LiveWatch Named Finalist in Stevie Awards for Exceptional Customer Service

CHICAGO, IL (January 24, 2013)- National home security provider LiveWatch has earned itself multiple places in the 2013 Stevie Award finals for its dedication to customer service and innovative technology. This is the second consecutive year that LiveWatch home security has received this prestigious honor.

Every year, the Stevie Awards recognize nationwide companies for outstanding business practices and achievements. LiveWatch has been named a finalist for the e-Commerce Customer Service Award, as well as the Best Use of Technology in Customer Service Award.

“LiveWatch combines customer delight with technology to streamline the experience for our customers,” says President Chris Johnson. “It’s great to be recognized for putting our customers first and providing the best home security experience in the country.

LiveWatch was chosen out of over 1,100 entries. This years Stevie Award nominations increased by 10 percent–final results of the increasingly competitive award will be announced on February 25, when LiveWatch will win a Gold, Silver or Bronze Stevie Award in each category.

The Stevie Awards are the latest addition to a growing list of LiveWatch’s recognitions in the past year. These include the Super Service Award from customer review site Angie’s List, National Growth Hero from Interlogix Global Security, Best Partner from Alarm.com and a place on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies.

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Home Security and Burglar Prevention

A home security system can help you prevent burglars from breaking into your home, but it’s not the only step towards prevention. Your high quality possessions and latest electronics are great to have, but they may also be making you a target for crime. Here are a few ways, in addition to purchasing a home security system, you can reduce the likelihood that you will be a victim of burglary.

Means, motive and opportunity are the three elements needed for someone to commit a crime. A criminal may have the means to carry out action, but anyone can personally decrease the motive and opportunity for crime. By storing away your valuables and securing your home, you can keep your house protected from property crime. According to the FBI, there were over 9 million cases of property crime in 2010, including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The Department of Justice recently released statistics that showed violent crime had increased 17 percent and property crime 11 percent in 2011. With crime on the rise, it is more important than ever to secure your home.

First, removing the motive means removing all temptation of thieves to come to your home. Leaving stray items around the yard indicates carelessness and loose possession, which can lure burglars in. Name brand and designer items are a clear target for criminals to come looking for more valuables. Keep these stored away from sight around windows and doors. Because these possessions are worth more, it is especially important to keep them secured.

When a burglar enters a home, he or she already has a good idea of where to look for valuables. Some of first places an intruder checks are in the freezer, in the bedroom closets and drawers, and under the bed. Always put away all items of importance to increase the time intruders have to look. A burglar will want to spend as little time as possible in an unfamiliar home. In fact, the average amount of time spend inside the house is eight to 12 minutes.

Another factor that can be addressed is opportunity. Taking simple home security measures can greatly lower your risk of experiencing a robbery.

Using a home security system makes your home three times less likely to be broken into. According to an info graphic from DeadlineNews.com, a monitored home security system, window sensors and video cameras are the top three things that will deter burglars from targeting your home.

With a monitored home security system, burglars no longer have the opportunity to break into an unoccupied house. Even with a security system, a safe can provide extra protection for your important belongings. These preventative measures will decrease the ease of robbing your home and keep your expensive and priceless possessions safe.

Geo Fencing to Simplify Your Life

LiveWatch alarm monitoring offers a revolutionary “geo-services” feature from Alarm.com called Geo Fencing to make your life easier. Geo Fencing helps you by reminding you to arm your security system when you leave your home.

When you’re in a rush to get out the door, arming your home security system and other the important things can slip your mind. With so many things to do and so little time to do it, it’s always helpful to have reminders so you don’t forget to make sure things get done.

Once you activate LiveWatch alarm monitoring and begin Geo Fencing, you go through a simple process:

  1. The Alarm.com App on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or other mobile device will automatically begin tracking how far it is from the control panel of your alarm system. You can set this work from multiple mobile devices, so that as long as one device is near the control panel, your system will recognize that there is someone within the Geo Fence.
  2. You set the distance from the control panel at which you would like to be notified if your alarm system is not armed. This distance is the geographical fence around your home- or Geo Fence! This gives you complete control over your system and allows you to personalize the range at which you are notified. If you have a big yard, you may want to set a large distance from the control panel. However, if you live in an apartment, a few steps from your front door may be enough.
  3. Occasionally, you’ll be in a rush to get out the door and may forget to arm your system. With so many other things on your mind, it is almost inevitable that at some point you could accidentally leave your home unprotected.
  4. The Alarm.com App on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or other mobile device notifies you once you pass the pre-set distance from your home without arming your system. A few chirps from your phone are enough to let you know that your home is unprotected. This is important because if you forget to arm your system, it is as if your home has no alarm system. In fact, after several strings of residential burglaries across the nation, police have begun reminding residents that they should arm their systems every day before they leave.

Geo Fencing simplifies your life by doing just what its name suggests: it creates an invisible geographic fence around your house. If you pass the fence without arming your system, your mobile device will automatically let you know to help you easily protect what is priceless. Because you have so many other things to worry about, we thought that remembering to arm your alarm system should not be one of them.

With Geo Fencing from LiveWatch alarm monitoring, you have the peace of mind that your home is always protected when you’re not there, without the worry of remembering to arm your system.

Teaching Your Kids About Strangers

Our blog focuses on home security, but we want to be a resource for safety topics that don’t always focus on our core business.  Our company is like a big family. Our kids know many of our coworkers and often use the term “uncle” or “aunt” even when there’s no blood relation. That’s why the topic of child safety and strangers is so important to us.

As always, feel free to share your own best practices or tips!

The conversation between a parent and a child about talking to strangers is an important aspect of child safety. It is a difficult topic to discuss, and if the child does not thoroughly understand the message, there can be the possibility of significant danger.

In fact, a study by the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater, Massachusetts showed that only 33 percent of child abductors were strangers to the victim.

Here are five important things for parents to cover when going over not only stranger danger, but other dangerous situations as well.

1.    Go over the definition of a “stranger.”

The first step in teaching your children about the dangers of talking to unknown people is to define the word, “stranger.” It’s hard for children to get an accurate idea of what a stranger is, because the description varies so greatly. In fact, many children believe that threatening strangers look mean, scary and ugly. Teach your child to be wary of any person who poses a threat as a “stranger” and to stay away from adults that put them in bad situations.

2.    Give them clear, simple instructions.

When dealing with strangers, children will often be distracted or confused by what the stranger is saying. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends teaching your child, “No. Go. Yell. Tell,” which guides them to say no, run away, yell loudly and tell a parent or trusted adult. This is a simple way for children to remember how to react in uncomfortable situations. Also encourage your child to be aggressive in saying no, and to not be afraid in talking to an adult.

3.    Go over examples of dangerous scenarios.

Sometimes it’s not only strangers, but acquaintances that pose a threat to young children. Go through different examples of when to run away from dangerous adults so your child can better recognize a bad situation. Some examples are if an adult asks for help with a task, offers to give the child a ride without a parent, or if they try to give the child a present without consulting you. Encourage your child to follow their instincts and always run away from situations they feel scared or uncomfortable in.

4.    Encourage them to stay with you, other kids or trusted adults.

Tell your children not to go anywhere alone with an unfamiliar adult. The best way to do this is to always know where your child is. But if lost, he or she will need to ask an adult for help. Tell them in this case to seek out other kids, or adults who have their own children. When your child sticks with other children, he or she is more likely to stay safe in larger numbers. Dangerous adults will try to get a child alone.

5.    Focus on education, not fear.

When teaching your children about avoiding dangerous adults, focus on making sure they understand the risks of talking to strangers. However, an unclear explanation or fear tactics will confuse and frighten them. Then in dangerous situations, they will be unsure of how to react and who to be afraid of. Having an overly intense fear of unknown people can also hinder their independence as well as relationships with other kids and adults. Keeping your child safe is the most important thing, but make the main focus safe decisions rather than fear.

It’s also always helpful to make sure your child knows all the emergency contact information he or she needs to reach you. That way, he or she can always contact you or someone else if lost. These five tips will help you have an effective conversation with your children. By effectively teaching your children safe ways to deal with adults, you can ensure your child stays away from scary situations and understands how to deal with strangers.

Monitored Fire Alarms

Fire alarms and smoke detectors are one of the most common and important aspects of home security. In fact, only six percent of homes do not have a smoke alarm installed in the house by the year 2000, the U.S. Fire Administration said.  However, not nearly enough have monitored fire alarms that call the fire department when there is a fire.

Smoke alarms will help detect danger even when you cannot. The loud beeping or ringing of the alarm will help alert you to any fire emergency so you can react quickly to either put out the fire or escape to a safe location. But what happens if the fire starts on the other side of the house? Or when you’re not home?

Having a smoke detector to set off an alarm is not enough. Monitoring smoke and fire detectors call the fire department when there is an emergency in additional to making noise. The monitoring station then contacts you personally, other designated emergency contact and emergency responders so they can get to your home and immediately put out the fire.

For fire monitoring, you can also use heat detectors to alert you if the temperature of your residence rises dangerously. Some fires may not have detectable smoke, or the smoke may not reach your smoke detector in time for early prevention. A heat detector is programmed to go off if there is rapid change in temperature or if the heat rises above a safe temperature.

Monitored fire alarms can help save lives by contacting the needed help in an emergency. Improve your home’s safety by having your alarms monitored 24/7 for fire protection and prevention.

A History of Home Security Systems from GE Security

A review of the past three GE Security home security systems:

As home security systems have advanced toward more affordable plans and systems, improved monitoring and better technology, the equipment offered by major distributors is also increasingly useful and up-to-date. For security system equipment manufacturer GE Security, its main security system has evolved over the years from the wireless Simon 3 to the Simon XT. Now, GE has also released the Simon XTi, with even more advanced features and ease of use.

The Simon 3 security system is a wireless system with a panel of specific buttons labeled and arranged for convenience. It has a microphone for two-way voice: in case of emergency, you can speak directly with the central station. The Simon 3 will notify you by pager or phone in the case of a home intrusion. With the control panel, you can manage lights and locks, enter security codes and contact emergency personnel. The system contains a 24-hour back up battery for power outages and 24 available zones for protection. The Simon 3 supports up to six programmable access codes and up to eight light or appliance controls.

However, GE built upon the existing Simon 3 model and created a better, more encompassing system. The Simon XT allows for 40 zones for wireless transmitters, a significant increase from the previous 24 zones. The XT features a different display of buttons, with full numbers and both a microphone and speaker for two-way voice application. Another significant addition is the new LCD screen on the Simon XT, which displays a blue backlit screen and the status of your home security system.

The Simon XT also has more programmable user passcodes and phone numbers, and it allows for home automation through Z-Wave enabled devices. It also keeps the latchkey feature of the Simon 3, which alerts parents when children don’t arrive at home and put in the passcode. However, the Simon XT is not X10 compatible like the Simon 3.

The newest, most advanced edition to the GE security system series is the Simon XTi, a self-contained combination of the Simon XT and the GE Two-Way Talking Touch Screen. The Two-Way Talking Touch Screen is compatible with the Simon XT, but the most recent system features both in the larger color LCD touch screen. All buttons are now found on the touch screen, which also shows temperature, weather, open doors and windows, lights and unsecured locks.

The Simon XTi keeps the two-way voice, Z-Wave controls and back up power of the Simon XT. However, the newest system lets you view and keep pictures from the wireless Image Sensor right on the screen. The LCD color screen gives the suer many more features and a smoother operating experience. The combination of the Two-Way Talking Touchscreen and all the features of the Simon XT make the Simon XTi an even easier and more convenient control system.

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10 Home Improvements to Boost Home Security

Home improvement projects can improve your home security and protect against intruders and other dangers. Home improvements range from simple maintenance of old rooms to completely refurbishing them. Here are ten easy ways to make your home not only more beautiful and up-to-date, but a safer place to live.

  1. Replace old, rusted locks. About 34 percent of burglars enter through the front door and 30 percent do it through unlocked doors. The more wear a lock has, the easier it is for burglars to break in, even if you remembered to lock up before you leave. Installing new locks will also ensure that you are the only one with keys to your home. For more up-to-date technology, you can try using electronic locks that take passcodes, or alarm monitoring allows you to lock and unlock your door whenever you want.
  2. Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Having these helpful devices around the home can save your life in an emergency. Most people won’t wake up during a fire, and carbon monoxide is almost undetectable by humans. You can also look into installing heat sensors and flood sensors for extra protection.
  3. Add lighting around your home. Burglars never want to be seen, so installing lights around your home will stop them from approaching. You will also feel safer walking back home at night or driving up to a well-lit area. Light timers can also come in handy. Possible places to implement more lighting are along the sidewalks and driveway, on your porch and around potential points of entry, such as doors and windows.
  4. Use a home security system. Today’s home security systems are sleeker, more convenient and more affordable. Wireless systems allow you to place discreet sensors wherever you want, and many system interfaces use touchscreens and extra features such as temperature, weather reports and home automation. Having a security system makes your home easier to control, as well as three times less likely to experience a robbery.
  5. Upgrade your doors. If any of them look run-down or damaged, replace them with new ones of metal or solid core. Burglars most often enter through doors and windows, and if they are old and worn, breaking in is quicker and easier for them. Invest in deadbolts for each door to add another level of security.
  6. Install a mail slot. With a mail slot, you can ensure that no one is taking your private mail when you are not around. People can access your checks and your personal information from your mailbox if it is right outside your house. Also, a large pile of uncollected mail is a good indicator of an empty home.
  7. Clean up with some yard work. A homeowner’s lawn plays a very important role in whether or not a burglar targets the house. Having a well-kept lawn will deter criminals as well as raise property value. Trim down trees and overgrown hedges to remove hiding places for burglars. Store away tools and toys scattered around the yard so potential burglars won’t be tempted to approach your house. You can even have trees completely removed if you think a burglar could climb to the second story, or if they could fall over in a severe storm.
  8. Drill a peephole in your door. This way you can check who is at the door without having to open it. Not only is it more safe, peepholes will allow you to avoid answering door-to-door sales people, solicitors and other potentially dangerous or threatening visitors. Drilling and installing a peephole can take less than 15 minutes to finish.
  9. Check your windows. Twenty-three percent of burglars enter a home through a first story window, and nine percent through a second story window. Use blocking devices for windows and sliding doors so burglars can’t get in. Putting in security bars for your windows can also be effective, and you can look into decorative patterns to match your home.
  10. Buy a safe for your valuables. Burglars know the hiding places people use for their valuables, including the freezer, the bedroom closet, drawers, under the mattress and many more. A safe provides extra guarded protection for the things you want to keep secured, and makes it harder for a burglar to find what he or she is looking for. Make sure the safe is too heavy to be moved, and conceal it in a discreet hiding place.

Home improvements can be a great opportunity to add new home features and increase your personal protection. With these handy tips, you can improve your home along with your sense of security!