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 - alarm.net]

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 - alarm.net]

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 - alarm.net]

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 - alarm.net]