Austin, TX: Should You Move There?

Published November 3rd, 2017 | By

Countless people are moving to Austin, TX every year to take part in this diverse and prosperous city—and perhaps you are too. As the state capital, it’s a thriving metropolis that isn’t short on personality and charm.

Some of Austin’s greatest attractions include the city’s weather, culture and ample employment opportunities—but it’s not without it’s own inner city struggles as well. And that struggle is Austin’s growing crime rates.

If you are debating a move to Austin, you should consider all of the city aspects mentioned above. Here is an in-depth look at each:

Weather

When it comes to the weather, it’s generally great in Austin— the average high in the summer is about 92 degrees Fahrenheit; the average winter low is around 42 degrees Fahrenheit with mild transitional months in both the spring and fall.

A Diverse Culture

Regarding the culture, Austin has it all. For starters, it’s a liberal, laid-back, friendly place that welcomes new residents and tourists alike. Since it’s fairly energetic, the one thing to definitely note is the vibrant music scene that draws many to its different music venues throughout the city.

Music has such strong roots here that there are several large music festivals held each year: South-by-Southwest (SXSW) in March and the Austin City Limits (ACL) fest in the late summer. Attending those festivals really sheds some light on Austin’s musical roots.

Austin is truly a melting pot, filled with different ethnic groups all coming together. There is strong Latino, African-American and Asian influence all throughout Austin. Reflecting these different groups are various museums, cultural centers and districts for anyone to take part in. Welcoming these, there are numerous cultural performances and parades held. So, to put it plainly, Austin welcomes everyone with open arms—and it’s clearly visible.

Thriving Employment Opportunities

Another thing that draws people to Austin is its many employment opportunities in a number of fields—predominately the tech industry (sometimes it’s even referred to as “Silicon Hills”), real estate, healthcare, and entertainment as well as federal and local government (after all Austin is the state capital). Regarding technology, there are a large number of companies that have either started or have made their headquarters in Austin.

All in all, Austin brings in the second largest tech-revenue in all of Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth is the largest money maker in the tech industry). So it’s a great industry to be in—if those are willing to relocate.

Austin’s numerous job opportunities make it the number one best city for jobs and the second best city for future job growth (according to Forbes). It seems like the city has always led the way with employment—having considerably lower unemployment numbers when compared to the national average (to give an idea, in 2015, Austin’s unemployment rate was 3.8% while the U.S. average was 5.8 percent—so 2% lower than the national average).

Some of the most well known companies based in Austin include: Whole Foods, Dell, YETI Coolers and many others.

City Migration

In total, Austin has an estimated 2,056,405 people as of 2016. Like any location, there is a flow of people migrating to and away a city or town. One report indicates that on average, one American will move over 11 times throughout their life. There are many reasons for this, but currently, people are examining the migration patterns of today’s Millennials. They comprise over 40 percent of all movers—and are often seeking employment opportunities. Other reasons that factor in are affordable housing (which unfortunately, Austin doesn’t have and is a reason for out migration).

Domestic Migration to Austin

Since Austin has so many job opportunities, people are coming to Austin in droves. A report by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey studied the top cities that are seeing the largest in-migration, and Austin/Round Rock (a Austin suburb) came in at number 4. Over 8% of Austin’s population consists of new migrants. Altogether, Austin is the 9th fastest growing metro city in the country. Unbelievably, according to BizJournals, in 2016, 110 people moved to Austin every day—a net gain, despite any out migration. Over the next 25 years, Austin’s population is projected to double in size.

Domestic Out Migration

One report by the FBI and U.S. Census Bureau studied the safest cities in the U.S. and Round Rock made the top of the list at number 6—one reason people migrate to the suburbs. However, in total, 7.11 percent of Austin’s population left the metro area. This revelation falls after Virginia Beach, Virginia (ranked number 1); Denver, Colorado (number 2); Richmond, Virginia (number 3); Washington (number 4); and Atlanta, Georgia (number 5).

With that into account, as great as a city as Austin is, it’s not without its share of shortcomings, which leads some people to leave the city. As briefly mentioned, Austin does not have affordable and readily available housing—it’s a difficult market for both renters and homeowners alike. So even though there is a boom in employment, it’s difficult for people to find a place to live; it will only get worse in the years to come.

Other out migration factors from Austin includes heavy traffic and construction (which goes hand-in-hand with the population increase). So essentially, the city is expanding drastically, but people are also leaving due to its need to expand and accommodate the flood of migrates coming in.

City Crime and Law Enforcement

When examining Austin’s overall TX crime rates, it’s 23 percent higher than the Texas mean and 38 percent higher than the national average. On a whole, Austin is only 25% safer than any other city in Texas and 25% safer than any other U.S. city.

Violent Crimes

When looking at Austin’s number of violent crimes, it has a rate that is 6% lower than the state average, yet when compared to the entire U.S., violent crime rates are 6% higher. Examining things year over year, the number of violent crimes has increased by 9%– with more homicides than the city has ever experienced.

Property Crime

Property crime in Austin is significantly higher than it’s violent crimes. It’s 27% higher than the state mean, and 43% higher than the U.S. average. Despite this, the year over year number of property crimes has decreased by 7%. And there is a 1 in 26 chance of becoming a property crime victim.

Yet with crime on the rise, Austin still ranks among one of the U.S.’s safest metropolitan cities as number 26 of 50 locations.

Law Enforcement

According to the 2016 FBI’s uniform crime reports, there are 2,252 law enforcement officers in Austin—meaning 2.7 officers per 1,000 residents. Compared to the Texas and National average, this is 10.1 % and 17.2% lower, respectfully.

Austin is clearly a city that attracts all types of people for various reasons. If you are considering relocating there, you should weigh all the pros and cons of living in the metro area and surrounding suburbs. Keep in mind that despite it’s charm, the crime rates are above the national average (though the suburb of Rock Round is one of the safest areas in the country). Regardless of what you choose to do or city you end up moving to, you should never leave your safety up to chance. Investing in a home security system can further reduce the odds of becoming victimized.

Safety and Security in Houston, Texas

Published August 18th, 2017 | By

Houston, Texas. The Space City. Ranking just below Chicago as the fourth largest city in America, and the largest city in the state of Texas, Houston brings a wealth of culture, history, education, and more to not only the state of Texas, but to the country as a whole. Recognized as a global city, Houston’s industry contributes to the entire global economy.

Houstonians abide by an honest life and work hard to make it a place that all residents and visitors can feel proud of calling home. Based off several metropolitan studies, Houstonians have plenty reason to feel good about making a permanent home in the area.

According to an analysis of 100 metro areas by U.S. News, which looked at factors such as the job market, net migration, and value, Houston ranks at number 20 as one of the most desirable metro areas to live in. The report also found that Houston provides a better home living value when compared to similarly sized areas, based on median household income and home costs.

While it’s easy to bask in such positive statistics, it is also important to recognize that crime accounts for some rather significant statistics within the Houston area. While larger crime rates will naturally occur given a larger population, Houston does seem to suffer from larger crime rates well above the national average. According to AreaVibes.com, Houston’s crime rate sits at 88% percent higher than the national average.

These numbers are not meant to scare away anyone from making a living in Houston, but it is important to put some of these issues into perspective. In keeping the focus with home security, we are going to look at burglaries in Houston, and what can be done to minimize the risk of anything happening to you.

Burglaries in Houston

Since 2001, Houston has experienced pretty consistent annual burglaries, ranging where from roughly 19,000 to as high as just above 29,000. The good news, according to trends published by City-Data.com, is that burglary rates have steadily declined since 2009. In fact, given data collected since 2001, burglaries in Houston were at their lowest in 2015 with 19,859 reported incidents. This means 872.8 burglaries per 100,000 people living in Houston. The state average in Texas is 412 burglaries per 100,000 people

Auto thefts have also seen a general decline in recent years, falling from 19,465 thefts in 2007 to 12,281 in 2011. There was, however, a small jump in years beyond.

While all forms of crime serves as a source of large concern for any community, burglary accounts for a rather small makeup of overall crime in Houston. According to City-Data.com, burglaries (where only a break-in occured) made up 16% of all crime in Houston in 2015. Theft made up an overwhelming majority of all crime, account for 54%. Keep in mind that the term theft covers a lot of ground, where it may not necessarily indicated home break-ins. More statistics about crime in Houston can be seen here.

Safe Neighborhoods in Houston

Despite the numbers discussed above, Houston’s size opens up the door to a multitude of safe areas to live in.

With data pulled from the FBI and U.S. Census, Niche.com recently provided a list of the Safest Neighborhoods in the Houston Area in 2017:

  1. Lake Houston
  2. Kingwood
  3. Addicks Park Ten
  4. Westbranch
  5. Hunterwood
  6. Braeswood
  7. Afton Parks / River Oaks Area
  8. Clear Lake
  9. Langwood
  10. Meyerland

More information from Niche, including user input, can be found here

While “safer” neighborhoods tend to tag along higher home prices, an initial search finds that these top-rated neighborhoods are reasonably accessible. Westbranch for instance has homes listed on Realtor.com for under $200K, and Hunterwood has new builds for under $190K. Compared to other large cities, finding a modestly priced home within the greater city area is rather attainable in Houston. 

Increasing Your Safety

There is little reason to feel apprehensive about feeling safe in Houston. As of 2016, 2.303 million people call the city their home (U.S. Census). With the city being a hub of international tab, medicine, media, and so much more, there’s good reason that the population has steadily grown since 1990.

Living a normal and safe life is completely within reach, and there are plenty of accessible measures that you can take in order to make this happen.

Home Security Systems

One of the most sensible solutions is to make an investment in a monitored home security system. While it may seem unlikely at first, more affluent and middle-class neighborhoods are more likely to be targeted by burglars due to what they believe they can yield. Complacency, whether it’s in Houston or any other city, is not something you want to make a habit of.

Just having a security system installed can do a lot to persuade a would-be burglar to not try anything on your home. Interviews with incarcerated burglars have revealed that they prefer to stick to home without any form of visible security.

Learn about how you can bring 24/7 monitored home security to your Houston home through Choose Home Security. Protect Your Home, an Authorized ADT Monitored Home Security provider, is available to Houstonians throughout the greater and metropolitan area. 

Protect Your Home and ADT Monitored Home Security offer customers in Houston the ADT Guarantee, which works to protect your investment in home security. You can learn more about the ADT Guarantee and other home security deals in Houston.

Houston Police Department

If you are the victim of a burglary, the Houston Police Department has a dedicated division that focuses strictly on burglary and theft. Several units make up this division, and work to investigate everything from financial crimes (e.g., identity theft, forged documents), metal theft, and more. If you are interested in learning more about the Houston Police Burglary and Theft, Division, click here

Remember that with a monitored home security system in Houston, you will be put in touch with the appropriate Houston authorities in the event of an emergency.

With Houston’s size, prospects, and reasonable real estate, there’s little reason to feel doubt about making a home in the Space City. Once you find the neighborhood that’s right for you, you’ll know that you’ve made the right choice for yourself and your family.

Using Craigslist and Keeping Yourself Safe

Published February 22nd, 2017 | By

Craigslist may essentially still have the same minimal layout as when it started, but with 50 billion page views per month, the classifieds website shows no signs of slowing down. An overwhelmingly large majority of transactions that take place on Craigslist are done so by honest people simply looking to acquire goods and services. However, that doesn’t mean that it is okay to be complacent about the safety of yourself or even your home when it comes to interacting with someone on Craigslist.

There are a slew of measures that you can take to make sure that you safely engage with someone on Craigslist, ensuring that you are not jeopardizing anyone’s well-being. Take into consideration the following tips.

 

1. Insist on meeting in a public place

This should be a given whether you’re the seller or the buyer. Meeting in a heavily used parking lot during the middle of the day is often best for goods that are easily mobile.

If you’re selling something that is difficult to transport, this is where you may run the risk of dealing with someone with a little less honesty. If someone must come to your home, do everything you can to hide all other expensive goods in your position. Close your garage doors, pull the curtains on all of your windows, and if possible, transport what you are selling outside before the buyer arrives.

 

2. Keep your location ambiguous on your post

When you’re looking to sell something, the most that anyone should really have to know is the general city or town that you reside in. Avoid giving out any address (even down to just the street name) in your post. There is often little to no reason why your address has to be made public on your post. Think basic home security.

This even goes for if you’re listing your home or apartment on Craigslist for rental purposes. Only the neighborhood or apartment complex needs to be specified to start. More details can be exchanged as you speak with interested parties.

 

3. Look out for red flags when interacting with someone

Craigslist transactions should always happen with local people—or with someone who is close enough to drive to you. Determining a trustworthy individual is sometimes tricky, but a good rule of thumb is that they are those who provide relevant information regarding the interaction that you two are engaging with, are quick to respond to emails, and are willing to speak with you over the phone before you meet.

 

When talking with someone via Craigslist, there are several things that you want to keep a lookout for. Anyone who provides ambiguous answers to questions or asks suspicious questions themselves (about your home/personal life) is probably someone that you want to avoid doing any business with.

There are addition red flags that you should be cautious of when dealing with someone, these include:

  • An individual who refuses to meet with you at a neutral location or they want you to go to their home.
  • An individual who requests that you provide financial information, such as: bank account numbers, credit card numbers or PayPal information. Never release any of these to anyone!
  • Someone who wants an item that you are selling to be sent to Nigeria (or another country) and that they’ll pay an additional fee to have these items shipped to that country. These individuals will not meet in person and will try to pay you via a fake PayPal account, money order, etc. These are notorious for being scams. Drop all communication with these individuals.
  • Transactions that they want to be carried out by an escrow service, money order, cashier’s check, Western Union or another wired carrier. Never proceed with these!

 

4. Use SafeTrade Stations if possible

SafeTrade Stations started up in 2015 as a program to help Craigslist users have a safe space to conduct their exchanges. SafeTrade Stations are often in the parking lots of police stations, and can sometimes happen inside of the police station themselves. There is no charge for using the service, and hundreds of stations exist across the country.

More information about SafeTrade Stations can be found here: http://www.safetradestations.com.

 

5. Go to the exchange with a friend

It always helps to go to a Craigslist exchange with other people present, especially with someone that you already trust. Find someone willing to take an afternoon to go with you for peace-of-mind. Good friends will likely care about your safety, and rather go with you without you even having to ask.

It’s important to stress that you shouldn’t feel scared to use Craigslist. Hundreds, if not thousands, of interactions happen everyday with no harm done to any of the parties involved. It’s simply important to remember to remain vigilant about your safety as you conduct any exchanges through the website. Keep yourself visible to others and keep your own address secret if possible.

10 Steps Toward Energy Efficiency at Home

Published October 13th, 2016 | By

No matter where you live across the United States, you’ll need to kick on either the air conditioning or heat at some point each month. Now that it’s currently cooler, you may be thinking of ways you can save money on heating bills. The answer is: making your home more energy-efficient.

There are dozens of methods that one can abide by to practice better energy usage, but we are going to highlight those that are most readily accessible for yourself and your family. Saving on energy doesn’t have to include an overall lifestyle change, but thinking better about your daily choices and living can certainly make all of the difference.

1. Regularly replace your air filters

disposable

This is probably one of the easiest habits you can get into to make your home more energy efficient. An old air filter will not be as effective in heating or cooling your home, and will actually make your system work harder (and expend more energy) in order to deliver the desired temperature.

Some manufacturers will recommend replacing your air filter once a month, but take note of what your own system calls for.

2. Seal up your home

Even if your doors and windows are shut, it doesn’t mean that cool or hot air isn’t escaping. Making that your home is better-sealed can mean big things for better energy usage in your home. It is recommended that you have a professional energy auditor take a look at your home and check for where air might be escaping.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), common places where air can escape includes window frames, attic hatches, areas around wires and pipes, and many others. You can see a full list here.

3. Do less laundry

Here is where some lifestyle changes can potentially come into play when it comes to better energy usage. We often don’t think about how much energy gets used to do laundry, especially when hot/warm water is involved.

According to HouseLogic.com, a load of laundry that uses hot/warm water can cost, on average, about 68 cents. Compare this to a load with cold water, which costs about four cents.

Also consider that there is nothing wrong with reusing a towel after a bath or shower. Towels take up a lot of space in the washer, which is why they tend to constitute the better part of a load. Try reusing your towels, and note how you might be doing less laundry as a result.

4. Unplug chargers when not in use

plugged

With mobile devices being so intertwined in our daily lives, we love having a charger ready to go when we need it. However, it’s important to realize that even if a charger is plugged in but not in use, it is using energy.

5. Stick to ENERGY STAR-approved appliances

Years ago, it was fairly safe assumption that ENERGY STAR–approved products were more expensive than standard appliances. Well, technology advances in a short period of time. There’s been an increasing demand for products that save on energy consumption and costs, which now drives the entire market of what’s available to consumers. More often than naught, you’ll find ENERGY STAR-approved appliances, which are sometimes cheaper than their standard counter parts. This means you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for something that will save you money on energy each month.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, within a 1-year time span, over $100 can be saved with an ENERGY STAR-approved appliance. Within 5-years, that amount increases to up to $600 in savings. These are based on 2015 models. As each newer model comes out each year, you can expect to save even more on energy costs.

This isn’t an endorsement. ENERGY STAR is a program of the federal government that encourages customers to buy products that meet the requirements of efficient energy usage. Check and see if your current appliances are ENERGY STAR-approved, and consider replacing your old appliances with ones that have the mark. Approved machines help customers save money over time.

6. Put your shades and curtains to use

While it may not seem like it doesn’t very much, drawing your shades and curtains during colder nights can actually help maintain the heat in your home. On the other side, keeping them open on cold, yet sunny days, allow the sun to provide extra heat to your home. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of maintaining your temperature.

7. Skip the car. Ride a bike.

bike_man

Cycling is becoming a more popular method for transportation in recent years, and for good reason. Other than the health benefits that come with cycling, putting less reliance on your car can mean major savings on gas. With local cities and towns implementing bike lanes, check to see if your commute or trip to the store is something that can be done on a bicycle instead.

8. Install a smart/programmable thermostat

Smart/programmable thermostats are capable of learning the temperatures you prefer to keep your home at, so you don’t have to be the one constantly making the adjustments. Consider learning more about how you can better control your heating and cooling with ADT Pulse security automation if you are looking to cut back on energy usage. ADT Home Security has recently partnered with Nest Learning Thermostats for a more complete experience in home automation.

9. Do away with incandescent lights. Use CFLs and LEDs.

Incandescent lights are quickly going by the wayside in favor of more energy-efficient LED and CFL lightbulbs. Take a look around your house and if any incandescent bulbs are still being put to use, and replace if possible. According to InterNACHI, CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs use even less than that.

10. Keep your interior doors open

If you’re trying to improve the flow of cooler or warmer air throughout your home, try keeping all interior doors open so that improved airflow can happen.

Steps to take when moving into a new home

Published February 13th, 2015 | By

Moving into a new place can be an exciting time for anyone. Some see it as the start of a new life, especially when moving to a new state or city. Before you let too much excitement pass over you, it’s important to consider several steps in making sure that your new property is at the proper standards of safety.

It’s easy to overlook some things about your new place that you might assume is already set, so some responsibilities simply lie with you as the new owner or renter of a place. Take some time to consider some of the following steps:

1. Find the main circuit breaker

circuiltb

This isn’t necessarily the first thing you absolutely must do when moving in to your new place, but it’s certainly an important step to take. Knowing where your circuit breaker is will allow to know where to run in the even of a power outage and so forth. It’s also important to have a full comprehension of the labeling, so you know what controls what part of your home.

2. Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Do they work?

Now this is something you want to immediately consider when moving in. Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are an essential part of any home, and they can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire. Make sure that all smoke and CO detectors are fully functioning by hitting the “test” button that should be visible on the devices.

Also think about how many detectors there are throughout the home. While one is the bare minimum, you ideally want detection in each room where possible (best locations include each bedroom, the living room and the kitchen). The more detection there is, the better chance of risks being caught before serious issues arise. You’ll also have to make sure you keep up with the batteries to make sure the detectors continue to operate. Batteries should be replaced about once a year, but you’ll want to periodically check on them by pressing the test button.

Food for thought, a home catches on fire every 86 seconds, which leads to an injury every 34 minutes. A 2015 report by the National Fire Protection Association stated that there were over 500,000 structure fires in the U.S., resulting in nearly 2,700 deaths and 13,000 injuries. The estimated property damage from these fires was $10.3 billion in losses. These statistics are greatly reduced when there are fully functioning smoke detectors in the home.

3. Change The Locks

If your new home had previous tenants or owners, it’s critical to change all of the locks. This is especially applicable if you’re renting your home. Previous tenants could have easily had their keys replicated before turning in their original keys to the owners. Make sure that this is okay with your landlord – but it is unlikely that you’ll run into any problems.

Having the locks changed will ensure that only you and your family have key access to your home. If you’re interested in automated locking that can be done from your phone, be sure to learn about what ADT Pulse can provide.

4. Get to know your neighbors

You don’t have to become best friends with your neighbors, but it is good to familiarize yourself with others who live around you. Building trust among neighbors helps foster a stronger community. You don’t want to necessarily let your guard down with trust when it comes to home security, but having a solid base of knowledge of who your neighbors are can help change the dynamic of your living situation.

 

Simple measures you can take outside to protect the inside of your home

Published February 5th, 2015 | By

While the focus in home security tends to circulate around the protection of the inside of you home, there are plenty of ways that you as a resident can optimize the outside of your home to provide extra security.

Your home is everything to you, and the outside is the beginning point for an intruder thinking of making their way inside. These are just some of the things that you can do to help boost your security along with your ADT Home Security system.

1. Defensive plants and shrubbery

If you’ve ever gone for a hike in the woods, you have surely seen some plants that you know for certain that you would want to go nowhere near in fear of getting some cuts. Sure, the natural vegetation may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but there are other species of plants disguised as attractive landscaping that deliver painful pricks and cuts.

Whether they are catcus, trees, berry-bearing plants, there are plenty of options thorned vegetation that provide good looks as well as effective defense.

Bougainvillea

bougainvillea-66533_640

Native to South America, bougainvillea plants come in close to twenty varieties. Their colorful array offers plenty of attraction, but when you get up close, you’ll see that these plants are heavily thorned. Other than thorns, it’s important to know that the sap of bougainvilleas are toxic to humans, causing skin rashes. Any intruder who thinks these plants are there to provide cover will be in for a very rude surprise.

Pyracantha

Pyracantha

Pyracantha is the genus of a shrubberies that features white flowers with a range of colorful (non-edible) berries and a high concentration of thorns. Also known as the firethorn, Pyracantha plants can reach up to twenty feet.

Cactus

As most might know, cactus of thousands of varies feature signature thorns. While most would believe that cactus need heat to survive, they can thrive well in colder climates as well. Place them against your home, and intruders are less likely to target what’s inside of your home.

Rose Bushes

Roses transform any yard into one with big flowers, rich in color. They are as attractive in beauty as they are painful to touch with all of their thorns along their long stems. Place these plants under a window, and the thorns will work as a great deterrent to anyone wanting to climb inside.

There are plenty of other plants that you can employ for your home, and some more information can be found here .

2. The Power of Lights

nighthome

If you are on top of the security of your home, you know about the value of timing your lights to turn on at night while you are away indoors. Why not apply that same principle to the outside of your home?

Let’s relate this to the protection of your own vehicle. An effective tactic that drivers use at night is parking their car until heavy street lights where intruders will have a hard time staying in the dark.

You may have a porch light up and running during the night, but how about the rest of your home? Consider placing a lighting system that covers all sides and corners of your home at night, illuminating the surrounding area enough where visibility is enough for you and your neighbors.

With ADT Pulse security automation, you’ll be able to control what lights are on and off from anywhere you are. This will be an invaluable tool for when you are away for an extended period of time

If you haven’t started a Neighborhood Watch program, consider doing so for the safety of your entire community.

3. Put those yard signs to work

If you already have an ADT home security system at work and haven’t employed the yard signs and window decals, consider their effectiveness. According to several studies discussed, yard signs exhibiting that your home is protected by a security system has served as a large deterrent against intruders.

ADTsign

 

This doesn’t mean that an intruder won’t attempt at all, but if faced with one home that has a sign and one that doesn’t, it is reasonable to believe that the intruder will go for the home that appears to have no protection at all.

There are homeowners who think they can beat the system and skip out on home security, but still have a yard sign in front of their home with nothing else. It surely sounds like a reasonable idea, but the gimmick has been catching on.

If you’re going to place the yard signs out, it is best to have a security system in place to back up your claim as well. You’ll come out winning in the end.

Preventing frozen pipes in your home

Published February 3rd, 2015 | By

February is in its beginning stages, and the temperatures continue to stay briskly bitter and cold across the east coast. Another winter storm is expected to sweep across the Northeast later on this week, while temperatures in the mid-Atlantic have been plummeting to the 20s during the night.

Apart from heavy snowfalls (for some areas) and keeping your car warm, another tough run-in that some households have the misfortune of experiencing are frozen pipes. According to an article published last year in the New York Times, the average insurance claim for frozen pipes in the home averages $18,000. Why so high? It’s not the pipes themselves, but the damage that can occur to flooring, drywall, and other parts of the surrounding structure.

One thing to know:

Frozen pipes are more likely to happen in Southern homesfauc

While the beginning of 2015 would make it seem like it’s a common occurrence, the American South typically does not experience the bitter cold that it is currently facing. As a result, homes built ten to twenty years ago were not built with much insulation around pipes.

When temperatures do reach freezing point, it makes sense that southern homes are susceptible to damage rather than, say, the Midwest.

How to know when you have frozen pipes

Would you know when the moment happens? The first indication that you have frozen pipes either very little, or no water is coming out of your faucet. If there is no water coming out at all, it is critical that you immediately turn off your water. Keeping it on can cause further damage. Take a moment (as soon as today!) to know where your main water valve is.

However, if there is a little water coming out, the Red Cross suggests keeping your faucet open to allow liquid water to melt the currently frozen water. In some instances, a frozen pipe can potentially be thawed out with a hair dryer. Begin from the part that’s nearest to the faucet and work your way down the pipe.

Regardless, you’ll have to act quickly. State Farm  insurance states that were you to have a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe, up to 250 gallons of water can be gushed per day once the ice thaws. This can not only cause some obvious flooding, but it may lead to some major structural damage and mold.

If you have frozen pipes, it’s important to reach out to appropriate services such as your plumber to get on repairs. You’ll also want to reach out to your insurance company, and hold on to any pieces of damaged infrastructure. This is especially in regards to the broken pipe. Treat it as you would a car accident, and have photos of the damage available for your insurance company as well.

Let’s prevent this from happening…

From what you may have gathered, dealing with frozen pipes isn’t exactly a fun way to spend your weekend. Even if you are in an environment that is susceptible to the setback, there are several measures that you can take to avoid it.

  1. On cold nights, leave your cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around water pipes. As suggested by the Red Cross, be thorough in making sure that no harmful chemicals or cleaners are within the reach of your children or pets.
  2. Keep your heat on at a reasonable level – around 65-70 while at home, and around 55 degrees if you are going to be away for a while. Remember that with ADT Pulse, you are able to control your heat from an Internet-connected mobile device
  3. For nights when the weather is extremely cold, let your water run at the slightest amount to prevent pipes from freezing. If you are conscious about your water usage, let water collect in a large container over night and use it for boiling, watering your indoor plants, or any other household applications


 

New Orleans Police searching for three suspects in burglary

Published February 2nd, 2015 | By


14mo.cruiser

Three men are wanted in a burglary that occurred at 1:30AM Monday morning in a New Orleans residence. WDSU News 6 reported on the incident this morning.

The New Orleans Police Department told reporters that the home was occupied by an unidentified 30-year old man who was robbed at gunpoint. The suspects broke down his door, taking money as well as the victim’s cellphone.

Currently, the whereabouts of the assailants are unknown and police are asking for help. New Orleans Crimestoppers can be reached at 504-822-1111 for anyone that has tips into the burglary.

According to Neighborhood Scout, New Orleans experiences close to 15,000 property crimes per year. About 39 in every 1,000 has a chance of being victim of a property crime, where the national median is 27.3.

Broward County, FL police take down burglarly ring

Published January 30th, 2015 | By

Security in Ft. Lauderdale just improved this week after Broward County Police concluded a six-month investigation of a chain of burglaries occurring within the Florida county. The investigation led to the arrest of Wisdom Williams, 17, and nine others who are believed to have been involved in a series of burglaries stretching six months.

According to CBS Local 4 in Ft. Lauderdale, surveillance began on the suspects in August, where it was discovered that they were merely part of a bigger gang that could be as large as 100 individuals responsible for over 100 burglaries in the area.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Burglaries were such a problem in Broward that the Sheriff’s office formed the Burglary Apprehension Team, a unit devoted entirely to burglaries investigations within the area.

Although Williams is 17 and not an adult, CBS Local 4 reports that prosecutors intend to charge him as one.

While the arrests will certainly play a role in decreasing the rate of burglaries in Broward, there are still believed to be many individuals on the loose who could be associated with the ring. Residents of Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding areas of Broward County could now very well be considering home security for their residence if they do not have it already.

Southgate homeowner shoots home invasion suspect

Published January 29th, 2015 | By

detroit

An attempted home invasion ended in the death of the burglary suspect on Thursday morning in Southgate, MI, located nine miles south of Detroit. The incident happened around 4:47AM when the homeowners, a man and woman in their 60s, were woken by the intruder attempting to enter a window. The man fired his legal firearm on the armed intruder, killing him.

The Detroit News reported on the story around 11AM EST. No details about the identities of the homeowners or suspect have been released. One statement by police chief Jeff Smith suggested that no charges will be placed against the homeowners, saying that “He had a legal firearm so we don’t see any problems with the shooting.”

Another statement from Southgate Police Department director Thomas Coombs also reiterated that since the homeowner had a legal firearm and was facing an intruder, he was justified. “You can, obviously, defend your home if someone comes into your house,” Coombs stated to reporters.

A link to the news report from Fox Detroit can be see here: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/clip/11081764/southgate-homeowner-shoots-kills-home-invasion-suspect

 

* $100 Visa Gift Card fulfilled by Protect Your Home through third-party provider, Mpell, upon installation of a security system. Shipping and Handling Fee applies. ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services, which help you manage your home environment and family lifestyle, requires the purchase and/or activation of an ADT alarm system with monitored burglary service and a compatible computer, cell phone or PDA with Internet and email access. These ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services do not cover the operation or maintenance of any household equipment/systems that are connected to the ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services/Equipment. All ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services are not available with the various levels of ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services. All ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services may not be available in all geographic areas. You may be required to pay additional charges to purchase equipment required to utilize the ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions Services features you desire. Installation starts at $199. Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert monitoring requires purchase and/or activation of an ADT security system with monitored Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert devices. Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert services are an additional charge. Quality Service Plan (QSP) is ADT's Extended Limited Warranty. 36-month monitoring contract required from $51.99 per month, ($1,871.64), including Quality Service Plan (QSP). Additional charges may apply in areas that require guard response service for municipal alarm verification. Prices subject to change. Prices may vary by market. Some insurance companies offer discounts on Homeowner's Insurance. Please consult your insurance company. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Additional monitoring fees required for some services. Photos are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the exact product/service actually provided. $99 Customer Installation Charge. 36-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $36.99 per month (1,331.64), 24-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $36.99 ($887.76) for California, including Quality Service Plan (QSP). Form of payment must be by credit card of electronic charge to your checking or savings account. Offer applies to homeowners only. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Certain restrictions may apply. Offer valid for new ADT Authorized Premier Provider customers only and not on purchases from ADT LLC. Other rate plans available. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Licenses: AL-17-1104, AZ-ROC217517, AR-2008-0014, CA-ACO6320, CT-ELC.0193944-L5, DE-07-212, FL-EC13003427, DC-602513000006, GA-LVA205395, ID-ELE-SC-39312, IL- 127.001042, IN-City of Indianapolis: LAC-000156, IA-AC-0036, KY-City of Louisville: 483, LA-F1082, LA-F1914, LA-F1915, ME-LM50017382, MD-107-1626, MA-1355C, MI- 3601205773, MN-TS01807, MS-15007958, MO-City of St. Louis: CC354, St. Louis County: 84959, MT-247, NE-14451, NV-68518, City of Las Vegas: 3000002944, NJ-34BF00021800, NM- 353366, NY-Licensed by the N.Y.S. Dept. of State UID#12000317691, #12000286451, NC-1622- CSA, OH-53891446, City of Cincinnati: AC86, OK-1048, OR-170997, Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Registration Number: PA022999, RI-3582, SC-BAC5630, SD-1025- 7001-ET, TN-1520, TX-B13734, ACR-3492, UT-6422596-6501, VT-ES-2382, VA-115120, WA- 602588694/PROTEYH934RS, WV-042433, WI-City of Milwaukee: PAS-0002790, WY-LV-G- 21499. 3750 Priority Way South Dr. Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46240