What You Should Do Immediately After Being Burglarized

Home Invasion

Being burglarized is such a scary event. Not only do you feel vulnerable and violated, you feel a sense of loss that’s hard to recover from. Hopefully, you will never need to deal with a home burglary, but in the event that you do, it’s best to be prepared. Let’s take a look at how you need to respond immediately to being burglarized.


As soon as you enter your home or apartment and see that you’ve been robbed, exit immediately. You never know if a burglar is actually still in your home and is hiding somewhere. You may be anxious to pick up the pieces (literally), but you definitely don’t want to meet a burglar face to face.

Return to your car and lock the doors, or stay at a neighbor’s home until police arrive.

Call 9-1-1

After you’ve left the home, it’s time to call 9-1-1 Emergency. It’s important that you contact your local law enforcement agency. Not only can they check out your home to make sure that the burglar’s not hiding there, they can also look for clues to possibly find the thief. Additionally, police will amp up the amount of patrols in your area, to prevent future crimes from happening in your neighborhood.

Look But Don’t Touch

Make sure that you avoid touching anything. Some police departments actually dust for fingerprints, although rarely. But even if they don’t, it’s a good idea not to clean up until after the police have had an opportunity to survey the area.

Cancel Your Accounts

Even if your credit cards were on your person and not at home during the time of the break-in, it’s a good practice to cancel them, just in case. The fact is that burglars have been in your home and had access to all of your personal information, and may stumble upon it, if not in paperwork, on your computer, laptop, or tablet.

Make A List

Once the police say it’s okay to touch, go through your home and make a detailed list of what’s been stolen or destroyed. Turn this list in to the local police department and file a police report. After you file a police report, you can file a claim with your insurance company.

Check the Local Pawn Shops

Burglars are looking to make a quick flip of your stolen property. That often leads them to pawn shops. Actively be on the hunt for your stuff with the weeks following your burglary. Pawn shops are required to hold on to items for 30 days before selling. Although police will often check pawn shops immediately after your home burglary, some criminals hold on to your valuables for days or weeks, to avoid detection.

Stay on your game, and visit pawn shops on a weekly basis. It may be months before you come across your goods, but won’t it feel good when you do? And, a bonus, many burglars have been caught this way.

Give Yourself Time To Heal

Burglaries wreak havoc on you emotionally. Although you can recover from the material violation, it takes time to work through the emotional breach of trust. Let your loved ones help you rebuild your faith in humanity. And, if all else fails, invest in a home security system that can prevent future burglaries by up to 300%.

How to Go Green with Your Security System

Home Control Smart Phone Monitoring

Many people have gone green. No, they’re not ill, they’re environmentally responsible. If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint, it may surprise you to know that many home security companies are dedicated to the cause.

How exactly can your alarm monitoring service help you go green? Many home security systems come packaged with home automation. Home automation allows you to automatically or remotely control household functions.

With a home automation system, you can turn on your HVAC unit via your smartphone while on vacation halfway around the world. If you frequently fall asleep with the lights on, you can automatically program your lights to shut off at a specific time. All of this, and more, is possible with the humble (or not so humble) security system.

Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to go green with your home security system.

Turn On or Off Your Lights

Save energy by controlling when your lights come on and go off. Not only can you automatically set the timing, you can also remotely control lights from your smartphone or computer.

Turn On or Off Your Appliances

Everyone’s had that sinking feeling — Did I turn off the coffee maker? If you frequently forget about a television, coffee maker, or a curling iron, be sure to set those appliances on your home automation system. Not only will you be able to check if you’ve already turned off the appliance, you can also remotely turn them off from afar.

Turn On A Fake TV

Conserve energy but trick burglars at the same time. Buy a tv simulator, such as the Fake TV, which projects lights onto a wall and mimics a real HDTV. You can plug in the Fake TV into your home automation system and set it to come on at specific times, or remotely when you’re away from home. It saves more energy than a real television and uses less resources than a nightlight.

Control Your Thermostat

Use your home automation system to remotely control your thermostat. This is especially useful at night when your temperature demands are lower than during the daytime. Instead of blasting the A/C throughout the day and night during the sweltering summer months, program your thermostat accordingly to save energy. If you’re hopelessly hot-natured in the summer, add a ceiling fan to your bedroom for use at night time.

Use Motion-Detected Security Lights Outdoors

Instead of wasting money on lights that never turn off, install motion-detectors. An added bonus? Motion detectors can take the criminal by surprise and cause them to scamper off in defeat.

Opt for Paperless Billing

Ask if your home security monitoring service offers paperless billing. If it does, you’ll have the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint by paying your bills online.

With these tips, you can see how easy it is to be green. Many top security companies make environmentally friendly features a part of their standard offerings, so you have plenty of fantastic offerings. Our favorite option is Vivint, which provides state-of-the-art home automation services. Be sure to check them out, and give us some of your favorite go green tips in the comments below.

5 Simple Things You Can Do Now To Increase Your Security

Home Improvement

It takes the average burglar 60 seconds to break into your home, and once inside, it only takes them between 8 to 12 minutes to unload you of all of your valuable possessions. One of the best things to do is invest in a home security system. This type of alarm has been proven to deter home burglaries by as much as 300%. But, there are other things you can do today that will increase your home security by this evening.

1. Lock Your Doors and Windows

It may sound simple, but a shocking amount of burglars enter through an unlocked door or window. It’s estimated that around 30% of burglaries are unforced entries. Take the time to inspect every room in your house for any opened windows, or doors.

Make sure you teach your children to lock their bedroom windows at night time to decrease vulnerability.

If you’re the forgetful type and often leave home wondering if you’ve locked your doors, there are several electronic door locks on the market. These door locks can be operated remotely, from your cell phone or work computer. In fact, you don’t even need to use a traditional key these days. Technology like the Kwikset Smarkey allows you to simply input a code to lock and unlock your door. This is particularly useful for young children who may have a tendency to lose their home keys.

2. Keep One Car In Your Drive

Most burglaries want to avoid confrontation at any cost. If they see a car in the driveway, they’re likely to keep on moving to another target. If you have two cars and can leave one home during the day, this is an excellent deterrent.

Additionally, if you’re going out of town on a vacation, ask a trusted neighbor to randomly park their car in your driveway. It will give the appearance that someone’s home, even if you’re far away.

3. Switch Up Your Hiding Places

Once a burglar breaks in, the number one place he searches is your master bedroom. Every burglar knows that’s where cash, jewelry, and other values are most likely to be stashed. Instead of hiding your values in your the most obvious spots, opt for a child’s bedroom, inside an attic, or under a little box. Some people even hide money inside of hollow curtain rods. Get creative.

But don’t hide everything away. Leave some money in an obvious place to satisfy the burglar. If you don’t, and the burglar’s convinced you have cash, he’ll tear up your entire house trying to find it.

4. Change Your Door

If your front or back door is hollow core, you need to replace it immediately. Hollow doors are easy to breach. If you’re unsure about the type of door you have, knock on it. If you hear an echo, it’s likely a hollow core.

Opt for following:

  • Solid Wood- beautiful and heavy; superior to hollow core
  • Steel- inexpensive and energy efficient but can be dented easily
  • Fiberglass- also energy efficient and very secure, impact resistant

In addition to changing your door, make sure you have a deadbolt lock with at least a 1 inch long horizontal bolt. This prevents burglars from easily prying open the door.

5. Install Exterior Lights

A well lit home is the first step to deterring a criminal. Head down to your local home improvement store and pick up flood lights. There are many varieties of flood lights. If you’re sensitive to light at night time, opt for a motion activated security floodlight.

Beautify your home while making it more secure. Uplights serve a dual purpose of highlighting your exterior while deterring burglars.

Make sure there are no dark zones around your home where criminals can hide. Shine them out with a bright light.

Get Started Today

All of above are easy enough to implement today. Taking simple steps like these can secure your home from burglary. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Creating An Effective Family Safety Plan

Emergency preparedness checklist

Does everyone in your family know what to do in the event of an emergency? Whether there’s a house fire or a home invasion, having a plan in place will empower each member of your family. A well thought out plan will save you valuable time that is often wasted by not knowing exactly what to do. It will also give you peace of mind to know that there’s a dedicated meeting place. That way you can account for any missing household members.

You don’t need to believe in a zombie apocalypse to get started on disaster planning. The Red Cross reports that more than 50% of Americans have endured a three day long power outage, medical emergency, or mandatory evacuation. Only 12% of these people have actually planned for a disaster.

Here’s a couple of statistics that are sure to send shivers down your spine:

Each year, more than 500,000 homes burn down. More than 3,400 people die in these fires each year. Many of these deaths can be prevented by enacting an escape place from every room of the house.

Approximately 2,000,000 homes are burglarized each year. One in five homes experience a violent burglary.

Having a plan on how to respond to each type of the major disasters will undoubtedly benefit your household.

Here’s how to create a family safety plan:

1. Map It Out

Draw a map of your home. It doesn’t need to be to scale, but it should be understandable and recognizable to each member of your household. In the map, be sure to include at least two exits for each room.

2. Map Out Your Meeting Place

In addition to your home map, draw up a route to your meeting place. In the event that your family needs to escape from your home, you need to designate a central location to meet.

In some cases, it’s a good idea to have two meeting places in opposite locations, in case the first meeting ara is compromised.

Your map should be located near your disaster survival kit (more on that later). Be sure to review your emergency plan with the members of your household annually.

3. Make Sure Everyone Has a Cellphone

These days, phones are easily obtained, and don’t require a lengthy contract. Ensuring that all members of the household are accessible by phone will increase communication during those awful moments of uncertainty.

4. Use I.C.E.

I.C.E. stands for In Case of Emergency. In your phone, be sure to add one entry labeled ICE in your phone. That way, if an accident occurs and paramedics

5. Designate An Emergency Contact

After an emergency, you may not be able to reach other members of your family, especially if it’s a localized emergency event. In this case, designate an out of state relative or family member to call and check in.

6. Teach Young Children Vital Details

Children as young as five can memorize mom or dad’s telephone number or home address. It is important that your kids also know your first and last name. Many kids only know their parents as “mom” or “dad,” and not Karen or Bob.

Also, children need to understand how to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

If you have a home security system, this is a great time to teach them the system PIN code, and how to reach the monitoring line in the event of an emergency.

Teach children the importance of using emergency procedures responsibly.

7. Create An Emergency 72-Hour Kit

Whether you create one kit for your entire household, and personalize a kit for each family member, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Important things to include in your emergency survival kit:

First Aid Kit
Utility Knife
Toilet Tissue
Plastic Bags
Trash Bags
Beef Jerky
Energy Bars
Water Purifier
Duct Tape

The list goes on, but this is a good place to start.

8. Do Drills

It’s not enough to just know it in your heads, you also have to do drills. This is especially important for younger children who learn best through practice. Commit to doing an exit drill at least once a year. Make sure everyone in the household knows what to do in the event of a fire, a home invasion, or a natural disaster.

9. Register for CPR Classes

At least one person in the household should know how to perform CPR. Many community centers offer CPR classes, and there’s no age minimum to who can learn the techniques. The only factor is whether a person has the strength necessary to perform the procedure. Kids as young as nine can learn how to perform CPR effectively.

Which of these tips will you implement first?

Finding A Home Security System That Won’t Break the Bank

Girl Saving Money With Family At The Back

Short of installing a moat that’s patrolled by alligators, a home security system is the next best option. But, if you’ve shopped around for a home security system, you already know how expensive it can be to secure your home and belongings. Aside from the initial cost for the equipment and installation, you can be locked into a contract that charges upwards of $500 per month for monitoring.

If you’re like the majority of Americans, budget is one of the most important concerns when it comes to investing in a home security system. For this reason, we’ve compared some of the cheapest home security systems in Houston. In this list, we’ll take a look at activation fees, monitoring costs, and the most cost effective package deal.

It’s important to note that the cheapest price may not be the most valuable. Sometimes, companies may waive an activation fee, but charge a hefty equipment fee. Or, some companies provide equipment for free as long as you sign a lengthy contract. We’ve taken all of these factors into our rankings. The companies aren’t order by their monthly monitoring costs, but by the total out-of-pocket costs you’d pay for a year of service. Remember, that some monitoring companies require a three year contract.

Let’s get started.


SimpliSafe is an affordable home security system with one major benefit: no contract. You can cancel service at any time without worrying about being locked into a several year long agreement.

SimpliSafe offers three monitoring plans, ranging from $14.99 per month to $24.99 per month. All three plans work over a cellular connection, which means that you don’t need a landline to connect to the monitoring center. All options include 24/7 live alarm monitoring.

The most inexpensive option includes burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, freeze, and flood monitoring.

The mid-level plan is called “Alert” and it’s available at $19.99 per month. Alert includes everything from the base plan, with additional email and SMS alerts.

The most expensive plan is the “Interactive” plan for $24.99 per month. Including everything from the Alert plan, Interactive also includes secret sensors that alert you if someone’s opens your medicine, liquor, or jewelry cabinets. You can also access and manage your control system settings online, such as adding or removing sensors, adding PINs, and view home temperatures.

For the 5-piece Starter Package, you pay $229.96. Included in this price is 1 base station, 1 wireless keypad, 1 motion sensor, 1 entry sensor, 1 free keychain remote, 1 yard sign, 2 decals, 5 year batteries and adhesive strips. You can add additional equipment a la carte.

Together with the monthly fee of $14.99 per month, expect to pay $179.88 + $229.96, for a total of 409.84 for your first year of service with SimpliSafe. Because this fee includes the one time starter package costs of $229.96, you can expect the lower rate of $179.88 for subsequent years of using the SimpliSafe service.

Smith Monitoring

Texas’ own, Smith Monitoring, offers home security system monitoring for an affordable monthly rate of $17.95 per month. Smith Monitoring actually provides five different monitoring plans, and each have their own set of pros and cons. Because we’re focusing primarily on budget, let’s look at the base package.

The basic “Home Security” monitoring solution from Smith Monitoring is $17.95 per month, and requires a 36 month agreement. The activation and installation fees are waived, but Smith Monitoring can also monitor your existing system.

The fee you’ll pay for one year of service with Smith Monitoring is $215.40. It may be more expensive than some of the other offerings, but you will benefit from local service with industry leading response time, and quick installation (within 24 hours). Frequently, Smith Monitoring offers promotional codes to minimize your costs.

Alarm Relay

Alarm Relay offers one of the most inexpensive monitoring solutions on the market. At the crazy low price of $8.95 per month, you receive 24/7 monitoring from a UL certified central station.

Alarm Relay is an alarm monitoring service, and works with multiple home alarm systems, including DSC, Visonic, Caddx, HAI, and Napco. If you already have a home alarm system, Alarm Relay may be the most affordable option. It’s also a great choice if you live in an apartment with a pre-installed alarm system.

You pay the monthly fee for the entire year upfront. It will be $107.40 for the year, with an additional one time administration fee of $35, giving you a grand total of $142.40.

Protect America

Protect America is one of our favorite budget-friendly options for home security system monitoring. The monthly fee includes the necessary security equipment and a locked-in rate. Plans range from $19.99 per month to $42.99 per month. Installation fees are waived for each plan. Other benefits of Protect America is that it is 100% wireless, and provides a lifetime warranties on their equipment.
The most budget conscious plan is the Copper package, that provides 24/7 monitoring, a control panel, 3 door or window sensors, and a motion detector for the rate of $19.99 per month.

Expect to pay $239.40 for the first year, but keep in mind that equipment is already provided for you at that cost.


Each plan has pros and cons, but when budget is the most important consideration in choosing your home security system, any of these choices will provide you with 24/7 monitoring. And, each plan is scalable, so if you’d like to add more comprehensive protection, you can easily do so.

Now that you’ve taken a look at four different home alarm monitoring solutions, which one is your favorite?