Review Category : Safety & Security Tips

Top 10 Ways to Protect Yourself

self-defense-2Here at BrickHouse Security we get a lot of requests for tips about personal safety. Although you probably face what could be a dangerous situation everyday, there are some simple steps you can do to ensure your safety. The best practices come from a combination of technological and electronic devices, self defense techniques, and good old common sense. From learning how to avoid threatening circumstances to knowing how and when to use personal safety devices, we have compiled a list of the top ten tips for personal safety.

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Not Just For Police Anymore, BrickHouse Launches GPS Tracking For Teens

rocco“This is a subject that’s actually really important to me. Probably because I’m a police officer and a Dad,” said Detective Rocco Deperno during a conversation about GPS tracking. As an active detective, Deperno is more than familiar with GPS tracking through his work. Commonly used by law enforcement, GPS tracking is used primarily to track police vehicles as well as suspects in crimes. But what many people don’t know is that GPS trackers are being adopted by parents mainly to make sure their new teen drivers are being safe and responsible. 

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Where Can You Hide a Nanny Cam?

Todd Morris, CEO of BrickHouse Security, hesitantly presses play and sits back down, bracing himself for the worst. As working parents, Todd and his wife had no choice but to entrust their then one-year-old son to a nanny, and now comes the moment of truth: playing back the nanny camera video. Will she be everything she said she says she was? Caring, helpful, playful? Or will she be like those horror stories you see on the news?

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GPS Tracking Laws Explained

gavelSince the advent of GPS tracking, many debates over its legality have come into play. Is GPS tracking a violation of the Fourth Amendment, that protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures? Does GPS tracking exceed a citizen’s reasonable expectation of privacy? As more court cases rely on GPS tracking evidence as part of the investigation, these questions of legality become more and more relevant. Courts continually set precedents that determine GPS tracking legality to build a comprehensive ruling on the subject. In short, is GPS legal? Lawmakers say, yes, as long as certain protocol is followed.

Note: GPS tracking is subject to State law. Please consult your local State laws before using a GPS tracker.

When is OK to track a vehicle using a covert GPS tracker?

  • As long as the car you’re tracking is visible to the public
  • As long as you could obtain the same location information by physically trailing the car
  • As long as you put the GPS in the car while outside of the curtilage of a person’s property

When is it NOT OK to track a vehicle using a covert GPS tracker?

  • When you have to physically hardwire the GPS into the vehicle
  • When you have to break into the car, or open the car to install the tracker
  • Where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. i.e., inside of a garage or home

The Case Study: Using GPS Tracking Information as Evidence
Let’s start off this explanation of GPS’ legality with a case study. Michael A. Sveum of Wisconsin was convicted of stalking Jamie Johnson in 1996 and was promptly sent to jail. He stalked Ms. Johnson the entire time he was in jail with the help of his sister, and he continued to stalk her when he was released from jail. When Ms. Johnson reported this to the police, police went to his home, walked up his driveway, and placed a GPS tracker on the outside of his car. After following him for some time, the police retrieved the GPS tracker, and found out that Sveum was indeed stalking Ms. Johnson. Armed with the tracking information, police were able to obtain a search warrant and they eventually gathered enough evidence to re-convict Sveum. Sveum immediately appealed the ruling, stating that the police didn’t have the right to place a GPS tracking on his car to begin with because it directly violated the Fourt Amendment.

What the Court of Appeals concluded was that with this case, there was no direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. The police were completely within their own jurisdiction when they trailed the GPS tracker on the car because the car was visible to the general public. This decision was based on two previous cases: U.S. v. Knotts and U.S. v. Karo. What Knotts concluded was that GPS tracking does not violate the Fourth Amendment if the GPS is put on a car in public view. What Karo concluded was that it is legal to track a car and obtain information that could be obtained by manually trailing the car. It makes no difference whether it’s a GPS device tracking the car in these types of places or the police themselves.

Remember, it’s very important to check local and State laws before using a covert GPS tracker to gather location information since these laws vary by state.

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Top 10 Security Gadgets for College Students

dontletWith college looming over the heads of parents and students alike, concerns are starting to transcend worries about making friends and doing well in classes.  The reality is starting to embed itself into the minds of overprotective parents and overprotected kids- they will soon be vulnerable, oblivious, and trusting targets without the oversight of their parents or the protection of the nest. In order to make that transition a little easier, if only to be able to breathe a little easier, we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 security gadgets for college students starting classes in the Fall.
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GPS Tracking

gps-mapGPS loggers and trackers have become really popular lately, and for good reason too. They make it easy to track where your loved ones, assets, and vehicles are at all times. You can place a small GPS tracker in a briefcase in case it gets lost, into a package to make sure it gets to where it’s supposed to go, use a spy GPS for a car a teen your concerned about is going to use, or you can give it to a loved one as a security measure to make sure that they can be found if they are ever lost and in distress.

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Smartphones In U.S. Almost Completely Immune To Viruses

sickiphoneAs smartphones have become de facto computers for some people, they have offered an added advantage of almost being impossible to hack. With the closed off and tightly controlled mobile phone industry of the United States offering a mobile system that has both advanced software impenetrable to significant malware and that is isolated from the rest of the world, American mobile phone users are generally heavily protected from danger behind a wall of mobile security that is generally stronger than it is for smartphone users overseas.

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