GREENSBORO, N.C. - 2 Wants To Know is launching a new series looking at ways "2 Protect Your Home." If there's a way to stay safe you've heard about and always wondered if it works, let Ben Briscoe know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is The Free Home Security System Call Real?
Seems like almost every day I get the call, or friends and family do– offering a free home security system. At first they are obviously a robot saying you’ve been chosen at random. Tech firm PinDrop says you should hang up there.
PinDrop tracks millions of marketing calls and has learned:
“Interacting with robocalls or unsolicited telemarketers lets them know there is a live person at the other end of the calls, so you’ll receive more of those calls,” said Terry Nelms with PinDrop.
But to see how the free alarm system calls play out for you, I stayed on the line to talk with a real person.
The caller says I have to act fast because they only have a limited number of free home alarm systems left in my zip code.
“Well the equipment isn’t going to be free because it’s attached to a really long term monitoring contract,” said Lechelle Yates with the Better Business Bureau.
Yates says they’ve gotten several complaints about how expensive these “free” offers end up being.
“And a lot of people we talked to, they didn’t realize that until after they signed the paperwork,” she said.
After asking the caller several times if the alarm is free, he finally admits I’d have to pay a service fee. But he won’t say how much.
Even if you’re willing to pay, “Excite Home Security” advises against buying an alarm over the phone – writing: “These fraudulent companies can find your personal information and details about your home, while installing a home security system there. This information may then be used to burglarize your house and steal your possessions.”
The BBB says if you do want to buy an alarm, the company and the crew installing it need to be licensed with the state. Ask for their license number up front.
“Then call the state licensing board and check them out to see if they’re a legitimate company or not,” Yates said.
But when I tell the caller I need to do some more research, they hung up. So the free home security alarm offer is not a good deal.
When You Can & Can't Shoot To Defend
One of our worst fears, became reality for Kim Badger when an intruder pushed into her home with her two kids were inside.
"He grabbed a knife," Badger said. "I kept telling him you need to leave."
The family says they tried to wrestle him out of the house but the suspect kept fighting back.
"Mother goes to get the fire arm she warns him get out we have a gun he doesn't listen he goes for her that's when it happened," Badger's son said.
Badger fired a deadly shot.
Under North Carolina's stand your ground law, she was not charged. If someone is breaking into your home, you absolutely have the right to shoot them in our state according to defense attorney Aaron Wellman.
“There’s the presumption whenever someone breaks into your home that you are under threat and you have the right to use deadly force in response," Wellman said.
Though there are some catches on where on your property you can open fire. Legally in North Carolina they don’t even have to come inside the house. It’s enough for them to be on your porch. However if they are just out in your yard, either front or back, a jury would probably have to decide if that’s okay.
“It would depend on whether there are signs, whether there are fences. That kinda thing," Wellman said.
And when you pull the trigger, the crook needs to be facing you. You don’t want to shoot them in the back because prosecutors could make the case the intruder was leaving.
Finally if it’s dark and kinda hard to see – Or you didn’t put your glasses back on when you heard the sounds bumping in the night – think twice.
“You have to reasonable believe it’s an intruder rather than another occupant or someone who has the legal right to be there," Wellman said.
All rules to memorize now because if the time comes to shoot, Badger says they’ll probably only be one thought in your mind.
“I just kept thinking I have to protect my kids. I have to protect my kids,” she said.
The attorneys I talked with say there’s also this misconception that if you shoot someone breaking into your home, the suspect or their families can sue you.
That’s only if you shoot when you’re not supposed to legally.
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Making It Safer To Sleep With Open Windows
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Every time she raises the blinds, Lorelei Colbert worries she’s opening the window of opportunity for someone to come into her first floor apartment.
“It’s just me, so I want to make sure I’m safe and I’m secure. You know you want your home to be your safe place," she said.
She has reason to be concerned. Greensboro police say right here in the Triad criminals have climbed through open windows before:
"It's one of those things criminals look for," said GPD Lieutenant Ryan Walton. "This is an inviting target, and you don't want to make yourself an easy victim."
Lock It, Block It hopes to help, promising "security for your windows."
“Opening the box, I’m kinda thinking what are these two things," Colbert said.
They’re supposed to braces to keep your window from opening far enough that someone can climb through. We had Colbert read all the instructions. She puts the sticky Velcro on the back of the brace – places them in the top of the window and sets them to the desired height.
“Bam, It worked," she said. “It was very strong and it almost pushed it back down a little bit.
The Lock It Block It costs about 20 bucks per window. You can buy it through their website or most home improvement stores.
One Dollar Could Make Your House Safer
The number one way crooks get into your home is through the front door, by busting it down. And Greensboro police say you probably made it easy for crooks because of the way your deadbolt was installed.
“Typically when a door is kicked in, the deadbolt holds just fine but the trim wood is split open," police said.
They suggest you replace the standard ¾ inch screws that come with most locksets with 3 inch stainless steel screws. You can get two for about a dollar at a hardware store.
“What this does is instead of holding the strike plate into the trim wood, it actually holds it into the stud plate in the back of the wall.”
Which is much stronger.
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