Jump to content
Invision Community
FORUMS BLOG/NEWS USER BLOGS USER MEDIA ADVERTS   ADD  MANAGE CHAT CLUBS & USER PERSONAL FORUMS LINK EXCHANGE
CRIME, & SECURITY SYSTEM Security System Home Security Home Monitoring Best Home Insurance Video Surveillance Outdoor Security Cameras Intruder Alarm System Security Alarm System Burglar Alarm Systems

davidtrump

Members
  • Content Count

    101
  • Joined

  • Last visited

    Never

Everything posted by davidtrump

  1. A law enforcement officer (LEO), or peace officer in North American English, is a public-sector employee whose duties primarily involve the enforcement of laws. The phrase can include police officers, municipal law enforcement officers, special police officers, customs officers, state troopers, special agents, secret agents, special investigators, border patrol officers, immigration officers, court officers, probation officers, parole officers, arson investigators, auxiliary officers, game wardens, sheriffs, constables, corrections, marshals, deputies, detention officers, correction officers, and public safety officers (at public institutions). Security guards are civilians and therefore not law enforcement officers, unless they have been granted powers to enforce particular laws, such as those accredited under a community safety accreditation scheme. Although typically the term "law enforcement officer" refers to those government agents with police powers, prosecutors are also law enforcement officers. Modern legal codes use the term peace officer (or in some jurisdictions, law enforcement officer) to include every person vested by the legislating state with law enforcement authority—traditionally, anyone "sworn, badged, and armable" who can arrest, or refer such arrest for a criminal prosecution. Hence, city police officers, county sheriffs' deputies, and state troopers are usually vested with the same authority within a given jurisdiction. Contract security officers may enforce certain laws and administrative regulations, which may include detainment or apprehension authority, including arresting. Peace officers may also be able to perform all duties that a law enforcement officer is tasked with, but may or may not be armed with a weapon.
  2. Establishment and constitution Typically a LEA is established and constituted by the governing body it is supporting, and the personnel making up the LEA are from the governing body’s subjects, for example the Australian Federal Police is established and constituted by virtue of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979. By Definition, federal LEAs can only be established by the governing body of the relevant federation, divisional and sub divisional LEAs can only be established by their relevant governing bodies, and national LEAs can only be established by the national governing body of a country. For reasons of either logistical efficiency or policy, some divisions with a country will not establish their own LEAs but will instead make arrangements with another LEA, typically from the same country, to provide law enforcement within the division. For example, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is a federal agency and is contracted by most of Canada's provinces and many municipalities to police those divisions, even though law enforcement in Canada is constitutionally a divisional responsibility. This arrangement has been achieved by formal agreement between those divisions and the RCMP and reduces the number of agencies policing the same geographical area. Similarly, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) is a federal agency and is the contracted police agency for the Australian Capital Territory. and Norfolk Island. In circumstances where a country or division within a country is not able to establish stable or effective LEAs, typically police agencies, the country might invite other countries to provide personnel, experience, and organisational structure to constitute a LEA, for example the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands which has a Participating Police Force working in conjunction with the Solomon Islands Police Force, or where the United Nations is already providing an administrative support capability within the country, the United Nations may directly establish and constitute a LEA on behalf of the country, for example for Timor-Leste from 1999 to 2002. Powers and law exemptions To enable a LEA to prevent, detect, and investigate non compliance with laws, the LEA is endowed with powers by its governing body which are not available to non LEA subjects of a governing body. Typically, a LEA is empowered to varying degrees to: collect information about subjects in the LEA's jurisdiction intrusively search for information and evidence related to the non compliance with a law seize evidence of non compliance with a law seize property and assets from subjects direct subjects to provide information related to the non compliance with a law arrest and detain subjects, depriving them of their liberty, but not incarcerate subjects, for alleged non compliance with a law lawfully deceive subjects These powers are not available to subjects other than LEAs within the LEA's jurisdiction and are typically subject to judicial and civil overview. Usually, these powers are only allowed when it can be shown that a subject is probably already not complying with a law. For example, to undertake an intrusive search, typically a LEA must make an argument and convince a judicial officer of the need to undertake the intrusive search on the basis that it will help detect or prove non-compliance with a law by a specified subject. The judicial officer, if they agree, will then issue a legal instrument, typically called a Search warrant, to the LEA, which must be presented to the relevant subject if possible. Lawful deception and law exemption Subjects who do not comply with laws will usually seek to avoid detection by a LEA. When required, in order for the LEA to detect and investigate subjects not complying with laws, the LEA must be able to undertake its activities secretly from the non complying subject. This, however, may require the LEA to explicitly not comply with a law other subjects must comply with. To allow the LEA to operate and comply with the law, it is given lawful exemption to undertake secret activities. Secret activities by a LEA are often referred to as covert operations. To deceive a subject and carryout its activities, a LEA may be lawfully allowed to secretly: Create and operate false identities and personalities and organisations, often referred to as under cover operations or assumed identities, for example Australia’s Australian Federal Police by virtue of Part 1AC of the Crimes Act 1914 Allow and assist the illicit movement of licit and illicit substances and wares, sometimes partially substituted with benign materials, often referred to as controlled operations, for example Australia’s LEAs by virtue of Part 1AB of the Crimes Act 1914 Listen to and copy communications between subjects, often referred to as telecommunications interception or wire tapping when the communication medium is electronic in nature, for example the United States's Federal Bureau of Investigation by virtue of United States Code 18 Title 18 Part I Chapter 119 Section 2516, or Australia’s LEAs by virtue of Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 Intrusively observe, listen to, and track subjects, often referred to as technical operations, for example Australia’s LEAs by virtue of the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 to typically collect information about and evidence of non compliance with a law and identify other non complying subjects. Lawful deception and utilisation of law exemption by a LEA is typically subject to very strong judicial or open civil overview. For example, the Australian Federal Police's controlled operations are subject to open civil review by its governing body, the Parliament of Australia. Other exemptions from laws Law enforcement agencies have other exemptions from laws to allow them to operate in a practical way. For example, many jurisdictions have laws which forbid animals from entering certain areas for health and safety reasons. LEAs are typically exempted from these laws to allow dogs to be used for search and rescue, drug search, explosives search, chase and arrest, etc. This type of exemption is not unique to LEAs. Sight assist dogs are also typically exempted from access restrictions. Members of LEAs may be permitted to openly display firearms in places where this is typically prohibited to civilians, violate various traffic laws when responding to crimes, or detain persons against their will to investigate suspected crimes. Interpol is an international organisation and is essentially stateless, but must operate from some physical location. Interpol is protected from certain laws of the country where it is physically located.
  3. Types LEAs can be responsible for the enforcement of laws affecting the behaviour of people or the general community, for example the New York City Police Department, or the behaviour of commercial organisations and corporations, for example the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, of for the benefit of the country as a whole, for example the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Religious law enforcement A LEA can be responsible for enforcing secular law or religious law, for example Sharia or Halakha. The significant majority of LEAs around the world are secular, their governing bodies separating religious matters from the governance of their subjects. Religious law enforcement agencies, for example Saudi Arabia’s Mutaween, exist where full separation of government and religious doctrine has not occurred, and are generally referred to as police agencies, typically religious police, because their primary responsibility is for social order within their jurisdiction and the relevant social order being highly codified as laws. Internal affairs Often, a LEA will have a specific internal unit to ensure that the LEA is complying with relevant laws, for example the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation's Office of Professional Responsibility. In some countries or divisions within countries, specialised or separate LEAs are established to ensure that other LEAs comply with laws, for example the Australian state New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption. LEA internal self compliance units and external LEA compliance agencies coexist in many countries. Names given to LEA internal self compliance units are typically, Internal Affairs, Internal Investigations, Professional Standards. Police agencies Many law enforcement agencies are police agencies that have a broad range powers and responsibilities. A police agency, however, also often has a range of responsibilities not specifically related to law enforcement. These responsibilities relate to social order and public safety. While this understanding of policing, being more encompassing than just law enforcement has grown with and is commonly understood by society, it is recognised formally by scholars and academics. A police agency’s jurisdiction for social order and public safety will normally be the same as its jurisdiction for law enforcement. Military law enforcement Military organisations often have law enforcement units. These units within armed forces are generally referred to as military police. This may refer to: a section of the military solely responsible for policing the armed forces (referred to as provosts) a separate section of the armed forces responsible for policing in the armed forces and in the ministry of defence such as the Żandarmeria Wojskowa a section of the military solely responsible for policing the civilian population (such as the Romanian Gendarmerie) the preventative police (with military status) of a Brazilian state (Polícia Militar) The exact usage and meaning of the terms Military, military police, provost, and gendarmie varies from country to country. Non-military law enforcement agencies are sometimes referred to as civilian police, but usually only in contexts where they need to be distinguished from military police. However, they may still possess a military structure and protocol. In most countries, the term law enforcement agency when used formally includes agencies other than only police agencies. The term law enforcement agency is often used in the United States of America to refer to police agencies, however, it also includes agencies with peace officer status or agencies which prosecute criminal acts. A county prosecutor or district attorney is considered to be the chief law enforcement officer of a county. Other responsibilities Other responsibilities of LEAs are typically related to assisting subjects to avoid non compliance with a law, assisting subjects to remain safe and secure, assisting subjects after a safety impacting event. For example: policing social order public incident mediation pre-empting anti social behaviour dangerous event public logistics public safety general search and rescue crowd control regulation services and facilities disaster victim identification education and awareness campaigns victim prevention and avoidance law compliance public safety Many LEAs have administrative and service responsibilities, often as their major responsibility, as well as their law enforcement responsibilities. This is typical of agencies such as customs or taxation agencies, which provide services and facilities to allow subjects to comply with relevant laws as their primary responsibilities. Private law enforcement Private police are law enforcement bodies that are owned or controlled by non-governmental entities. Private police are often utilized in places where public law enforcement is seen as being under-provided. For example, the San Francisco Patrol Special Police, which still exist today. It is argued that Private Law Enforcement may serve as a superior alternative to a government monopoly law enforcement. Regulation Many LEAs are also involved in the monitoring or application of regulations and codes of practice. See, for example, Australian Commercial Television Code of Practice, building code, and code enforcement. Monitoring of the application of regulations and codes of practice is not normally considered law enforcement. However, the consistent non-compliance by a subject with regulations or codes of practice may result in the revocation of a licence for the subject to operate, and operating without a licence is typically illegal. Also, the failure to apply codes of practice can impact other subjects’ safety and life, which can also be illegal.
  4. Relationship between federal and federated divisions In a federation, there will typically be separate LEAs with jurisdictions for each division within the federation. A federal LEA will have primary responsibility for laws which affect the federation as whole, and which have been enacted by the governing body of the federation. Members of a federal LEA may be given jurisdiction within a division of a federation for laws enacted by the governing bodies of the divisions either by the relevant division within the federation, or by the federation's governing body. For example, the Australian Federal Police is a federal agency and has the legal power to enforce the laws enacted by any Australian state, but will generally only enforce state law if there is a federal aspect to investigate. Typically federal LEAs have relatively narrow police responsibilities, the individual divisions within the federation usually establish their own police agencies to enforce laws within the division. However, in some countries federal agencies have jurisdiction in divisions of the federation. This typically happens when the division does not have its own independent status and is dependent on the federation. For example, the Australian Federal Police is the police agency with jurisdiction in Australia’s dependent territories, Jervis Bay Territory, Cocos Islands, Antarctic Territory, and Christmas Island. Similarly, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is a federal agency and is the sole police agency for Canada’s three territories, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. Note that this is a direct jurisdictional responsibility and is different from the situation when a governing body makes arrangements with another governing body's LEA to provide law enforcement for its subjects. This latter type of arrangement is described under Establishment and constitution of law enforcement agencies. Some federations escalate non compliance with laws with divisional or federal laws which involve multiple divisions within the federation to a federal LEA. The United States for example escalates kidnapping to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In Australia, states liaise directly with each other when non compliance with laws crosses state boundaries. Some countries provide law enforcement on land and in buildings owned or controlled by the federation by using a federal LEA, for example the United States’s Department of Homeland Security is responsible for some aspects of federal property law enforcement. Other countries, for example Australia, provide law enforcement for federal property via federal LEAs and the LEAs for the division of the federation in which the property is located. Typically LEAs working in different jurisdictions which overlap in the type of law non compliance actively establish mechanisms for cooperation and even establish joint operations and joints task forces. Often, members of a LEA working outside of their normal jurisdiction on joint operations or task force are sworn in as special members of the host jurisdiction. National responsibilities A national law enforcement agency is a LEA in a country which does not have divisions capable of making their own laws. A national LEA will have the combined responsibilities that federal LEAs and divisional LEAs would have in a federated country. National LEAs are usually divided into operations areas. A national police agency is a national LEA which also has the typical police responsibilities of social order and public safety as well as national law enforcement responsibilities. Examples of countries with national police agencies are Canada, New Zealand, Italy, France, Japan, Netherlands, Philippines and Nicaragua. To help avoid confusion over jurisdictional responsibility, some federal LEAs explicitly advise that they are not a national law enforcement agency, for example the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation does this.
  5. Organization and structure Jurisdictionally, there can be an important difference between international LEAs and multinational LEAs, even though both are often referred to as "international", even in official documents. An international law enforcement agency has jurisdiction and or operates in multiple countries and across State borders, for example Interpol. A multinational law enforcement agency will typically operate in only one country, or one division of a country, but is made up of personnel from several countries, for example the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. international LEAs are typically also multinational, for example Interpol, but multinational LEAs are not typically international. Within a country, the jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies can be organized and structured in a number of ways to provide law enforcement throughout the country. A law enforcement agency’s jurisdiction can be for the whole country or for a division or sub-division within the country. Within divisions of a country LEA jurisdiction for a division within a country can typically be at more than one level, for example at the division level, that is state, province, or territory level, and for example at the sub division level, that is county, shire, or municipality or metropolitan area level. In Australia for example, each state has its own LEAs. In the United States for example, typically each state and county or city has its own LEAs. As a result, because both Australia and the United States are federations and have federal LEAs, Australia has two levels of law enforcement and the United States has multiple levels of law enforcement, Federal, Tribal, State, County, City, Town, Village, special Jurisdiction and others. Division into operations areas Often a LEA’s jurisdiction will be geographically divided into operations areas for administrative and logistical efficiency reasons. An operations area is often called a command or an office. While the operations area of a LEA is sometimes referred to as a jurisdiction, any LEA operations area usually still has legal jurisdiction in all geographic areas the LEA operates, but by policy and consensus the operations area does not normally operate in other geographical operations areas of the LEA. For example, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police is divided into 32 Borough Operational Command Units, based on the London boroughs, and the New York City Police Department is divided into 77 precincts. Sometimes the one legal jurisdiction is covered by more than one LEA, again for administrative and logistical efficiency reasons, or arising from policy, or historical reasons. For example, the area of jurisdiction of English and Welsh law is covered by a number of LEAs called constabularies, each of which has legal jurisdiction over the whole area covered by English and Welsh law, but they do not normally operate out of their areas without formal liaison between them. The primary difference between separate agencies and operational areas within the one legal jurisdiction is the degree of flexibility to move resources between versus within agencies. When multiple LEAs cover the one legal jurisdicition, each agency still typically organises itself into operations areas. In the United States within a state's legal jurisdiction, county and city police agencies do not have full legal jurisdictional flexibility throughout the state, and this has led in part to mergers of adjacent police agencies Federal and national When a LEA’s jurisdiction is for the whole country, it is usually one of two broad types, either federal or national. Federal responsibilities When the country has a federal constitution, a whole-of-country LEA is referred to as a federal law enforcement agency. The responsibilities of a federal LEA vary from country to country. Federal LEA responsibilities are typically countering fraud against the federation, immigration and border control regarding people and goods, investigating currency counterfeiting, policing of airports and protection of designated national infrastructure, national security, and the protection of the country’s head of state and of other designated very important persons, for example the Protective Service of the Australian Federal Police, or the Protective Mission of the United States Secret Service; and the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). A federal police agency is a federal LEA which also has the typical police responsibilities of social order and public safety as well as federal law enforcement responsibilities. However, a federal police agency will not usually exercise its powers at a divisional level. Such exercising of powers is typically via specific arrangements between the federal and divisional governing bodies. Examples of federal law enforcement agencies are the Australian Federal Police (Australia), Federal Police of Brazil (Brazil), Central Bureau of Investigation (India), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Protective Service, United States Park Police (United States), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada), and the State Security Service (Nigeria). A federated approach to the organisation of a country does not necessarily indicate the nature of the organisation of law enforcement agencies within the country. Some countries, for example Austria and Belgium, have a relatively unified approach to law enforcement, but still have operationally separate units for federal law enforcement and divisional policing. The United States has a highly fractured approach to law enforcement agencies generally, and this is reflected in American federal law enforcement agencies.
  6. A law enforcement agency (LEA), in North American English, is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws. Outside North America, such organizations are usually called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police, others are known as sheriff's offices/departments, while investigative police services in the United States are often called bureaus, for example the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Jurisdiction LEAs which have their ability to apply their powers restricted in some way are said to operate within a jurisdiction. LEAs will have some form of geographic restriction on their ability to apply their powers. The LEA might be able to apply its powers within a country, for example the United States of America's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or its Drug Enforcement Administration, within a division of a country, for example the Australian state Queensland Police, or across a collection of countries, for example international organizations such as Interpol, or the European Union's Europol. LEAs which operate across a collection of countries tend to assist in law enforcement activities, rather than directly enforcing laws, by facilitating the sharing of information necessary for law enforcement between LEAs within those countries, for example Europol has no executive powers. Sometimes a LEA’s jurisdiction is determined by the complexity or seriousness of the non compliance with a law. Some countries determine the jurisdiction in these circumstances by means of policy and resource allocation between agencies, for example in Australia, the Australian Federal Police take on complex serious matters referred to it by an agency and the agency will undertake its own investigations of less serious or complex matters by consensus, while other countries have laws which decide the jurisdiction, for example in the United States of America some matters are required by law to be referred to other agencies if they are of a certain level of seriousness or complexity, for example cross state boundary kidnapping in the United States is escalated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Differentiation of jurisdiction based on the seriousness and complexity of the non compliance either by law or by policy and consensus can coexist in countries. A LEA which has a wide range of powers but whose ability is restricted geographically, typically to an area which is only part of a country, is typically referred to as local police or territorial police. Other LEAs have a jurisdiction defined by the type of laws they enforce or assist in enforcing. For example, Interpol does not work with political, military, religious, or racial matters. A LEA’s jurisdiction usually also includes the governing bodies they support, and the LEA itself.
  7. Law enforcement is any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society. Although the term may encompass entities such as courts and prisons, it is most frequently applied to those who directly engage in patrols or surveillance to dissuade and discover criminal activity, and those who investigate crimes and apprehend offenders, a task typically carried out by the police or another law enforcement organisation. Furthermore, although law enforcement may be most concerned with the prevention and punishment of crimes, organizations exist to discourage a wide variety of non-criminal violations of rules and norms, effected through the imposition of less severe consequences. Organizations Most law enforcement is conducted by some type of law enforcement agency, with the most typical agency fulfilling this role being the police. Societal investment in enforcement through such organizations can be massive, both in terms of the resources invested in the activity, and in the number of people professionally engaged to perform those functions. Law enforcement agencies tend to be limited to operating within a specified jurisdiction. In some cases, jurisdiction may overlap inbetween organizations; for example, in the United States, each state has its own statewide law enforcement arms, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation is able to act against certain types of crimes occurring in any state. Various specialized segments of society may have their own internal law enforcement arrangements. For example, military organizations may have military police.
  8. The real problem, of course, is that no one knows just how many guns are out there on the streets. The task of trying to work that out falls to the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (Nabis), which works with all police forces in the country and a number of other agencies to assemble data on illegal gun use as well as having a team of forensic scientists poring over fragments of ammunition and recovered weapons. It’s those fragments that can yield surprising information, such as whether it’s from a gun that has been used before. Around 90 per cent of illegally held firearms are used only once; the remaining few are, conversely, used many times. Aside from imported guns, one of the big problems today is the repurposing of antique or obsolete weapons into working firearms. In fact, says Squires, there’s quite an underworld cottage industry built up around it, converting antique or obsolete guns into deadly, usable weapons, and bespoke manufacture of ammunition to fit them. In fact, gun dealer Paul Edmunds, 66, of Hardwicke, Gloucestershire, will be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court next week after being found guilty of doing just that. Edmunds was found to have at his home three “armouries” where he repurposed weapons and created ammunition for them, with the firearms he provided being used in an estimated 100 offences. Nabis was instrumental in providing the evidence that led to Edmunds’ conviction, and has also been heavily involved in a Home Office consultation on the use of antique firearms, which ended on Thursday. This, says Squires, is the next step that needs to be taken in the ongoing war on guns, as well as perhaps toughening up the conditions on allowing people to obtain licences for legal firearms such as shotguns – he suggests more could be done to limit licensing to people with a history of certain types of mental health conditions, or who have a history of committing domestic violence. While criminals will always find ways to get their hands on guns, the Firearms (Amendment) (No 2) Act that was brought in 20 years ago has made an undoubted difference to the gun landscape in the UK, just as similar legislation did in Australia. Three years after both Dunblane in Scotland and Port Arthur in Tasmania, America experienced one of its most high-profile mass shootings with the Columbine High School massacre. No legislation was passed then, nor after Sandy Hook in 2012, nor after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, nor after Las Vegas in 2017. Perhaps the Firearms Act did indeed save us from going down the American path. But there are still guns out there on our streets, albeit mainly antique and obsolete guns. Nabis can only make conservative estimates based on the ballistics information they painstakingly obtain from remnants recovered at scenes of crimes. However, the number of guns they suggest are on our streets might well surprise you. For the period 1 April, 2016 to 31 March 2017, the number of guns Nabis can say were in criminal hands in England, Scotland and Wales was 322. Which, give or take, is a little less than the 331 mass shootings officially recorded in America this year alone, where legal civilian gun ownership amounts to 265 million firearms. Does gun control work in the UK? It’s a case of you do the maths.
  9. The year 1996 was marked by two different mass shootings at opposite ends of the globe. On 13 March, Thomas Hamilton killed 16 school children and one teacher in Dunblane Primary School in Scotland before turning his gun on himself. On 28 April, Martin Bryant opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon in the popular tourist resort of Port Arthur, on Tasmania, killing 35 people. Both were considered to be the worst mass shootings in British and Australian history. Both resulted in relatively quickly instituted legislative changes as debates about gun control raged in both of those countries. In the UK, on 17 December 1997, the Firearms (Amendment) (No 2) Act 1997 came into force. It was a year of great political upheaval, as the Conservative Party departed power after 18 years and the New Labour of Tony Blair took the reins. The Tories had already instituted the Firearms (Amendment) Act on the back of the Cullen Report into the Dunblane shooting, which banned high-calibre handguns. The updated act went further, banning all handguns from private use. “In a way, it was perfect for Tony Blair,” says Peter Squires. “The Conservatives had laid the groundwork with the Firearms (Amendment) Act, but he was able to take the Tory pledge of ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’, and get even tougher. Dunblane was a game-changer for guns in the UK. If the deaths of children will not tweak a nation’s conscience, nothing will.” In the wake of Dunblane, a national movement called the Snowdrop Petition sprang up, calling for the banning of handguns. Hamilton had used handguns to commit the atrocity; firearms which were perfectly legal and licensed in the UK. Squires is professor of criminology and public policy at the University of Brighton, and has written and lectured widely on the issue of gun control. If Dunblane was a game-changer, does that follow that the Firearms Act was as well? “Perhaps not necessarily at first,” he says. “In fact, for the next four years gun crime continued to increase, by about 105 per cent over that period.” But that doesn’t mean it was a failure. The reason gun crime continued to rise was because the definition was too wide-ranging; it included everything and anything, every single report where a victim reported that a gun was used, even if that gun was never fired, even if it was a replica, or a fake, or even a toy. So by 2003, the laws were refined. The use of air weapons and pellet guns, which made up a large number of gun crime complaints, was taken out of the Firearms Act and put under the auspices of the new Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, which meant gun crime figures purely under their Firearms Act definition began to decrease markedly thanks to reclassification taking air weapons out of the equation. Squires says: “In fact, gun crime began to decrease for about 10 or 12 years after that, and it’s only in the last two years that we’ve seen it start to creep up again.” Before the act came in, handguns were as obtainable as any other gun in this country. Even the pro-gun lobby in this country capitulated fairly quickly… which might have more to do with class divisions. Squires says: “Handguns were mainly used by urban, working-class men who would fire them on entirely legal and licensed ranges. The more elite end of the sport, the grouse shooters, was quite happy to let the handgun shooters go. “Around that time the US was seeing a massive shift to carrying guns for self defence, and there were even arguments over here that we should have some kind of Second Amendment to allow people to carry guns, so the Firearms Act was basically a statement against Britain going down the route of gun culture.” An amnesty was organised which had a very high take-up; handguns were licensed, so it was easy to know who had possession of one, and there was a compensation scheme in place to reimburse owners. In the years before the act was commenced, Home Office statistics show that homicides involving firearms were 75 in 1993, the same in 1994, and 81 in 1995. Aside from spikes around the turn of the century, the subsequent years have all seen markedly lower gun-deaths recorded. The Gun Control Network, a campaigning body set up in the wake of Dunblane, records its own gun-death statistics based on media reports, which it says generally tally with official figures once they come out. For the past few years it has reported 20 deaths in 2014-15, 24 in 2015-16, 27 in 2016-17, and since 1 April this year, 15 deaths in England, Wales and Scotland. So the act does in fact seem to have made a difference. But a cursory look at the news will show that on any given day there are guns employed by the criminal fraternity in robberies, attacks and gang violence. They don’t all result in death, of course, but they are out there, and being used. So where are they coming from? “A lot of guns come from countries in Eastern Europe,” says Squires. “They are coming in components, and one thing we do desperately lack is adequate scanning technology which can swiftly identify firearms components.” Guns can be purchased on the internet, especially the so-called “dark web”, which allows untraceable and non-standard communications technology, and have been increasingly brought into the country via legitimate parcel courier companies. They are all areas the Government needs to crack down on, says Squires. Criminals will always exploit the latest technology, for example using 3D printers to create bump-stocks to turn semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic firearms, as was seen in the recent Las Vegas shooting which claimed 58 lives.
  10. Other countries A 2007 study found evidence that gun control laws passed in Austria in 1997 reduced the rates of firearm suicide and homicide in that country. In Brazil, after disarmament laws were passed in 2003, gun-related mortality declined by 8% in 2004 relative to the previous year, the first decline observed in a decade. Gun-related hospitalizations also reversed their previous trend by decreasing 4.6% from 2003 to 2004. A 2006 study found that after gun control laws were passed in New Zealand in 1992, suicides committed with guns declined significantly, especially among youth. The same study found a decline in overall youth suicide after the laws were passed, but also concluded that "it is not possible to determine the extent to which this was accounted for by changes in firearms legislation or other causes." A 2010 study looked at the effect of a policy adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces that restricted access to guns among adolescents on suicide rates, and found that "Following the policy change, suicide rates decreased significantly by 40%." The authors concluded that "The results of this study illustrate the ability of a relatively simple change in policy to have a major impact on suicide rates." A 2013 study showed that after the Military of Switzerland adopted the Army XXI reform, which restricted gun availability, in 2003, suicide rates—both overall and firearm-related—decreased. Another 2013 study looking at four restrictive gun laws passed in Norway found that two of them may have reduced firearm mortality among men, but that the evidence was more inconclusive with respect to all of the laws they studied. A 2014 study found that after South Africa's Firearm Control Act was passed in 2000, homicide rates in the country declined, and concluded that "stricter gun control mediated by the FCA accounted for a significant decrease in homicide overall, and firearm homicide in particular, during the study period [2001–2005]." A 2000 study found that a ban on carrying guns in Colombia was associated with reductions in homicide rates in two cities in the country, namely, Cali and Bogotá.
  11. Australia In 1988 and 1996, gun control laws were enacted in the Australian state of Victoria, both times following mass shootings. A 2004 study found that in the context of these laws, overall firearm-related deaths, especially suicides, declined dramatically. A 1995 study found preliminary evidence that gun control legislation enacted in Queensland, Australia reduced suicide rates there. A 2006 study by gun lobby-affiliated researchers Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran found that after Australia enacted the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), a gun control law, in 1996, gun-related suicides may have been affected, but no other parameter appeared to have been. Another 2006 study, led by Simon Chapman, found that after this law was enacted in 1996 in Australia, the country went more than a decade without any mass shootings, and gun-related deaths (especially suicides) declined dramatically. The latter of these studies also criticized the former for using a time-series analysis despite the fact that, according to Chapman et al., "calculating mortality rates and then treating them as a number in a time series ignores the natural variability inherent in the counts that make up the numerator of the rate." Chapman et al. also said that Baker and McPhedran used the Box–Jenkins model inappropriately. A 2010 study looking at the effect of the NFA on gun-related deaths found that the law "did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates," although David Hemenway has criticized this study for using a structural break test despite the fact that such tests can miss the effects of policies in the presence of lags, or when the effect occurs over several years. Another study, published the same year, found that Australia's gun buyback program reduced gun-related suicide rates by almost 80%, while non-gun death rates were not significantly affected. Other research has argued that although gun suicide rates fell after the NFA was enacted, the NFA may not have been responsible for this decrease and "a change in social and cultural attitudes" may have instead been at least partly responsible. In 2016, Chapman co-authored another study that found that after the NFA was passed, there were no mass shootings in the country (as of May 2016), and that gun-related death rates declined more quickly after the NFA than they did before it. The study also found, however, that non-gun suicide and homicide rates declined even more quickly after the NFA, leading the authors to conclude that "it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms."
  12. Canada Rifles and shotguns are relatively easy to obtain, while handguns and some semi-automatic rifles are restricted. With respect to the Criminal Law Amendment Act, a gun control law passed in Canada in 1977, some studies have found that it was ineffective at reducing homicide or robbery rates. One study even found that the law may have actually increased robberies involving firearms. A 1993 study found that after this law was passed, gun suicides decreased significantly, as did the proportion of suicides committed in the country with guns. A 2003 study found that this law "may have had an impact on suicide rates, even after controls for social variables," while a 2001 study by the same research team concluded that the law "may have had an impact on homicide rates, at least for older victims." A 1994 study found that after this law came into force in 1978, suicide rates decreased over time in Ontario, and that there was no evidence of method substitution. The same study found that "These decreases may be only partly due to the legislation." In 1991, Canada implemented the gun control law Bill C-17. According to a 2004 study, after this law was passed, firearm-related suicides and homicides, as well as the percentage of suicides involving firearms, declined significantly in that country. A 2010 study found that after this law was passed, firearm suicides declined in Quebec among men, but acknowledged that this may not represent a causal relationship. In 1992, Canada promulgated the Canadian Firearms Act, which aimed at ensuring that guns were stored safely. A 2004 study found that although firearm suicide rates declined in the Quebec region Abitibi-Témiscamingue after the law was passed, overall suicide rates did not. A 2008 study reached similar conclusions with regard to the entire Quebec province; this study also found that C-17 did not seem to increase the rate at which the firearm suicide rate was declining. Other researchers have criticized this 2008 study for looking at too short a time period and not taking account of the fact that the regulations in C-17 were implemented gradually. A 1990 study compared suicide rates in the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada metropolitan area (where gun control laws were more restrictive) with those in the Seattle, Washington area in the United States. The overall suicide rate was essentially the same in the two locations, but the suicide rate among 15 to 24 year olds was about 40 percent higher in Seattle than in Vancouver. The authors concluded that "restricting access to handguns might be expected to reduce the suicide rate in persons 15 to 24 years old, but...it probably would not reduce the overall suicide rate." A 2011 study looked at gun control passed in Canada between 1974 to 2004 and found that gun laws were responsible for 5 to 10 percent drops in homicides. The study found that the homicide reduction effects of Canadian gun legislation remained even after accounting for sociodemographic and economic factors associated with homicide rates. A 2012 study looked at gun control laws passed in Canada from 1974 to 2008 and found no evidence that these laws had a beneficial effect on firearm homicide rates in that country. According to the study, "other factors found to be associated with homicide rates were median age, unemployment, immigration rates, percentage of population in low-income bracket, Gini index of income equality, population per police officer, and incarceration rate." A 2013 study of the 1995 Canadian gun control law Firearms Act, 1995 reported little evidence that this law significantly reduced rates of lethal gun violence against women.
  13. Reviews A review of published studies of gun control released in October 2003 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was unable to determine any statistically significant effect resulting from such laws, although the authors suggest that further study may provide more conclusive information, and noted that "insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness". In 2015, Garen Wintemute and Daniel Webster reviewed studies examining the effectiveness of gun laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of high-risk individuals in the United States. They found that some laws prohibiting gun possession by people under domestic violence restraining orders or who had been convicted of violent misdemeanors were associated with lower violence rates, as were laws establishing more procedures to see if people were prohibited from owning a gun under these laws. They also found that multiple other gun regulations intended to prevent prohibited individuals from obtaining guns, such as "rigorous permit-to-purchase" laws and "comprehensive background checks", were "negatively associated with the diversion of guns to criminals." A 2016 systematic review found that restrictive gun licensing laws were associated with lower gun injury rates, while concealed carry laws were not significantly associated with rates of such injuries. Another systematic review found that stricter gun laws were associated with lower gun homicide rates; this association was especially strong for background check and permit-to-purchase laws. Studies of individual laws Other studies have examined trends in firearm-related deaths before and after gun control laws are either enacted or repealed. A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence that child access prevention laws were "associated with a modest reduction in suicide rates among youth aged 14 to 17 years." Two 2015 studies found that the permit-to-purchase law passed in Connecticut in 1995 was associated with a reduction in firearm suicides and homicides. One of these studies also found that the repeal of Missouri's permit-to-purchase law was associated with "a 16.1% increase in firearm suicide rates," and a 2014 study by the same research team found that the repeal of this law was associated with a 16% increase in homicide rates. A 2000 study designed to assess the effectiveness of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act found that the law was not associated with reductions in overall homicide or suicide rates, but that it was associated with a reduction in the firearm suicide rate among individuals aged 55 or older. A 1991 study looked at Washington, D.C.'s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, which banned its residents from owning all guns except certain shotguns and sporting rifles, which were also required to be unloaded, disassembled, or stored with a trigger lock in their owners' homes. The study found that the law's enactment was associated with "a prompt decline in homicides and suicides by firearms in the District of Columbia." A 1996 study reanalyzed this data and reached a significantly different conclusion as to the effectiveness of this law. Other studies and debate In 1993, Kleck and Patterson analyzed the impact of 18 major types of gun control laws on every major type of gun-involved crime or violence (including suicide) in 170 U.S. cities, and found that gun laws generally had no significant effect on violent crime rates or suicide rates. Similarly, a 1997 study found that gun control laws had only a small influence on the rate of gun deaths in U.S. states compared to socioeconomic variables like poverty and unemployment. Philosophy professor Michael Huemer argues that gun control may be morally wrong, even if its outcomes would be positive, because individuals have a prima facie right to own a gun for self-defence and recreation.
  14. United States Cross-sectional studies In 1983, a cross-sectional study of all 50 U.S. states found that the six states with the strictest gun laws (according to the National Rifle Association) had suicide rates that were approximately 3/100,000 people lower than in other states, and that these states' suicide rates were 4/100,000 people lower than those of states with the least restrictive gun laws. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at the restrictiveness of gun laws and suicide rates in men and women in all 50 U.S. states and found that states whose gun laws were more restrictive had lower suicide rates among both sexes.] In 2004, another study found that the effect of state gun laws on gun-related homicides was "limited". A 2005 study looked at all 50 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and found that no gun laws were associated with reductions in firearm homicide or suicide, but that a "shall-issue" concealed carry law may be associated with increased firearm homicide rates. A 2011 study found that firearm regulation laws in the United States have "a significant deterrent effect on male suicide". A 2013 study found that in the United States, "A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state." A 2016 study published in The Lancet found that of 25 laws studied, and in the time period examined (2008–2010), nine were associated with reduced firearm mortality (including both homicide and suicide), nine were associated with increased mortality, and seven had an inconclusive association. The three laws most strongly associated with reduced firearm mortality were laws requiring universal background checks, background checks for ammunition sales, and identification for guns. In an accompanying commentary, David Hemenway noted that this study had multiple limitations, such as not controlling for all factors that may influence gun-related deaths aside from gun control laws, and the use of 29 explanatory variables in the analysis. Other studies comparing gun control laws in different U.S. states include a 2015 study which found that in the United States, "stricter state firearm legislation is associated with lower discharge rates" for nonfatal gun injuries. A 2014 study that also looked at the United States found that children living in states with stricter gun laws were safer. Another study looking specifically at suicide rates in the United States found that the four handgun laws examined (waiting periods, universal background checks, gun locks, and open carrying regulations) were associated with "significantly lower firearm suicide rates and the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms." The study also found that all four of these laws (except the waiting-period one) were associated with reductions in the overall suicide rate. Another study, published the same year, found that states with permit to purchase, registration, and/or license laws for handguns had lower overall suicide rates, as well as lower firearm suicide rates. A 2014 study found that states that required licensing and inspections of gun dealers tended to have lower rates of gun homicides. Another study published the same year, analyzing panel data from all 50 states, found that stricter gun laws may modestly reduce gun deaths. A 2016 study found that U.S. military veterans tend to commit suicide with guns more often than the general population, thereby possibly increasing state suicide rates, and that "the tendency for veterans to live in states without handgun legislation may exacerbate this phenomenon." California has exceptionally strict gun sales laws, and a 2015 study found that it also had the oldest guns recovered in crimes of any states in the U.S.. The same study concluded that "These findings suggest that more restrictive gun sales laws and gun dealer regulations do make it more difficult for criminals to acquire new guns first purchased at retail outlets." Another 2016 study found that stricter state gun laws in the United States reduced suicide rates. Another 2016 study found that U.S. states with lenient gun control laws had more gun-related child injury hospital admissions than did states with stricter gun control laws. A 2017 study found that suicide rates declined more in states with universal background check and mandatory waiting period laws than in states without these laws. Another 2017 study found that states without universal background check and/or waiting period laws had steeper increases in their suicide rates than did states with these laws. A third 2017 study found that "waiting period laws that delay the purchase of firearms by a few days reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%." A 2017 study in the Economic Journal found that mandatory handgun purchase delays reduced "firearm related suicides by between 2 to 5 percent with no statistically significant increase in non-firearm suicides," and were "not associated with statistically significant changes in homicide rates." Another 2017 study showed that laws banning gun possession by people subject to intimate partner violence restraining orders, and requiring such people to give up any guns they have, were associated with lower intimate partner homicide rates.
  15. Studies High rates of gun mortality and injury are often cited as a primary impetus for gun control policies. A 2004 National Research Council critical review found that while some strong conclusions are warranted from current research, the state of our knowledge is generally poor. The result of the scarcity of relevant data is that gun control is one of the most fraught topics in American politics and scholars remain deadlocked on a variety of issues. Notably, since 1996, when the Dickey Amendment was first inserted into the federal spending bill, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been prohibited from using its federal funding "to advocate or promote gun control," thwarting gun violence research at the agency at the time. The funding provision's author has said that this was an over-interpretation, but the amendment still had a chilling effect, effectively halting federally funded firearm-related research. Since the amendment, the CDC has continued to research gun violence and publish studies about it, although their funding for such research has fallen by 96% since 1996, according to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. According to a spokesman, the CDC has limited funding and hasn't produced any comprehensive study aimed at reducing gun violence since 2001. General A 1998 review found that suicide rates generally declined after gun control laws were enacted, and concluded that "The findings support gun control measures as a strategy for reducing suicide rates." A 2016 review found that laws banning people under restraining orders due to domestic violence convictions from accessing guns were associated with "reductions in intimate partner homicide". Another 2016 review identified 130 studies regarding restrictive gun laws and found that the implementation of multiple such laws simultaneously was associated with a decrease in gun-related deaths. According to a 2011 UN study, after identifying a number of methodological problems, it stated "notwithstanding such challenges, a significant body of literature tends to suggest that firearm availability predominantly represents a risk factor rather than a protective factor for homicide. In particular, a number of quantitative studies tend towards demonstrating a firearm prevalence-homicide association."
  16. Regulation of civilian firearms Barring a few exceptions, most countries in the world allow civilians to purchase firearms subject to certain restrictions. A 2011 survey of 28 countries over five continents found that a major distinction between different national regimes of firearm regulation is whether civilian gun ownership is seen as a right or a privilege. The study concluded that both the United States and Yemen were distinct from the other countries surveyed in viewing firearm ownership as a basic right of civilians and in having more permissive regimes of civilian gun ownership. In the remaining countries included in the sample, civilian firearm ownership is considered a privilege and the legislation governing possession of firearms is correspondingly more restrictive. International and regional civilian firearm regulation At the international and regional level, diplomatic attention has tended to focus on the cross-border illegal trade in small arms as an area of particular concern rather than the regulation of civilian-held firearms. During the mid-1990s, however, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a series of resolutions relating to the civilian ownership of small arms. These called for an exchange of data on national systems of firearm regulation and for the initiation of an international study of the issue. In July 1997, ECOSOC issued a resolution that underlined the responsibility of UN member states to competently regulate civilian ownership of small arms and which urged them to ensure that their regulatory frameworks encompassed the following aspects: firearm safety and storage; penalties for the unlawful possession and misuse of firearms; a licensing system to prevent undesirable persons from owning firearms; exemption from criminal liability to promote the surrender by citizens of illegal, unsafe or unwanted guns; and, a record-keeping system to track civilian firearms. In 1997, the UN published a study based on member state survey data titled the United Nations International Study on Firearm Regulation which was updated in 1999. This study was meant to initiate the establishment of a database on civilian firearm regulations which would be run by the Centre for International Crime Prevention, located in Vienna. who were to report on national systems of civilian firearm regulation every two years. These plans never reached fruition and further UN-led efforts to establish international norms for the regulation of civilian-held firearms were stymied. Responding to pressure from the U.S. government, any mention of the regulation of civilian ownership of small arms was removed from the draft proposals for the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms. Although the issue is no longer part of the UN policy debate, since 1991 there have been eight regional agreements involving 110 countries concerning aspects of civilian firearm possession. The Bamako Declaration, was adopted in Bamako, Mali, on 1 December 2000 by the representatives of the member states of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The provisions of this declaration recommend that the signatories would establish the illegal possession of small arms and light weapons as a criminal offence under national law in their respective countries.
  17. Gun control (or firearms regulation) is the set of laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians. Most countries have a restrictive firearm guiding policy, with only a few legislations being categorized as permissive. Jurisdictions that regulate access to firearms typically restrict access to only certain categories of firearms and then to restrict the categories of persons who will be granted a license to have access to a firearm. In some countries such as the United States, gun control may be legislated at either a federal level or a local state level. Gun control refers to domestic regulation of firearm manufacture, trade, possession, use, and transport, specifically with regard to the class of weapons referred to as small arms (revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, submachine guns and light machine guns). Usage of the term gun control is sometimes politicized. Some of those in favor of legislation instead prefer to use terms such as "gun-violence prevention", "gun safety", "firearms regulation", "illegal guns", or "criminal access to guns". In 2007, it was estimated that there were, globally, about 875 million small arms in the hands of civilians, law enforcement agencies, and armed forces. Of these firearms 650 million, or 75%, are held by civilians. U.S. civilians account for 270 million of this total. A further 200 million are controlled by state military forces. Law enforcement agencies have some 26 million small arms. Non-state armed groups have about 1.4 million firearms. Finally, gang members hold between 2 and 10 million small arms. Together, the small arms arsenals of non-state armed groups and gangs account for, at most, 1.4% of the global total.
  18. Nest Secure $499.00 at Walmart Pros: Stylish. Easy to install. Multi-purpose sensors. Works with Nest cameras and a handful of third-party devices. Cons: Expensive. Doesn't support IFTTT or trigger other devices. Bottom Line: The Nest Secure Alarm Starter Pack is a stylish DIY smart home security solution that's easy to install and configure, but is very expensive, and lacks integration you get with some other systems. Ring Alarm Security Kit $159.00 at Amazon Pros: Easy to install. Affordable professional monitoring available. Supports multiple wireless platforms. Loud siren. Cons: Currently lacks integration with other devices, including Ring cameras and doorbells. Does not support IFTTT or voice commands. Bulky contact sensors. Bottom Line: The Ring Alarm Security Kit is a DIY home security system that is easy to install and offers affordable professional monitoring, but interoperability with Ring cameras and third-party devices is not yet supported. Abode Home Security Starter Kit $229.00 Best Price at Amazon Pros: Easy to install. No-contract monitoring plans available. Works with lots of third-party devices. Amazon Alexa voice control. Supports ZigBee and Z-Wave. Mobile and web access. Cons: Bulky sensors. Cannot manage notifications from mobile app. Doesn't come with control panel. Bottom Line: The Abode Home Security Starter Kit is a fantastic do-it-yourself security system that offers no-contract professional monitoring. It starts with the basics, but is highly expandable with support for plenty of third-party gadgets and services. pcmag.com
  19. Honeywell Smart Home Security Starter Kit $314.00 at Amazon Pros: Easy to install. Built-in Alexa voice service. Face recognition. Supports IFTTT applets. Free and paid cloud storage. Cons: No professional monitoring available. Face recognition is limited. Bottom Line: Honeywell's Smart Home Security Starter Kit is a DIY system that includes Amazon Alexa service, a built-in 1080p camera, motion detection, face recognition, and more. There's no option for professional monitoring, however. Wink Lookout $199.00 at Amazon Pros: Easy to install. Works with numerous third-party devices. Supports multiple wireless protocols. Cons: No professional monitoring. No backup battery. Cannot trigger camera recordings. Bottom Line: The Wink Lookout starter kit gives you everything you need to start monitoring your home using your smartphone. LifeShield Smart Home Security Kit $199.00 Pros: Easy to install. Professional monitoring available. Comes with tablet controller. Works with Alexa voice commands, IFTTT, and Z-Wave devices. Cons: Camera image quality could be better. Some components are expensive. Bottom Line: The LifeShield Smart Home Security Kit is a versatile security system with home automation capabilities and the option to monitor professionally or on your own.
  20. ADT Pulse $28.99 at ADT Pulse Pros: Fast and knowledgeable service reps. Many components available. Support for third-party devices. Solid mobile and web apps. Cons: Expensive. Requires three-year contract with hefty termination penalty. Some Pulse peripherals require third-party mobile apps. Bottom Line: ADT Pulse offers just about everything you could want in a full-service home security system, including many component options, support for popular third-party smart home devices, and a solid app experience. Vivint Smart Home $49.99 at Vivint Pros: Speedy event response. Excellent video doorbell. Offers remote control of door locks, cameras, thermostats, and sensors. Responsive touch screen. No lengthy contract required. Cons: Requires a monthly subscription for remote access. Cannot customize alarm sounds. Bottom Line: The Vivint Smart Home system offers 24/7 security monitoring and remote control of your door locks, cameras, heating system, and features the best video doorbell solution we've tested. SimpliSafe Home Security System $229.96 at SimpliSafe Pros: Affordable hardware, reasonable monthly monitoring fees. No contract required. Quick, easy installation. Cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, the latter of which is optional. Cons: The SimpliCam camera only works indoors, is very basic, and tops out at 720p. Bottom Line: If you want to secure and monitor your home from afar without spending a bundle or signing a long-term contract, there's a lot to like about the newly redesigned, versatile, and easy-to-use DIY SimpliSafe Home Security System. Frontpoint Home Security System $34.99 at Frontpoint Pros: Easy to install. Responsive sensors. Wide selection of accessories. Cons: Pricey monitoring plans and accessories. Requires one- or three-year contract. Top-tier plan is required to view live and recorded video. Bottom Line: Frontpoint is a DIY home security system that's easy to install and offers a wide array of compatible accessories. It works well, but is priced higher than the competition and a monitoring contract is required.
  21. Can Home Security Systems Be Hacked? Like any product that connects to the internet and uses wireless technology, smart home security systems are vulnerable to hacking, particularly systems that lack encryption. Hackers can sit outside your home and use a laptop and software to intercept wireless signals coming from your system that allow them to suppress alarms and disable sensors. Other devices allow hackers to generate radio noise that can jam communications between the sensors and the hub. Additionally, devices that connect via Wi-Fi, such as security cameras and smart door locks, can be hacked to gain access to your home network. A skilled hacker can then use your Wi-Fi devices and other network resources to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against larger networks. Perhaps even more disturbing is the idea of some stranger monitoring video from your indoor and outdoor security cameras. There are several steps you can take to make sure your home security system is safe from malicious cyber intruders. For starters, replace the system's default password with a unique one that contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. If possible, change your password from time to time. Additionally, make sure your home network is secure. Check the security settings on your wireless router, and consider models that add an extra layer of software protection, like the Bitdefender Box 2. Some security system vendors use frequency hopping tech to prevent signal jamming, while others use embedded encryption, but neither feature is standard, so check with the manufacturer if you require an extra layer of security. In addition, keep an eye on your camera logs to see when they have been accessed. If you notice camera activity at odd hours or at times when you know that nobody is at home, it may be an indication that your system has been compromised. Finally, make sure your system software and all of your connected devices are up to date. Firmware updates often address security issues and can help protect your system from infiltration. For more on how to get started with smart home security, check out this handy primer on our sister site, ExtremeTech.com pcmag.com
  22. What's the Best Smart Lock? A smart lock is typically part of a robust smart home security setup, but you don't have to invest in a full-blown system to use one. If you're using a home automation hub to control things like lighting and thermostats, you can add a Z-Wave or Zigbee smart lock to the system without much effort. Alternately, if you don't have a home automation hub, look for a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth lock that comes with its own mobile app. Smart locks use standard pre-drilled holes and are fairly easy to install. Some models use your existing keyed cylinder and deadbolt hardware and attach to the inside of your door, while others require that you remove your existing interior and exterior escutcheons and replace the deadbolt and strike hardware. Smart locks can be opened and closed using a mobile app and will send a notification when someone locks or unlocks a door, and most allow you to create permanent and temporary access schedules for family members and friends based on specific hours of the day and days of the week. Features to look for include geofencing, which uses your phone's location services to lock and unlock the door, voice activation using Siri (HomeKit), Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa voice commands, support for IFTTT, and integration with other smart home devices such as video doorbells, outdoor cameras, thermostats, smoke alarms, and connected lighting. There are plenty of smart lock models to choose from, including keyless no-touch locks, touch-screen locks, combination keyed and touchpad locks, and locks that you can open using a biometric fingerprint reader. Our current top pick is the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect. pcmag.com
  23. What About a Video Doorbell? Video doorbells offer an easy way to see who is at your door without having to open or even get close to the door. These devices connect to your Wi-Fi network and will send an alert when someone approaches your doorway. They'll record video when the doorbell is pressed or when motion is detected, and usually offer two-way audio communication that allows you to speak with the visitor from anywhere via your phone. Most video doorbells, like Editors' Choice SkyBell HD, use your existing doorbell wiring (two low-voltage wires) and are fairly easy to install, but there are battery-powered models available (like the Ring Video Doorbell 2) that install in minutes. Some work with other smart devices such as door locks and sirens and support IFTTT and Alexa voice commands. Look for a model that offers a high resolution (1080p), a wide angle lens (140 to 180 degrees), a night vision range up to 25 feet, and affordable cloud storage for recorded video. Sometimes it's helpful to be able to see what happened just before or after a visitor approaches your door. For that, you'll need a doorbell that uses pre-buffering to record the action taking place before motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed. pcmag.com
  24. Can You Use a Security Camera Instead? If you live in a small apartment and want to keep tabs on things when you're not home, a security camera can get the job done for a lot less money than what you'll pay for a full security system. Nearly all standalone security cameras connect to your home's Wi-Fi so you can see what's going on from your phone or tablet, and most have built-in sensors that detect motion and sound and will send push and email notifications when those sensors are triggered. You can usually tweak the camera's motion sensitivity to prevent false alarms due to pet activity or passing cars if the camera is near a window, and you can create a schedule that turns the sensors on and off during certain hours of the day. Some of the more expensive cameras are equipped with humidity and temperature sensors and will interact with other connected home devices such as thermostats and smart lighting systems. If you want to save some money, look for a camera with an SD card slot that allows you to record video when motion or sound is detected, but remember to save your recordings every so often before they are overwritten. Alternately, look for a camera that offers a cloud storage plan. An outdoor camera is ideal for keeping an eye on what's happening outside of your home. These devices are weatherproof and typically require a nearby GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet to supply power, although there are a handful of battery-powered models out there. As with their indoor counterparts, outdoor cameras connect to your Wi-Fi network and allow you to view live video from your phone. They are fairly easy to install, but if you're not familiar or comfortable with electrical wiring, you may want to have a professional electrician do the job. Most outdoor cameras, like our current top pick, the Netgear Arlo Pro 2, offer motion detection with push and email notifications, night vision, and cloud storage for event-triggered video, and some, like the Ring Floodlight Cam, pull double duty as floodlights or porch lights. Some models can even tell the difference between a passing car, an animal, and a person. Look for an outdoor camera that will integrate with other smart home devices such as garage door openers, external sirens, and smart switches. pcmag.com
  25. How Much Do Security Systems Cost Per Month? Whether you decide to go with a DIY system or opt for a professionally installed system, you'll have to pay a monthly or annual fee if you require monitoring, and in some cases, you'll be hit with a monthly fee to pay off the cost of hardware components. With most DIY systems, such as the SimpliSafe Home Security Kit, the Ring Alarm Security Kit, and the Nest Secure, you purchase the hardware outright and can avoid any monthly fees if you decide to self-monitor. If you add monitoring, fees will vary: SimpliSafe charges $14.99 per month for its no-contract monitoring service, while Nest charges $29 per month. If you commit to a three-year contract, the price of the Nest service drops to $19 per month. Ring's Protect Plus plan goes for $10 per month and doesn't require a contract. Monitoring for professionally installed systems tends to be more expensive. The ADT Pulse monitoring service starts at $28.99 per month and requires a three-year contract, but you also have to figure in the cost of things like hardware components, cellular backup, and installation. When we reviewed the Pulse system, our upfront cost was more than $3,000, with a monthly fee of over $60. Some vendors, such as LifeShield, will let you buy the components outright or lease them. For example, LifeShield's Security Essentials system will cost you $29.99 per month for three years and includes monitoring, but you'll pay a $99 activation fee and you don't own the equipment at the end of the lease. Or, you can pay $299.99 upfront for the hardware and still get monitoring but avoid the activation fee.