Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School?

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLate August is a busy time of year as families in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region get ready for summer holidays to end and school to start up again.  Something you might not have thought of is the need for heightened home security when fewer people are  home during the day.

Burglary can leave families feeling vulnerable and violated. According to security experts, by far, the most common threat to our home while we are back at work and school is burglary.

Patrice De Luca, V.P. of Customer Care for ADT Canada says the first step in burglary prevention is gaining an understanding of who commits these crimes and why.  “The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or at school,” De Luca explained. “Burglaries also occur at night when there are obvious signs that residents are away.”

Most home burglars are young males looking for things that are small, expensive, and easily converted to cash. Items like cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Quick cash is needed for living expenses and drugs. Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a careful selection process.

“This selection process is simple,” De Luca added. “They choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes.”

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhat follows is a list of suggestions from ADT, providing Protectron’s line of products, to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

  • The first step, according to De Luca, is to “harden the target” or make your home more difficult to enter. “Remember, burglars will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess,” he says. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even inside your garage. Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts.
  • When on a long-term business trip, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from time to time. Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves, or shovel snow and pick up your mail while you’re away.
  • Home security systems play a crucial role in a home security plan and are very effective, if used properly, especially when monitored 24-7 by ULC-listed monitoring centres. De Luca cautions that home security systems need to be properly installed and maintained to be most effective. He recommends your home security system include a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas.
  • For ultimate control and peace of mind while you’re at work, he recommends you look into the new fully interactive wireless security systems where you can arm and disarm your alarm, lock or unlock your front door, control lights and your home’s thermostat at the touch of your smartphone. You can even include interior and exterior cameras with interactive surveillance that enables parents to receive alerts to view the comings and goings of their children from school or cleaning staff in video or image format on their work computer or smartphone. More information on home security is available at www.protectron.com.

Check out my other blog articles and checklists on home security:

Home Security Checklist

How Secure Is Your Home?

Summertime Home Security Tips

Home Inventory: Do You Have One?

Fire Safety in Your Home (includes Fire Safety Checklist)

Automate Your Spruce Grove Area Home With Your Smartphone

Looking for a new home with upgraded security features?  Maybe I can help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Much of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Terrorism in Our Own Backyard

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Terrorism in Our Own Backyard | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe summer of 2015 has not been a happy one for my neighbors in the Fieldstone subdivision of Spruce Grove as two families deal with the aftermath of damage to their homes caused by arson.

Many emotions go through your mind at a time like this: shock, confusion, anxiety, helplessness, anger, and most of all fear. Home means the comfort and security of family, the building of memories, and the collecting of things that spark those memories. Losing one’s home and what it represents, especially through someone’s cruel and monstrous actions, is devastating to contemplate.  After the initial stages of disbelief and outrage, the question becomes “What can we do?”

What can be done by any neighborhood facing a challenge like this?

  • Recognize that the police can only do so much, and it is up to citizens to help themselves. One of the best defenses against this type of attack is developing a strong neighborhood community. Many eyes on the street may pick up on suspicious activity that might lead to catching and punishing the criminals. Get to know your neighbors, and establish a buddy system for watching each other’s property. This can be done on an informal basis, or by setting up a more formal structure through a Neighborhood Watch program with regular meetings and get-togethers. Annual Block Parties are useful for this purpose too, and encouraged and supported by the City of Spruce Grove. Check out the City of Spruce Grove’s Block Party Guide.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police. Suspicious activity could be anything that feels out of place or doesn’t look right, such as vehicles cruising up and down the street or oddly dressed individuals strolling along at strange times of the day. Call 780-962-2222 to reach Spruce Grove RCMP for non-emergency situations.
  • Clean up the neighborhood. Have residents check their properties for combustible items that could fuel an arson fire, such as piles of old lumber, old rags and newspapers, excess vegetation, readily accessible cans of fuel for vehicles and lawn mowers and other flammable liquids. These items should either be disposed of or secured. If it is possible to do so, store garbage and recycling bins inside a garage or shed, or attach them securely to a building or fence.
  • Light it up. Encourage residents to leave their porch lights on at night. Adding more and stronger lighting all around properties, as well as motion sensors, is also helpful. (These are the lights I am installing on our property, available from Amazon.ca.)
  • Consider investing in security cameras or a monitored security system for your home. Companies like ADT or AlarmForce have been around for a long time and can be counted on to design a system that works for your home and budget. Or, you can go the do-it-yourself route with cameras in every price range monitored through your computer or tablet.
  • Time to update your home inventory for insurance purposes. Check out my blog article “Home Inventory: Do You Have One?” for help in how to create this important document.

Some other articles on home security and safety from my blog:

Fire Safety in Your Home (includes Fire Safety Checklist)
Should Your Home Have a Fire Sprinkler System?
Home Security Checklist
Automate Your Spruce Grove Home With Your Smartphone

Fieldstone residents have already moved forward in organizing a community group and are actively working with the police to find and prosecute the individuals responsible for the recent fires. Our hope is that no other neighborhood has to cope with this sort of tragic event.

Comments or questions about this article, or information to add? Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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