Texas Senator Credits Justice Reform for Lower Crime Rate

    by Parker Davis | Nov 01, 2016

    In 2007, the state of Texas embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce crime rates by reforming the criminal justice system. As a result, crime throughout the state has dropped by more than 20 percent, according to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Writing in a recent Lufkin Daily News column, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that rethinking how the state looks at crime and sentencing has enabled lawmakers to find better ways to reduce crime and put fewer people in jail.

    Texas legislators developed their new approach to crime by first taking a look at mental health, drug treatment, and parole and probation policies, Cornyn said. The thinking was that since the drug trade plays a huge role in fueling crime, addressing drug use would be a far better way to spend tax money designated for crime prevention.

    They came up with a plan to invest in drug courts and treatment strategies instead of building new prisons with more beds. They began adopting improvements to the state corrections system that were based on verifiable evidence rather than conjecture. They found ways to integrate rehabilitation, restitution and reintegration strategies so that those in prison would have a greater chance of succeeding once they got out.

    Looking at the Numbers

    Other states have adopted similar measures with varying levels of success. For example, Pew data showed that Georgia and South Carolina have crime reductions of 11 percent and 14 percent respectively, along with North Carolina at 20 percent.

    We imagine the significant reduction in crime in Texas goes a long way toward making state residents feel a lot safer. The same goes for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Whenever crime rates go down, people tend to be less fearful that they will eventually become victims themselves.

    Take Personal Responsibility

    Lower crime rates are always welcome news, but even the best-laid plans for criminal justice reform can only go so far. There will always be people who choose to engage in criminal activity, so individual citizens must still do their part by taking every step they can to protect themselves.

    It all starts with a home security system that includes 24-hour live monitoring. Statistics show that monitored home security acts as a deterrent, since studies show that houses with monitored alarm systems are less likely to be targets of property crimes.

    Homeowners can also increase their home security by installing heavy-duty door and window locks, making sure their homes have adequate lighting, and keeping exteriors well-maintained in order to provide a good view from the street.

    Crime in Texas and a few other states is falling significantly thanks to a new approach to criminal justice. Hopefully that will continue across the country in the years ahead. In the meantime, Monitronics is committed to keeping our customers safe with the latest in home security equipment and monitoring packages.

    Sources: Lufkin Daily News –

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    Buyers Clamor for Move-In Ready Homes with the Best Home Automation

    by Parker Davis | Nov 01, 2016

    Dallas-based Parks Associates, a research and consulting firm that keeps a finger of the pulse of the home security and smart-home industry, has collaborated once more with Coldwell Banker Real Estate on another study examining the growing connection between home buyers and the demand for the best smart-home technology

    The latest research shows that out of 1,250 U.S. adults who have home broadband Internet access, 71 percent want a move-in ready home. But that’s not all: While the definition of “move-in ready” has traditionally included updated kitchens and bathrooms, new appliances and other improvements, 44 percent said they believe that home automation equipment should already be installed.

    Finding the best home automation

    The lesson from the Parks/Coldwell Banker research is clear: Home automation is likely to get the attention of potential buyers, particularly in markets like Florida and Texas where homes are in heavy demand. Investing in the best smart-home technology is likely to be money well spent.

    “We have entered a realm where home buyers are demanding smart homes,” said Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker. “This is a shift from the previous thinking about what constitutes a move-in ready home. It’s a defining moment for real estate.”

    Peter Tonti, Monitronics’ vice president of Product Marketing, said the research confirms why we have become more than just a security provider.

    “Consumers want the best home automation technology to make their homes more secure and also make their lives easier,” he said. “Security is the centerpiece, but we’re seeing more demand for things like voice-activated systems like Amazon’s Echo, or easy-to-use devices that address specific needs instead of just being cool gadgets. That’s why our systems integrate with Echo, and also why devices like the SkyBell HD video doorbell are popular with many of our customers.”

    Moving away from “fixer-uppers”

    The research also underscores that home buyers are starting to turn their attention away from homes that require a little TLC, and make the move-in as easy as possible. The main objective now is trying to keep the to-do list as short as possible.

    At Monitronics, we do our part by offering a free “Move program” for our customers, installing a security system in your new home at no charge to you. If your home is move-in ready and already has a home security system, we can also work with you to get service started, and bring your system up to date if necessary.

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    Home Automation: Controlling the Thermostat Can Save Big Money

    by Parker Davis | Oct 14, 2016

    Other than mortgage payments, heating and cooling are the largest monthly expense for most homeowners. That’s why we constantly balance the need to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature with the need to keep our household budget at a comfortable level. Now you can take advantage of home automation technology to easily control your thermostat, keep things comfortable, and potentially save money all at the same time.

    Programmable thermostats have been around for decades, but they don’t always save money. One major reason is that can be too complicated to program. Rather than work through an endless number of non-intuitive menus only to find they can only set a limited number of temperature changes, consumers often just give up and operate their thermostats manually. That leads to less control and virtually no savings. With home automation from Monitronics, that all changes.

    Thermostat control through our HomeTouch home automation package is easy. You can program your thermostat for every day of the week directly from your wall-mounted control panel or by using our home automation app on your mobile device or computer. Programming your thermostat is no different than doing just about anything else on your smartphone or tablet: It’s intuitive, fast, and effective.

    Home automation also allows you to adjust your program on the fly. You don’t even have to be home to do it. For example, if you normally have your thermostat set higher when you’re home in the evening and you forget to adjust it before you go on vacation, you can easily fix the situation with your smartphone.

    You Can Save a Lot

    A lot of companies claim big savings through the use of programmable thermostats and home automation. The amount depends on how far you set your thermostat back and for how long, but as a general rule, the U.S. Department of Energy says consumers save about 1 percent for every degree of change over an eight-hour period.

    That means that if you reduced your heating by 5 degrees during the nine hours you are away for work, you would save just over 5 percent on heating costs that day. Savings on cooling are slightly higher. Either way, the farther you set your thermostat back, and the longer you keep it set back, the more money you save.

    Ignore the Temperature Change Myth

    There is a persistent myth that says you should leave your thermostat at a constant temperature to prevent your furnace or air conditioning from having to work harder than normal when it’s time to return to a comfortable level. However, the Department of Energy says you save more money by dialing the thermostat back; you actually use less energy returning your house to a comfortable temperature than you do to maintain that temperature throughout the day.

    The Department of Energy explains the science behind it on the website, and many people are surprised to find out how much better (and cheaper) it is to automatically set the thermostat appropriately at various times of the day, and adjust that routine when necessary, wherever you might be. Home automation makes that level of control a reality.

    Remotely controlling your thermostat is one way to save a significant amount of money while still maintaining the comfort of your home. With home automation from Monitronics, the task is easy and efficient, and the savings can be significant.


    US Department of Energy–

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