Burglars Who Got Caught

Most folks who choose burglary as a profession aren’t necessarily the sharpest knives in the drawer. Perhaps that’s why they resort to breaking into homes instead of pursuing nuclear physics or biochemical engineering as a career path. What follows is a sampling of some of our favorite “idiot intruders” that is sure to bring a smile to your face — assuming you’re not one of them!

  • Albuquerque, NM – A burglar attempting to steal computer hardware from Central New Mexico Community College was unable to escape when he became ensnared in the window blinds. One has to wonder if the culprit possessed the brain power to know what to do with the hardware even if he managed to break free from his much smarter “captor.”
  • Portland, OR – Proving that it’s always good to know whom to call when you’re in trouble, a burglar dialed 9-1-1 to ask for help after breaking into a home. It appears that this mental giant was startled when the homeowners arrived unexpectedly in the middle of his attempted burglary and believed that the police might be able to get him out of the jam.
  • Centralia, WA – A dog may be man’s best friend — except when his owner is a burglar who takes his dog with him as he practices his craft. A dimwitted crook in Washington State made off with a pile of loot from a home, but left his dog behind. The police officer who responded to the call recognized the dog — he’d seen the owner walking it earlier in the day — and was able to track down the owner with minimal effort.
  • Carroll, IA – Two misguided burglars in Iowa felt that covering the faces with black magic marker would be enough to conceal their identity. Unfortunately for them, a witness saw the pair speeding away in a vehicle and was able to provide an accurate description to police. It wasn’t hard for the cops to figure out that two men with magic marker on their face were probably up to no good. The burglary attempt did occur in October, so maybe the crooks were confused and thought it was Halloween.
  • Madrid, Spain – It’s an indisputable fact that most burglaries are committed by living, breathing human beings and not corpses. When police in Madrid responded to a report of a break-in at a funeral home, they found the would-be burglar lying in a glass chamber used for viewings. The perpetrator’s drab, dirty clothes and the fact that he was breathing were both “dead” giveaways.

Titan Alarm: Home Security That Works

While these unsuccessful break-in attempts may be humous, most burglaries are no laughing matter. Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide a comprehensive security solution that will protect your property against burglary and home invasion. We can provide a video surveillance system that will enable a home invasion to be caught on camera, as well as burglar alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, motion sensors and more. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation security consultation today.

Learn More about Burglar Alarms for Your Home

Updated by Titan Alarm on October 31, 2018.

Technology Is Changing Home Security

It seems technology changes almost at the speed of light these days, and it impacts every aspect of our lives — including the way we protect our homes. While some of us still rely on locks and keys or maybe even our canine companions to keep us safe from intruders, advanced technology in home security offers much more reliable solutions.

Some of the more noteworthy changes in home security today include:

  • Sensors: Sensors play a vital role in the function of today’s home security systems and make them more dependable than ever. For example, outdoor motion sensors can instantly detect the presence of intruders and activate your security lighting and alarms. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will provide an immediate alert to warn you of the danger of fire and potentially lethal carbon monoxide gas.
  • IP Cameras: Internet protocol cameras are the new technology in home surveillance. Unlike traditional analog CCTV (closed-circuit television), digital IP camera systems can transmit and receive digital data via the Internet. You have greater flexibility for camera placement and the ability to store recorded images in the cloud for future viewing.
  • Remote Monitoring Capabilities: Do you ever worry about what’s going on in and around your home when you’re not there? Remote monitoring enables you to use your smartphone or tablet as an extension of your home security system. You can perform functions such as watching live or recorded video camera feeds and monitoring your burglar and fire alarms while you’re at work or on the go, giving you additional peace of mind.
  • Access Control: An access control system allows you to manage your home’s entry points and locks while you’re away. For example, you can use your smartphone to unlock a door to allow a repairman inside while you’re at work or let a neighbor in to feed your pets when you’re on vacation. You no longer have to worry about hiding a spare key under the mat or entrusting it to someone else — you’ll have complete control over who enters your home at all times.
  • Home Automation: Home automation technology allows you to preschedule the operation of the various aspects of your security system — cameras, sensors, locks, lighting, etc. — as well as your appliances and other electronic devices. This gives you greater control over their functionality and enables them to work more efficiently, which can make your home more secure and reduce your energy bills.
  • Remote Monitoring: New technology in home surveillance now makes it easier than ever for central monitoring stations to observe camera feeds and respond to alarms. Wireless technology can prevent burglars from cutting phone lines or storms from knocking out your home’s power supply, ensuring a timely, uninterrupted feed between your home and the monitoring station.

Titan Alarm Remains at the Forefront of Technology in Home Security

Phoenix and Tucson area residents trust the experts at Titan Alarm to keep their homes safe. We can design and install an advanced security system featuring the latest technological innovations. Contact us to schedule your free in-home security consultation today.

Learn More About Home Automation

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

How to Prevent Car Break-Ins

Did you know that nearly two million incidents involving theft from vehicles occur in the United States each year? The value of the stolen items totals to more than $1.25 billion and encompasses everything from wallets and credit cards to clothing and stereo equipment.

How to Keep My Car Safe

Here are some helpful tips that can keep you from becoming the next victim of a would-be thief:

  • Park in a “Safe” Area: While no parking spot is totally secure, you can reduce the odds of a break-in by selecting a safer area with visible security cameras. A high-traffic location offers better protection than a back alley or out-of-the-way spot. When parking at night, choose a well-lit lot, or park under a streetlight if possible.
  • Secure Your Car: While this might sound obvious, always lock your car, even if you’re only running into the convenience store for a minute or two. Thieves often lurk in parking lots, waiting for the opportunity to enter an unsecured vehicle. According to law enforcement statistics, approximately 25 percent of thefts from vehicles occur in unlocked cars.
  • Hide Your Valuables: Remembering the adage “out of sight, out of mind,” store all valuable items under the seat or in the glove compartment or trunk. Also, avoid cluttering the inside of your car with trash or “junk” – these items might entice a thief to embark on a “treasure hunt” to see what else might be inside the vehicle.
  • Avoid Installing Aftermarket Stereo Equipment: Aftermarket equipment has long been a target of thieves who make money by reselling it. Stick with the original factory equipment — it’s in much less demand and is often more difficult to steal than poorly installed aftermarket products. The high quality of today’s factory stereo system can meet the listening requirements of even the most discerning audiophile.
  • Install Theft-Deterrent Devices: Do everything possible to make the thief’s job more difficult. Products such as steering wheel locks, steering column collars and brake pedal locks will require criminals to spend additional time to thwart these defenses. These roadblocks are often enough to make them bypass a vehicle and seek out a less challenging target.
  • Don’t Forget the Car Alarm: While many newer vehicles come with a factory-installed alarm system, some older models may not be equipped with one. Thieves are not discerning — an older vehicle can be as inviting a target as one that has just rolled off the showroom floor. And no thief will stick around for long when a blaring alarm announces their presence.
  • Install an Outside Security Camera: A good way to prevent car break-in at home is by installing an outside security camera that provides an unobstructed view of the street or driveway where you park your vehicle. A well-placed camera can also help you detect the presence of home intruders.

If you reside in the Phoenix or Tucson, AZ area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide a high-tech outside security camera that can keep your vehicle safe. Contact us to learn more today.

Learn More About Home Video Surveillance

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Myths of Home Invasions and Burglaries

No matter where you live in Arizona, you face the risk of becoming the next victim of a home invasion or burglary. A home invasion is defined as an unlawful entry while the residents are occupying the property and can involve the commission of crimes such as robbery, rape, kidnapping or assault. A burglary entails breaking into the home with the intent to steal money or household items. In this post, we’ll explore a few of the common house invasion myths and untrue facts about burglary.

Myth #1: Invasions and Burglaries Only Occur at the Homes of the Wealthy

In fact, homeowners in lower and middle-class neighborhoods are more likely to be targeted by criminals than the affluent. Most burglars live within the communities where they perpetrate their crimes — and most of these folks do not reside in wealthy areas. Plus, many affluent homeowners these days have sophisticated security systems in place to deter break-ins.

Myth #2: Burglaries Only Occur at Night

Many people believe that burglars prefer to ply their craft at night under the cover of darkness. The truth is that many burglaries occur during the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. A burglar will usually watch a home for several days to make sure the occupants are at work and that no one will be there when they break in.

Myth #3: Burglars Only Covet Expensive Electronics and Other Larger Items

Another common misconception is that burglars will head straight for your flat screen TV or stereo system. However, one of the numerous misunderstood home burglary facts is that thieves prefer smaller items such as cash and jewelry – it’s easier to get these out of the home, and the payoff can be much greater. That’s why so many burglars make a beeline to the master bedroom, where these valuable items are often stored.

Myth #4: Home Intruders and Burglars Usually Enter Through the Back Door

Some folks believe intruders prefer entering through the back door so they can’t be seen from the street. In reality, about one-third of break-ins occur via the front door, as it is normally the easiest access point. Twenty-three percent of intruders use a window, while only 22 percent enter through the back door.

Myth #5: Dogs Are the Best Defense Against Home Invaders and Burglars

While a growling or barking dogs might deter some intruders, the pros know how to divert their attention with food or treats. And even the most trusted watchdog could sleep through a break-in!

Myth #6: Home Security Systems Won’t Keep Intruders Out

The truth is, a well-designed and professionally installed security system is the best way to protect against home invaders and burglars. Approximately 90 percent of convicted home intruders say they would avoid homes with security systems in place.

Titan Alarm, Inc. is your best source for a reliable, affordable home security system in the Phoenix area. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation security consultation today.

Learn More About Burglar Alarms for Your Home

5 Things to Look for in Your Video Surveillance System

“What should my security system have?”

That’s one of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Titan Alarm, Inc. An advanced system consists of various integrated devices that can include burglar alarms, smoke detectors, motion sensors and what many experts consider to be “must-have” components of any security system: video surveillance cameras. Security cameras provide live and recorded video feeds on a 24/7 basis — today, you can even use your smartphone as a remote monitor to view your property while you’re away.

Elements of an Effective Video Surveillance System

There are several factors to consider when designing the right video surveillance system and choosing the proper cameras and equipment:

  • Where to Place the Cameras: No two properties are exactly alike, and each has its own areas of vulnerability. You’ll need to determine your high-risk spots — this can include front and rear exits, first-floor windows and hidden locations that are out of sight from the street. You may also need to install cameras inside your home, as well. If you have small children who you leave in the care of babysitters or nannies, for instance, cameras enable you to monitor their activities while you’re away.
  • Wired vs. Wireless: A traditional video surveillance camera setup consists of devices that are hardwired into your home’s electrical system. While this type of system offers excellent consistency and reliability, it can be difficult and expensive to install. Many homeowners are choosing a wireless camera system that provides greater installation flexibility and eliminates the need to run wiring throughout your home.
  • Viewing Needs and Preferences: You’ll also need to think about how you want to view the footage. For example, do you only want to watch camera feeds while you’re at home, or do you also want to monitor your property while you’re at work or traveling? If you plan on recording video feeds for viewing later, you also need to ensure you have sufficient storage space.
  • Camera Selection: Home surveillance cameras come in many shapes and sizes these days, and they also feature a wide range of capabilities. You’ll need to consider whether you want visible or hidden cameras, as well as factors such as range, nighttime viewing capabilities, resolution, frame rates, pan/tilt/zoom and facial recognition. Also, you’ll have to choose between old-fashioned analog and state-of-the-art digital IP cameras. While analog cameras are less expensive, they can’t match digital cameras regarding picture quality and advanced technological capabilities.
  • Video Verification: Finally, you’ll have to decide if you want video-verified alarms for your surveillance system. In addition to allowing you to use Internet connectivity to view your camera feeds, this feature allows a central monitoring service to respond to verify alarm conditions and immediately dispatch first responders to your home if needed.

Contact Titan Alarm for Help With Your Video Surveillance System

At Titan Alarm, we know what to look for in surveillance systems. We have the expertise to design and install the right video surveillance system for your Phoenix-area home. Contact us for more information and to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

Learn More About Home Video Surveillance

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Seasonal Crime Trends

While a home break-in can occur at any time, there is one period of the year where the risk increases: summer. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, the burglary rate is approximately 10.5 percent higher in the summer than the winter, the least active home burglary season. The reasons home crime spikes during the summer include:

  • Vacations: Summer is the time when a lot of folks go away on vacation, which leaves their home unoccupied for several days or even weeks. Opportunistic burglars are aware of this as well and will “case” neighborhoods to determine when the homeowners are away.
  • Spending More Time Outdoors: Even when people aren’t on vacation, they tend to spend more time outdoors during the summer months. This can involve going to the park with the kids, taking day trips to the mountains, beach or neighborhood swimming pool or attending ball games and concerts. Burglars are also out and about and on the lookout for opportunities to ply their trade.
  • Leaving Doors and Windows Open: In the earlier summer months, many homeowners will keep their doors and windows open to catch the cooling breezes. Unfortunately, some homeowners neglect to close them when leaving to go to work or the store, which gives burglars easy access.

How to Protect Your Home During Summer

Implementing a proactive approach to summertime home security can prevent you from becoming the target of a burglar. Steps to take include:

  • Maintain a Human Presence: Most burglars obviously want to avoid encounters with people. If you’re planning on being away for several days, arrange to have a trusted friend, neighbor or relative stop by at least once a day so the home maintains a human presence. If your budget allows, consider hiring a house sitter to stay at your home around the clock.
  • Stop Deliveries: If you can’t have someone stop by or stay in your home, at least be sure to stop all mail, newspaper and package deliveries until you return. A pile of newspapers on the porch is a telltale sign to a burglar that the house is unoccupied.
  • Keep Up the Landscaping: If you’re going to be away for a couple of weeks or longer, hire someone to cut the grass and take care of your landscaping. A neglected property is an open invitation to a would-be thief.
  • Don’t Broadcast Your Trip: You might be so excited about your upcoming vacation that you want to tell the world about it on social media. However, you could be tipping off a burglar that you’ll be away. Wait until after you return to make your friends jealous by sharing your stunning vacation pics on Facebook!

Titan Alarm Can Minimize Your Risk During Home Burglary Season

If you live in the Phoenix area, Titan Alarm can provide a reliable home security system to protect against the increase in the summer seasonal crime rates — and keep you and your family safe throughout the year. Contact us for more information or to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

Learn More About Home Security

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

What to Do If You’re Home During a Break-In

Coming home to discover that you’ve been the target of a burglar can be an unsettling experience, to say the least — but it’s not nearly as frightening as when someone breaks into your house while you and your family are there! Knowing how to stay safe when an intruder comes in can mean the difference between life and death.

Remain Quiet

A common scenario is that the homeowner is asleep in an upstairs bedroom and is awakened by the sound of breaking glass or a knocked-over lamp coming from downstairs. Your first reaction may be to yell out or scream —  but this only lets the intruder know where you are. Instead of calling out, get up and quietly move to lock the door. You can also press your ear to the door to see if you can determine the intruder’s exact location and if he has accomplices.

Call 911

If you have access to your cell phone or a landline phone, quietly call 911 and report the incident. Give the operator as much information as possible and stay on the line until help arrives.

Stay Inside

Some victims of a home invasion try to make a break for it. Even if you already have a home break-in escape plan in place, though, it’s possible that you won’t have a clear path to the nearest exit. Your sudden movement could also startle the intruder, and you can’t know for sure if he is armed and how he’ll react.

Find a Hiding Place

If the room includes a closet with a lock or other good hiding place, go to it quietly and remain there until the police arrive. If you have 911 on the line, let them know about your new location. If your vehicle is equipped with a key fob-activated car alarm and you have access to your keys, take them into your hiding place with you. Triggering your car alarm may frighten the intruder and cause him to flee — and it won’t reveal your location.

What to Do If the Intruder Confronts You

If you come face-to-face with the intruder, do not act aggressively or attempt to frighten him. You can’t know for sure if he’s armed and if he will use his weapon. Instead, raise your hands above your head and avoid eye contact. If you have a weapon on your person, keep it out of sight until the time comes that you may have to use it.

Installing a Security System Can Prevent a Home Break-In From Occurring

Don’t wait for a home break-in to occur. A well-designed home security is an important intruder safety step that can stop a burglary before it starts. The most effective security systems consist of a series of integrated devices such as surveillance cameras, burglar alarms, motion sensors and security lighting, as well as professional 24/7 monitoring.

If you live in the Phoenix, AZ area, contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

Learn More About Preventing Break-Ins

Updated by Titan Alarm on October 31, 2018.

Security Cameras in Public Places: A Good or Bad Thing?

Like it or not, if you’re in an airport, school, airport, grocery store or nightclub, there’s a good chance there’s at least one security camera keeping a watchful eye on you. The increasing presence of security cameras in our society has fueled a heated debate regarding whether this is a positive or negative development. In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using surveillance cameras in public places.

Pros of Security Cameras in Public

There are several advantages to having cameras monitor public places. Cameras can help benefit homeowners, business owners, law enforcement and any private citizen that uses public spaces.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of installing cameras in public places is enhanced safety. Cameras can provide a sweeping panoramic view of a wide area or target specific locations noted for heavy criminal activity. A visible camera can also serve as a deterrent that can prevent crimes such as shoplifting, muggings and thefts from occurring. If a criminal sees a camera, it may be enough to stop them from doing whatever illegal activity they were planning. And in a time where we live with the constant threat of terrorism, security cameras can spot suspicious individuals before they can act. This proactive approach to crime can help prevent losses and unnecessary suffering. If you know that there is a way to stop something bad from ever happening, why wouldn’t you do it?

When crimes are committed, video cameras with recording capabilities can provide valuable evidence to law enforcement and prosecutors. Law enforcement can use the footage to identify and apprehend the offenders, while prosecutors can use it as proof of alleged perpetrator’s guilt. This knowledge can save law enforcement from identifying the wrong person and arresting the wrong people. In a legal setting, it is very difficult to argue against video footage of a crime. It’s a pretty foolproof piece of evidence. Security cameras can also prevent false claims and fraud. If a person is lying about an incident, security camera footage can easily disprove their claim. This can help law enforcement get back to solving real cases faster.

“Is the government recording me in public?” That’s a common concern many people have regarding the use of cameras in public places. While the short answer is no, some municipalities do use video cameras to catch drivers who run red lights and to monitor the flow of traffic in congested areas. The former can increase driver and pedestrian safety, while the latter can provide timely traffic and road condition information to commuters. Cameras monitoring road activity can also help identify stolen vehicles quicker. Without security cameras, law enforcement must rely only on eyewitness reports of sightings of the stolen vehicle. With cameras, officials can monitor cameras in the area around the time of the crime to find the vehicle a lot faster.

Security cameras can also lower insurance costs for homeowners and businesses. However, this is up to your insurance company. If you are considering installing security cameras at your home or business, you should consult with an insurance representative to see if they offer discounts or incentives for doing so. If your insurance company does offer these perks, they are doing so because it is a cost-effective practice. For example, if you have cameras posted around your home or business, you are less likely to have a break-in or other crime committed on your property. Therefore, you are less likely to have to file an insurance claim. It saves both you and your insurance company money when you install security cameras at your home or place of business.

There is not a lot of large-scale data about the effectiveness of security cameras in public places, but some smaller-scale data collection has shown that these cameras lower crime rates and are effective in their areas. The presence of a video camera in a public place could be enough of a deterrent to a criminal, or even a sign posted that states the area is under video surveillance. However, more data is necessary to show whether security cameras are as effective as we think they are. It should be a priority to collect more data to back up the idea that security cameras are effective in every scenario and area. Figuring out if security cameras, or other monitoring practices, are the most effective will help make public areas the safest they can be for all citizens.

Cons of Security Cameras in Public

While security cameras posted in public areas can provide many benefits to the public, they do pose some concerns that are necessary to take into consideration.

Security cameras monitoring public areas can appear to some as an invasion of privacy. If an innocent person is being monitored who has absolutely no intention of committing a crime, they will still be monitored. The person watching the video cannot tell whether something will happen or not. This uncertainty can cause many bystanders to be monitored needlessly. However, this is necessary in order to catch crimes. While most people agree that we face serious security challenges these days, not everyone believes installing security cameras in public places is an acceptable method for protecting our citizens. These folks would rather maintain their privacy than having the uneasy feeling that “Big Brother” is watching their every move.

It can cost a lot of money to install security cameras, monitors and related equipment in a public area. This equipment is expensive to purchase and must also be maintained. Many of these cameras are outdoors, so they are weathering rain, snow, wind and every other natural phenomenon. When the cameras are not working properly, they are basically useless. Costs can increase with this extra maintenance and the need to replace equipment when it breaks. Besides the cost of purchasing the equipment and maintaining it, there is also the cost of labor. Someone has to be on the receiving end of the security camera footage to make them effective at all. The more cameras there are, the more people you need to watch the surveillance footage. This means an even higher cost. In a time where budgets are tight, and businesses and government entities must make every dollar count, many people wonder if cameras are worth the investment.

In some cases, it can be difficult to prove that a security camera is an effective tool for deterring or preventing criminal activity. Brazen criminals may still apply their trade regardless of whether they spot a camera. Additionally, terrorists or suicide bombers are not concerned about the presence of cameras — in fact, many hope their heinous acts will be recorded for the world to see. Currently, there is not a great deal of hard data backing up the effectiveness of security cameras. Once there have been more studies done on the effectiveness of security cameras in public places, we must rely on the ideas behind their implementation. However, it is important to make sure the theories behind those ideas are indeed correct.

Another con of security cameras in public areas is that they are not currently considered a type of public record. If you have a concern as a private citizen, you cannot request a copy of video surveillance like you could another type of public record, like a marriage certificate. When your tax dollars are being used to collect and monitor a type of information, some people would argue they have a right to access that information.

However, this could also be seen as a pro, depending on your point of view. If any person could access copies of video surveillance taken at public areas, it would be a huge privacy issue. Any type of information, including video collected from cameras posted in public areas, can easily be used for malicious reasons. For example, a woman attempting to flee from an abusive partner could be tracked by accessing video information if it was available for public access. It would be very sad to see something that was intended to keep people safe actually cause something bad to happen.

Like many other forms of technology, security cameras can be hacked. This poses a serious threat to public safety, especially if criminals were to access the cameras to use for their benefit. Imagine this: a hacker breaks the security of a public camera and either turns it off or turns it away from the area where they plan to commit a crime. This would make it much easier for that person to get away with a robbery or another type of crime. However, even though security cameras can be hacked, there are also preventative measures that can keep this from happening. Installing firewalls, secure passwords and other cybersecurity measures can help keep video surveillance footage safe from falling into the wrong hands.

Titan Alarm Can Meet Your Security Camera Needs

If you believe the pros of security cameras outweigh the cons, Titan Alarm, Inc. can design and install a state-of-the-art camera system that meets your unique security requirements. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.

Learn More About Commercial Video Surveillance

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.