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10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

It’s almost summer time, and that means VACATION! There’s always a ton to do before you leave town, but the most important task on your to-do list is protecting your home against theft and crime. Here are ten tips for keeping your home safe while you are away.

1. Have Someone House Sit: Your home is the most safe when someone is there, so try to recruit a close friend or family member to stay in your home while you are away. As an added bonus, you will have someone present to water plants, take care of a pet, and pick up the newspaper. If no one you know is up for the task, consider a professional house sitting service.

2. Hold Your Mail: Stopping your mail is a great idea for safety purposes and convenience. A free service from the United States Postal Service, you can stop your mail anywhere from 3-30 days. Simply go online or visit your local post office to stop service.

3. Stop Your Newspaper Delivery: There’s no more obvious sign of an empty home than a bunch of newspapers scattered across your driveway. This is an easy one to forget, but an important detail to remember. Make sure to cancel your newspaper service before heading out of town.

4. Have Someone Check In: You remembered to hold the mail and stop newspaper service, but what about those pesky fliers that solicitors leave on your door step or that package you forgot was being delivered? Ask a neighbor to check on your property every few days to make sure the coast is clear of any signs of an empty home.

5. Set Your Lights on Timers: By keeping lights on, you create the illusion that someone is home. Set timers for both interior and exterior lights and avoid using extra energy by keeping the lights on the entire time you are away.

6. Keep Up the Landscaping: If you meticulously care for your yard every week, a neglected, un-kept lawn is an obvious sign that you are away. If you are gone longer than a week, you should invest in having a landscaper tend to the lawn.

7. Lock Up: This is the obvious thing to do, but you can never be too careful! Double check every point of entry including windows and doors. Also be sure to lock any doors that have deadbolts for extra security.

8. Keep Your Plans as Quiet as Possible: You are excited about your vacation, but you need to fight the temptation to air your plans on social media or to people that you barely know. If you can, try to keep the kids from talking about it as well. This sounds a little harsh, but you never know who could end up with that information.

9. Disconnect the Electronics: Make sure to pull the plug on electronics such as the TV, coffee maker, and computer. Again, this will save you money on wasteful energy and eliminate worry that something was left on. You could also shut off your garage so it cannot be opened with a universal remote. And lastly, if you’ve parked at the airport, do not leave the GPS in your car. This provides a road map straight to your home!

10. Install Security Features: One of the most important things you can do to protect your home is to have professionally installed security features. The additional security will work whether you are home or away and prevent crime before it happens.

Do you have other tips for keeping your home safe while on vacation?

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Preventing Crime With Video Surveillance Systems

Can video surveillance systems intimidate even the most skilled criminals? The answer is yes. Read below to see how CCTV cameras can help prevent crime before it happens.

Scare Tactics through Monitoring

Even the most inept criminal knows that being caught in the act by a video surveillance camera will lead to an arrest and conviction. Therefore, just having them set up at your home or business is a deterrent. If a camera is onsite, the criminal will more than likely stop the unlawful activity altogether or move onto another target without known video surveillance. CCTV cameras are also used by security guards as a monitoring system for different parts of a building or campus. If suspicious activity is seen, the security team is on alert and can stop a crime before it is committed.

Increased Arrests

If criminal activity does occur, one of the best ways to prevent future wrong-doings is to increase the possibility for arrest, thus leading to a conviction. If a criminal is caught on video, police officers use surveillance technology to properly identify the criminal through facial recognition. If the suspect is a known criminal, software is used to match the face to an existing database of mug-shots. The video is then analyzed further and used to track down suspects, most often resulting in an arrest.

Helps Convict Criminals

The best way to truly prevent crime is to keep criminals off the street. Video surveillance does just that by properly identifying criminals which provides the evidence prosecutors need for convictions. In the courtroom, there’s very little to dispute if a suspect is caught on video. Not only does surveillance help identify the suspect, but identifies potential witnesses as well. By analyzing video surveillance, investigators are able to determine other individuals that are at the scene of a crime. This allows for warrants of these witnesses to be issued which can lead to additional evidence used against a suspect in court.

Let us help you prevent crime. If you would like more information on business and residential video surveillance in the Tampa Bay area, please give us a call at 727-791-7990.

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The Importance of Access Control Security Systems

The demand for access control security systems in the Tampa Bay area and nationally is at an all time high partly due to advanced technology and the response to increased security and safety threats. At STI, we believe in creating safe environments by applying the latest technology in our access control systems. Here’s a closer look at why access control could be a vital component to your home, business, or organization.

What is access control?
Access control is a security system that enables an authority or business to control access at specific dates and time to certain areas of a community, building, or residence.

Why is access control so important?
Having the ability to control who comes into your building at any point in time is critically important for the security, safety, and health of those who work or spend time in a facility. Any business or organization with heavy foot traffic will particularly benefit from access control.

How does access control work?
There are three factors that authenticate information with access control devices: something the user knows (password, pass-phrase, PIN), something the user has (smart card of key fob), and something the user is (fingerprint). This access control technology is applied to the products and quality installations offered at STI that include card readers, biometric readers, video door phone, electric door locks, gate entry systems, magnetic locks, and exit buttons.

Who is a candidate for access control?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then one of our access control systems is an investment you may want to consider.

1. Do I need audit control, i.e. records of the time and dates of every opening or attempted opening of a door?

2. Should certain employees have different access privileges based on time and day they work?

3. Does a lost or stolen key result in an immediate and costly security threat to my home or facility?

We’ve had the pleasure to supply and install access control systems to a wide range of clientele in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and across the country including residential, commercial, and government applications. If you are interested in a consultation or have any questions regarding our access control devices or professional installations, please call us at 727-791-7990.

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How to Respond If Your Area Has Increased Burglaries

If your local area police told you about a recent increase in burglaries near your home, how would you respond?

In response to this article, Surveillance Technology gives recommendations should this happen to you.

Residents living in the area of concern should install high-resolution surveillance cameras that would cover all points of entry from the exterior side of the residence. The most common areas would be the front entrance door, the rear entrance door, rear sliding glass doors and covering each side of your home with at least one camera. It is also important to make sure that the cameras have good night vision, also known as Infrared (IR). Some of the better surveillance cameras have a flashing strobe option that will emit a small flashing light to draw attention to the camera, which in most cases will leave the perpetrator looking for another home to invade.

The final aspect of any good surveillance system is the installation. It is important to understand what type of camera is best suited for each location. Whenever possible domes should be utilized, as they are the most vandal resistant of all the camera types. In addition the placement of these cameras should be carefully considered. In most cases the camera should be mounted 10’ to 12’ above the ground and when possible placed in a strategic location making it more difficult to come up behind the camera and tamper with it.

The best place to start is to call a surveillance professional to discuss your specific concerns and complete a site survey. It is also very important to make sure that the company you choose is fully licensed and insured.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area, contact us today for a free quote!

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Retail Surveillance Cameras Help Catch Criminals

Recent tragic events in our nation have given way to the importance of retail and business surveillance systems as a major contributor in criminal investigations. Most notably was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in which the suspicious behavior of two men was captured by a Lord & Taylor video camera near the finish line of the marathon. Teamed with extremely sophisticated surveillance technology, this video is what led authorities to the suspects. Within a few short hours after the images were publicly released, Boston police were in hot pursuit of the two men.

Another horrific event captured by a retail surveillance camera was the January 2011 shooting of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others outside a Safeway Supermarket. Clear video footage showed the gunman entering the store with another man, originally thought to be an accomplice. After further review of the video, the man was later found only to have been the gunman’s cab driver leading authorities to believe the gunman acted alone. In a quote from an article in USA Today, “Video showed the gunman placing plugs in his ears before walking outside. The expression on his face showed the determination of the shooter and what his intent was as he walked from victim to victim.” This evidence resulted in a guilty plea and a sentence to life in prison without parole. Again, the critical importance of business surveillance is proved as a major contributor to catching criminals and having them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

These high profile cases certainly brought national attention to the use of security surveillance, but CCTVs help capture everyday criminal activity from car thefts to child abductions. Recently, both Wal-Mart and Costco used their video surveillance systems to catch a string of purse snatchers where victims were also dragged by vehicles and injured. Target has even gone a step further and set up a forensics lab to help the investigations of both retail and non-retail related crimes occurring in or near its storefront locations.

With the latest video surveillance technology, these cameras are even more effective crime-fighting tools. Many cameras set up at retail locations can record up to a mile away and use powerful facial and object recognition software. This technology allows each person caught on video to be isolated and searched for on other surveillance systems, such as the Boston Marathon bomber when multiple surveillance images of him were found and released.

Unfortunately, criminal activity will always be a threat to our society. However, the installation of retail and business video surveillance systems is a proactive attempt to reduce crime. In another quote from USA Today regarding retail surveillance states, “This is a really important aspect of what retailing does. There are crimes that are solved every day as a result of their video equipment.”

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Why Your Business Should Consider an Access Control System

f you own a business, large or small, safety should be a major concern. Are you taking the right steps to ensure that your business is protected? The main, and most important, concern many businesses have is protecting their assets. In this blog post we will discuss some important benefits that come with equipping your place of business with a modern access control system.

  • You can restrict a person’s entry by day, time, day of the week, or even permanently disable access on certain days/dates.
  • There is no need to change locks because within moments you can update key cards.
  • You can delete information that is on lost or stolen cards automatically, which disables access.
  • Traditional keys can easily be copied, but with an access control system the duplication of a key is very difficult. This can save your business a lot of time and money when employees leave.
  • The system will keep a very detailed log of all entries and exists.
  • You can set restrictions on certain employees. Such as when they can come and go.
  • Managers have the ability to control the system remotely.

Every business has different needs regarding security, but every business wants to protect valuable assets and data. Call us for a consultation and quote at (727) 791-7990.

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Is Your Home Secure For The Holidays?

The holidays are a time filled with family, happiness and celebration. Along with such wonderful times also come some dangers to keep an eye on. During this time many people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other crimes. Don’t let all the holiday excitement put you or your home in danger.

The holidays are a hot time for criminals to commit home robberies because of the increased cash flow that is around. Robbers tend to take items that are easy to carry and can easily be concealed such as laptops, electronics, jewelry and cash. Though the risk of being a victim of burglary is always there, homeowners can take certain measures to protect their house and belongings.

The best way to protect your home is to invest in a good home surveillance system. Make sure that before you go away for the holidays that your home security cameras are all working properly to ensure that you are getting the most protection. A properly installed surveillance system can monitor the perimeter of your property and mostly importantly the cameras can monitor the important entry points of your home to prevent theft. We also suggest placing a few cameras to watch windows and doors that might be obstructed by trees or large bushes. Also keep in mind the tips below to further the safety of your home and belongings.

  • Set your lights on a timer, if you do not have a timer leave lights on, especially outdoor lights.
  • Keep the blinds closed, especially when traveling so would-be crooks cannot see that you have.
  • A simple, but sometimes forgotten tip, always keep your doors and windows locked!
  • And lastly, with the increase in technology and social media sharing sites—NEVER post that you will be gone. This makes it extremely easy for criminals to find the perfect targets.

Have more questions? Our surveillance experts are happy to help. Contact us at (727) 791-7990 to get answers today.

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How to Keep Your Family, Home and Possessions Safe

Crime can strike anywhere at any time, no matter how safe your neighborhood is. Luckily there are many easy ways to protect your home and keep your possessions, yourself and your family safer every day.

1) Home security or surveillance system: Obviously we would be remiss to not include having a home security and/or home surveillance system on this list. A burglar is much less likely to approach your residence if surveillance cameras are in plain site and even less likely to stick around if an alarm goes off at the moment of break in. However the biggest benefit of having a surveillance system is the ability to provide the authorities with visual evidence of the event. And not only that but also most burglars will avoid homes that show they are being monitored in the first place. Why bother when there are much easier targets?

An added bonus is the fact that not only will your home security and surveillance systems protect you from crime, but also if you have a fire, flood or other emergency. It is a great feeling to know that a complete team is on call at a moment’s notice.

2) Neighborhood Watch: Neighborhood watches are fantastic ways for neighbors to help keep each other safe. A neighborhood watch is like having a home security camera system in every house on the street. By working together you all can make sure that any suspicious sightings or people are reported and dealt with immediately. Neighborhood watches have been shown to be exceptionally effective at preventing crime. Even better is that neighborhood watches will not only help home security but will help keep the overall area safe for children, families and everyone’s benefit.

3) Car alarm systems: In the same way that a home security system alarm will deflect a criminal from sticking around a home, a car alarm will deter a car break in. But that’s not all, often criminals will strike a car at the same time they are going for a house or other target, the car alarm could prevent an additional ‘piggy back’ crimes from occurring as well.

4) Window protection: Have lots of windows and sliding glass doors. Make sure they are double protected by placing a wooden block in the track of each window. This will prevent windows from being opened from the outside.

5) Be aware: This might be the best tip there is! Too often we see homeowners going about their daily life being completely unaware of their surroundings and potential suspicious behavior or activities. Always be aware of your environment and any changes or things that might make you feel uncomfortable. Often YOU are the best source to prevent crime.

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Keeping Your Business Safe

Many business owners feel overwhelmed when trying to figure out the most effective and cost efficient ways to keep their business and property safe. From security guards to access control systems, to comprehensive surveillance systems, there are lots of options facing business owners out there when it comes to business security systems in Tampa Bay.

We often have prospective clients come to us utterly overwhelmed and confused as to what the best Tampa business security system options are. So we put together our top recommendations when looking for a business surveillance system in Tampa.

The first thing we recommend is to thoroughly look at your access control systems. Access control options can vary greatly depending on your individual needs and set up. We always try to remind our business owners that they need to start with the basics when planning out their access control systems and work up based on their individual needs. A great first place to start for everyone is with quality locks. We outfit our Tampa access control systems with either magnetic or electronic locks depending on individual needs.

After ensuring quality locks a business should look at gate entry systems. This is especially true if your business is on a larger property with multiple buildings or structures that need to be secured. Overall, business owners should look at access control as one of the most important first lines of defense to protecting their business.

The next level of security often includes complete surveillance systems, which will include security cameras and often DVR or NVR (although these are not required they tend to be included in 95% of our Tampa surveillance systems). We offer a variety of security camera types, including hidden, dome, bullet, infrared and IP / mega pixel. The right Tampa security camera and surveillance system for you depends on the areas you need to monitor. One of our representatives can help you understand the best choices for your business based on your needs.

So from locks, to cameras, to full surveillance systems, your business needs dictate the extent and kind of business security system that will best protect your Tampa business. It can be overwhelming, but by focusing on your goals you can successfully create an effective system to protect your business.

Article by: Surveillance Technology

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Welcome to the New Surveillance Technology Blog

Surveillance Technology is a leader among Surveillance Equipment and Installation companies in the Tampa Bay area, providing services to Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Sarasota as well as throughout the entire state of Florida and nationwide.

We at Surveillance technology would like to help our past, current and future customers understand the surveillance industry better. Our blog will be our way of sharing the latest surveillance equipment and models, the benefits of using the equipment for your home or business, and news about our company and industry.

We believe an informed customer is best. If you have any questions or topics you’d like to see discussed please contact us and let us know. We will be happy to provide you with any information we can. Check back weekly for our latest blogs!

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Surveillance Technology Inc.
4532 West Kennedy Blvd #497
Tampa, FL 33609
(727) 791-7990
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