Why do Burglars look forward to summer more than any other season?

Summer is a time of year that is anticipated eagerly by many. When the weather is warm, children and adults are outside more, and people tend to keep their windows and doors open for longer periods of time. Adults often have more flexible schedules, and kids are off from school. As a result, homes are much more likely to be burglarized during summer months more than any other season. With a properly installed security system and some helpful tips, HS Tech Group can help prevent the criminals from ruining your summer.

1. Opportunity

It’s not that burglars are more active in the summer than other seasons; they’re given more opportunities because of the lack of effort made by homeowners to secure their properties. One of the most important and obvious tips for summer is making sure you install a home security system and using it. Controlling your security system has become incredibly simple by using mobile apps. Our HST security systems allow you to use your iPhone, Android or tablet as a keypad and for receiving notifications. For instance, the kids just disarmed the system or your home just lost power due to a storm. You can even watch live or recorded video footage from multiple security cameras directly on your mobile phone or tablet from virtually anywhere.

2. Open Doors

ALWAYS secure ALL entryways, doors, windows, etc. Whether you are away from home for an hour or the weekend, lock all open access. Burglars look for nice things, so that means closing garage doors and window shades, so you’re not exposing expensive tools, golf clubs, recreational vehicles and pricey home electronics and more.

3. Lighting

Use exterior lights! Burglars wear dark clothing for a reason and simply installing outdoor lighting will serve as a significant deterrent. You can also incorporate an HST lighting control system. We can schedule your outdoor lights to come on at dusk or whenever you want. They can also be programmed to look like you’re home with the press of a button while you’re away.

All of us at HST want you to enjoy your summer. By incorporating these helpful tips, you will reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a home burglary. Email or call us anytime for more information about lighting control, or adding some automation to your system.

It’s important to realize that some companies work unethically in the Security Industry. They train college students to knock on doors that have security yard signs and use lies to persuade unsuspecting homeowners to switch out or upgrade their security with ONE BIG CATCH. They are not trained security consultants, and most of the time, not duly licensed. They are college students getting paid to switch customers’ contracts. You end up owing two companies a monthly service fee. There have been so many complaints in the past several years that the Federal Trade Commission has posted an article on their website.

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION WARNING – CLICK HERE

Be very cautious and DO NOT LET THEM IN AND DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. We would hate to see any of our customers obligated to pay two monthly service fees. We would be happy to discuss any upgrades to your system and guarantee our pricing.

REMEMBER, the State of Maryland and Virginia require a State Police license, not a company ID to talk to you about your security system.

These “scammers” may say one of the following:

  • “There has been an increase in crime in your neighborhood, and you really should be upgrading your system with the latest technology” – NOT TRUE!
  • “We are with the factory and giving away FREE UPGRADES”– NOT TRUE!
  • “This is a limited time offer, and you must have it installed today”– NOT TRUE!
  • “I’m from HST, QUESTRON OR HOMESAFE and here to give you a free upgrade”– NOT TRUE!
  • “We bought your old company and are here to upgrade your system”– NOT TRUE!

Some Facts About Us

CHECK HST’s BBB RATING – CLICK HERE
HST WINS BEST OF THE BEST NATIONALLY – CLICK HERE
HST WINS PDQ AWARD FOR BEST NATIONALLY – CLICK HERE

Industry News

Apex Alarm (Now calling themselves Vivint) had an “F” rating with the BBB before they changed their company name. Click on the links below for more information about them and other door-to-door problems.

Criminal Activity is Happening Across the Country

For more tips on staying safe this summer, CLICK HERE!

Increasing home safety seems to be on everyone’s long-term to-do list but something we never quite get around to. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Improving your safety does not have to be complicated, labor intensive, or expensive. That is great news, especially if you want a realistic goal for the new year that will add a huge benefit to the whole family. So we want to encourage you with eight fast and easy ways to add security.

Change your Social Media Practices

You have heard it before, but chances are you are like most Americans and still post messages, pictures, and videos that compromise your safety unknowingly. This year, before you post ask yourself how much information does it provide and can that be used to jeopardize your safety.

Do a General Inspection of Your Home

If you have not given your home a thorough once-over in a while, a home inspection can do a lot of good and improve your safety. Go to the home and look for repairs that need to be made and test the condition of things like your plumbing or heating and cooling system.

Get Ready for Disaster

Thinking about the possibility of disasters like earthquakes, severe storms, fires, flooding or other disasters is not comforting but being prepared for them is. If you have not already, make this year the year, you make a disaster preparedness kit. Include food, water, clothing, medication and safety supplies enough for at least three days for each person in the family. You can check out the Red Cross or CDC websites for suggested supply lists.

Install Home Automation

Home automation is for a lot more than convenience. It can add a tremendous amount of security, too. With home automation, you can do things like look like your home even while away on vacation

Install Home Security Cameras

Being able to see your home remotely is beneficial no matter where you are. If you are inside, you can spot trouble outside, and if you are away from home, you can detect trouble and take action immediately. Security cameras are also a proven deterrence against crime.

Switch to Smart Locks

The front door is a burglar’s primary point of entry so fortifying it with smart locks makes a lot of sense. Smart locks allow users to have unique codes and get alerts when the codes are used, so you know who gets home and when. Also, if you forget to lock the door when you left for the day, you do not have to drive all the way back home. Just lock the door remotely and rest easy.

Get a Smart Smoke Detector

It is so simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Smart smoke detectors never leave you without protection because they automatically test battery levels.

Increase Outdoor Safety Features

Make your home less attractive to burglars, vandals or other criminals by adding outdoor lighting, fencing, and security cameras. Trim back bushes, hedges, and trees to increase visibility and reduce the possibility of someone using it for cover.

With HS Tech Group, home security and home automation technologies have finally evolved. If you have questions about HS Tech Group can help you improve your home security this year, please give us a call.

Nobody ever thinks that their home will ever be a target of a burglary. It is just something that happens on television or to the house down the street, but never ours. However, a burglary happens every 15 seconds somewhere in the United States every day. That means that in the span of a typical commercial two burglaries occurred and the lives of two families violated and put in jeopardy. And it very well could happen to us.

One of the contributing factors to a successful burglary is the occupants of the home works under the false security of believing it could not happen to them. This leads to failing to use any or using less than effective burglar deterrents. To help you avoid this critical mistake, we have assembled a list of deterrents that make even professional thieves think twice as well as a list of what just doesn’t work.

What Works

  • Visible door and window locks. Sturdy locks indicate you likely have other security features in place.
  • Locking your doors. It may seem obvious, but many people forget to lock their doors at least occasionally.
  • Getting a security check. Have a professional, such as your local law enforcement agency, look over your property and provide security insights.
  • Install motion-activated lights outside. No burglar wants to get caught.
  • Get a home security system. Opt into as many security elements as possible such as motion and glass break sensors, as well as security cameras to add layers of security.

Burglar Deterrents that Fall Short

  • Using alarm company signs. Burglars are savvy and can spot a fake one immediately.
  • Leaving the lights on. Anything that remains static, whether it is having the light on or off for an extended time, is a signal that you are not home.
  • Suspending mail or paper delivery. Any changes to your regular activities can signal opportunity to a burglar.
  • Hiding valuables. Burglars know every trick in the book, and hiding valuables may only slow them down for a moment.
  • Getting a dog. Having a dog does provide some deterrence but should not be used and the only or main deterrent. Dogs can be distracted, or worse, harmed in the course of a burglary.

A burglar takes more than possessions when they break into your home. They take your peace of mind. When you are considering your plan to protect your home, choose deterrents that work. HS Tech Group brings peace of mind in ways you never thought possible with advanced, interactive security.

The topic of home security is a serious one by nature and becomes more serious when we talk about real life applications. An example of this is in the area of home security safety planning in cases of domestic violence. Domestic violence isn’t something that receives a lot of attention in the news, and not something people talk about openly or frequently. Maybe it’s time to change that.

It is difficult to know exactly how many people are affected by domestic violence as in many cases it goes undetected and plays out in secret. However, we do know that since the year 2000 over 20,000 women in the United States have been killed by their domestic partners. Many times, those deaths could have been prevented with proper safety planning and support.

Escaping Domestic Violence is Not Easy, but it is Possible

One of the most dangerous times of any relationship involving domestic violence is the process of escaping. Those trying to leave a volatile relationship should do so cautiously and have a plan. To help develop a safety plan and put resources in place, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Even researching domestic violence can increase the risk, so it is important to delete phone and computer histories or call or research from outside the home from public phones and computers.

Statistics Show Increased Risk

Many people believe that once someone leaves a domestic violence situation that the risk has decreased or ceased altogether. Statistics show otherwise. In actuality, the rate of violence, injury and death increases in the time right after a person leaves.

Incorporating Home Security and Home Automation in Your Safety Practices

Experts in domestic violence recommend that those leaving or having recently left a DV relationship implement safety practices and tools into their daily lives. Home security and home automation can play an important role in maintaining your safety. Here are some ways home security technologies can enhance your safety plan strategies.

Create layers of security starting at the edge of your property with motion sensor lighting, fencing, and locking gates.

If you have a garage, be sure to include it in your security system. Use home automation always to be sure the door is closed.

Use motion sensors throughout the home and set up alerts so that you will know if there is unusual activity.

Use motion sensors on your windows.

Before you open the door, check to see who is there from afar, always maintaining a safe distance until the identity of your visitor is confirmed.

Use home automation to simulate your presence at home, concealing your routines.

Check on your home through the video feeds before you enter your neighborhood to rule out any unusual activity.

HS Tech Group is one of the Mid Atlantic’s largest and most respected full-service technology integrators. If you have any questions about technology integration, please give us a call.

We all like to think that Halloween is reserved for nothing but fun for our youngsters (and the young at heart) but crime never takes and night off, even for Halloween. Criminals take advantage of opportunities like Halloween because most people are busy, preoccupied, and least expect to be the target of any crime. While busy events like Halloween leave the door wide open to crime, home automation can help keep the door of opportunity locked tight.

Even if the likelihood of a crime is low, if it happens to you it is 100%. That’s why Halloween is no time to let down your guard when it comes to protecting your family, friends, and property. Here are some easy ways you can use your home automation system to increase safety and deter crime.

Deter Halloween Pranks

One of the less fun aspects of the night is the increase in pranks. While the pranks may start off innocent, it can lead to more dangerous and costly vandalism such as egging homes and cars or smashing mailboxes. Reduce the likelihood of vandalism by increasing the likelihood of getting caught. Use home automation technologies and motion sensor outdoor lighting to keep the property well-lit and anyone near it in full-view.

Check Before You Open the Door

Halloween is one of the few times people open the door without question. It is easy to assume that everyone who comes to the door are just parents to rosy-cheeked children all decked out in their costumes, but that may not always be so. Before you open the door, check out that doorbell camera feed to be sure that all is safe.

Prevent Burglary

Halloween presents many opportunities to criminals, and one of them is being able to get a closer view of your home and property without anyone drawing any attention while you are away taking kids out in the neighborhood. To increase home safety, simulate your presence by using home automation to turn on and off the lighting, music, and television. The possibility of someone being home increases the likelihood of getting caught, which decreases the attractiveness of your home as a target for crime.

Check in on Your Home

Using home automation, even if you are away from home on Halloween, you can still check in and make sure everything is as it should be on the home front. Just tap into your app and the surveillance footage, and you can stay in the know.

Whether you want to enhance the security of your home or business or integrate home automation, HS Tech Group has the knowledge and skill to deliver the most advanced technologies with the utmost dedication to customer service. Call us today with your questions. We are happy to help.

You probably have a smoke detector in your home, but studies show that most residents never give their smoke detector another thought. And that is not good.

Research shows that 3 out of 5 fire related deaths are a result of malfunctioning or lack of smoke detectors in the home. Surveys show that only a very small percentage of people who own smoke detectors know how old they are or when was the last time they changed the batteries.

October is National Fire Prevention month, and we would like to encourage you to become as informed as possible about fire and fire prevention, and want to offer these facts and tips.

Fire Facts

  • A fire can become life threatening in under two minutes.
  • It can become engulfed in under five minutes.
  • A home, lives, and property is endangered long before the fire is visible or noticed by neighbors.
  • Most fires occur when everyone is asleep, including neighbors who may see and alert authorities.
  • There is no time to gather valuables once a fire erupts.
  • Seeing becomes impossible as black smoke fills the home.
  • Heat and smoke kill long before the flame.
  • Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three to one ratio.
  • Fire can cause poisonous fumes which can cause sleepiness or disorientation, making it impossible to respond to the emergency.

Fire Protection Measures Make a Difference

One of the most important facts about a residential fire is that it is largely preventable. With the right tools, we can stop a fire in its tracks and prevent injury, loss of life, and the property devastation it causes.

  • The fire death rate is 51% less in homes with a working smoke detector than those without.
  • The more quickly help arrives, the less damage fire causes.
  • A smoke detector alone can only sound an alarm to warn you of its existence.
  • Smoke detectors used in conjunction with monitoring services can increase safety by increasing emergency response times.
  • Tools such as home automation can support residents in fire prevention by scheduling automatic or remote turn off of appliances.
  • A monitored service can initiate emergency services if the residents are not home or unable to call for help.

Smoke detectors play a critical role in saving lives and property, and this tool is enhanced exponentially when used in conjunction with monitoring services and home automation. HS Tech Group designs and integrates custom systems for homes that make life better. For more information about fire safety, please give us a call.

Sometimes small things can make a huge difference in our lives. But because they are small and blend into our lives so well, we may overlook them at first glance. This can be true of video doorbells. Sleek and amazingly sophisticated, video doorbells offer a host of advantages that you just can’t ignore.

If you have never investigated the benefits of having a video doorbell, here are our top reasons why we love this technology.

See Who is at the Door

It is always a safe practice to keep a safe distance between you and an unknown. A video doorbell lets you view who is at (or approaching) the door from wherever you are so you have plenty of time to assess whether it is safe to open the door.

Speak to Visitors without Having to Open the Door

Having a 2-way intercom also offers some hidden advantages. Being able to talk to visitors means you can answer the door without opening it. Since you can talk to the visitor via a smartphone, you can answer the door from anywhere and never reveal that you are away from home. This provides an added measure of safety.

Track Visitors That Came While You Were Away

If a visitor knocks at the door instead of rings the doorbell, the video camera captures the image for you to view later. Now you can always know who has come by your house.

Offers Clear Views Through Night Vision Technologies

If someone comes to the door at night, it may be difficult or impossible to get a clear view of who it is. Video doorbells offer night vision technology so you can view the images in plain view before you open the door.

Added Security Camera

A video doorbell offers even more security when used with your surveillance system. The doorbell acts as an added camera which provides even more surveillance coverage.

Video doorbells are amazingly powerful tools in your security system when used to their fullest. They offer a tremendous amount of functionality and convenience in a small and unobtrusive device.

HS Tech Group creates interactive security systems that integrate design and management for today’s must-have technologies. If you have any questions about residential security, please give us a call today. From home theater systems to the most advanced security systems, HS Tech Group has you covered.

 

Trying to get inside the mind of a burglar would be pretty difficult to do.  Research on the subject will give you some important insight to keep your family and home protected.

New Research

In a study by the University of North Carolina, both male and female incarcerated burglars were asked 422 randomly chosen questions about their habits as burglars before and after their robbery and arrest.  For both male burglars, the number one motivator is money whereas the main motivator for females is drugs.

Researchers found that 54% of the incarcerated worst offense was burglary, 73% of respondents were on drugs or alcohol when they committed a burglary, and 64% indicated they would spend a portion of the money from the burglary on drugs.  88% of respondents were motivated by drugs or money to commit the crime.

Inside a Burglar’s Mind

The very first thing a burglar will look for is the presence of working surveillance cameras outside followed by a home security system.  This will make the burglar move on to another home.  Other deterrents are an abundance of outdoor lighting and outdoor noise (people and music).  Most burglars said they would give up on a burglary if they discovered a home alarm system.  60% of the burglars admitted to performing more than one robbery in a night and hitting multiple homes.

A recent trend has burglars targeting the homes of families during funeral services.  The burglars are accessing the obituaries and seeking out the address of families while they are attending funerals.  The obituaries provide the family name, time of the service and occasionally their address.  This information is like gold to a burglar.  While most burglaries only take 10-12 minutes, an intruder who knows that nobody will be returning for hours can take their time searching a home for the real valuables.

“This study adds to our understanding of burglars, their motivations, and their techniques,” says Dr. Joseph Kuhns of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of North Carolina.  “It also helps us gain insights into the impact of demographic differences.  By asking the burglars themselves what motivates and what deters them, we believe this research can help people better understand how to protect themselves against these crimes.”

At HS Tech Group, we can help you with a home security system, video surveillance, security lighting and other essential steps to help deter criminals from breaking into your home and keeping your family safe.  Call us today for a security evaluation for your home.

Apple recently announced the coming availability of the Apple Watch. HS Tech Group continues to partner with state-of-the-art technology providers! We’re pleased to announce that Alarm.com’s new Apple Watch app will be ready when the device begins shipping.

Features

From the app, your customers will be able to:

  • Arm or disarm the system
  • Control lights
  • Control locks
  • Control thermostats
  • Control Manage garage door access
  • View live video
  • See home status at a Glance

Stay tuned for the technology features such as energy monitoring, GPS tracking for your vehicles and your pets and much more.

The new app for Apple Watch is available now. Ask us about it today!