Have a Safe Holiday Season With a Home Security Checklist


The holiday season might be the most festive time of the year — but it’s also a time when homeowners are more vulnerable to crime. Opportunistic burglars know that most homes are filled with Christmas gifts — especially if they can see them under the tree when glancing through a window. They also understand that many folks travel during the holiday season, making their unoccupied homes more susceptible to break-ins.

Use the following home security checklist to ensure you don’t become another holiday crime statistic:

  • Keep presents out of sight: While placing gifts under the Christmas tree adds to the holiday spirit, the presents can also attract the attention of burglars. If this isn’t already your custom, wait until just before going to bed on Christmas Eve to break out the gifts, and keep the well-hidden until th time arrives.
  • Maintain “radio silence” on social media: Crooks know that people love to boast to their friends on social media about the cool gifts they’ve gotten for Christmas. Many will monitor Facebook and other social media sites to see what goodies might be available to them — and then wait until you’re away to break in and steal them. The safer course is to only mention your gifts when you see your friends in person or talk to them on the phone.
  • Watch what you put out in the trash: Did you get a new flat screen TV or other expensive product as a gift? If you put the boxes these items came in out with your curbside trash, you’re also advertising what you’ve gotten to your neighborhood thieves. Tear bigger boxes down before taking them to the curb, or keep them for storing household items.
  • Put your lights on a timer: Many burglars will watch a home for several days to look for signs of inactivity or the absence of residents. The lack of interior or exterior lights at night is often a telltale signal to crooks that no one is home. Using a timer to automatically turn lights — including your Christmas lights — on and off at random times can keep burglars guessing and minimize your risk of a break-in.
  • Keep your home safe while you’re away: Are you planning to travel over the holidays? Making your home appear “lived in” can help to prevent a burglary. Stop newspaper, mail and package deliveries temporarily, and if possible, have a trusted friend or relative stop by at least once a day while you’re gone. Also, alert friendly neighbors of your absence so they can keep an eye on your property.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. for more tips on how to keep your home safe during the holidays – and throughout the year.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Should I Upgrade My Access Control System?

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Access control systems offer numerous benefits when compared to old-fashioned lock-and-key security measures. Access control makes it easier to monitor who is entering or leaving your facility or designated areas, while enabling you to keep sensitive data more secure. Access control systems also minimize the hassles involved with replacing lost keys — you can simply deactivate a missing keycard and issue a new one if necessary.

However, as with most technologies, you’ll need to keep your access control system updated to maintain its effectiveness. If you still rely on a system that uses outdated HID 125kHz ProxCard cards and readers, you may be vulnerable to hackers. The access control system you depend on to keep your business safe is probably doing nothing more than giving you a false sense of security!

How Are Hackers Penetrating HID 125kHZ Systems?

Keeping one step ahead of hackers is a constant challenge in today’s access control world. Anyone with the intent to penetrate an older HID 125kHZ system can go online and purchase a card copier for $30 or less. In a matter of seconds, the would-be hacker can use the handheld copier to create an exact duplicate of a keycard — and use it to enter your facility or “secure” area.

What Can You Do to Minimize Your Hacking Risk?

If you are among the approximately one-third of all organizations that are still using outdated HID 125kHZ technology, you can enhance your security system by upgrading to 13.56MHz “Smartcard” formats. This more advanced technology is impervious to handheld keycard cloning devices. Unlike most HID 125kHZ-based formats, 13.56MHz keycards are encrypted, which means hackers must first decode them before they can copy the information.

The encrypted iClass 13.56MHz card reader products represent the “new wave” of access control system technology. But even the original iClass, the first card to feature full encryption, has been hacked, as has its successor, the iClass SE. Leading security experts recommend the installation of the latest version, the iClass Seos, which has not yet been penetrated by hackers, to any organization that is serious about protecting its facility and sensitive data.

Titan Alarm, Inc. Can Meet Your Access Control System Needs in the Phoenix-Tucson Area

If you operate a business in the Phoenix-Tucson area and it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your access control system, you could face a high risk of being hacked. As a leading security system solutions provider in the region, you can count on Titan Alarm for advanced access control technology that will significantly reduce your vulnerability.

Unlike some of our competitors, we no longer sell inadequate Prox technology readers or cards for new installations. Instead, we now standardize on iClass SE readers and strongly recommend the use of iClass Seos keycards. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve implemented the best defense against hackers.

Contact us to learn more about how you can upgrade your access control system technology and to schedule a free on-site security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 2, 2018.

Why Do Houses Not Have Fire Sprinklers?


News reports about fatal house fires are an all-too-common occurrence. In many instances, sprinkler systems could have prevented these tragic events by putting out a localized fire before it could spread throughout the home. Even if an automatically activated sprinkler does not completely extinguish a fire, it can keep it under control until the fire department arrives — and that can make the difference between life and death.

Just how effective are residential fire sprinklers in preventing major fires? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, sprinkler systems can reduce the risk of fire death by as much as 80 percent and lower the amount of fire-related property damage by approximately 70 percent.

Resistance to Home Sprinkler System Installation

So, if it’s true that sprinkler systems save lives and minimize property damage, why isn’t every home required to have one? There isn’t a simple answer to this question. Although the International Residential Code mandates that all new single-family dwellings must have sprinkler systems on a national level, each state has the right to chose whether to enact the guidelines.

There are currently more than 30 states that have not made sprinkler system installation a requirement.

In Arizona, for example, there is no statewide law requiring sprinkler systems in one- and two-family homes. Some state laws also prohibit local jurisdictions from adopting ordinances that mandate sprinkler systems installation, although there are exceptions for certain cities. The Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale has had an ordinance that requires sprinklers in new homes in place for more than 30 years.

Real estate developers and home builders pose the biggest obstacle to wide-scale sprinkler system installation, citing that sprinklers are not cost-effective and needlessly drive up the price of new homes. They also state that modern homes have sufficient safety features that make sprinklers unnecessary.

Many homeowners are also reluctant to install sprinkler systems for various reasons. Cost is one major drawback —  on average you can expect to pay about $1.35 per square foot. Given that the typical size of new homes these days is approximately 2,400 square feet, the average sprinkler system price tag is around $3,240.

Some residential property owners believe that a sprinkler system will detract from the appearance of their home as well. However, today’s systems enable an installation that hides the water pipes, meaning that the only the sprinkler heads are visible. There are also unfounded worries about accidental activation. It typically takes an actual fire to set off the sprinklers, which should minimize concerns over unnecessary water damage.

Should I Install Fire Sprinklers in My Home?

The decision whether to install a sprinkler system essentially boils down to weighing the cost vs. the potential lifesaving benefits. If you are looking to fire-proof your house, sprinklers deserve careful consideration. Even if you only need it once, your sprinkler system can pay for itself by preventing costly property damage and, more importantly, saving the lives of you and your family.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to learn more about the pros and cons of installing a sprinkler system in your Phoenix- or Tucson-area home.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

How to Stay Safe in Tucson



There’s a lot to love about the beautiful, vibrant city of Tucson, AZ. With an average of 350 days of sunshine per year, Tucson can provide a welcome refuge for people in other parts of the United States who are tired of dealing with cold weather and snow. The stunning desert landscapes surrounded by soaring mountain ranges also make Tucson a wonderful place to live, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.

While Tucson has much to offer, like most large cities, it also has its issues. Tucson has experienced sluggish economic growth in recent years, and its poverty rate is much higher than the national average. Unemployment has also been an ongoing problem in “The Old Pueblo.” In a two-year period from 2013-2015, the city saw only a two percent increase in the number of new jobs, which is less than half the growth rate for the rest of the country over the same period.

Crime Is Also a Problem in Tucson

Poverty, few jobs and several additional factors have contributed to high crime rates in Tucson. According to 247WallSt.com, the 421 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 residents that were reported in 2015 was only slightly higher than the statewide figure for larger Arizona cities. However, the rate of violent crime in the city was also higher than the national average.

Another serious concern is the home invasion rate in Tucson, as well as the amount of property crime in general. The 247WallSt.com website points out there were 6,643 reported property crime incidents in 2015, which was more than twice the national average for that year.

Local crime experts state that the mobile nature of the Tucson population plays a significant role in the high crime rate. While the typical American citizen relocates about every five years, the average Tucson resident moves approximately every 3.5 years. A transient population makes it more difficult to establish the strong neighborhoods that are essential for reducing the risk of property crimes such as burglary, vandalism and home invasions.

How to Keep Your Home Safe in Tucson

Although you might not always be able to count on your Tucson neighbor to “watch your back,” there are several proactive steps you can take to minimize your property crime risk. Walk the perimeter of your home to check for vulnerable spots such as doors and windows that are not visible from the street.

Keeping doors and windows locked is also a simple, yet often overlooked step that will help to deter criminals. Installing a high-quality security system is another essential for preventing you from becoming another property crime statistic.

Contact Titan Alarm for a No-Obligation Home Security Consultation

Titan Alarm, Inc. offers comprehensive home security solutions to residents in the Tucson area. We can design and install a professionally monitored security system equipped with motion sensors, burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, home automation and other advanced features that will provide 24/7 protection against all types of property crimes. Contact us to schedule a free on-site security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Things to Look for in Your Virtual Home Tour


Virtual reality computer technology allows you to simulate a thrilling and possibly harrowing experience that you might not have the inclination or courage to try in real life. Just put on a headset, engage the VR system and you can “do” everything from flying a World War II fighter plane to skydiving or driving a race car. Many of these systems are so life-like that you will experience many of the same sights, sounds and other sensations as you would if you were there.

While many people participate in virtual reality for entertainment, it also has numerous practical applications. Taking a virtual reality tour is an increasingly popular trend in the real estate industry. Prospective buyers can enjoy a “virtual reality headset retail house tour” that enables them to view the entire house — without ever having to set foot inside. You can download and play the virtual reality content on your computer, smartphone or tablet and insert the device into a headset. This enables you to view and interact with the property just as you would when taking an in-person tour.

Virtual Reality Tour Benefits

Virtual reality tours enable buyers to view several homes at one time without having to visit multiple properties. If you’re in the market for a new home, you won’t have to waste your evenings or weekends traveling to open houses or going from one property to another. The interactive design of the VR system also allows you to take a close look at each room and hone in on features and details such as light fixtures, floor tiles, fireplaces, etc., giving you a true sense of what it would be like to live in the home. You can even use virtual reality to help you design your dream home — you’ll be able to visualize the home before it’s built! Better yet, you’ll be able to see if the home you are interested in has a home security protection service in place in order to help keep your family safe.

If you’re a real estate agent, offering virtual reality tours can give you a competitive edge with younger, tech-savvy buyers who tend to do just about everything on their phones or mobile devices these days. You’ll also find that by incorporating virtual tours with other interactive features such as mortgage calculators, information regarding schools and local amenities and targeted search functions, in addition to highlighting the houses core features such as a home security system, you can provide a more comprehensive shopping experience for your prospects. And you may not have to spend as much time staging open houses or conducting guided on-site tours.

An Advanced Security System Will Provide “Real” Protection for Your Home

Unfortunately, fire, break-ins and carbon monoxide poisoning pose real threats to homeowners in Phoenix, Tucson and the surrounding areas, so it’s important to know whether or not your new prospective home has an advanced home security system in place to help keep your family safe. If you fall in love with a home and find that after you purchased your new home, it does not have a safety and security system in place, you’ll need a reliable security system to protect your property and keep your family safe.

Titan Alarm, Inc. can work with you to design a high-quality system you can count on, and we’ll support it with professional 24/7/365 monitoring that will give you additional peace of mind. Contact us for more information and to schedule a no-obligation security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Home Surveillance Cameras: What Features Do I Need?


Security cameras have come a long way. These days, there are numerous camera options available to serve just about any home setting. You can even purchase cameras you can fit inside smoke detectors or place in other discreet areas, enabling you to hide them from view.

While there are many types of devices, choosing the best cameras for your surveillance applications requires making an initial assessment to determine whether you need it for indoor or outdoor use. From there, you’ll need to focus on the most appropriate features for your security environment:

  • Night vision – Obviously, if you are purchasing an outdoor camera, you’ll need cameras that offer clear nighttime vision of the most vulnerable areas of your home and property. Cameras are available that can function in low-light or even no-light environments.
  • Field of vision – Field of vision is a key factor for both indoor and outdoor cameras — how wide of an angle must the camera provide to ensure a full view of the area? Generally, outdoor cameras need to cover a larger viewing area and offer a wider angle than indoor cameras.
  • Range of motion – Do you need the camera to remain fixed on a specific area or object, or should it provide flexibility to change the view? You can purchase cameras that pan or tilt, or stationary devices that do not move.
  • Resolution – Resolution refers to the clarity of the image provided by the camera. Today, you can purchase high-definition cameras that enable you to see the smallest details, even when the viewing conditions are not ideal.
  • Motion detection – You can purchase a camera with motion detection functionality that will notify you the instant a person, animal or object enters its field of vision.
  • Wireless connectivity – Wireless devices are typically the best cameras for security if you require maximum placement flexibility. The absence of wires or cables makes it easier to install the cameras exactly where you need them, and you won’t have to worry about intruders disabling your cameras by cutting the wires.
  • Recording capabilities – Cameras that can capture and record video images enable you to go back and review past events at any time. This can also assist law enforcement in their efforts to apprehend and convict an intruder.
  • Remote functionality – Do you worry about what might be happening in and around your home when you’re not there? Cameras equipped with “smart” technology allow you to use your Web-enabled computer, smartphone or tablet to view live or recorded feeds while you’re at work, running errands or away on vacation.
  • Cost – Of course, you will need to select an affordable camera that meets your security requirements and fits your budget.

Titan Alarm Can Help You Select the Right Home Surveillance Cameras for Your Needs and Budget

If you own a home in Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm can design a customized security system that includes high-quality surveillance cameras. Contact us to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

Learn More About Home Video Surveillance

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Things to Do in Tucson


There’s no doubt that beautiful Tucson, AZ is one of the best places to live and work in the Southwest. But with a population of more than 500,000, even the most hardcore Tucsonans may feel the need to escape the city to enjoy an occasional weekend getaway. The good news is there are plenty of close vacation spots to Tucson that are perfect for a couple of days of adventure — or a little rest and relaxation.

  1. Kartchner Caverns State Park

Located about 50 miles southeast of Tucson, Kartchner Caverns State Park is the site of a spectacular limestone cave filled with nearly 2.5 miles of winding passages. Featured attractions include the Throne Room, which houses one of the largest soda straw stalactites in the world, and the Big Room, known for its expansive brushite moonmilk formation. The surrounding park offers numerous opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing and exploration. If you’re not up for camping, fully-appointed private cabins are available for your weekend accommodations.

  1. Kitt Peak National Observatory

If stargazing is your thing, the observatory, situated in the Quinlin Mountains at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, features the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes. During the day, you can enjoy the guided and self-guided walking tours or spend time exploring the surrounding mountainside or the breathtaking Sonoran Desert far below.

  1. Sonoita/Elgin Wine Trail

The area south of Tucson is a wine lover’s paradise! The Sonoita/Elgin Wine Trail includes a dozen vineyards and wineries where you can sample some of the finest vino the Southwest has to offer. You can also venture east of Tucson to navigate the Willcox Wine Trail to try out another dozen or so excellent wineries. You’ll also want to explore the historic town of Willcox where you can visit tourist favorites such as the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area, the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum and the Friends of Marty Robbins Museum.

  1. Tombstone

Anyone who is fond of the Old West will want to visit Tombstone, AZ. Located about 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Tombstone is the site of the famous (or infamous) O.K. Corral and the legendary shootout between Wyatt Earp and his group of lawmen and the notorious Cowboys. Tombstone is also a popular tourist destination offering an assortment of Western-themed performance events and attractions.

  1. Bisbee

Located in the Mule Mountains about 90 miles southeast of Tucson, the small city of Bisbee is ideal if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend mountain excursion. Once a booming gold, silver and copper mining town, Bisbee now features a thriving downtown area that offers an assortment of cultural attractions and historical sites. A 2016 USA Today poll named Bisbee “Best Historic Small Town.”

Don’t Forget About Home Security During a Trip

Don’t overlook the importance of home safety during a vacation — even a short one. Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide a custom security solution that will protect your home while you’re away. Contact us to schedule a free in-home consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Historical Sites in Tucson


The beautiful city of Tucson, AZ has much to offer for history buffs. Sometimes referred to as “The Old Pueblo,” Tucson is Arizona’s second-largest city, trailing only Phoenix in population. The name “Tucson” is an Americanized version of the Spanish word “Tucsón,” which is derived from a Native American phrase that means “base of the black hill.” This refers to Tucson’s location near a basalt-covered hill known as Sentinel Peak.

The original settlers of the area that eventually became Tucson were the Paleo-Indians, who arrived approximately 12,000 years ago. A Jesuit missionary named Eusebio Francisco Kino founded a settlement near the Tucson area in the late 17th century. Tucson’s “founding father” is Hugo O’Connor, who was appointed governor of the Texas territory by the Spanish viceroy in 1767 and authorized the construction of a military fort called Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón in 1775.

This unique convergence of Native American, Spanish and Mexican heritage has resulted in numerous historical sites throughout the Tucson area. One of the best things to do in Tucson for any history fan is to check out these popular attractions:

  • Presidio District – Located in historic downtown Tucson, the Presidio District is the site of the partially restored Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón fort. The Historic Block represents the heart of the Presidio District and includes the Tucson Museum of Art and numerous older homes dating back to the 18th century. The museum showcases a permanent exhibit of pre-Columbian, Western, Latin American and Asian art.
  • Arizona Historical Society Museum – This museum is adjacent to the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. It’s filled with artifacts from the days of the arrival of Tucson’s first settlers through Arizona’s time as a U.S. territory in the 19th century until attaining statehood in 1912.
  • Tumacácori National Historical Park – A part of the U.S. National Park Service, this former Native American village eventually became the site of the mission established by the Jesuit priest, Eusebio Francisco Kino. The site includes the mission’s ruins, which is a well-preserved adobe church. There is also a visitor center that houses a small museum containing artifacts from the era.
  • Tombstone – The city of Tombstone is firmly embedded in Western lore. Located about 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Tombstone was the site of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. Today, Tombstone is a major tourist town that includes a host of shops, restaurants and B & B’s, as well as Western-themed attractions such as horseback and stagecoach tours, gunfight shows, museums and more.
  • Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – Located about 50 miles south of Tucson near the town of Tubac, this state park dates back to the mid-18th century. The site includes numerous archeological exhibits that capture the history of the area. You can also hike the breathtaking three-mile Anza Trail, which connects the park with the neighboring Tumacácori National Historical Park.

Titan Alarm can provide a reliable security system that will keep your home safe while you’re off visiting all the Tucson historical sites. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on October 31, 2018.