Security Trends to Watch in 2013

Increased crime. Fewer police. A changing State of New Mexico retirement system that gives veteran cops an incentive to retire early and not stay on the job. Those don’t sound like a good combination, do they? Those three trends will come into stark relief in 2013. What does that mean for a business or homeowner? Trouble.

It’s obvious that increased crime is a bad thing. Especially property crime like burglary and metal theft. That’s when we rely on the police to ensure our safety. Where the outlooks turns grim is that law enforcement around the country, and even in New Mexico and Albuquerque, are faced with a growing shortage of officers.

In Salt Lake City, false alarm calls were draining patrol resources, comprising 12 percent of all dispatched calls. The average police response time to alarm activations was up to 40 minutes, well beyond the time when police could reasonably hope to apprehend an intruder. Over 99% of all alarm calls proved false. The result? Police and sheriff’s departments have decided not to respond to security alarms – either at all, or only when a real, live person verifies that the alarm is blasting because of an intrusion instead of the wind, an animal or malfunction. In Montgomery County, Maryland, alarm dispatches have decreased by 70% despite a more than 300% increase in alarm systems.

How did that happen? Companies like Armed Response Team have stepped into the gap left between the security alarm and the police patrol. With our immediate, in person armed response to any and all alarms, our customers know that their homes, property and businesses don’t fall through the cracks in a system where too few police have higher priorities than crooks stealing your stuff.

 Make sure you’re on the right side of this triple threat of fewer law enforcement officers and increased property crime. Find out how Armed Response Team can keep you and your family safe.

Prevent Holiday Theft with Tips from ART

holiday theftBurglary detectives tell us that thieves make out exceptionally well during the holidays because businesses and homeowners let their guard down. While the holidays are times of giving and good cheer, they are also prime time for bandits who rely on the disruption of our usual safety routine. Here are some ideas to ensure that the Grinch doesn’t steal your Christmas this year.

  • Thieves watch your curb on recycling day. Getting a new big screen TV, iPad or other goodies? Defeat the crooks by breaking down all electronic boxes into smaller pieces, turning them inside out or discarding them in non-clear trash bags. The point is to mask anything that identifies your recycling boxes as expensive electronics.
  • Keep your tree and gifts hidden from view of outside windows. Or, keep your curtains and blinds drawn so that peeping Toms can’t see your loot from the outside.
  • Lock all doors and windows even when leaving the home for a short period of time. Many thefts are crimes of opportunity.
  • Leave spare keys with a neighbor rather than hiding them outside. Burglars are not fooled by your hiding places.
  • Place indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer, or install motion activated sensors on outside lights.
  • When away from your home on a holiday vacation, or even overnight to grandmother’s house, have a neighbor or friend watch for suspicious activity and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Beware of strangers at your door: criminals can pose as couriers delivering gifts or as solicitors for fake charitable causes. Ask for identification or information about a charity.

Have a safe and theft-free holiday season, from all of us at ART.

Stay Safe On Black Friday

Holiday theftIn two days, the national day of shopping arrives. For some retailers, Black Friday even begins on Thanksgiving night. The holiday shopping season is a great time for rushing to and fro. But another element watching for opportunity to purloin your packages.

Whether or not you’ll be one of one of the thousands searching for bargains, here are some quick tips to keep you, your vehicle and your packages safe from the sticky fingers of holiday Grinches.

  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand other things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you must, keep cash in your front pocket. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused. Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Put your packages in the trunk of your car. No one wants to return from shopping to find car windows smashed and their presents stolen.
  • Wallet and purse are prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit. Pay attention.
  • Stolen purses can mean stolen house and car keys. Use separate car and house keys rings. Don’t put your keys in your purse – use a pocket. Never keep your garage door opener on your key ring, either.
  • Use a lockout code on your cell phone. Cell phone theft is way up, and thieves have figured out how to deactivate the GPS locators so you/your cell company can’t find it.

Finally, beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. This includes those pesky door-to-door solicitors. So it bears repeating that, with it getting darker earlier (thanks time change), DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR unless you know who is on the other side.

Don’t let the Grinches steal your holiday. Stay safe, from all of us at Armed Response Team.

Fight Crime, Get a Free Month of Service

burglarIt’s no secret that crime is up. Especially property crime. Factor in the police and sheriff’s departments saying they don’t have enough cops and can’t recruit the right people to help protect the community. What do you get? A recipe for stress and worry.

There’s a bright side, though. ART customers have already shined a spotlight on safety. They know that their families, homes and businesses are safer because of ART’s immediate in person armed response to their alarm calls. Any calls – even those caused by the wind, animals or technology glitches (which fortunately don’t happen very often – and we guarantee no false alarm fines, ever).

So pat yourself on the back, and feel proud of yourself. You’ve taken steps to ensure you’re not at risk. ART and its certified law enforcement officers are the first line of defense around your property.

And here’s the even better part. You could get a free month of service from ART. Yep, simply refer someone to ART – a friend, family member, coworker, neighbor. When that person becomes a customer (be sure to remind them to give your name as the referral), you get a month’s service credited to your account. If you’re a pre-paid customer, your credit is extended for a month.

There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer or the number of free months you can earn. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were as secure as you are?

Legal Loophole Causes Trouble

A recent story on the local news highlights a problem in our local justice system that affects all of us. The system routinely releases repeat criminals who burglarize homes, vehicles and businesses because they are judged mentally unfit to stand trial. Yet they don’t get treatment because they are not judged a danger to themselves or others. They then commit more property crimes and the cycle continues.

It’s unfortunate when anyone suffers from mental illness, and we hope these individuals get the help they need. Until the law is changed that protects both these individuals and you as a property owner, there are some steps you can take to insure your safety and peace of mind.

1. Get to know your neighbors and establish trusted relationships. This encourages your neighbors to watch out for you, your family, and your residence. Do the same for them.

2. Always be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something or someone looks suspicious, report it to police. If an area feels unsafe to you, leave.

3. Have an alarm system for your home that’s both monitored and that has an immediate, in-person armed response when triggered.

For more safety tips, contact us at service@armedresponseteam.com.