even if you're new here, there's plenty of evidence of our drastically-high crime rate on the local news every single day. Perhaps you even know someone - a friend or family member, a co-worker, or someone in your neighborhood that has become the victim of a home invasion or violent crime.

Local authorities are attempting to tackle the high crime problem by creating pro-active groups like BRAVE, but what can a concerned citizen do to keep their own personal property and loved ones safe?

One of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of you and yours is to have a fully-monitored alarm system installed.  We discussed the importance of this step for anyone concerned about home security in our last blog post, "Who's In Your Fridge When You Aren't Home?"  Now we'd like to tell you a little about us and our services and how we can help you protect yourself from the growing threat of crime throughout our city.

Owned and operated by local residents with a stake in our community's safety, we have been serving the Greater Baton Rouge area and beyond since 1978. We take great pride in our history, and the fact that we continue to offer protection and security to thousands of satisfied customers.

We offer a full-range of security system services, including installation and monitoring, as well as products for homes and businesses.  Our experienced, competent, and friendly team of security experts will tailor a protection plan customized specifically to your needs.

Our state-of-the-art monitoring facility is U.L. Listed and Approved and the largest in Baton Rouge.  This U.L. Central Station provides services not available at other monitoring stations, such as video and GPS monitoring.  Up and running, and ready to serve you 365 days a year/24 hours a day, our Central Station didn’t miss a beat during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, or Issac!

Alarm Center is fully licensed and insured, and with over 10,000 systems installed, we know how to protect your family and possessions.  We're so confident we can meet all of your security needs, all of our systems are guaranteed or your money back.  We're so confident, we're offering to get you installed, configured, up and running for $0 down (on approved credit)! With no up-front costs and the possibility of an up to 20% discount off your homeowner's insurance premium, depending on your insurance carrier, why not call Alarm Center today?

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who's In Your Fridge When You Aren't Home?

I once knew an insurance adjuster who worked in the burglary division of his agency and I'll never forget the day he said to me, "You'd be surprised at who's been in your fridge eating that cold fried chicken."

I have never been able to shake that image in my head of someone in my home when I wasn't there, eating out of my fridge, sitting in my favorite chair, rifling through my drawers, and invading my private space. It made me realize it was naïve to think that my home was safe and secure behind my flimsy lock and easily kicked-in deadbolt.  

People's homes get broken into every single day, and though we believe it could never happen to us, I'd imagine all those who have suffered through a home invasion once thought the same thing.

Though we may want to believe we are immune to such misfortune, the odds are not in our favor.  In the U.S., a burglar breaks into a home every 15 seconds.  According to the FBI, 62% of those burglaries occur during the day, between 9am-3pm, when most people are at work and their homes are left unoccupied and are more vulnerable to an invasion. 

Here locally we have cause for even more concern.  Of all the burglaries that occur in the United States, almost half of them - 45% - occur in the South.  

Louisiana itself, especially in and around the Baton Rouge area, has a notoriously high crime rate.  Statistics state that you have a 1 in 27 chance of becoming a victim of property crime in this state; in fact, of the 12,666 property crimes committed in Louisiana in 2011, 4,220 of them were burglary of a residence or business.

And yet, there is something you can do to prevent you and your family becoming a victim.  In contrast to the frightening stats above, it is proven that homes which have a fully-monitored alarm system are 3 times less likely to be burglarized.  If that isn't incentive in these times we live in, I don't know what is!

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Home Security and Burglary Prevention

From YT: Home Security and Burglary Prevention starts with understanding basic layers of protection and prevention. While a sticker or a sign isn't "secure", it is a deterrent and creates doubt in the mind of the burglar. There are a number of creative measures you can take to protect your home and family.


[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Monday, August 27, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Issac

We here at Alarm Center Security want you and your loved ones to be safe as Hurricane Issac heads our way.  Here are a few links to help you prepare and have everything in order for the coming storm.

All of us at ACS hope that you, your loved ones, and your property will be safe and will make it through the storm unscathed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Murder in Louisiana 2000-2010

Visit this interactive database by the WSJ's "Murder in America" to:
"Explore an interactive database of killings committed in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010. You can sort by the race and sex of killer and victim, the circumstances of the killing, and many more variables."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School + Afterschool Safety

It's that time of year for Louisiana – and the nation's – parents:  Back to School!  And for some households, that means a percentage of children will become proverbial "latchkey kids" for a least a few hours in the evenings after school.

A 2009 study conducted by Louisiana After 3pm found that 23% of Louisiana's K-12 children "are responsible for taking care of themselves after school", along with another 15% who are looked after by an older sibling.  Since 2004, The Afterschool Alliance has seen a steady increase in school-aged children who are on their own after the school day ends and until a parent returns home from work, even with an increase in available afterschool programs.

That some children will be home alone for a few hours after school in this day and age is a given, but there are things a parent can do to make sure their child is safe until they get home.  KidsHealth recommends creating house rules, such as:
  • Should the child call mom or dad as soon as they get home?
  • Are they allowed to watch TV, DVDs, and videos, or play computer games? If so, which ones and for how long?
  • Should homework be done first, even before chores?
  • Can friends come over? If so, how many?
  • What can they eat if they want a snack?
  • Can they go outside, and if so, where?
  • Which appliances can be used? (microwave, computer, etc.)
  • Which chores need to be done and by when?
In addition, KidsHealth recommends that your children know the following when staying home alone:
  • How to dial 911
  • Their home address and phone number
  • The name, location, and phone number where both parents work
  • The name, phone number, and address of a trusted neighbor
  • The name, phone number, and address of another emergency contact person, such as a grandparent or family friend
Alarm Center has an additional solution for parents concerned about their children after school.  Our new feature, iAlarm, will send an email or text letting you know that the system has been disarmed – when the children come home – and rearmed.

Parents can feel safe knowing their children have made it home safely and are securely protected inside the home by a monitored alarm system.  Learn more about iAlarm from our blog post "Alarm Center Security Introduces iAlarm" or by visiting our website and trying out the iAlarm LIVE DEMO.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Local Businesses Continuously Targeted for Theft

On July 31, 2012, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office asked for the public's help in catching a thief – or thieves – responsible for stealing over $71,000 worth of large pipe couplings from local business, Patterson Tubular Services.

Hopefully surveillance video from the business's yard will help nab the perpetrators and Patterson Tubular Services will be able to recoup some of their enormous loss.

While the theft of pipe couplings may not be something most business owners need worry about, any business or commercial building is susceptible to copper theft.  This crime is so prevalent here in Louisiana that a bill introduced this past legislative session – HB48 – easily passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the governor on May 22, 2012.  This law, which will be effective August 1, 2012, will impose harsher crimes for copper and other metal thefts.

Copper theft is a growing problem for Louisiana, as shown by a quick look at the long list of news stories tagged with "copper" at WBRZ, including the bust up of a copper theft crime ring in July 2011 (nine were arrested for stealing around $360,000 worth of copper over 20 months) and the February 2012 theft of over $100,000 worth of copper from Live Oak High School in Denham Springs.

Crimes such as this demonstrate the need for Louisiana business owners to invest in a monitored alarm system from a fully-licensed alarm company.

Alarm Center Security offers alarm monitoring for local businesses in and around the Baton Rouge area, providing theft and hold-up protection, fire detection, video surveillance, and digital recording.  Our systems allow you to see your business, inside and out, from any internet-connected computer in the world.

Our commercial alarm monitoring can also provide you with reports showing what time your business was opened and closed each day as well as which employee armed or disarmed your system and much, much more. We can also send an email to your cell phone any time an alarm signal is received. Also, if you forget to arm your system, don't worry; we can automatically arm it for you at a predetermined time each day.

We provide monitoring via a U.L. Listed and Approved Central Station, located right here in Baton Rouge, that monitors and processes your alarm system's signals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, we never missed a beat.

For those constructing a new office, we also offer pre-wiring services – see our New Construction page at our website for more information.

It's never too late to start monitoring your business and protecting it from theft.  Contact one of our sales representatives today to learn how Alarm Center Security can help protect your business from the unthinkable.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alarm Center Security Introduces iAlarm

Alarm Center Security is proud to offer internet monitoring to our customers with our brand new service, iAlarm.

iAlarm allows virtual access to your system through your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device with an internet connection.

iAlarm also includes an app, specially-designed for iPhone and Android mobile devices, allowing you to have real-time, immediate access to your alarm system from anywhere.

With iAlarm you can:
  • Arm/disarm your system
  • Check activity
  • Change, add, or delete user codes
Business owners will especially appreciate the ability to change user codes without having to visit the office – even while on the road or traveling.

Another beneficial feature of iAlarm is the ability to have your system send alerts – via SMS (text messages) and/or email – when your security system notes a change or signals an alarm.

You can receive messages for:
  • Alarms
  • Troubles
  • Open/close (when the system is armed/disarmed)
Parents who are at work when their children return home can feel secure when they get a message that their child has come home and safely rearmed the system.

Stuck at work and need a neighbor to bring a package in for you? Disarm and rearm the system right from a computer or your cell phone, all within minutes and never having to leave your desk.

iAlarm gives you complete control and access to your home or business anywhere and at any time and for iPhone and Android users it's never farther away than your phone!

But don't just take our word for it; try out our virtual keypad LIVE DEMO to see how iAlarm would look and work on your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

Learn more by visiting the iAlarm page at our website, or calling us today at (225) 292-5276 and speaking to one of our sales representatives.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Let Your Cellphone Get Snatched!

We all know that smartphones are far more than just phones and have become a fixture in our daily routines; so much so that we often use them as a personal computer even more than we use them for communication.  That said, it's no surprise that the more we use our cellphones and the more valuable they become, the bigger a target they become for the criminal set.

Cellphones can be quickly and easily swiped and resold for a quick buck.  How profitable is cell phone theft?  Selling a stolen phone – to a store or online – can net a thief up to $200.  It’s so profitable, in fact, that cell phone snatching has become a very serious and prominent crime.

The problem is so prevalent that the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) is working with law enforcement, lawmakers, and wireless carriers to create a database to track – and shut down – stolen phones, preventing them from being used.

The F.C.C. reports that nearly one out of three robberies in the last year involved the theft of a cell phone.  According to this NY Times piece:
The thefts have grown most rapidly in urban areas; cellphones are stolen in more than 40 percent of all robberies in New York City and 38 percent of robberies in the District of Columbia…
This is certainly something to be aware of and obviously is affecting big cities such as New York, but is it such a problem here locally?  You might be surprised – and concerned – to learn it is!

Greg Meriwether over at WAFB reported on this growing problem right here in Baton Rouge recently: "Cell phone snatching problem sweeping Baton Rouge area".  I highly recommend giving it a read.

It’s very important to not set your phone down when out in public, and be wary of people asking to borrow your phone, as happens in the Pop-A-Lock scam mentioned by WAFB:
Some thieves have gotten clever with a so-called Pop-A-Lock scam; and they have targeted coffee shops here in Baton Rouge. A man recently approached a woman sitting at a coffee shop on Perkins. He asked the woman to borrow her phone to call pop-a-lock; the company that unlocks car doors. The woman says the man even sat at her table for about three minutes, supposedly on the phone with the company. All of a sudden, the man acted as if he needed to go and get his VIN off his car. He walked out to the parking lot with her phone, and she never saw him again.
Because of this it is important to be aware of your phone – how you use it and where you set it down – in public.  Also, be sure to register your phone with your network operator so that they can put a block or shut the phone down if it is stolen.  Keep your phone locked with a security pin, as well.  WAFB also has a list of anti-theft and security apps that you can download to further protect your cell phone.

In case this does happen to you, be prepared.  Keep a record of this important information about your cell phone in a secure place:
  • Your phone number
  • The make and model
  • Color and appearance details
  • The pin or security lock code
The most important thing to do is be prepared and be alert.  Some people have had cell phones snatched away from them while they were walking down the street talking into them.  Be aware of your surroundings and take proper precautions.  Register your phone and have anti-theft or security apps installed and functioning.  In the event your phone is stolen, have your phone’s information in a secure place and call the police immediately and follow up with a call to your service provider.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Planning on going on vacation this summer?  Even if you don’t have a monitored alarm system, there are things you can do to help keep your home safe while you are away.

1) Don’t Tell the World Your Plans
These days, without even thinking twice about it, we share the intimate details of our lives with friends, family, co-workers and even strangers through social media.  While your intent in announcing your upcoming, week-long vacation to Hawaii may be to let everyone know you will be unavailable at that time, you have also just sent a message out to potential thieves that your home is going to be unoccupied – and ripe for the picking – for an entire week.  This article tells about an Arizona man who found himself robbed after telling his 2,000+ Twitter followers he was going out of town!

2) Careful with Sharing
In the same vein, be careful when sharing information about your vacation while you’re on it.  Updates to Twitter or Facebook, especially uploaded photos, let people know you are out of town as well.  Remember, too, that things uploaded from a cell phone often automatically have location tags on them, telling people where you are when you uploaded the information.  If you must share, send emailed updates to specific family members/friends only, and upload the rest of your vacation to your preferred social media sites once you return home.

3) Get the Neighbors In On It
An overgrown lawn can make a property look abandoned, so take care of any landscaping before you leave and if you’re going to be gone for a very long time, have a family member or neighbor come by and trim things up or hire someone to do so.  In addition to making sure your lawn is cut before you leave and any shrubs obscuring windows are cut back, it’s a good idea to let a few trusted neighbors know you’ll be out of town and for how long.  Ask them to keep an eye on your residence and to pick up any newspapers or other mail that might be piling up – anything that might make the home look as if it’s unoccupied for any length of time.

4) Leave the Lights On
Leave some lights on or have some type of home automation set up so that your home is not darkened and empty-looking for days and nights on end.  Home automation can be purchased as an entire system, or be a simple set up using outlet timers and switches.

5) Lock It Down
Though it may seem elementary, be sure that everything is locked up tight before you head out.  All windows, garage doors, basement windows or entrances, etc.  Inside your home, it’s a good idea to make sure all valuables are doubly protected by locking them up in a safe or even, for your most valuable, leaving them in a safety deposit box at your local bank.

6) Careful With Away Messages
Don’t tell people on your voicemail or answering machine that you are out of town or for how long you plan to be gone.  Also, be careful with automatic response email messages; only put these on your professional email accounts, where you are safe sharing such information.

7) Nix the Hidden Key
If you have a key hidden somewhere on your property, pick it up.  That’s one of the first things thieves look for, and with you being gone for an extended time, they have all the more time to search for it.  If you must leave a key for relatives or neighbors to check in on your home or pets and don't want to give them an actual copy, get a combination lock key storage box, like the one pictured here, and only give the code to those people you are trusting to check on your home.

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Burglar Reveals 15 Trade Secrets

Kevin Raposo covers home security, crime, safety, and consumer issues for SimpliSafe and InfobiaBlog.  He has graciously allowed us to share with our readers his great piece that gives an  in-depth look into the mind of a burglar. Thanks, Kevin!

Burglar Reveals 15 Trade Secrets - A Look Into The Mind of a Burglar by Kevin Raposo, February 20, 2012 at SimpliSafe

Ever wonder what goes through the mind of a burglar? Well, SimpliSafe home security sent a team of us out to hit the streets for some raw data. We got the chance to sit down with burglary professionals and ask them some real tough questions. It wasn't easy getting these questions answered but we got them! We gathered the most common answers and assembled them to give you an inside look into the mind of a burglar. It's time for you to meet Bob, your local burglar.

Hello, my name is Bob and I'm your local neighborhood burglar!

First I'm going to tell you what I look for before breaking into your home, and then I'm going to tell you how I can break into your home. I'll even tell you what I'm doing and looking for inside your home.

A lot of people ask me why I do what I do, and why I haven't been caught yet. Do you know what I tell them? Because people don't realize how easy they make it for me. I shouldn't be doing this but I need a challenge!

Here's what I'm looking for to make your house my next target:

Before picking a house I have to scope the whole neighborhood. To do this I'm not going to be walking in the traditional cat burglar uniform. I'm going to be walking around with a rake, dressed up as the cable, electric, or phone repairman. In some cases I even post a flier on your door for a closer look. Usually my work hours are from 8AM-11AM. I want to avoid any kind of confrontation.
  • High privacy fences – This way your pesky neighbors can't sneak up on me or call the police
  • Any sort of high vegetation, like trees or shrubbery, covering your windows – this way they can't see me break your window. I prefer lots of cover.
  • Toys or playground equipment in your yard – Toys or playground equipment in your yard are signs that kids live there, which to me equals a mother lives there and "cha-ching" that means JEWELRY.
  • I'll post a flyer on your door to get a closer look of your home. I'm also checking to see if you have a burglar alarm.

Here's how I break into your home:

  • I'll knock on your door to see if anyone is home. If someone answers the door I'll just come up with some bogus story.
  • I'm going to check if the front or back door is unlocked. Sometimes people usually hide a key somewhere easy to access. If I can't find a key I will check the windows. If worse comes to worse I'll just smash a window.
  • I can also get into a home through your doors using my trusty crowbar.
  • If I can't make it into your house in one minute I just move onto the next one.

Now here's what I’m doing once I'm inside your home:

  • I always use the same search pattern. I go straight to the master bedroom. I look for cash, jewelry, or anything that might be valuable. People often make the mistake of leaving money or jewelry in the most common areas.
  • I'll even look under the bed and in your closets.
  • I'm always listening for outside noises. It's a 6th sense.
  • I check your bathroom medicine cabinets for any narcotic prescriptions. Pills are easy money.
  • I'm going to check your kitchen and living room for electronics, credit cards, car keys, and personal information.
  • After I have gathered everything I need, I call my backup driver to meet me so we can load up all the goods in the car or van.
  • Once I have loaded all the goods, my associate and I drive away to the next target. It's a never ending cycle.
  • And that's it folks. It usually takes me about 8-12 minutes to get in and out of your home. It's as easy as that!
In closing, there are a lot of things that you can do to avoid someone like me. A security system is a no brain-er. If that's not an option, leaving a TV or stereo on during the day usually helps someone like me avoid your home. This usually indicates someone is home. Also most burglars won't even attempt entry if they know there's a large dog in the home.

So now you know my methods and secrets. Hopefully this will help you avoid bad guys like me. If not, I'll be lurking around. So, once again, I'm Bob, your local Burglar, and I'll be coming to a city near you!

[Call Alarm Center Security today for a FREE quote on a security system for your home or business - 1-800-97-ALARM - or visit our website to see if you qualify for a $0 down installation -]