6 Tips to Help Avoid Door Knocking Scams

‘Tis the season for door-to-door sales, and with it, door knocking scams. Over the last couple of years, we’ve started to see more reports about security company door knocking scams. These scams occur when a representative shows up at your door claiming to be from your security company and says they need to upgrade your system. Or, they’ll say their security company bought out your security company.

This can lead to you being double billed or unknowingly signing on with a different company, potentially costing you thousands of dollars once you are locked into a contract with monthly monitoring and large cancellation fees.

With this in mind, we’ve gathered an easy list of do’s and don’ts for when a door-to-door security salesperson knocks on your door.


Ask the salesperson to show you company I.D. and branded marketing materials. You can also take a look to see if they are driving a marked company vehicle. Any sales rep should have business cards, flyers or brochures with company branding on them. Additionally, many salespeople have company issued I.D.s with them, featuring their name, a photo and the company information. When in doubt, you can always ask to see these items.


Feel pressured to sign anything on the spot.  You should have time to thoroughly read any document you sign and research the company before signing into a contract. Additionally, read the language carefully as you’re looking through the contract. Look for company branding and clear, specific mention of what company you’re signing a contract with.


Call the security company’s number to verify they have a rep in the area if you are in doubt. Simply look up the company’s official number if you don’t know it and call to speak with a customer service department. They should be able to tell you who is out in the field. Additionally, they can possibly track their representative’s location to confirm you are talking to an authorized representative.


Let the salesperson or technician into your home without a confirmed appointment. Your security company should prearrange and confirm any security system repairs or installs with you in advance. Don’t let anyone cut into your wall without a confirmed appointment — this is a tactic used to pressure people into signing with a scam-my company.


Know your rights. State law allows everyone a 3 day “cooling off period,” in which you can cancel your contract 3 days after signing from a door-to-door sale. Read more about the cooling off period here.

Remember that you can call us any time at (503)207-5300, or call your local police department’s non-emergency line if you have someone at your door who is being aggressive or who is refusing to leave. All First Response employees in the field have company issued I.D. to identify themselves and drive a marked vehicle. Our goal is to provide you peace of mind and a higher standard of customer service — and that means we won’t use pressure you to decide on the spot.

Spring Clean Your Security

Ah, spring. The blossoms are blooming, the allergies are hitting, and the sun is making a (more frequent) guest appearance in our lives again. And if it hasn’t already, the urge to furiously clean and declutter everything might have already hit you. While Marie Kondo-ing your home is great and all, when was the last time you cleaned up your security? Check out our simple tips below for spring cleaning  your cyber, home or business security this spring.

Inside Your Property

  • Change out the batteries on your smoke and CO detectors, and test them to make sure they’re working properly. While you’re at it, inspect your fire extinguisher to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Test out your alarm system and update emergency contacts, if needed.
  • Inspect your doors and windows to make sure all locks are still working properly.
  • Replace your furnace filters — not only will this help with those pesky pollen allergies, it will help keep the filter free and clear of accumulation that could lead to a fire.

Outside Your Property

  • Clean your security cameras and light fixtures and replace any light bulbs that have gone out.
  • Maintain your landscaping — make sure to trim bushes and trees near windows back to leave potential thieves nowhere to hide.
  • Check your security signs and stickers. Are they looking a little old and sun faded? Call your security company to get new ones. In one study, more than 60% of convicted burglars said that signs of a security system would make them reconsider robbing the house.
  • Perform your own security audit outside your property. If you were going to rob it, how would you do it? Check the points of entry you would try yourself and see how difficult they would be to get through. Then, make any upgrades as necessary.

Cyber Security

  • Delete what you no longer use. This includes unused apps on your phone, emails you’re no longer interested in being subscribed to and old emails and files you don’t need any more.
  • Make sure your software is updated on your devices and your router. This should happen on a frequent basis as it is, but if you’ve been putting off, now is the time.
  • Review your passwords and ensure you have unique passwords. Consider using an online password manager like LastPass to help with this and create as strong of passwords as possible – see tips from Wired on how to do so.
  • Safely get rid of your old computers/phones/floppy disks, etc. View a list of local computer recycling sites in the Portland area here.


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5 Simple Tips for a Safe Winter

You know the security basics — having a security system, posting your security signs and stickers, keeping your property clean and landscaped and having good lighting. But with the colder, rainier weather comes a whole new set of winter safety tips and security measures to consider.

We’ve gathered a list of some easy items to check off your list to help keep your property secure in these longer, darker and rainier months.

Clean your video surveillance camera lenses

Weather happens. Dust collects. Spiders settle in. All of these factor into the visibility of your security camera lens. And since the whole purpose of the camera is to be able to see what’s going on (or what has gone on), keeping the camera lens clean is essential. To clean your surveillance camera lens, try the following:

  • Use a soft brush to gently clear away any dirt or debris on the camera lens and around the camera exterior. If there is a significant amount of buildup on the lens, try washing it with warm water
  • Then, take a microfiber cloth and rub it over the lens to remove any remaining build up

If you have any questions about surveillance camera maintenance for your interior or exterior camera, refer to your camera’s User Manual or feel free to give us a call any time at (503)207-5300.

Inspect batteries in your smoke and CO detectors and alarm system sensors and clean around them

So you weren’t pulled out of your precious REM cycle at 2:30 am this year by the chirp on your smoke detector telling you it’s time to change your battery – that’s great. But as time creeps on, the battery on your smoke and CO slowly drain and it’s important to test them regularly to ensure they are in good working order.

An easy trick to make sure they are always powered properly? Check on the batteries in your CO and smoke detectors during daylight savings when you move your clocks forward or backwards. In addition, it’s always a good idea to keep the area around these devices clean and dust free to ensure their sensors work at maximum efficiency.

Not sure how to check your battery life? Check out our Tech Tip video on it here. For older devices, a good rule of thumb is to gently twist the cover and replace the battery when the cover comes off.

Check your property for any water damage or warping

Before the great Oregon rain officially arrives and stays for the next six months straight, it’s a good idea to walk your property inside and out to check for water damage and other issues that might impact not only your property, but how your security system works with your property.

Water damage or warping can cause alarm sensors to move or cease working, leaving weak spots in your security system. Catching this damage soon after it happens is integral in ensuring your door and window sensors still work properly and remain where they were originally installed.

Common signs of water damage include stains, discoloration, material separation and mold or mildew smells. If you think water has damaged your security system, call your security provider to have a technician review the situation.

Consider a video doorbell to monitor packages

Did you know that 30% of Americans report that they’ve had a package stolen at some point? It seems like package thieves are in the news every few months in the Portland area,  preying on unattended porches to snag packages before the owner is any the wiser. Video doorbells can quickly put a stop to that — or at least give you the peace of mind of knowing who is at your door.

With a video doorbell like the Skybell, you simply have it installed in place of your regular doorbell, download an app on your smartphone and wa-lah! You receive notification any time someone comes to your porch — with live video — and have the ability to communicate directly with them. And should someone run away with that perfect gift you found for your kids, rest assured that the app has the footage recorded and ready to send to the authorities.

Prepare in advance for emergencies

If the memory of being stuck in 4+ hours of traffic during the snowpocalypse 2 years ago isn’t enough to encourage you to stock up on emergency supplies, we aren’t sure what is. Make sure to have food, water and an up-to-date emergency kit stashed in your car, as well as in a safe place in your house before the foul weather hits.

A basic car emergency kit includes:

  • Battery operated flashlights and a radio
  • Extra batteries for these devices
  • A First Aid kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Road flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Tarp
  • Cat litter or sand for slick, icy roads
  • A blanket or extra warm clothing

But of course, customize to suit your needs — an extra phone charger in your car may be useful, or maybe extra baby formula if you have a newborn.

While it can be difficult to prepare for everything Oregon’s winter season may throw your way, we hope these winter safety tips will help. For more information about  securing your home or property for winter, or with any questions about services First Response offers, give us a call at (503)207-5300.

About First Response

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard’ enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

Common Portland-Area Scams and How to Avoid Them

Lately, it might seem like they’re everywhere — phone scams. Email scams. Door-to-door sales scams. This feeling isn’t wrong. Reports of scams to the Federal Trade Commission have increased from 906,129 total reports in 2006 to more than 2.7 million in 2017, with a reported $905 million lost just last year. And the Portland area isn’t immune. Over the summer, our community saw a few different scams surface.

What are common Portland area scams and what can you do to avoid them? We’ve gathered a few tips on how to handle each situation.

Phone scams

In July, Portland Police warned the community of a phone scam going around where the caller claims to be an officer or government employee. The scammer says that you have missed a court date or have a warrant out for your arrest. They say that you need to pay immediately through wire transfer or a gift card (like an iTunes gift card.) It’s important to remember that Portland police doesn’t call individuals or demand money any time, under any circumstances. They don’t call seeking outstanding payments for citations or warrants.

Other scams, called grandparent scams, have been common in the area as well. This scam involves a grandparent receiving a frantic call from a “grandchild” claiming that they are in trouble – like being detained in another country or being in trouble with the law — and saying they need money through wire or gift card immediately.

What you can do if you are targeted:

  • Hang up.
  • Remember that you don’t have to decide or pay immediately. You can do more research and take some time to consider the offer or what the person is saying before doing anything.
  • Don’t trust caller ID — scammers can fake phone numbers to make it looks like they are local or from a legitimate business or government agency.
  • Know that government agencies and most businesses won’t require you to pay through a wire transfer, or to pay using re-loadable cards or gift cards.
  • Awareness is important. Talk with your grandparents or parents about these kinds of scams so they know what to look for.

Email scams

We’ve all heard about them before — the dreaded phishing scams that have fooled even some of the world’s most tech savvy.

This summer, Hillsboro Police warned of an email phishing scam targeting people who receive their paychecks through direct deposit. With this scam, you would receive emails from an address that looked like your employer, asking you to enter your bank account information. Hillsboro Police encourage the community to double check in person or over the phone with their HR department if they receive an email like this, and don’t update any personal information through a similar email.

What you can do to avoid phishing scams:

  • Before clicking any link or entering any information that comes from an email, double check the email address the message is coming from. Look carefully — phishers can change one character to make the address seem legitimate. Like google.com to goog1e.com.
  • If the address looks okay but the language seems off, ask the person if they sent you the email. This could also give them a heads up that their account has been hacked.

What to Know About door-to-door security company scams

Although there have not been recent reports of this scam circulating in the area, security sale scams are on the rise according to a report by NBC News, so we figure this is a good reminder to all about door-to-door security scams. These scams involve a door-to-door salesperson trying to sell you a new security system, whether or not you already have a system in place. Either this, or they claim to be from your current security company and say they need to “upgrade” your system immediately, or perform maintenance work. This can lead to you being double billed, by your real alarm company and the company who scammed you. The salesperson might express the urgency behind the offer, will not have an appointment scheduled, and might try using scare tactics like citing made up statistics about the crime rate in your neighborhood.

What you can do to avoid door-to-door security sale scams:

  • Ask to see a salesperson’s company ID.
  • Don’t feel pressured sign on the spot. Ask for some written material to look over and for some time to review the contract before you sign.
  • Request documents about the security services — they should have basic marketing material from the alarm company.
  • Call your security company to check with them if they’ve sent someone to your house or area.
  • Don’t let people who come for unscheduled maintenance visits inside your home. To perform any maintenance, there should always be a scheduled appointment.


About First Response

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

A Day in the Life of a Monitoring Center Dispatcher

When you hear the voice on the other end of the line — “Thank you for calling First Response, how can I help you?”— it can be easy to forget that not only does the person who answered the phone field all incoming calls, they also provide true life safety and security to our wonderful clients and community. The operators and dispatchers in our UL listed monitoring center, iWatch, answered a whopping 2,875 number of calls just last week, and are the people behind-the-scenes who answer alarm calls, perform hourly welfare checks on officers, dispatch officers, contact emergency services and more.

To shed a little light on the tasks and duties of an operator and dispatcher, we’ve captured a snapshot of a typical shift at our in-house monitoring center in the Beaverton/Portland area.

22:50 – Receive pass-down information from previous dispatcher to prepare for upcoming shift change.

23:05 – Conduct a welfare check on all patrol officers.

23:10 – Review on-site check-in sheet to be sure all on-site officers have checked in for the start of their shift.

23:25 – Receive an alarm call from monitoring company and dispatch an officer to respond.

23:40 – Officer arrives to alarm call. Check on his status every 10 minutes until he is clear.

00:10 – Receive a noise complaint of a loud party. Dispatch an officer to speak to offending apartment.

00:35 – Receive a parking complaint from an apartment complex. Dispatch an officer to ticket/possibly tow vehicle.

00:40 – Officer investigates an open door at one of her routine patrols. Start checking her status every 5 minutes until she clears.

00:50 – Officer with open door found no one on site but cannot secure the door. Called the account’s Emergency Contacts and left messages. Finally reached an Emergency Contact that will come down and secure the door. Officer will stand by until his arrival.

02:40 – Receive call from the Police Department. They need assistance from an officer to gain entry to a school where a broken window has been found. Dispatched an officer to assist PD.

03:12 – Receive a “Blue Phone” emergency call from a college campus of a woman is locked behind the gate and needs to be let off campus. Dispatched an officer to assist her.

03:32 – Receive a call from a client wanting extra patrols due to their burglary system being down. Transferred them to the Watch Commander.

04:20 – Receive a call of multiple alarms at a school. Dispatched two officers to check on alarms.

04:35 – Officers arrive to previous school call and witness through a window 2 juveniles in the hallway. Dispatched the Police Department to assist in apprehending the juveniles. Continue to check on officer’s status every 5 minutes until PD arrives.

05:35 – Receive a call of a fire alarm at a business. Dispatched Officer to give Fire Department access to building.

06:10 – Did not receive a check-in from an on-site. No answer for site phone or personal cell. Notified the Watch Commander and he had me send a patrol to check for officer on site.

06:40 – Starting sanitizing work station and organizing any paperwork.

06:50 – Give pass-down to relief of all current calls being handled by officers.

07:00 – End of shift.

To learn more about the services First Response offer, contact us today!

About First Response

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

3 Key Questions to Ask About Video Surveillance

In the security realm, there can be few things more daunting than picking the right video surveillance for your home or business. You might wonder: Where is the data stored? Can you see the footage at any time? Is the footage safe from hackers? What happens if the camera breaks?

In the final part of our three part series on choosing a security provider, we review a few of the best questions to ask when narrowing down your list of companies to work with on video surveillance.

Is my information safe and secure from cyber threats?

You want your security to be, well, secure. So the companies you consider working with should be able to tell you about the security measures and equipment they have in place to protect your surveillance footage from being accessed by anyone without permission. Researchers have reported numerous vulnerabilities in surveillance systems in the past few years. Chinese camera makers Dahua and Hikvision both suffered massive security breaches in 2017, when researchers discovered security flaws in both systems. These flaws allowed hackers to access the camera’s admin account and view footage or change account information as they pleased. Read up on the company your cameras would come from, and ask your potential security provider about it. Make sure the cameras encrypt data as it comes in and won’t allow for a back door password.

Can I use my recorded video in court, if needed?

Unbeknownst to many, for a court to consider video surveillance in a case, the footage must have a watermark with a clear date and time. Some consumer video surveillance systems you can buy online or at your local electronics store don’t offer this feature. Meaning: your chances of being able to use your surveillance footage as evidence goes away. And the evidence is why you invested in surveillance in the first place, right? The timestamped footage must also be correct to use in court, making this a good thing to double check on daylight savings!

What is the warranty on my video equipment?

If your camera suddenly breaks, knowing what options you have for replacing it can mean the difference between spending nothing and dropping an extra $200 or more. Most DIY models on the market don’t offer a warranty on parts, and if your original camera breaks, you’ll have to reinstall the second one yourself all over again. First Response offers a one year parts and labor warranty and a 5 year manufacturer warranty. So if your camera breaks for a covered reason, you won’t foot the bill.

There are many other things to consider when choosing video surveillance (like camera specs and installation requirements). But these 3 questions can help you get moving right direction.

About First Response

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

What to Ask When Choosing An Alarm Company

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones, including the best company to work with to provide security and peace of mind. That’s why asking the right questions before signing the dotted line on an agreement can mean the difference between great services, great customer support, years of experience and…being locked into a long-term commitment with a company that has no experience and won’t return your phone calls.

For the first part of this three-part series, here are a few good questions to ask when choosing a security system provider:

1. How long has the company been in business?

The longevity of a security company can tell you a lot about their experience in the industry as well as the customer support and services they provide. If they have been in business for a long time, something is working right — and even if you can start with a newer company for cheaper, you can trust that a long-standing security company has a history of customers who are happy with their service.

2. How does the security company provide training to operate the system for new and existing customers?

Are the field technicians certified in the products they install? Do the technicians stop and take the time to explain the in and outs of a system before they leave you to run it on your own? Do they explain to you how to properly arm and disarm your system, and what zones mean? These are important steps for operating your system correctly and making you feel confident in the system you trust to keep you safe.

3. What kind of technology does the company offer?

Security systems are advancing all the time and have a wide range of capabilities. If you are looking for specific technology — for instance, one that lets you arm or disarm your system remotely, send video clips to your phone, or adjust your house temperature when you are away from home — ask the company if they are able to provide these services.

4. Does the security company operate its own in-house monitoring center, or does it outsource to another company?

It’s a little known fact that alarm monitoring for many companies is sub-contracted to a monitoring center outside of the home state of the security company, which helps the economy in other areas, but not your local economy.  While operators can technically work from anywhere with the correct equipment, it’s good to think about whether working with local operators is important to you or not and asking the company about it.

5. What kind of alarm response does the company provide?

“Alarm response” means different things to different companies. A good question to ask is: Does the security company offer alarm response with their own, professionally trained security officers, or do they call the police to respond to an alarm? Choosing a company with their own, in-house alarm response can make a drastic difference in response speed.

Selecting the right security provider for you can be a big and challenging decision, which is why it’s important to understand how the company works and have the answers to all your questions before you choose the company that is right for you.

To learn more about the services First Response offers, contact us today.


About First Response

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

The Pitfalls of Self Monitored Alarm Systems

Today, there are endless options for home security systems that let you do everything from adjust your thermostat and check on your pet during the day, to arm your alarm from your phone if you forget to set it when you leave for the day.

With all this technology, it’s no wonder that the “Do it Yourself” (DIY) (also known as “Monitor it Yourself” (MIY), or “Self Monitor”) security movement is in full swing. Why would you pay someone else to install and/or monitor your alarm when you can access surveillance footage and receive alarm alerts any time on your phone or tablet?

It might not be so easy. Here are 3 benefits of professional monitoring to consider before going the full DIY/MIY route in an attempt to save an average of $1 per day.

1. True 24/7 Monitoring

Being able to tap into your indoor or outdoor surveillance footage on your phone any time is pretty hard to beat. You can make sure your dog walker arrives on time, or check to see who’s at the door.  But then there are those times when you’re — gasp! — away from your phone, or out of cell service range. And it probably happens more often than you think. When you’re at work, in a meeting, hiking, at a movie, sleeping, or on a date, you’re probably not checking in on your phone.

And while the surveillance footage that comes from MIY is certainly better than nothing, having a live operator who can verify the alarm and who is ready to send help at a moment’s notice can save you thousands of dollars in property lost or damaged, plus fines from dispatching police to a false alarm.

2. Central Monitoring Centers have back up power…for days

So you left your house and forgot to charge your phone — trust us, you are not alone. But when your battery sinks below 1% and no one in your office is volunteering their spare charger, who is going to watch over your security system? Central monitoring centers like ours are required to have battery back up and diesel generators that will power the station for multiple days on end.  Their battery power will never reach 1%, meaning you will never lose service.

3. Private Alarm Response

Your alarm has gone off  — now what? Is your plan to call a neighbor and ask them to put themselves into a potentially dangerous scenario to verify if a break-in occurred? Will you respond yourself? Our service allows our Operator to view alarm events and/or video while dispatching one of our Alarm Response Officers to check on the alarm at any time of day. We have Officers patrolling all over the Portland metro area 24/7, and our operators are trained in how to calmly react and respond to a variety of situations, dispatching the Officer closest to the incident for maximum response speed.

In summary, receiving MIY text and video alerts to your phone can make a GREAT addition to professional monitoring and provide you with a number of useful benefits, like those offered through the Total Connect app. Considering the benefits above, you can take advantage of true value and peace of mind that comes from trained, professional Operators monitoring your system around the clock — without worrying about low batteries or interruptions.

About First Response

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

What is a UL Listed Monitoring Center?

If our Officers and alarm systems are the heart of First Response Security, then iWatch, our in-house UL listed central  monitoring station, is the brain. Our highly trained operators are constantly in contact with our professionals in the field, monitoring alarms and surveillance, dispatching officers, keeping accounts updated and answering a truly impressive amount of calls each day.

And while we’re very proud of our operators and our in-house monitoring center’s UL listing, we understand that not everyone knows exactly what a UL listed monitoring center is. Here is a brief breakdown of UL and how our UL listing is just another part of our Mission towards providing a Higher Standard of security solutions.

What is UL?

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a global safety science company based out of Illinois. OSHA has approved the agency for administering safety testing in the U.S. Basically, UL creates a series of “Standards” that companies must meet to become UL listed or certified.

UL works with government agencies as well as companies in the alarm and fire safety industries (plus many others). They hold companies to high standards of safety and security by testing, inspecting and evaluating alarm systems and monitoring centers for reliability. In addition to this, they also perform a surprise evaluation each year to ensure that the UL listed company remains operating at the highest standard.

What does it mean to be a UL listed central station?

In short, being a UL listed central station means that our monitoring center is held to the highest possible safety standards. The tests are scrupulous and detailed, evaluating everything from the building to alarm monitoring processes. Becoming a UL listed central station requires utilizing two backup generators that can keep the building’s power supply steady for hours on end in case of a power outage, installing emergency lighting in and around the building, building a man trap before entering the premises, ensuring server and internet redundancy, having two operators on duty at all times…the list goes on.

What does a UL listed monitoring center do?

This will vary by company. Our monitoring center, iWatch, monitors residential and commercial intrusion alarms and fire systems, dispatches officers to answer alarm notifications, acts as a virtual guard for video surveillance and provides answering services for security companies all over the country.

What does working with a UL listed monitoring center do for you?

You can bask in the additional peace of mind that comes from knowing that a UL listed central station like ours has been through some of the most rigorous safety and security testing in the United States — and UL will continue to evaluated us on upholding these standards for years to come.

How to Stay Secure in 6 Easy Steps

We’ve all experienced it — you see the Nextdoor post about break ins around your neighborhood, or the broken glass outside the business down the street from yours. There is some suspicious activity going on around you, and while this can be a scary thought, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent your business or home from becoming the next target. We chatted with our team of local experts to come up with some practical security tips.

Invest in a security system. The whole purpose of a security system is to help should your property ever be targeted for theft, vandalism or other suspicious behavior, right? According to the FBI’s annual crime report, there were more than 1.5 million burglaries in the U.S. in 2016. The good news? That number is down over 25% from what it was in 2012. In a study at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology from 2012, 60% of criminals surveyed said that an alarm presence would cause them to seek an alternative building. And if they discovered an alarm while attempting a burglary, more than half commented that they would vacate the property immediately.

Display your security company’s signs and stickers. This one goes hand in hand with investing in a security system. The same study from North Carolina noted that signs of increased security — like alarm stickers and signs from your security company, or surveillance cameras — were a deterrent when placed in windows, doors or yards where people can see them.

Keep your property well lit. Having good lighting, paired with keeping any bushes or trees near windows trimmed, can also discourage targeting due to lack of a convenient hiding place. No one wants the spotlight on them when they are up to something dubious, after all. According to a survey done by KGW last year of 86 inmates serving time for burglary in Oregon, homes with large bushes or trees and blind spots are ideal targets. Things like motion activated lights and 360 degree lighting coverage leave intruders nowhere to hide.

Know your neighbors. Make it a point to get to know the neighbors on your street. Better yet, form a neighborhood watch to keep an eye on the block and alert police if anything suspicious is happening. It also doesn’t hurt to give a trusted neighbor your contact information in case they see something odd happening around your property.

Consider video surveillance. Installing video cameras, motion activated cameras and video doorbells are all great ways to get an idea of what is happening on your property quickly, whether through a monitoring center like ours or through a convenient App on your phone. And researchers in that same UNC 2012 study found that nearly 40% of those involved with property theft said seeing a security camera would factor into their decision to go somewhere else.

Make sure you have an emergency contact list. One of the most forgotten security items is also one of the easiest! Make sure to update your emergency contact list for your alarm system on a regular basis, in case there is ever a situation when you don’t answer your phone when your alarm system is activated.