When hard work pays off and you’re able to purchase a family home and fill it with treasured belongings, you want everything, and everyone, to be protected from intruders and thieves. And as law enforcement professionals, you certainly want assurance that weapons are safely stored. How you go about creating that security, however, has radically changed in recent years. The Internet of Things (IoT) — the connection and sharing of data between devices embedded with electronics, sensors and other programs to track activity — has drastically expanded home security options. Smart doorbells show you who’s knocking. Cameras record activity and store it, potentially becoming evidence in the event of a crime. Even traditional safes have added IoT capabilities. Here’s a sampling of what’s new and high-tech in home security these days.
It’s only human nature to become absentminded from time to time and forget to lock the door on your way out, especially when in a hurry. Then there are those occasions when you can’t remember whether you did or didn’t lock the door. Now you’re left wondering if your home is vulnerable. The August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, from August Home Inc. can alleviate that worry. With its DoorSense, an intelligent integrated sensor, homeowners are notified via smartphones when doors are opened and closed. Plus, this advanced model can be programmed to automatically lock doors whenever closed. The platform also communicates with Alexa, HomeKit/Siri, Google Assistant and Z-Wave. MSRP $279.
The Nest Hello smart doorbell is more than just a camera attached to a traditional doorbell. It also functions as an alert system, starting with sending video from a 160-degree diagonal field of view to the Nest app when someone approaches. This can be helpful to track deliveries, including capturing evidence in case of front-porch package snatchers. Nest Aware subscribers can store all video in the cloud. Additionally, you can communicate through the app, or play back one of the recorded messages to make strangers believe someone is home even when you’re not. The device requires a bandwidth of 800–2,000 kbps for streaming video. MSRP $229.
You don’t have to be a Spielberg or Scorsese to set up the perfect exterior shot. The Ring Spotlight Cam line of security cameras can record scenes from the front, back or side of your home. Both the wired and battery models host 1080p HD cameras with a 140-degree field of view. Recording begins when motion is detected, including turning on two LED lights, which also can be set to a schedule. The battery model holds two 6,000 mAH removable, rechargeable Ring batteries. Or, invest in the solar version, which comes with a Ring Solar Panel to continuously charge batteries. Wired and battery models MSRP $199 each; Solar $229.
When it comes to securing your firearms, having a reliable locking system is critical. Equally important is how they’re stored. Stack-On’s Total Defense gun safe allows owners to customize the interior with three adjustable barrel rests, including a U-shaped insert, and five adjustable shelves, which can accommodate between 36 and 40 guns. The factory-installed door organizer contains zippered pouches, MOLLE-compatible components and sewn-in gun holsters. The locking system consists of seven solid-steel live-action locking bolts partnered with three deadbolts. Choose from a backlit biometric, backlit electronic or three-number combination lock. MSRP $999.
Whether you want to monitor childcare providers, watch over children staying home alone or document what’s happening while you’re away, Ping, an indoor camera by Vivint, produces a clear image. The 1080p video stream films a 155-degree view, including infrared night vision, and can serve as a motion-activated security camera when positioned near doors. However, these are not silent movies. Ping offers two-way talk and one-touch callout so family members can remain in communication. Vivint Smart Home subscribers use the Ping system to save footage to the cloud and arrange custom mobile notifications for specific activities, from intruder alerts to confirmation that homework is underway. MSRP $199.
Our vehicles sometimes become mobile storage units, holding tools, electronic devices and any number of other items we need to take on the road. However, opportunistic thieves see cars as easy access to such goodies. The Trunk Safe from SnapSafe helps guard personal and professional gear. The heavy-duty storage case is constructed of 13-gauge steel and topped with a 6-gauge steel door, secured by a digital lock with a key backup. It’s large enough (42”W x 7”H x 13”D) to hold a variety of items, including weapons. Internal hinges combined with gas shocks cushion the ride. MSRP $350.
Liberty Safe incorporates multiple security precautions in its USA Series safes, titled in part because they’re manufactured in the USA. One layer consists of patent-pending 4-inch-wide military-style locking bars, which proved to be several times stronger than other safes in pry tests. That works in conjunction with the company’s two-piece roll-form body. An integrated Z-bar placed in the door is another anti-pry mechanism. An internal hard plate protects against lock drilling. The USA Series is available in three sizes varying in width. MSRP starting at $899.
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Safes should be able to protect valuables against catastrophes as well as bad guys, and that’s why Fort Knox Vaults are designed to withstand extreme heat along with man-made mayhem. The company’s Inferno Shield 90 has been tested to survive approximately 350 degrees. The vaults also feature C-rated fireboard insulation on all sides and behind hinges to prevent hotspots. Together with a heat-sensitive fire seal and built-in dead air space barrier, the vault can sustain 1,680 degrees for up to 90 minutes. Models offer a variety of options, including different body thicknesses, corner bolts, door organizers and dehumidifiers. MSRP starting at approximately $1,300.
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See this story in the Summer 2018 FOP Journal issue.