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  • Home Security - Fall Safety Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe

    The fall season is a time when we are tempted to sleep with open windows. Who doesn't like that crisp, autumn air and a chance to turn off our air-conditioners? Unfortunately, open windows pose a security risk.

    Recent news stories have covered several home invasions in the city of Chicago. These invasions took place in what are typically known as quiet, safe neighborhoods. Burglars entered through open windows. Fortunately, burglars (who were entering between the hours of 3:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.) haven't thus far awakened those sleeping in the homes. They stole valuables, but no one was faced with the unknown of what could happen if a burglar is caught in the act.

    There are many ways to keep your home and family safe that won't break the bank. When you think of the money we all spend on unnecesary items, I think it's safe to say securing your safety is worth the investment.

    For starters, statistics show that burglars will avoid homes that are well lit, have alarm systems and surveillance cameras. Invest in some lights for the outside of your home. You can install lights that remain on at all times or motion detector lights. The one I've linked here comes on when someone crosses its path and then begins to record/film the area. U-Spy Store carries many affordable home alarms systems that don't require monthly monitoring fees. If burglars see any of these protection devices, they will choose another home that isn't protected and prepared.

    Consider installing indoor motion detectors. We even carry a motion detector that is "pet immune" for pets weighing up to 60 lbs. Place wireless motion alert alarms in your driveway or near your garage. If an intruder is on your property, these detectors will set off alarms.

    You can also install "glass break alarms" on your windows or sliding glass doors. If you must sleep with an open window, there are products that will allow your window to remain open, but allow you to lock the window in a position that prevents it from being opened further. However, for added security, I would install the glass break alarms I mentioned above.

    Lastly, keep your cell phone near your bed while sleeping. If any of the products you may decide to purchase have remotes with panic buttons, keep them near your bed. They won't do you any good if you can't access them immediately. I also keep pepper spray next to my bed. Although I hope to never be a victim of a crime, I do know I will be prepared to defend myself if someone enters my home.

  • Child Pornography Investigation Stems from Alert Customer

    Tanning salon owner Joseph Layland was a friend to many of his customers until  charged with using a hidden camera to record customers in the Malden, Missouri tanning spot. Formerly "DJ's Tan and Tone" has closed while the owner waits for trial in jail and police investigate.

    Local TV site KFVS reported that police officials seized approximately 500 DVDs and videos, 18-hours of surveillance footage, and two computer hard drives as evidence in what is likely to be the Show Me State's largest pornography crime. Read More

  • Don’t Get Snowed When Buying Security Cameras

    H.264 for instance is the latest and greatest recording codec that allows you to record efficiently and clearly on your hard drive. It records more days at a higher visual quality that the old formats on the same sized hard drive
  • Is Your Mobile Phone Bugging You? (Seriously.)

    Is your mobile phone acting "funny," or not as fast as it once was? Have you noticed that someone seems to know more about what's going on in your life than they should? Do people say that they tried to call you, but your phone was busy (and you weren't using it)? Does your battery seem to be sucking more juice than usual?

    You can mark it down to coincidence, or it may mean that your phone has either been infected with a virus, or there's a program running on the OS that is "listening" to, and/or, recording your email, text messages, logging your calls, and conversations. Both are different in use and theory, but in both cases they're a security threat and nuisance. Read More

  • Hidden Camera Catches Abuse by Babysitter

    A young father, wondering why his toddler behaved perfectly around the babysitter but no one else, learned the reason was fear. The man, from Joliet, set up a hidden camera to capture the sitter's interaction with the child later watched in shock as the woman--a family friend--used physical force to keep the child in tow. According to NBC Chicago, the father, Paul Carlos, stated, "It was the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life. It was horrible."

    The camera, disguised as a clock radio, was triggered by a motion sensor. The sitter was caught beating the 2-year-old boy because she couldn't find the TV remote control. The sitter, Erin Denny, actually lived with Carlos's mother. She's been arrested and jailed on felony aggravated batter charges and parole violation.

    When Carlos went to work each day, he would drop his son off at his mom's house on the way to work. Denny would watch the boy. Carlos installed the hidden camera because he thought it was strange that the boy listened to the sitter, but didn't listen to anyone else.

    It was out of fear.

    Hidden cameras, or "nanny cams" have been employed to catch suspected cases of babysitter abuse, theft, and other criminal activities. Some, like the one used by Mr. Carlos, capture video footage for later viewing. Others provide real-time footage that can be accessed from any computer--even while a parent is working.

  • Illegal "Dumpers" Caught with Video Surveillance

    In Springfield, Mass.,  police announced that 13 people had been caught dumping household trash and furniture in a wooded area near town. The alleged illegal dumpers were recorded by hidden camera detectors placed near the area in an investigation that included aid from both state, and local officials. This, according to the Springfield Republican. Read More

  • Words from the Boss: Cloned Debit Cards Add to ATM Thefts

    Technology makes our lives easier, or at least it's supposed to; yet, as our understanding  improves and complicated processes, such as computer programming, become more user-friendly,  some decide to use these innovations to prey upon others.

    ATM skimming-devices, for instance, have evolved from clunky, obvious pieces of fake auto-bank teller equipment to sleek, undetectable theft devices that are unnoticeable to untrained eyes. As the equipment becomes better, the criminals grow in sophistication, often stealing hundreds of thousands in others' money before being discovered. Read More

  • Chicago's Highway Surveillance System

    The Chicago Police Department, and retiring Mayor Daley, want to take Chicago's surveillance system to the highway. The ambitious plan, announced earlier this year, is to install some 200 cameras along interstate highways between Chicago and Mexico. The camera's function is to take pictures of license plates and cross-reference them to known images of smuggler, drug traffickers, and gun runners. Read More

  • Hidden Camera Exposes Illegal Dentists

    Going to the dentist isn't something that we usually scrutinize to ensure our chosen practitioner has the necessary schooling and degrees that prove he's a dentist. Usually, we opt for doctors or dentists who are recommended by our social circle, or, more likely, the ones covered by an insurance plan. Usually, the expectation is that they're qualified; after all, masquerading as a dentist wouldn't be the easiest scam to perpetrate.

    In San Antonio, WOAI-TV News 4 recently published a news story by Jaie Avila using a hidden camera that might be surprising... Read More

  • Bank ATM "Skimmer" Busted

    Romanian citizen Razvan Apostal, staying in Queens on a Visa was arrested near  Rye Brook, NY, last month for using an ATM "skimmer" to steal personal ATM card information. He also installed video surveillance cameras above ATM machines in order to steal Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

    An ATM skimming device, or skimmer, is a device that covers the ATM card slot that reads the information on the magnetic card strip, plus, depending on the device, may record the PIN as well. For less-sophisticated skimmers, a camera can be installed to capture the PIN.

    Depending on the ATM, and the crook's knowledge of their workings, skimmers can be absurdly obvious or nearly impossible to detect.

    The 31-year-old's crimes were brought to light after a banking customer notified Chase Bank that an additional security camera had been installed above the ATM machines, allegedly aimed at the user interface portion of the machine. Chase Bank authorities notified local police. After viewing surveillance footage on the camera, Mr. Apostal was identified as the suspect.

    A week later, another local ATM was found with a camera installed in the same general location.

    Police searched for--then arrested--Apostal for placing a skimming device, the cameras, and a mirror at several local area ATMs. When arrested, he had the skimming device in his possession. Police discovered counterfeit $100 bills when a search of the man's property was initiated.

    Apostal is in jail awaiting trial. He's being charged for eight counts criminal possession of forged instruments and one count of unlawful possession of a skimming device.

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