CCTV in the home – too far?

Sir Bernard Hogan-HoweIn a controversial press release, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has urged families and business owners to begin installing CCTV at eye level inside their properties.  The reasoning for this somewhat extreme yet methodical move is to assist the police in identifying intruders.

The eye level positioning of your camera will allow the police to use facial recognition software by matching up your shots to images of criminals take during arrests. The chief noted that many people position their CCTV far too high and this is the biggest shortcoming in camera security. Facial recognition software is also said to have greatly improved in the last year.

There have been a lot of conflicted feelings about this with more liberal voices claiming that such measures are essentially turning the public into an extension of the police.  Prestige Security Solutions believe that CCTV is an effective and smart means of domestic security that offers an ideal deterrent outside your property. It shows you are conscious about security and at the right height can be very efficient at providing a clear shot of your intruder.

Understandably, not everyone will want to arm their homes to the teeth with surveillance technology. We are already surrounded by cameras in our computers, phones, tablets and game consoles but will one more hurt? Still, it’s a subjective issue and one we’re keen to hear your opinions on.

Are we getting closer to George Orwell’s fearsome vision in 1984 or is this a wise step in the right direction?

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Animal Hijinks – Woodpeckers, Weasels and Garage Doors

The team at Prestige Security Solutions have been rather taken aback by this unbelievable piece of amateur photography (click me to see image). It got us thinking about security and the threat of animals in a domestic environment. Before we discuss potential safety measures you can take to protect your garage from unwanted ‘visitors’, let’s lighten up and admire this photograph (thanks to the Leicester Mercury for reporting this!).

A man and his wife were apparently out walking in Hornchurch Country Park in East London when they both heard a rather piercing squawk from nearby. Mr Le-May who took the photo said he “feared the worst” but soon realised he was in the presence of a hitchhiking weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker. It’s quite honestly one of the most surreal images we’ve ever seen of UK wildlife and has rightly stirred a minor web phenomenon.

It’s quite baffling how the weasel managed to land so gracefully on the woodpeckers back in the first place, let alone maintain flight for some time afterward. His photography distracted the weasel and it soon landed safely, only to scurry off into the grass. Better yet, it wouldn’t be the internet without some irreverent photo editing taking advantage of the hilarious situation. As you can see below, somebody has planted Vladmir Putin taking a ride on its back… alongside a stormtrooper and Gandalf… while chasing the infamous bubble run girl.

out of hand

Anyway, with that oddity out the way, let’s get back to business. Our insulated roller garage doors provide the optimum security to prevent your garages from draught and intrusion. We offer multiple colour finishes alongside fully automated internal and external control to help you access with efficient haste. Get in touch here

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Lock Your Net Up Tight

securityPrestige Security Solutions may deal primarily with domestic protection in the tangible world but our interests are first and foremost – security. This includes digital protection, an aspect of daily life important to much of the developed world. It’s easy to get complacent and simply think that our computer or smart-phone will never come under an external threat but you can never be too sure.

Taking measures to secure your digital life should be a priority and to help you get the most from your computer and internet security – follow these simple tips.

  • Install Premium Antivirus

Virus protection software such as AVG Free and Norton Trial are great for free, temporary measures but if you truly care about your computer’s safety a paid subscription is advised. These shall scan your computer for threats automatically (you can set how often) and remove anything insidious off your machine. They also typically include anti-malware and anti-spyware measures so no peeping Tom or nasty Norris can have their way with your data.

  • Change Your Passwords Regularly

This should be a no brainer but the number of people who keep their password as something pathetic like ‘password’ and never change it are most at threat. Web services are constantly being hacked these days (just look at the PlayStation Network or Ebay over the past few years!) with user’s data stolen nearly every time. The only way to ensure that they can’t access your details on these services is with a strong password that you change regularly (we recommend monthly). Put numbers, symbols and capitals in there to keep them guessing and never use the same password for more than one account.

  • Don’t Save Passwords On Your Computer

Every time you log into a website or service using modern web browsers, chances are it’ll offer you the chance to ‘save password’. This is a convienient tool that auto fills the log in bar so you don’t have to remember your password. Kind of cruel really as not only does it leave you to forget your password but also allows everyone else to log in as you. Ignore this feature, no – banish it! Remember your passwords and don’t get lazy. Who knows where your laptop will end up or who will be using it.

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How effective are surveillance cameras?

CCTV

Useless or a necessary diversion?

There is little doubt that a burglar will tend to stay well clear of a property that has been fitted with good quality surveillance cameras in one or more locations where they out of reach and have a good range of visibility. But what about properties that are in neighbourhoods where there are – or where there appear to be – plenty of surveillance cameras about? If this is the case, can you relax and let the cameras do it all for you?

Apparently not seems to be the answer. It is true that the UK has become one of the most camera-rich societies in the world. Current estimates from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) indicate that our streets bristle with somewhere between 4 and 5.9 million CCTV cameras. The trouble is, as the government’s surveillance camera commissioner has warned, of this very large amount too high a proportion are either antiquated or not working. Local councils have started to realise the problem and, for example, recently, when a West Midlands local authority conducted a review of its own estate of surveillance cameras and got rid of the ineffective ones, it was able to find a saving of £250,000. A handy sum.

There are various reasons for this degree of ineffectiveness including cameras that simply do not work, cameras that have disappeared under foliage and antiquated analogue equipment with very poor images – such that they would be fallible witnesses when it comes to identifying thieves. The situation has led to debate about the effectiveness of street surveillance. Currently, the Dyfed-Powys police, which covers more than half of Wales, might stop monitoring CCTV cameras following a review which has suggested that they have not deterred crime. In such circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising that there has been a rise in domestic and business surveillance cameras.

At Prestige Security Solutions we highly recommend making sure your house is secure at the first point of defence – which means making it impossible for thieves to enter through garages, doors and windows. If additional surveillance cameras would increase your comfort levels, it might be as well not to rely on local authority installations that happen to overlook your property – check they are working and fit for purpose first.

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Security Mutts

bull

Female Bullmastiff

OK, we admit it; the gang at Prestige Security Solutions are firmly in the dog camp. We’re a compassionate bunch who love the companionship and security only a dog can offer. If you’re feeling vulnerable and would like a breed that’ll return love with security then read on…

  • Bullmastiff

Don’t let the Bullmastiff’s boisterous appearance put you off; these are highly domesticated and loving creatures with a quiet, loyal temperament. This is a perfect balance of characteristics when protecting a family as they are very protective of their owners. Their large build and physicality is a perfect force against any unwanted threats or intruders.

  • Caucasian Shepherd Dog

These majestic dogs may appear to be fluffy on the outside but they are very proud, intelligent beings with a strong, muscular build. While they are best described as even tempered, we would not recommend them as a family dog if you have small children. They are very protective of their own territory and extremely suspicious of strangers. Domestic training is recommended as they can be rather savage in a threatening situation.

  • Rottweiler

rotterCommon enough in Britain to need little introduction, the Rottweiler was originally bred to assist farmers in protecting their cattle. They can be vicious and insolent but these traits are most certainly to your advantage in a security situation as Rottweiler’s are incredibly loyal creatures. They are smart, well behaved and adaptive – ideal for those with the time and love to give.

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

These gorgeous medium sized English dogs are very popular for their loyal attitude and cute muscular appearance. Like our other picks, they are intelligent dogs but carry a certain penchant for breeding – so watch out! They are very loving animals but will take no hesitation going buck wild in a protective situation. Ignore the bad press, the RSPCA have consistently defended the Staffie as a wonderfully affectionate animal – all you’ll need to do is care, train and love them and they’ll treat you back with equal respect.

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Top 3 films about… security breaches.

As the gang at Prestige Security Solutions enter 2015 we’ve been fervently anticipating the end of winter. Having spent the last two months working relentlessly on insulation jobs, we’re rather excited about the prospect of slinging up a veranda or two!

Anyway, an easy reading blog this time devised from our many hours of banter. Classic films but alas… classic films about security breaches. Here are our top three favourites…

  • Oceans 11 (2001)

oceans11Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the 60’s Rat Pack original might be a fantastical work of Hollywood schlock but it’s hard to deny the film’s sure fire entertainment value. Considering the all star cast we wouldn’t be surprised if their pay checks weren’t all that far off what they earn in the movie’s heist. George Clooney stars alongside a methodical gang of crooked misfits who take on a wealthy casino owner in aid of their own financial and personal shortcomings. It’s all a bit daft but Don Cheadle’s awful English accent is reason enough to give this movie a crack.

  • Heat (1995)

heat_robberyMichael Mann’s 1995 caper seems to have taken on a reputation of its own as the quintessential 90s crime movie. Its popularity is no doubt due to the dual casting of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, two legendary actors who share a ridiculous scene where they evidently try and out-act each other. Val Kilmer also appears as his usual stoic self – not much to report there. However you look at it, Heat remains a thrilling work of bombastic Hollywood excess and we’d certainly recommend breaking the bank for a copy.

  • Die Hard (1988)

die-hard-mainNot only is it a staple of the 1980s action genre but Die Hard is downright our favourite Christmas film ever. John McClane’s manic escapade against the tyrannically camp Alan Rickman has to be one of the most wonderfully effective crime scripts put to film. It’s a simple concept – terrorists heist an LA skyscraper, take hostages, irritate a rogue Bruce Willis and end up a little worse for wear a few hundred feet below. Despite its now classic status the film was in fact a hard sell and nearly entered production hell after the bigwigs saw no ‘star power’ in Bruce Willis. How wrong they were.

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Security tips for the home

prestige

For more than a decade Prestige Security Solutions have been specialist manufacturers and installers of insulated roller garage doors, roller shutters, electric gates and awnings all over the UK. In this way we have been providing a very substantial layer of security to home owners, business, factories, offices, warehouses, schools, colleges – everywhere in the country where the crime prevention is needed.

While we attend to some of the more substantial work, particularly on garage doors, shutters and gates, it remains remarkable how property owners let their guards drop in other areas. Bear in mind that most thieves are opportunistic. If you make the job of burglary and theft difficult for them, they will quickly decide to go elsewhere where they may have more chance of success. These are a few important preventative measures:

  • Keep your front garden tidy and visible. If burglars can hide in overgrown front or back gardens they are more likely to take refuge there. For the same reason it is wise not to have walls or fences at the front of the house, where unwanted visitors might wish to hide, that are higher than a metre.
  • Make sure all garden equipment is locked away. Apart from stealing useful and expensive tools, burglars are quick to use any tool to help them to force an entry. In particular, make sure that ladders are locked away – it is still extremely common for homeowners to leave a ladder lying alongside a back wall – perfect invitation material.
  • Ensure you fit dusk to dawn security lighting. There is nothing more irritating to thieves than to be lit up on the job.
  • As an additional deterrent, fit timed switches on specific internal lights that can be seen from outside so that they give the appearance of your occupation when you are out.
  • It goes without saying – and is again too often overlooked – that you must check the security of your windows (particularly on the ground floor) and doors.
  • Properly fitted alarm systems will also put off potential burglars.

As to the garage doors – leave those to us. Call us for a visit to give you a free quote.

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