Category : CHICAGO, IL
Posted on May 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
Vehicle Identification Numbers are unique code combinations given to vehicles when they are manufactured. This code contains the most important identifying details about the car This code cannot be changed, and remains active throughout the car’s life. Consider it as your car’s DNA.
VIN numbers are made up of a serial code of 17 characters. They started being used in 1954, and different manufacturers used different formats of the code until 1981, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States standardized the use of these codes. This standard excludes the use of letters like: “Q, w, o, O, i, and I” from being used as they can all be easily confused with being the numbers 0 or 1.
World Manufacturer Identifier Numbers
The first three symbols of the VIN number determine the WMI (world manufacturer identifier,) showing which manufacturer made your car. The first character of the WMI identifies the area where the vehicle was made. The next 4 characters provide information about the vehicle type, the model, and the body style.
Uses of VIN Numbers
VIN numbers are incredibly helpful if you want to buy a used car. You can use the car’s VIN number to check its history report, and whether it has sustained any damage in accidents or has insurance that covers it. VIN numbers also help identify stolen cars, or specific parts if you need to have your car repaired, or your car keys copied.
Posted on May 5th, 2016 0 Comments
The center of every family is their home; it’s the space for togetherness that adds a sense of safety, regularity, and stability. Not only is the home a financial liability, it’s also a sentimental zone that you want to keep as safe as possible. There’s many options for homeowners that want to beef up their home security; all these upgrades are fantastic choices to increase the safety of your home, but many families overlook a simple risk to home security than can jeopardize all your important preparation – children.
Children can be incredibly volatile and energetic, and might not remember everything that you tell them regarding home security. The majority of children don’t even think about their own safety, much less the structural safety of their home. Teaching children to mind one’s home security system is an important task, that requires a bit of a tactical approach. Here’s some ways that children can compromise home security plans, and how you can address these risks early in order to keep your home and family safe.
Teach children about the security significance of doors and windows (taking mind not to scare them, but to firmly illustrate the lesson.) One major lesson is to teach children how to respond to a knock on the door – never to open right away, to ask who it is, how to behave when you’re home and need to be fetched, and how to respond when they are home alone. Children should be taught not to give any information to strangers who knock on the door – simply ask for a name and a purpose of visit, then get in touch with a parent.
Teach your children about closing the curtains of your home, especially in rooms where there are large, attractive, and expensive looking devices around. I’m not saying that you should become a crazy shut-in, keeping your home swathed in darkness; I’m simply saying to teach your children the value of discretion – by advertising luxury to strangers, you are in some ways inviting a burglary.
Children should be taught to keep garage doorways clear of toys, bicycles, or other objects – especially nowadays, when many garage doors are outfit with motion sensors that keep the door open if an obstruction is sensed. If a child leaves objects in the garage doorway, it will keep the door open and make your property more susceptible to burglary or theft.
Make sure that your child does not publicize or advertise any information about your schedule over the internet. Many children don’t have a filter over their thoughts, and don’t’ cast a doubt on publicizing information like what they got for Christmas, or their excitement about leaving for a two week vacation. To children, this might seem like a completely harmless sharing of information with friends, but in reality any stranger with access to this information could use it as inspiration or strategy for a burglary or home invasion. Make sure that your kids know now to place your home in the public eye – even anonymously over the internet.
Home Security Technology
Teach your children how to operate all your home security devices. This includes teaching them to arm and disarm alarms before they leave the house and when they arrive home – you want this knowledge to become instinctual muscle memory for them. Remember, all it takes is one slip up and some bad luck to instigate a burglary. Children should be taught that alarms – regardless of how fun they look to play with – are not toys, and should never be fiddled with.
Posted on March 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
The majority of people’s conception of security extends to only door and window locks, but it’s a fact that protecting your valuables inside interior safes add an essential additional level of protection. For the peace of mind knowing that your valuables are being adequately protected, there’s no better bet than a safe. Whether you need to protect heirlooms, jewelry, or documents like birth certificates or business records, security safes will protect your assets like no other hardware can. There’s a number of different categories of safes; in this blog post I’ll detail the various types, and what they’re best for.
These safes protect their inner contents from high temperatures, and are given ratings according to the amount of time that they can survive fire temperatures while not letting the internal temperature rise above a certain amount. These safes range in fire safety duration from a half hour to four hours – safes installed within concrete floors are the safest, however since these safes are not watertight, they may fill with water from hoses or sprinklers in case there’s a fire. To be safe, place all items within fire resistant safes inside plastic bags.
This ultra basic safe is hidden within a normal household object like a book, a can, or even a wall outlet. These safes are meant to blend in among the rest of household items, and should be left among real versions of their corresponding objects.
These – usually small – safes are specifically meant to store the eponymous jewelry or other small valuables – they are both burglary and fire proof, and usually have well appointed interiors made with fine wood or fabric – and sometimes with internal drawers or cabinets.
These safes are made to be waterproof – they can withstand extended underwater submersion for extended amounts of time.
These safes are rated based on their ability to withstand the typical variety of tools that burglars use during break ins – they are rated based on the amount of time that they can withstand aggressive attack. These safes, while structurally resistant to forced entry, are not primed for water or fire resistance.
These safes are designed to automatically give out or validate cash – think ATM machines or change makers. All customers or civilians can use them at their convenience – making things much smoother and cost effective for banking or business operations, and creating a controlled and surveilled transaction area.
Fire Resistant Record Protectors
This equipment has large insulated areas (containers, doors, drawers, or doors) that can house individually fire/environment/burglar rated containers with room for storing important records. The design of the compartments are organized based on class ratings for impact/attack resistance and safe fall tests.
Room Sized Fireproof Vault
This special equipment is meant to contain larger materials susceptible to heat ro fire, and can be a somewhat more practical choice over multiple fire rated safes, especially if you’re storing a large amount of items. These vaults are usually employed by larger business or government agencies, and carry some of the highest security class ratings for paper documents or data storage.
Posted on March 3rd, 2016 0 Comments
If you’re at all concerned about the likelihood of a burglar breaking into your home, this article is for you. The fact is that the United States is the world’s leader in burglaries – a burglary happens every 15 seconds, meaning 4 do every minute. While you’re working on your home security, it’s smart to think about these statistics – you might be surprised.
Front Door Vulnerability
Almost thirty-three percent of burglars illegally enter a home through it’s front door. If your home has an old wood door – a hollow door of any type, you must replace it with a solid wood or metal reinforced door. Hollow doors are notoriously flimsy – any burglar with slight leg strength could kick one in. Additionally, activate your home security system each time that you enter or leave your home – and consider getting genuine, or deterrent security cameras, as well as outdoor motion lighting.
Burglars sometimes try entering homes more than one time – think about it, they’ve been inside already, so they know the layout, and might have spotted areas with expensive belongings that they didn’t have the time to access the first time they broke in. If you find yourself the victim of a burglary or break-in, make sure to contact a home security service as soon as possible.
Almost sixty percent of home invasions are accomplished through forced entry – thirty percent of them are accomplished through simply entering an unlocked door or window, with no need for force.
It Doesn’t Matter if Someone is Home
28% of burglaries occur when someone is inside the house – and unfortunately, household members experience personal violence in 7% of burglaries.
Alarm Systems are Great Deterrents
The majority of burglars attempt to figure out if a home has an attached alarm system before trying to break in – and the majority of convicted home-invaders admit to avoiding homes with visible security systems. The majority of burglars will leave the home immediately if an alarm sounds.
Almost twenty-five percent of home invasions involve the cutting of alarm or telephone wires before the break-in is enacted. Wireless home security systems are more secure, because there’s no wires that can be cut. This service is offered by many of the leading home security agencies, and won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
Not many Burglaries are Solved
Only around 13% of burglaries are solved by police – with an even smaller chance of the stolen belongings being recovered or returned.
Significant Losses aren’t Uncommon
In a study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the average monetary loss suffered by households or businesses in burglaries is around 2,185 dollars – and if you factor in the police/investigation costs, it can be almost 20,000.. This amount is much more than the average cost of a home security system – which of course, also doesn’t come with the emotional expense associated with a break-in. Additionally, most home insurance companies offer discounts if a home security system is installed.
Posted on February 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
Buying a good safe is practical and wise investment to make. If you have valuables that merit protection, it’s important to find the best possible safe for your budget. If you need to buy a safe, you need a good safe, not a shoddily constructed one. If you’re simply trying to keep your kids out of your property, a cabinet with a lock will do. But if you’re looking for an incredibly secure area to protect essential valuables, it’s important to find the best one possible – this doesn’t mean that you have to completely break the bank. All safe companies will have a range of options at different price points. Here’s some factors to consider when you’re shopping around. Make sure to know what details to look out for and what questions to ask the manufacturer.
The safest, most sturdy and secure safes are made with continuous welding. This basically means that the weld fuses two metal pieces together perfectly, as opposed to a spot weld, in which multiple pieces are welded at multiple binding points. Vulnerable points in spot welded safes can be broken open with a sledge hammer, drill, torch – or even a specific tool made for that particular purpose. This means, not a safe safe. The best option to invest in is the solid, continuous metal provided in continuously welded safes.
Fire Resistance Ratings
Look into the official tests that the safe was subjected to – make sure to pay attention to the level of heat applied, and how long the test ran for. A safe that was only tested for a short time at a high temperature could technically be just as weak as a safe that was tested for a long time, at a low temperature. If the company cannot provide the details of the testing that the safe underwent in order to merit its rating, you shouldn’t buy from that company. Don’t you want your secure property to be protected?
The complex design of these internal security mechanisms should be able to provide resistance against the most expert of attacks. If the bolt work is shoddily designed so that the locking bolts are linked to the cam of the safe, simply sticking the bolts might open the entire safe. Look at the steel in the locking bolts – the longer that the bolts move into the door frame, the more security the safe will provide against attack. You want as thick and sturdy bolts as possible – as well as rotating lock bolts which will resist any sort of cutting attempt.
If a company provides a lifetime warranty for their product, it’s indicative of high quality products. Warranties differ based on the components of a safe – elements of electronic locks for example, are sometimes bought from outside parties by the manufacturer and integrated into their design. A safe’s dial might have a separate warranty from the safe’s door – this doesn’t usually mean that the safe is poorly designed, unless it’s already cheaply made. You should also pay heed to the country that the safe was manufactured in – safes in China might be able to provide lifetime warranties, as replacement is cheap. The best option is to buy an American made safe, as American factories provide a higher level of quality control than the factories in China.
Most safes have a body which compares only a half or a third to the metal in the door. You want as high a gauge of steel as possible, 12 gauge steel is the absolute lowest level that can be legally defined as a safe – it can be easily broken with a crowbar or fire ax. The way the gauge measurement system works is that the lower the number, the stronger the steel. Having as many layers of stainless steel as possible will help dispel any heat made by torches, not to mention the physical durability that this steel is known for. Definitely don’t trust composite doors, as although they are thick, they have a low steel content, and are vulnerable.
Great safes should last forever, and be passed down throughout generations. While prices vary wildly, it shouldn’t determine what safe you buy, as the quality of safes differ rapidly as well. Ideally, you should be purchasing a safe that perfectly fits your needs, as a long-term essential, not a temporary buy. Think of it as an investment.
Posted on February 4th, 2016 0 Comments
Biometrics identifies unique physical criteria to verify personal identities. Small differences usually undetectable to the human eye, like retinal and iris patterns, finger and palm prints, and DNA is collected and stored by biometric technology to match people’s identity. By combining biometrics recognition systems and security technology, manufacturers have invented a futuristic way of securing one’s personal belongings – their body is the only way that it can be accessed. There’s a number of novel biometric scanning methods; in this blog entry I’ll detail them.
This technology identifies users by the structure of their face. This method doesn’t require any physical contact between the user and the scanning device – cameras simply scan the user’s face and run it through a database of information to verify if they are the proper user. This technology doesn’t usually require expensive hardware, however it provides less security than other biometric methods. It collects measurements of a face’s structure, proportion, and shape, taking factors like jaw, ears, eye size and distance, nose, and facial expressions such as laughing or smiling to determine a specific identity. As a user ages and their face changes, they will need to update their profile information. This is one of the disadvantages of facial recognition,
The iris is a thin circular part of the eye that monitors the size of one’s pupils for purposes of protecting the eye’s retina from light. Iris color varies based on genetic information, from individual to individual. Irises have unique patterns and colors for every person – and iris scanning technology can analyze over 200 areas of the iris, saving the information in a database to compare it against other information in the future. This biometric system is incredibly accurate, expensive, and requires proper installation. However it always works – and can work even if the user has contact lenses or glasses.
There’s two criteria that render one’s voice unique – a behavioral factor known as accent, and a physiological factor of voice tract. The combination of both these factors make it virtually impossible for one to completely imitate someone else’s voice accurately. Biometric vocal recognition technology analyzes vocal tract by asking users to repeat a passphrase or group of numbers into a microphone so that the system can analyze their voice. It is relatively easy to install without the need for expensive hardware. However, it is somewhat vulnerable as unapproved users can record the voice of the verified user and use it to gain control to the system. This method of entry has been protected against by newer voice recognition systems, by utilizing a fail safe which asks users to repeat randomly generated phrases.
Fingerprints are composed of a unique pattern of convex ridges and concave valleys on the surface of the human finger – completely unique for every individual. The ridges are collected in two points- bifurcations, where they split, and endings, where they, well, end. By analyzing the patterns of valleys, ridges, and minutiae points, ultrasound and visual technology can verify the identification of users. This is known as pattern matching which compares all the finger’s surfaces at one time. Minutiae matching compares highlighted specific areas of the fingerprint. This system is easy to use, relatively cheap, and has been widely used by law enforcement for generations. This technology is widely used by consumers, and is integrated with cell phones, laptops, flash drives, or other access systems. The only drawback is that if the fingerprint is damaged by a cut or scar, the machine will not be able to read it.
This technology is relatively new – it identifies the unique system of veins in user’s hands that carry blood to their heart. Every human has veins with unique physical characteristics – vein recognition biotechnology captures an image of the unique vein patterns inside a user’s fingers with infrared light. This system has a higher level of reliability and accuracy than any of the older methods of biometric scanning – and, luckily, is somewhat less expensive than other methods. As an added bonus, the scanning process takes less time than in other methods as well.
DNA Biometric Scanning
Every individual carries their own completely unique DNA. It’s impossible to fake or camouflage one’s own DNA – you simply have your own, a combination of that of your parents. Every cell in the human body has a readable copy of this DNA – and biometric scanning systems can verify one’s DNA by collecting it from a few samples – usually blood, saliva, semen, hair, or tissue. The samples are broken down into small samples into a code known as VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) which repeats at specific intervals – this code essentially makes up the unique DNA profile of an individual. Each DNA fragment is measured, sorted, and captured. This equipment is incredibly expensive and complicated (it’s relatively new) and thus is only used in the most advanced industrial/governmental settings.
Although relatively new, biometrics technology is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best methods of verifying user information for security purposes. It’s being increasingly utilized in consumer settings – as well as by airports, law enforcement, hospitals, militaries, and governments. It eliminates the risk of copied ID cards being used by unscrupulous individuals to gain illegal access to property or data, and reduces the risk of identify theft, which is a growing issue in our culture. As biometrics technology becomes more widely used, it will greatly reduce the amount of thefts in professional, governmental, commercial, and civilian properties.
Posted on February 3rd, 2016 0 Comments
Picture this. It’s closing time, the last customer is out of the door, everything has been cleaned, swept, and mopped, and you’re ready to lock up and head out. You feel the relief of leaving, and then realize that your key is broken in the lock – now you have to find a locksmith, and quick. Before you employ the services of a locksmith though, it’s important to ask them these specific questions.
Are you insured and Licensed?
Why it’s a must-ask: In certain states, locksmiths are required to carry a license, some states don’t have that requirement. However, all locksmiths should be insured. Any reputable locksmith will let you know if their state doesn’t require licensing – but if they’re not insured, you should find another provider.
What kind of work do you do?
You should ask this before telling them the project that you need to get done – many technicians will automatically say yes even if they’ve never accomplished that sort of work before. It’s not worth getting mediocre work done. For slightly more complicated operations, like fixing safe locks or electric hardware, it’s best to verify in advance if the locksmith has experience.
What is your warranty period?
Any trustworthy locksmith will offer a warranty period of 30 days – at minimum – in order to cover any unintentional installation or problems with hardware. If they don’t offer this, find another provider.
What are your rates?
You want this information up-front. Some technicians will charge a set amount of cash per task – for example, they will charge by the lock, rather than by the hour. Some other locksmiths charge by the hour, with a standard one-hour minimum despite how quick the job takes. Some technicians will even charge according to 30 or 15 minute increments. Many technicians also charge travel fees – make sure to ask what the trip fee will be to your location (these include gas mileage and any applicable tolls.)
Do you have any applicable certification?
A professional locksmith will carry themselves according to the top of the industries updates and innovations by completing continual education courses in locksmithing, gathering certificates that verify their experience in specialty locksmith services.
Do you perform employee background checks?
Think about it this way. You’re trusting this locksmith with the safety and integrity of your home or business. They will have complete access to your entire property – and it’s essential for your, your family, your employees, or co-worker’s safety that the person that’s being granted access to your space is a trustworthy person and not a criminal. Any technician that works on your location should have undergone an extensive background check – verify this with their parent company to know for sure.
Do you have an ID / Business Card?
Before the locksmith comes to your door, ask them to show you ID. This could be a state ID or driver’s license. This is important – any reputable locksmith will be happy to show an identification card to prove their trustworthiness – if they refuse, don’t let them in your home.
Do you have a physical location / how long have you been in business?
These sorts of questions help you ensure the professional viability of a locksmith business. Having a physical location, and years of experience will tell you that the locksmith is trustworthy, as well as reliable and skilled through experience.
Posted on January 25th, 2016 0 Comments
Moving into a new home can be a scattered time, where there’s a seemingly endless list of things to take care of. One of the most important things that you can do is make sure that your property is secure and safe for everyone inside. Here are some essential home security tips for those who have recently moved.
Test your Alarm System
Your new home should have already had an alarm system set up inside it at some point – which the realtor likely pointed out to you before you bought it. If the preexisting system is still functioning well, you should change the access code so only you or other members of your family can arm or disarm it’s functions. Once you did that, you should contact a local security alarm service, and have them send an expert over to verify if the system is working correctly. This entails testing every sensor (including fire, carbon monoxide, and smoke detection,) and making sure that the automatic notification systems in the alarm are working well. We suggest discussing your expectations and needs for a security system honestly with a professional technician, so you can potentially receive helpful professional tips about how you can enhance or utilize your existing system to meet your specific needs.
If you’re moving into a home that was just built, ask your real estate agent if it’s already been pre-wired for a security alarm system. Most new houses are – meaning all you’d have to do is contact a local burglar alarm company and have them install the control panel and sensors, so that your home security can be monitored. If the home is so new or so old that it doesn’t have any existing wiring at all, there’s many options for easily-installed wireless alarm systems that can provide your family with the security they deserve. It’s worth keeping in mind that many insurance companies provide discounts on homeowner’s insurance if you have a monitored security alarm system installed in your home. Determine if your home qualifies, and your alarm company will willingly send all applicable information to your security company whenever you ask.
Check all locks and window latches
This might seem obvious, but it’s not that hard to forget to re-key all of the locks in your new home. This is something that should be done as soon as possible after moving in. Not only should you re-key your front door, but also your side doors, back doors, and gates. It’s particularly important to re-key these entrances, because they’re likely somewhat covered and shielded, making them ideal spots for a potential burglar. It’s also important to check all of the window latches and locks in your home, as they can often wear down over time.
Pay mind to what’s around your home
Not only should you be mindful of your security system and functioning locks, but you should also be mindful of the area directly surrounding your home. If you put yourself in the mindset of a burglar, it’s easy to imagine not wanting to be seen – to get inside and outside of a house as quickly and quietly as possible. It’s important to keep your property well landscaped – meaning burglars wouldn’t be able to hide behind trees or unkempt shrubs or bushes. By trimming obstructing plant life, and displaying visible signage that announces that your home is protected with an alarm system, you can manage to both prevent and deter potential burglars at the same time. Follow these rules as soon as you move in, and relax knowing that your home is well protected.
Posted on January 6th, 2016 0 Comments
The entire purpose of locks are to impede the attempts of someone who’s attempting to get into your home for enough time that they will be detected. First of all, it’s essential to have deadbolts installed on your home or business. While many regular lever and knob locks offer an element of security, the denser, stronger deadbolts will effectively deter or delay break-ins completely. One major issue that can occur when deadbolts are incorrectly installed is that the hole on the door frame where the bolt goes isn’t drilled deep enough to allow the bolt to fully deploy, and work effectively. If the bolt of the lock can’t extend completely, the deadbolt is just as ineffective as any shoddily installed lock – meaning it can’t do much.
Leave no Windows for Doubt
Ensure that your windows are checked. If they can slide open, and can be opened from the outside you need to ask yourself if you have another kind of lock on them than the one that was initially present. Many window locks are simply latches that hold windows close; they can’t truly lock them in an emergency, and can be opened with not too much effort. Reinforce the security of your home by adding functional locks to all windows.
Make sure no burglar is sliding through those patio doors
Look into any sliding glass doors present in your home. Traditionally, patio doors are the most vulnerable entry point for houses as they’re usually located in the back of the house, hidden from the view of any watchful neighbors. These doors are usually only secured by the same kind of ineffective latch that holds windows closed, and many can even be lifted completely out of it’s frame from outside – even when locked. Similarly as to your windows, you’re going to want to make sure that there’s an additional form of lock installed on any sliding glass patio door. This can be anything from a deadbolt, to a simple door pin, a tool that secures the moving door to the stationary door – making it much more difficult to lift the door out of it’s frame.
Keep your gates guarded
If your home has a back gate, make sure to secure it with a lock additional to the one that was given when you moved in. Depending on the type of locks you utilize inside your home, you can even purchase a gate lock that can be keyed to the same key as all your home locks – simply to minimize the amount of keys you have to carry around. Lots of bright outdoor lighting couldn’t hurt either.
Update and Upkeep of Locks
Make sure to update all locks in your home, as well as adding deadbolts. Similar to clothing and consumer electronics, you can apply the logic of “you get what you pay for” to locks as well. If you buy a super cheap lock, essentially all you have is a super cheap lock. It’s worth investing in a functional lock – you don’t have to go overboard, but keep in mind that the locks are an essential protector for the safety and integrity of your household. Once you have a good lock correctly installed, make sure to keep up it’s maintenance, keeping it oiled and held tightly by the door.
As a rule of thumb, all keys and locks should be changed the moment you move into a new apartment, house, or office, regardless of any information about recent rekeying the landlord or real estate agent gives you. You never know who may hold copies of the keys provided to you – for safety purposes it’s best to ensure that the only one holding the entry tool to your home is you and your trusted loved ones.