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KEEPING YOUR HOME SAFE- HOME SECURITY TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS ...

Questions:

Recently there have been increased cases of burglaries and home invasions in the homes of Indian- Americans. Could you put some information on desideewar regarding the kind of options we have with respect to security installations around the house and what are things to ask for or look out for when approaching a security company (like to sound  knowledgeable when talking to them). 

Recently there have been increased cases of burglaries and home invasions in the homes of Indian- Americans who are being targeted for the gold jewelry that some have apparently kept in their homes. On that-

a. as long as the perpetrators keep getting away with it, they will continue trying. Thanks to Flower Mound Police Department, the gang from Houston that is said to be responsible for the crimes all over North America has been caught. There probably are more members of the gang, but this should at least discourage them to some extent.

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b. as long as the criminals keep finding jewelry and cash in our homes, they will keep trying. On our part (and this is a no-brainer) we must not keep gold jewelry in our homes (if we ever did). If we do, we not only jeopardize our own family's safety but we put the entire community at risk. Not to mention, strengthening the wrong notion that Indians "hoard" gold at homes. We say it again- we most certainly do not. If any of you do, kindly don't.

Having said that, we also realize, that we need to up our home security. If we don't have one, it is time to install a home security system. We met up with Mr. Tim Gurkin, President of Gurkin Security Sytems, to find out what kind of options we have with respect home security systems. The idea is not to panic and become paranoid, but to educate ourselves on what is available and what might work better for us. 

THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS MONITORING ...

You might already have a home security system installed and you probably get it monitored as well. If not, you should consider getting one setup. Currently for home setup, these are the following three levels of options available to you as per Mr. Gurkin -

1. Basic Monitoring - this is what most people have. The alarm goes off, the monitoring company calls you. If all does not sound well, the police are dispatched. With most Security Services Companies, the setup reports Fire, Burg(lary) or both codes as follows-

  • Phone-line only Monitoring- sends all signals 
  • Basic Uplink 4500 Monitoring- sends only fire and burglary code
  • Full Reporting Uplink 4530ex/CDMA30 Monitoring- sends all signals like a phone-line

 This option typically costs you anywhere between $ 17 to $ 35 per month. Mr. Gurkin's company charges $ 18 per month for their monitoring (includes wireless).

2. Monitoring With Access Control- this allows the home owners to remotely control the security of their home via a phone app. The basic access control includes the ability to arm and disarm the security system through the app. This option costs slightly more than the basic monitoring and requires the Uplink 4530ex/ CDMA30 radio mentioned above. Mr. Gurkin's company charges $ 23.95 per month for this level of security monitoring.

3. Home Automation- this is an expensive option but provides control that can cover other devices as well, e.g., thermostat, video cameras, door locks, etc. besides security for your home. The initial cost of installation is expensive but can be customized to suit the family's needs.  There will be cost for a central system and additional device(s) installed to be included in the monitoring package. The monitoring cost per month is higher as well. This can provide full remote automation for your home that includes the ability to arm/ disarm the system, turn-on lights, control thermostat and view video cameras. Mr. Gurkin's company charges $ 44 per month for this option. 

WHAT TO EXPECT FOR EVEN THE MOST BASIC MONITORING ... 

"Most security companies are interested in building huge clientele and may advertise cheap monitoring service but may be cutting costs that end up in loop holes in your security. As a customer, you should call your monitoring company and ask them if what they have set you up with is a full report radio", says Mr. Gurkin. Currently you can have it installed at a one-time price of $ 88 + tax. Lot of security companies setup with older equipment and radio that can send only code for 'Fire' OR 'Burg'(burglary). With the full report radio, that Mr. Gurkin's company uses for all of its customers,  the system will send the specific code, e.g., Fire, Burg, Ambush codes, zones and all alarm trouble and conditions. Mr. Gurkin recommends that you expect the following additional features from your monitoring company. If they are not already providing it, then it is time to change.

  1. Phone line system with radio (wireless) back-up. If the phone line is down or disconnected it will transmit using the radio. In cases where there is no phone signal received, the company is able to inform the police that they did not receive a phone signal which could mean that the line was tampered with. However, if you currently have VoIP system, e.g., Vonage, FiOS, etc. it is recommended to just use the wireless (radio) system as the phone line may not be reliable source of communication.
  2. The full report radio setup which tells the monitoring company exactly what door(s) or zone(s) the criminals used to enter the house, so the police can accordingly plan their strategy. Again, as mentioned above, it is also able to tell the difference between the following alarm signal- burg, fire, panic and ambush and all trouble conditions.

Additionally, Mr. Gurkin also suggests that you check with your security company to ensure their equipment will work well into the future. Gurkin system currently can setup an Uplink CDMA30 (picture on the right). This is a cellular alarm communicator and likely to be supported past 2025. By 2020, several 2G, 3G and possibly even 4G radios currently used by various companies may no longer work as phone companies decommission those systems.

Another suggestion that Mr. Gurkin has for everyone is to setup an Ambush code with your security system. An ambush code allows the system to send the alarm signal even when you are made to turn off the alarm when ambushed. For example, if you normally use the code '1234' to turn off the alarm, you could set up an ambush code of '5678' that would also turn off the alarm but still send the ambush signal to the monitoring station. 

(Photo Credits: All pictures provided by Gurkin Security Systems) 

USEFUL INSTALLATIONS FOR THE SAME BASIC MONITORING... 


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Give us your feedback here . .

 Closed circuit television (CCTV) and Video Cameras are expensive to install and their monitoring increases your monthly bills. However, there are other simple devices that provide increased sense of safety at one-time installation price but the same basic monitoring billing. System setup and choice of personalized add-ons to suit your individual needs as recommended by Mr. Gurkin are the following -

  1. Full Report Radio - described above.
  2. Motion Detectors- Having at least two is a good idea- one sweeping the main living areas and the other in the master bedroom which is another common entry point for burglars. Of course, it helps if your installation allows for bypassing the zones individually. There are motion detectors available that do not detect small pets under a certain weight. These are called Pet Immune Motion Detectors. These are best if you have pets in the house. (Picture at bottom, first and second).
  3. Glass-break sensors- these paired with the motion detectors offer added security in your house. Wired sensors could be installed if there is an attic access, otherwise there are wireless sensors available also.
  4. Wireless Key- these are like little portable security keypads that you can keep in your pocket, hang around your neck, or leave it by your child's bedside since you cannot have a keypad in every room in the house. This looks like a car's remote and essentially allows you arm and disarm the alarm, and to set off the panic alarm. At $ 24 + tax, it is a cheap option for added peace of mind. (Picture on bottom, right)

 About Tim Gurkin:

Tim Gurkin is the President of Gurkin Security Systems, a family owned and operated company that is based in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex as a full service security system provider, handling all your security and alarm system needs. For multiple- location businesses and homes, they work with you to provide security in all of the facilities.

Exclusive Limited Time offer For desideewar readers in the DFW Metroplex:

If you live in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex (call for availability in other locations in Texas), mention desideewar and get free Full-Report Radio* in exchange for 1 year of monitoring upfront with Gurkin Security Systems. Also, refer a friend and get two months of monitoring free.**

* For limited-time only, for new customers only, only available on compatible systems

** Credit applied at the end of your first year.


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