Chartwell Insurance Services is headquartered in Chicago, a city with an unfortunate legacy of violence. While we are sympathetic to the protests we want to offer some guidance to keep your home safe during this time of unrest and in the months ahead. Even during shelter-in-place home invasion and robberies by gunpoint have not subsided despite the growing number of people at home. There is speculation that face masks, which are now required by the Illinois governor, make identification harder and have emboldened criminals who know that walking around with faces covered will not necessarily generate suspicion. Ten days ago I interviewed Keith Fisher, the owner and founder of Keyth Security (www.keyth.com), a highly respected provider of home and commercial alarm systems and security monitoring services in the Chicagoland area. Keith has been a resource for us on security issues and about nine years ago we interviewed him for a Warning about Crime. With the heightened concern for residential security in cities impacted by the nationwide riots we decided to accelerate this Chartwell Bulletin.
Since 2011 there have been advances in cameras and technology however common sense should continue to be the first line of defense. Make it harder for a thief to enter your home.
- Adopt a NO ANSWER door policy. Unless you have called for service and are expecting the doorbell to ring never open the door for anyone you don’t recognize. Ask for identification before you open the door.
- Adopt a more rigid policy of asking to see identification such as a drivers license of anyone who comes to service something in your home. Using a small scanner or your smart phone make a copy and note the date, time in/out and the purpose of the visit. This is routinely performed by almost every building residential and commercial these days.
- Consider panic buttons for your keychain and your home which will identify your location and notify the police.
- For 2020 we are also adding
- Be sure that your alarm panel is not visible to anyone looking in from outside.
- Whatever type of camera you install, from a Nest to a sophisticated monitoring device, when preparing to leave home be sure to check the camera screen for people and cars in front of your garage door before opening it.
- Flood your garage entrance with light which deters criminals, allows cameras to collect better images and most importantly, makes it easier for you to see anyone attempting to follow you in.
- When returning home check carefully when approaching your garage and continue circling if you see any people or vehicles in your rear mirror. Keith has a client who circles his alley twice before entering his garage.
- Back your car into your garage if that is practical.
- Keith’s message is unchanged from 2011 – your home security design must strike a balance of SECURITY, PEACE OF MIND, CONVENIENCE AND COST.
He added that you should commit to a procedure and follow your procedure which we think is very sound advice.
Family Protection Coverage
While our primary concern is helping others to be proactive in protecting themselves and their properties, we want to promote awareness of the coverages available by endorsement when a policyholder or their homes are harmed or threatened. The family protection endorsements offered by AIG, Berkley One, Cincinnati and Chubb are available to homeowners, condominium/cooperative owners or renters (but varies by state) for an annual cost ranging from $72-$110. Coverage is provided for security consultants, physical and mental recovery, travel, home alteration and vehicle modification expenses after a home invasion or carjacking, or ongoing stalking, threats and kidnap.
Here are some of the new innovations in security:
Remote video monitoring which can tell the difference between a person and a small animal like a racoon or if you live in the city, a rat or a squirrel. Cameras can initiate the action to report to boutique operators who will learn the difference between family members and intruders through the Live Eye technology.
Bullet resistant Lucite glassfor those who want glass that is almost impossible to break.
Shock Sensors that detect shock:
Piezoelectric sensor is a device that uses the piezoelectric effect to measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force by converting them to an electrical charge. The prefix piezo- is Greek for ‘press’ or ‘squeeze’.
The 834L (White) Viper Plus is a frame mountable piezoelectric sensor with a custom ACIC microchip. The sensor responds to the directly conducted energy released by breaking glass. As a result, the Viper will not trigger a false alarm from any ambient sounds, or low frequency vibrations. Additionally, the Viper can be adjusted for single or double knock response to further increase false alarm rejections.
Recessed Shock Sensor
Terminus Recessed Shock Sensors deliver shock sensor technology in a small, flush-mounted package. The SP3227 dual element Recessed Shock Sensor is installed flush with a window or door frame, remaining unnoticed while providing superior perimeter protection. This technology will be triggered by a door slamming so you must train your household how to close doors so as not to trigger the alarms.
24 Hour Alarm Screen for perimeter protection- even with window open. This looks like a regular window screen which triggers an alarm if an attempt is made to tamper or cut the screen.