Thursday, November 21, 2013

High-tech ways to foil the burglars

For some, holiday “shopping” means breaking into someone else’s home for presents. So it’s best to make a checklist for home security along with all of the other holiday plans.
Technology can help you keep tabs on what’s happening at home. It can also make it easy for the wrong people to know that you’re away. Some tips for making sure that automation works for you and not against you:

  • Start by taking an inventory of valuable items in your home. That’s one of the things the HomeZada free app, shown here, is designed to do. You can organize pictures to keep a visual record of items you own and receipts for purchase. You can store this information or share it with your insurance company.
  • The vacation and travel pictures you post on social media sites such as Facebook can be a signal that you’re not home. Wait and post your pictures when you get home.
  • Use automatic timers to turn your lights off and on. Some can be controlled from a smartphone or computer. Exterior lights left on during the day can be a tip-off that you’re away. Timers keep things looking natural.
  • Consider installing a security system that lets you operate and monitor the equipment from a mobile device or computer. With many plans, you can turn your alarm on or off and get text messages and video alerts about the status of doors, windows and motion sensors. AT&T’s Smart Security plan costs $159 for equipment plus $40 a month.

Sullivan: and @Sullivan_obs on Twitter