holiday roundup home aloneAs we’ve pointed out in posts past, the holidays bring out a certain criminal element that leads to theft and fraud; usually playing off of people’s willingness to trust and help others. In fact, we have a program which gives GPS trackers to religious institutions to help nativity scenes from being robbed; seriously.

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shoplifted products 2013The holidays bring both the best and worst out of people. On one hand the spirit of the season causes unparalleled acts of charity, and on the other, criminal-minded opportunists look for any excuse to take advantage. So in the spirit of taking, we offer our list of the top 5 most shoplifted items this holiday season.

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Jesus saves, but who’s saving Jesus? Nativity scenes continue to be targeted by manger marauders and heretics of all stripes — and predictably, the baby Jesus is the most popular target. But for the 8th year in a row, BrickHouse Security is doing something about it.

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Update 12/19/12: After we posted this story, we learned why NORAD had turned to Microsoft for Santa-tracking. Turns out the folks at Google Maps have created their own algorithm to track the red-suited one this Christmas Eve. Microsoft? Google? You decide. As noted below, we’ve already made our choice…

 

Original Post:

We were surprised and a little alarmed to learn that NORAD has dumped Google and switched to Microsoft’s Bing Maps to track Santa as he flies from the North Pole to homes around the world this Christmas Eve.

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ABC’s 20/20 shines a light on BrickHouse’s quest to thwart holiday vandals, thieves and heretics 

New York, NY — Jesus saves, but who’s saving Jesus? Beleaguered communities and religious institutions have reason to rejoice as BrickHouse Security, a premier online supplier of security and surveillance solutions, announced that it has resurrected its popular “Saving Jesus” program this holiday season.

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noradNORAD’s Santa Tracker for 2009 is finally live. People around the world can now track Santa as he makes his way around the globe. The tracker uses Google Earth to allow users to see where Santa is at the moment and where he was previously. NORAD’s map even has some videos of Santa making his way through the sky on his sleigh.

Check out the official NORAD Santa Tracker site for the up-to-the-minute map. Alternatively, you can also use get updates on Santa’s whereabouts via Twitter and Facebook.

But Santa isn’t the only person that folks have been trying to track down lately. Recently, one of Santa’s elves went rogue, stole Santa’s sleigh with all of the children’s toys and ran away with them! BrickHouse Security promptly launched a contest asking people to help track down the Elf Gone Rogue by sending in photo clues, and fortunately the Elf Gone Rogue was caught just in the nick of time for Christmas. Check out the contest entries here with all of the neat photo clues that were sent in. If not for everyone’s help, NORAD might not have been able to track Santa’s sleigh at all this Christmas!

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screenshot_01It seems that for U.S. troops, the war on terrorism never takes a break, even during the holidays. The U.S. is employing 24 new Hawker Beechcraft four-man twin-propeller planes, with the first expected to arrive this week during Christmas.

These high tech planes will provide ground troops with a full set of eavesdropping and surveillance tools, including the ability to record still images and video, and send them directly to ground troops. Ground troops are being equipped with portable computers that let them view these images and video.

According to Jeffrey Richelson, author of the “U.S. Intelligence Community” these planes are equipped with sensors that that can monitor insurgents’ conversations and help pinpoint their location.

“It’s a lot of intelligence and dissemination capability in a small package,” Richelson said. The planes, with self- protective equipment, are “also clearly designed for a combat environment.”

On that note, we hope that these planes help keep our troops safe in the coming year. And we also want to send out a Seasons Greetings to all our troops stationed overseas, and their families waiting for them at home.

(Via Bloomberg News)

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0_churchnightThree wise churches use free GPS and video surveillance from BrickHouse Security to protect nativity scenes from pilfering; churches and synagogues across the U.S. are invited to participate in this free program

New York, NY (Vocus) December 9, 2009 — Last year, BrickHouse Security offered GPS tracking devices to religious institutions across the country interested in protecting their nativity scenes, Menorahs, and holiday decorations. “We feel great to be able to report 100% success in protecting these cherished items,” said Todd Morris, the company’s CEO. “Still, we are sad that many institutions didn’t know about the program and experienced thefts or vandalism.”

BrickHouse Security is renewing the program this year, adding motion-activated camera surveillance to its arsenal. The company, a provider of safety and security products to consumers, most of the Fortune 500, and major law enforcement agencies, is highlighting the program through three (wise) churches located coast to coast. Each will receive not only a GPS tracker (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html), but also the new Global Watchman remote cellular surveillance (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/cellular-surveillance.html) system. This system instantly captures images when it detects motion, whether in light or complete darkness, and automatically sends them as an alert to a PC or cell phone.

Grahm Memorial Presbyterian Church, located in Coronado, CA, is new to the program. “Last year, we bolted down all of our nativity scene figures,” said Phil Manion, the church Deacon in charge of the nativity scene. “Despite that, Baby Jesus was stolen and other figures were damaged. This year we’ll use GPS tracking and surveillance to catch them in the act and track down these items. The nativity scene means a lot to our congregation, not to mention being expensive to replace, and we’re eager to keep it intact through the holidays.”

The second highlighted church is St. Ambrose in Old Bridge, NJ, a participant in last year’s program. Said church member Alan Czyzewski, “We actually installed the small GPS device in the Jesus figurine. Fortunately, true to the Tale of the Magi, Jesus remained in the manger and out of a cross-town pursuit.”

The third church, representing the program in the Midwest, is St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. Said George Smith, the church’s rector, “Our nativity scene was untouched last year, thanks in part to the GPS system. We’re certainly hoping that the prospect of picking up a tracking device diverts any attempts to remove the figures from the nativity scene this year, too.”

About GPS Tracking

GPS tracking (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html) devices are used to locate objects virtually anywhere in the world using satellite technology. Most are small enough to covertly fit inside most everyday objects. Moving or tampering with the object triggers a silent alarm, alerting the owner that the object is mobile. The owner or police can then view the object’s path through a mobile phone or computer wherever it goes.

GPS tracking & GPS Logger (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-car-tracking-vehicle-logging.html) devices are finding their way into many new tracking applications, including organ donor shipments, child safety, vehicles and large equipment recovery, undercover police stakeouts where officers use the panic button to signal distress, and wildlife movement. For example, one BrickHouse Security customer used GPS to track alligators’ movement patterns.

How to Participate

Organizations interested in participating in this program should visit http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com/baby-jesus-gps/ and supply their background and contact information. Those selected to join will receive a free GPS Tracking device to use through the holiday season, and in some cases will also receive a surveillance camera.

“Like our customers, we at BrickHouse Security value the sanctity and harmony of the holiday season. We are happy to be in position to come to the aid of churches, temples, and other organizations looking for a way to protect their community from this crime,” said Mr. Morris. He added: “While we can’t blanket every nativity scene or Menorah, we hope that the potential of GPS tracking (http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/livewire-lightninggps-trackingdevice.html) and the examples set by our three highlighted churches is enough to discourage would-be thieves and vandals from putting a damper on the holiday spirit.

About BrickHouse Security

BrickHouse Security provides security and surveillance products to consumers, businesses of all sizes including roughly half of the Fortune 500, and more than 500 local and national government agencies such as the NYPD, LA County Sheriffs, and the FBI. The company and its products have recently appeared on the CBS Early Show, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News, and the Associated Press.

BrickHouse Security offers a wide range of leading-edge safety, protection, and counter-surveillance products to help its customers protect what they care about most. Its industry-leading experts seek to be the go-to source for all of its audiences’ needs by providing timely information through the company’s informative blogs and content, and by identifying, developing, and selling quality products that represent the best and the latest in safety and security.

The company is headquartered in New York City and serves a diverse US and international client base.

 

 

Media Contact

Andy Stevenson
VP of Marketing
BrickHouse Security
646-253-9130

 

 

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A ful copy of this press release can be found here.

 

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tweecret-santaFor over 50 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has provided children with Santa’s tracking data around as he makes his way around the world. Last year, they even set up a web site for kids to use to track Santa live online.

This year Norad is taking another leap forward and will be spurring offshoots into social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Earth, and Flickr. On top of that, starting December 24th, through a partnership with OnStar, kids (and whoever else who is interested) will be able to get live Santa updates on their in-car GPS system.

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img_2338In just a few weeks it will be Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping season. The malls will be super crowded, patrons will get pushy, and shopping carts will be stacked high with Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. In the midst of all this craziness, your child is very likely to be lured by a shiny object somewhere and wander off. Worse, a stranger can take advantage of this situation. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 780,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States.

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