Archive for the ‘ATI’ Category

8 MORE THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

February 22, 2010

1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs http://www.crimedoctor.com/ and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

———–

Think carefully about your surroundings — it’s a given that the burglars are!

I will be posting additional security articles in the future to help in your quest to protect your home, business and family.

If you like this article, tell your friends, retweet it on Twitter, or consider subscribing to my blog. Thanks to all those who are returning readers and to those that leave nice comments.  Lockdoc1

THIRTEEN THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

February 6, 2010

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at http://www.faketv.com/)

Protection for You and Your Home

January 28, 2010

Wasp Spray

If you don’t have a gun, here’s a more humane way to wreck someone’s evil plans for you.  I guess I can get rid of the baseball bat.

A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection.  She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you.  The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection… Thought this was interesting and might be of use.

Wasp And Hornet Spray

On the heels of a break in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self defense experts have a tip that could save your life.

Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School. For decades, he’s suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed.

Glinka says, “This is better than anything I can teach them.”

Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray.  The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says, “spray the culprit in the eyes”.  It’s a tip he’s given to students for decades. It’s also one he wants everyone to hear. If you’re looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray.

“That’s going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out.”

Maybe even save a life.

Please share this with all the people in your life.

Finding the Right Contractor

June 24, 2009

Whether you’re planning an addition for a growing family or simply getting new storm windows, finding a competent and reliable contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.

Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That’s why it’s important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and on the radio and TV. However, don’t consider an ad as indication of the quality of a contractor’s work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Get written estimates from several firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.

Home Improvement Professionals
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals:
• General Contractors manage all aspects of your project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections. They also work with architects and designers.
• Specialty Contractors install particular products, such as cabinets and bathroom fixtures.
• Architects design homes, additions, and major renovations. If your project includes structural changes, you may want to hire an architect who specializes in home remodeling.
• Designers have expertise in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens and baths.
• Design/Build Contractors provide one stop service. They see your project through from start to finish. Some firms have architects on staff; others use certified designers.

Don’t Get Nailed
Not all contractors operate within the law. Here are some tip-offs to potential rip-offs. A less than reputable contractor:
• solicits door-to-door;
• offers you discounts for finding other customers;
• just happens to have materials left over from a previous job;
• only accepts cash payments;
• asks you to get the required building permits;
• does not list a business number in the local telephone directory;
• tells you your job will be a “demonstration;”
• pressures you for an immediate decision;
• offers exceptionally long guarantees;
• asks you to pay for the entire job upfront;
• suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows. If you’re not careful, you could lose your home through a home improvement loan scam.

Hiring a Contractor
Interview each contractor you’re considering. Here are some questions to ask:
• How long have you been in business? Look for a well-established company and check it out with consumer protection officials. They can tell you if there are unresolved consumer complaints on file. One caveat: No record of complaints against a particular contractor doesn’t necessarily mean no previous consumer problems. It may be that problems exist, but have not yet been reported, or that the contractor is doing business under several different names.
• How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year? Ask for a list. This will help you determine how familiar the contractor is with your type of project.
• Will my project require a permit? Most states and localities require permits for building projects, even for simple jobs like decks. A competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project. Be suspicious if the contractor asks you to get the permit(s). It could mean that the contractor is not licensed or registered, as required by your state or locality.
• May I have a list of references? The contractor should be able to give you the names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least three clients who have projects similar to yours. Ask each how long ago the project was completed and if you can see it. Also, tell the contractor that you’d like to visit jobs in progress.
• Will you be using subcontractors on this project? If yes, ask to meet them, and make sure they have current insurance coverage and licenses, if required. Also ask them if they were paid on time by this contractor. A “mechanic’s lien” could be placed on your home if your contractor fails to pay the subcontractors and suppliers on your project. That means the subcontractors and suppliers could go to court to force you to sell your home to satisfy their unpaid bills from your project. Protect yourself by asking the contractor, and every subcontractor and supplier, for a lien release or lien waiver.
• What types of insurance do you carry? Contractors should have personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don’t carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.

Checking References
Talk with some of the remodeler’s former customers. They can help you decide if a particular contractor is right for you. You may want to ask:
• Can I visit your home to see the completed job?
• Were you satisfied with the project? Was it completed on time?
• Did the contractor keep you informed about the status of the project, and any problems along the way?
• Were there unexpected costs? If so, what were they?
• Did workers show up on time? Did they clean up after finishing the job?
• Would you recommend the contractor?
• Would you use the contractor again?

Understanding Your Payment Options
You have several payment options for most home improvement and maintenance and repair projects. For example, you can get your own loan or ask the contractor to arrange financing for larger projects. For smaller projects, you may want to pay by check or credit card. Avoid paying cash. Whatever option you choose, be sure you have a reasonable payment schedule and a fair interest rate. Here are some additional tips:
• Try to limit your down payment. Some state laws limit the amount of money a contractor can request as a down payment. Contact your state or local consumer agency to find out what the law is in your area.
• Try to make payments during the project contingent upon completion of a defined amount of work. These ways, if the work is not proceeding according to schedule, the payments also are delayed.
• Don’t make the final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that the subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Lien laws in your state may allow subcontractors and/or suppliers to file a mechanic’s lien against your home to satisfy their unpaid bills. Contact your local consumer agency for an explanation of lien laws where you live.
• Some state or local laws limit the amount by which the final bill can exceed the estimate, unless you have approved the increase. Check with your local consumer agency.
• If you have a problem with merchandise or services that you charged to a credit card, and you have made a good faith effort to work out the problem with the seller, you have the right to withhold from the card issuer payment for the merchandise or services. You can withhold payment up to the amount of credit outstanding for the purchase, plus any finance or related charges.

The “Home Improvement” Loan Scam
A contractor calls or knocks on your door and offers to install a new roof or remodel your kitchen at a price that sounds reasonable. You tell him you’re interested, but can’t afford it. He tells you it’s no problem – he can arrange financing through a lender he knows. You agree to the project, and the contractor begins work. At some point after the contractor begins, you are asked to sign a lot of papers. The papers may be blank or the lender may rush you to sign before you have time to read what you’ve been given to sign. You sign the papers. Later, you realize that the papers you signed are a home equity loan. The interest rate, points and fees seem very high. To make matters worse, the work on your home isn’t done right or hasn’t been completed, and the contractor, who may have been paid by the lender, has little interest in completing the work to your satisfaction.

You can protect yourself from inappropriate lending practices. Here’s how.
Don’t:

• Agree to a home equity loan if you don’t have enough money to make the monthly payments.
• Sign any document you haven’t read or any document that has blank spaces to be filled in after you sign.
• Let anyone pressure you into signing any document.
• Deed your property to anyone. First consult an attorney, a knowledgeable family member, or someone else you trust.
• Agree to financing through your contractor without shopping around and comparing loan terms.

Getting a Written Contract
Contract requirements vary by state. Even if your state does not require a written agreement, ask for one. A contract spells out the who, what, where, when and cost of your project. The agreement should be clear, concise and complete.

Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains:
• The contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number, if required.
• The payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
• An estimated start and completion date.
• The contractor’s obligation to obtain all necessary permits.
• How change orders will be handled. A change order – common on most remodeling jobs – is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract. It could affect the project’s cost and schedule. Remodelers often require payment for change orders before work begins.
• A detailed list of all materials including color, model, size, brand name, and product.
• Warranties covering materials and workmanship. The names and addresses of the parties honoring the warranties – contractor, distributor or manufacturer – must be identified. The length of the warranty period and any limitations also should be spelled out.
• What the contractor will and will not do. For example, is site clean-up and trash hauling included in the price? Ask for a “broom clause.” It makes the contractor responsible for all clean-up work, including spills and stains.
• Oral promises also should be added to the written contract.
• A written statement of your right to cancel the contract within three business days if you signed it in your home or at a location other than the seller’s permanent place of business. During the sales transaction, the salesperson (contractor) must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send back to the company) and a copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt must be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel.

Keeping Records
Keep all paperwork related to your project in one place. This includes copies of the contract, change orders and correspondence with your home improvement professionals. Keep a log or journal of all phone calls, conversations and activities. You also might want to take photographs as the job progresses. These records are especially important if you have problems with your project – during or after construction.

Completing the Job: A Checklist
Before you sign off and make the final payment, use this checklist to make sure the job is complete.

Check that:
• All work meets the standards spelled out in the contract.
• You have written warranties for materials and workmanship.
• You have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
• The job site has been cleaned up and cleared of excess materials, tools and equipment.
• A detailed list of all materials including color, model, size, brand name, and product.
• You have inspected and approved the completed work.

Where to Complain
If you have a problem with your home improvement project, first try to resolve it with the contractor. Many disputes can be resolved at this level. Follow any phone conversations with a letter you send by certified mail. Request a return receipt. That’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy for your files.

If you can’t get satisfaction, consider contacting the following organizations for further information and help:
• State and local consumer protection offices.
• Your state or local Builders Association and/or Remodelors Council.
• Your local Better Business Bureau.
• Action line and consumer reporters. Check with your local newspaper, TV, and radio stations for contacts.
• Local dispute resolution programs.

Text by Federal Trade Commission
© 2001 Federal Trade Commission

Hello world!

June 19, 2009

Welcome to Applied Technologies. This is our first of many updates to keep you informed of items of security interest. We are a full service commercial and residential locksmith with over 20 years of excellent customer service.


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