Better Home and Office Security
“Who’s that at the door?”
If you hear someone knocking, can you tell who it is without opening the door?
As the days get shorter, more and more of us — business people, parents of busy children, everybody, in fact — find ourselves out and about in the dark. And while crimes can happen at any time, being in the dark certainly gives us less chance to see trouble coming.
I am all for simple and effective security solutions. Here are a couple of improvements we can all consider.
Better Perimeter Security at the Office
If you are alone in the lighted front office, and it’s dark outside, you may wish you had an extra layer of security around yourself.
(Now we’ve written before to business owners about the importance of securing entrances to the business. Upgrading your entire perimeter with mechanical or electronic security devices – fencing, gates, lighting, etc. – would be costly and time-consuming. Of course, it may be worth it to strengthen your insurance coverage and to avoid legal threats. If you’re interested, here’s a link to that earlier Advisory : http://emergencyplanguide.org/security-at-the-front-door/.)
But getting back to the convenience and safety of the person alone in the office . . . here is one easy upgrade worth considering.
Add a perimeter alert system.
What is it? It’s a wireless motion detector that sends an alert when, for example,
- a delivery truck arrives at the freight entrance
- a car comes through the front gate
- a person appears at the back door.
The model below looks perfectly adequate and is not too expensive. A brief description is below the image — click on it, or on the link, to get all the details at Amazon. CAUTION: As always, compare prices carefully at Amazon! Prices vary considerably, since vendors set the price they think they can get. And sometimes, they’re looking for a quick sale, and you can benefit!
This model has two parts. The motion detector — about the size of a baseball — attaches to a building or wall, where its sensitivity and visual field can be adjusted in a variety of ways to suit the location and your needs. It can send a signal for up to 2,000 ft. to the receiver, generating different tones to distinguish between the different alerts.
The receiver plugs into the wall; the detector operates off a 9 volt battery.
Naturally, you’d have to buy one sensor for each entrance you want to protect.
Would something like this make sense to the person alone at the front desk or in a back office at your workplace?
Better Perimeter Security at Home
Lately we’ve seen more and more internet-driven devices that offer home comfort, and now more home security.
Various companies offer “home security programs” that consist of multiple door and window locks, cameras and a console that connects to a remote monitoring office. You can set the alarm system to work while you’re away, or set it at a lesser level so it’s on at night when you’re asleep. In an alarm is tripped, the monitoring company or the police are called. Typically, these systems require professional installation and have a monthly charge (and a contract).
Again, for this Advisory I was looking for something simpler and less expensive.
Something focused on the front door at your house.
- If someone knocks at your front door, do your children automatically run to open it?
- Do you have to peer through the curtain or a window to see if you can recognize who is there before you open the door?
- What happens if someone knocks in the middle of the night?
Do these questions make you wince?
If so, you may want to consider installing a video door bell.
You’ve seen the ads. The scary-looking guy comes to the door with a questionable story. Without having to open the door, the mother see who he is, tells him she’s not interested and sends him away.
I took the time to look into these devices. Here’s some of what I learned.
First, there are at least a half dozen on the market. All have the same basic characteristics:
- A video camera films your entrance.
- The camera is triggered by a motion sensor or a person pressing the doorbell.
- The camera connects to your home wi-fi system.
- A downloadable app allows you to view the video and also to speak with the visitor via your smartphone or tablet.
- You can save and store the video for later viewing.
As you can imagine, different products have variations on these features. So, when you’re shopping, compare with the help of these questions.
- Consider the video quality you want or need. And how big is the image? What’s the resolution? The best video camera tends to be the most expensive, of course.
- What triggers the camera? Someone actually pressing the doorbell? Or simply approaching the door? From how far away?
- How much flexibility do you have in setting up the motion sensor? Range, multiple ranges, sensitivity, etc.
- What about its source of power? Is it hardwired through your regular doorbell, or battery operated? Do you have a choice?
- How well does the system operate at night or in other low light conditions?
- How is the video footage stored? How long? What do you have to pay for storage?
And a couple other things to consider to protect your system from being hacked.
- Can you set your own password?
- How will the security updates be provided by the manufacturer?
- Can you disable remote viewing (and just use your system while at home)?
With all this information in mind, and after reviewing the top doorbell video products, here’s the one that seems to be the best seller. I’d start by looking at it.
This model is at the upper end of the price range. It has to be hardwired. Since it looks like a regular doorbell, it doesn’t announce itself as would a mounted security camera. Oh, and it comes in four different colors.
Once again, look carefully at all the models, and at all the prices before you buy. Maybe it could be an early Christmas present?!
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
P.S. I’ve written before about outdoor lighting as a security device. When the light outside my bedroom window foes on at 4 am, I am pleased to know it’s working, and to know I can look out and see just what triggered it. That peace of mind is worth a lot — and that’s what I’m trying to achieve with the security recommendations in this Advisory!
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