As one of the best home security consultants in Mumbai, we try to educate our clients about home security to a great extent because it is one of the areas that most people take lightly because they are under the impression that – Oh that cannot happen to me! Only when a burglary or murder occurs in their immediate vicinity or in one of the apartments in their residential complex do they sit up and start scurrying around to install security systems in their homes.
Even then one is befuddled due to the lack of information on security systems in the market. One can easily walk out of the house to the local hardware store or mall and buy a security alarm or sensor off the rack. But then what?! Who will take the responsibility of fixing the system to ensure that it is fail proof and working as intended? Who will ensure maintenance. More importantly who will conduct an audit of your house and point out the weak areas where an intruder can gain entry?
Lets face it. Installation of safety and security systems should be best left to the professionals. Professionals who have had hundreds of hours of experience in this area and who will be best equipped to conduct a survey of your house and suggest the best fit for your home. The security needs of a bungalow owner will vary vastly with those of an apartment dweller. Home security consultants like us understand this and offer customized solutions to suit every budget and area requirement.
As the year 2012 draws to a close, let us look at examine some chilling statistics that drive home the point – You and your family are sitting ducks for robbers, thieves, rapists and murderers if you haven’t yet installed a home security system.
Source: The Praja Foundation Report. STATE OF POLICING IN MUMBAI (April 2008 to March 2012)
As we can see from the report there were 447 House Break-ins and 736 car thefts in the North West Mumbai Area alone this year and these are official figures. The unofficial tally could be more than double. This means that one out of ten homes will be burglarized in 2013. A chilling thought!
Remember that very often Burglars commit violent crimes in the course of a break-in. They may have intended to rob but when confronted with an ugly situation or cornered the robber can do anything to escape the scene including murder. Robbers can also rape as seen by the recent rape case of a Spanish woman residing in Bandra whereby the robber had gained access to her flat through an unlocked open door and then went on smoke a chillum before her and then raped her, locking her in the toilet after the act and fleeing with her expensive phone and cash!
The good news as the report below suggests that crime numbers over the years are decreasing but that is no reason to be complacent because we all know that statistics are just that – statistics and you definitely do not want your name figured on such statistics in the future.
Source: The Praja Foundation Report. STATE OF POLICING IN MUMBAI (April 2008 to March 2012)
Basic Safety Precautions For Your Home
Lock Your Door & Window
In almost 50% of all residential burglaries, the thief simply came in through an unlocked door or window! Taking a step towards ensuring the safety of your own and your family’s life begins with something as easy as ensuring you lock your doors and windows at all times. It is amazing how most people fail to follow or are too lazy to follow this cardinal rule for home safety. Is doesn’t cost money and is free! Criminals tell us that they spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. Good locks and good alarms are a big deterrent for burglars.
Also ask yourself, if you were locked out of your home, would you still be able to get in? If you are like most people, you keep multiple keys with people you think you trust and also hide a spare key in nooks and crannies near your entrance door. Criminals know all your hiding places. Do not keep keys in secret hiding places. My advice is to keep a spare key with a trusted neighbour.
Can Alarm Systems Give Me 100 % Security And Peace of Mind?
The bad news is that no matter how sophisticated your alarm system is, if a criminal is determined to break in, they’ll do just that…break in. The good news is that for a small amount of time and money, (and by following the Crime Prevention measures I will set out to detail below) you can make your home more secure and put the odds in your favor of not being a victim. Let us start with the most popular method of entry — the door. Are your doors sturdy or flimsy?
The bottom line is that when it comes to doors, solid wood or metal are your best choices. The front door should have a wide-angle peephole viewer. The purpose of this special type of peephole is to see who is outside without opening the door.
Before we talk about deterrents:
A short comment about door chains –
They don’t work. They’re flimsy, break easily, and they DON’T KEEP OUT INTRUDERS!
Electronic Alarm Deterrents For Intruders
When it comes to deterrents, the old adage is, you get what you pay for. As with anything else, prices and quality vary. During my work as a home security consultant, I have personally tested a dozen alarms in the market and suggest the ones that fit with your needs and budgets perfectky. They range in price from a few thousands of rupees to lakhs.
Criminals always check the doors for flimsiness before attempting to break in. You will also be surprised with the basic tools that they use – screwdrivers and credit cards! A regular flat-tipped screwdriver is used to pry open the mechanism that is located between the door and the area adjacent to it, which is called the jamb.
Step Outside For a While
It’s a good idea to step outside the sanctity of your castle to see how the bad guys see your castle. Criminals tell us that, like Vampires and Cockroaches, they hate bright lights. So the first thing you should do is put a 60 – 100 watt light LED bulb in all the rooms your house.
If your house or apartment complex has floodlights on the outside of your home, turn them on or talk to the secretary of your building to turn them on after dusk and keep them till sunrise. (No money-saving or green energy saving measures here please! It’s your life we are talking about). If the lights have burned out, replace them.
Motion Detection Lights Are a Second Option
If you are really worried about power bills and also care for the environment, then for some extra money you can call residential security consultants like us to install motion detection lights. These have the advantage of not being lit all night and they immediately flood the compounds with lights once they detect any movement. If you decide to install these motion sensors, we always make sure they are aligned properly and placed high enough so the bad guys can’t, simply, unscrew the bulbs. What I really meant by this is to make sure there is no “dead space” whereby a bad guy can stay close to the house and the sensors won’t pick up his movements. Once installed, we also make sure you get it tested at night to ensure that everything works normally.
A Word Of Caution
Some of these systems are very sensitive and any stray dog or cat will immediately light up your yard like the Brabourne Stadium during a day-night match! If you’re a bungalow owner and are away from your house for extended periods of time or if you travel, invest in timers for your lights.
Setting Timers on The Lights In Your House
Also remember that Criminals watch a house for a few nights before they make an entry. Do not assume them to be dumb. Lights left on 24 hours a day signal an empty house — one that will actually attract robbers instead of repelling them.
Setting timers on lights on your house or compound is an option. When you set your timers, the lights come on at different time, in different rooms. This creates the illusion that you’re home.
Here are a few more proactive things to do:
- Make a list of your valuables by serial number.
- Keep the list in your office or at a trusted friend or relative’s house.
- Take photos of your valuables and put the serial numbers on the back.
- Again, keep these in a location other than your house. Don’t let the mail pile up.
Another Very Important Tip For Your Safety
Newspapers, milk pouches, puja flowers etc. gathering dust outside your house for two or three days immediately signals to an intruder that the owners are on vacation! So if the house is going to be empty for more than a day, inform the newspaper delivery guy, the milkman, the garland guy and whoever else drops off things outside your door on a daily basis to stop services until notified to resume. Ask a neighbour to hold your couriers and other snail mail for you.
Purchase an inexpensive engraver from a local hardware store and engrave your name on all your valuables like TVs, Hard Drives, stereos, and computers. Together, these are the least expensive things you can do to protect yourself and your property.
Do You Need an Alarm System For Your House
And Why You Should Hire a Consultant For the Job
If you have valuables in your home, (and who among us doesn’t) if you live in an isolated area or if anyone in your neighborhood has ever been the victim of a break-in, you need an alarm.
Alarms range from cheap gadgets to ones that cost lakhs and can put Inspector Gadget to shame! Though there are plenty of basic Do-it-yourself security alarms and sensors available in the market we suggest that you get consultants to install it for you. Consultants have the knowledge, skills and expertise required to install these systems in place to ensure that they work without any glitches. Because what good is a security system if it’s not working the way it is supposed to or if it fails when a robber shows up. Also due to our relationship with the manufacturers and also due to the fact that we buy products on bulk, we can pass on heavy discounts to our clients adding to substantial savings when it all adds up.
Don’t you be the “bad guy” to your Neighbours
Home security consultants will regularly test test your system – usually in the daytime to avoid waking the neighbours up!
11:00 pm or 12:00 noon is probably a good time for testing. Also, we advise our clients on how not to set off false alarms which can make you hugely unpopular with the other residents of your apartment complex! Remember a decade and a half back when car alarms were in vogue? Remember the parking lots in your residential complex? Every car had their alarms set to the highest sensitivity where merely brushing up against a car set off WWII Blitzkrieg alarms. In time, people became desensitized to the sounds of car alarms. Now, no one notices when a car alarm goes off. But it pays to instal your alarm systems right so that it does not become a pain to your neighbours.
Stay Alert If You Think There is An Intruder In Your House
Criminals tell us that they try to be in and out of a house they’ve broken into within 2-3 minutes. They also tell us that if confronted, their mode changes from thief to armed robber and sometimes to rapist and murderer. If you arrive home and notice the front door partially open or the window open DO NOT GO IN! Instead, immediately go to a neighbour’s house and call 100 for Mumbai Police or just get away from your home and call the Mumbai police emergency number 100 from your cell phone.
We will discuss more tactics on how to deal with intruders when they are inside your house in a later article. Right now I would like you to go through the above article once more to understand the implications of what I have said and if you haven’t installed a security system in your home yet do it now! If you live in Mumbai, you can call me on +91 98206 07875 for a consultation on the best security solution for your home or office.
Its the last weekend of 2102. Have fun and remember – SAFETY FIRST. Drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive. Ensuring your own and your family’s safety should be your number 1 resolution for the year 2013!
Amit Sen, a commercial pilot by training, has over 15 years experience in the space of corporate investigations, handling Copyright & Trademark infringement cases, Pre – employment verification Industrial Espionage investigations, Asset & Net – Worth assessment assignments and vendor / supplier verification cases, among others. Co-founder of Alliance One Detectives – which is the best home security consultants in Mumbai. Apart from specializing in home security, Amit has also successfully completed assignments in a wide range of sectors, including the machine tools industry, pharmaceutical industry, hospitality sector, specialized equipment (Oil & natural gas sector, aviation industry etc.), telecom industry & the IT & ITes sectors. These cases have all involved both offline and online investigations.