Archive for August, 2011

National Campus Safety Awareness Month

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

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September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month. In all of the excitement of college starting, many people don’t stop to think about safety on college campuses, or don’t want to think about it . Yet, the crime statistics on campuses across the country are staggering.  We encourage students and their parents to take time to raise awareness about campus safety and security and to talk about these tips. 

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Emergency numbers of campus security, friends and family should be programmed into your phone’s speed dial.

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Know what types of services your campus security provides and use them.

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Walk lighted paths, don’t use ‘shortcuts’ and walk with someone else whenever possible. Often, security will provide an escort if you have to walk alone.

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Know your campus and your surroundings well, what they look like in daytime as well as night. Where are some safe spots along the routes you take in case you are followed?

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Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return.

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Be aware of what is going on around you.  Wearing headphones while walking or running will eliminate one of your greatest safety assets: listening.

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Always lock your doors and lock your windows at night. Don’t loan your key or key card to anyone. Keep track of your identification.

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Do not prop doors or leave them unlocked.  If security in your dorm is lax, let someone in charge know what needs to be changed.

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Many crimes on campuses are committed by someone the victim knows.  Just because you know someone, does not mean you should let your guard down.  

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Some difficult topics are covered on http://www.securityoncampus.org/.  Awareness goes a long way in preventing campus violence.  I recommend every student and parent check out this site and the statistics it contains. Large or small, public, private or religious, no campus is immune.

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Most of all…trust your instincts. If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is.

Vacant Properties

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

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As I have been driving around the area recently, I’ve noticed that the number of vacant buildings and spaces is staggering. From vacant homes, to old, dilapidated buildings, to brand-new office and retail spaces that aren’t occupied, these vacancies are on nearly every block. Some of these buildings appear to be well-cared for, and many others stand out to me as targets for mischief and crimes like arson and vandalism. Some even seem to be a great opportunity for squatters to make themselves right at home.

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Of course, it’s tough to think about expenditures on real estate that isn’t generating an income stream. However, a little security investment now can prevent larger expenses later in both time and repairs, as well as lowering liability exposure. Here are some security tips to consider if you are the owner of a vacant space:

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First, check with your property insurance carrier to see if any adjustments need to be made for coverage on a vacant building. Insurance that assumes a building is occupied may not cover one that is vacant. You would not want to have a claim denied because you didn’t have the correct coverage. Let them know if you have electronic security and central station monitoring. You may qualify for a discount on your premium.

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There are a number of security measures that can be taken to ensure that unoccupied spaces are safe and secure. #1 on the list is: Don’t forget about your building. Make sure that someone checks on the space weekly. Change the times and days of inspection. Let police know about the vacancy. They will give you extra sets of eyes and ears on your property when you are not there. Advise trusted neighbors of the situation, too, and be sure they have your contact information.

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For fire safety, be sure all combustibles are removed both inside and out. This includes keeping grass and leaves under control and maintained and boxes and trash removed. Keep a fire extinguisher on site and sprinklers active if they are installed.

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If you already have a security or fire system in place, keep it monitored and active. Be sure to inspect and test your system regularly. The company that installed your system can assist with this.

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If you do not have electronic security in place already, there are a number of options available that are good fits for vacant properties. Wireless security systems that are easily installed can monitor burglary and fire. They require very little electricity and no phone line or internet connection. Detectors for smoke, heat, freeze and water can integrate with the security system. Control of the security system can be done by text message if desired, allowing the owner to remotely arm and disarm as well receive status updates on the system. Low-cost additions to the security system can accommodate controlled entry for realtors showing the property. Best of all, these wireless systems can be easily removed once a building is occupied again, and used in another property.

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Camera surveillance is also available, with options of remote viewing by smartphone, computer or tablet. The ability to check on a vacant property remotely gives another layer of protection to the investment.

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No electricity? Products are available that run on long-life battery for a solution to nearly every application.

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For more hints on security for any property or for information on the products I’ve mentioned, give us a call at 815-877-9700. We are always ‘at your service’.