If you live in New Jersey, you’re most likely familiar with the stereotypes flung towards the Garden State and its dwellers. They call the state Dirty Jerz. They think New Jerseyans are bad drivers, overly tan, loud, and obnoxious. But real New Jerseyans know that none of those stereotypes are true. After all, why would New Jersey be the most densely populated state if it weren’t a great place to live in?
Crime in New Jersey
However, no matter how good a state is, crime still exists. Surprisingly, despite being a crowded state, New Jersey’s violent and property crime rates remain lower than the national average. According to NeighborhoodScout.com, the violent crime rate in New Jersey is 2.55 per 1,000 residents (national median: 3.8 per 1,000 residents), and the property crime rate is 16.26 per 1,000 residents (national median: 26 per 1,000 residents). Does this mean that you can slack off on home security? No. While the average crime rate in the state is low, there are cities where the crime rate is high. For example, in Trenton, New Jersey’s capital city, the violent crime rate (12 per 1,000 residents) is more than three times higher than the national median. In Camden, the violent crime rate is even higher (20 per 1,000 residents) and the property crime rate is also above average (37 per 1,000 residents).
Security System Providers Requirements
We understand that choosing a security system can be an overwhelming task. What company is the best fit? Which features should you get? Is the company you’re considering a good one or will you be legally robbed by their policies?
We like to simplify things by helping you choose which alarm companies are recognized by your state. If your alarm company is recognized, it means they are operating in your state legally. Should you have an emergency, they are authorized to dispatch emergency services to your home. They are also bound by statutes and regulations that protect your rights.
We can’t name all registered alarm companies in New Jersey, but we can help you tell whether your prospective alarm company is registered or not.
For an alarm company to be recognized in New Jersey, it needs a Burglar Alarm License. According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJDCA), a person (owner of the company) applying for the license must be:
- at least 18 years old.
- of good moral character with no conviction records of any 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense crime within the past 10 years.
- not convicted of the fourth degree offense of engaging in unlicensed practice of electrical contracting.
- qualified to perform installation, service, and maintenance of burglar alarms.
- able to provide proof of 1 year experience in the industry prior to application OR successfully complete the burglar alarm examination provided by the NJDCA.
Once the license is secured, the alarm company must follow the regulations set up by the NJDCA.
For one, all vehicles used in the business must have a sign bearing the name of the company, its owner, and the city or municipality where its principal place of business is located. If you see salespeople running around in unmarked vehicles, be wary. They could be from an unregistered alarm company or worse…
Second, all employees must carry their state-released ID with them at all times during business hours. If they knock on your door and can’t produce an ID, it’s best to not let them in.
Third, the alarm company must have a hotline where you can reach them anytime of any day, They must also be able to respond to emergency services and repairs within 24 hours.
Finally, the license holder is responsible for misconduct, unprofessionalism, or unlawful acts committed by her employees. The license holder is also responsible if she has knowledge of a pattern of misconduct and doesn’t do anything about it. For instance, if the alarm company is known to send rude technicians and it is proven that the owner neglected this issue, she could be in trouble.
If an alarm company fails to live up to these regulations, you, as the customer, have the right to report them to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and more specifically, to the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee.
New Jersey’s Security Camera Laws
Security cameras are an increasingly popular type of home security equipment. Some alarm companies offer security cameras as part of their system, but you always have the option to purchase a DIY security camera. Either way, you should be aware of the regulations governing the use of security cameras, both in your state and nationally.
The rule of thumb regarding cameras is to not place them where someone might expect privacy or where a person is likely to be viewed partially or fully nude. At home, this would cover the bedrooms, bathrooms, or dressing areas. Outside, it is illegal to use your camera to spy on your neighbors, so be sure they’re not pointed in the wrong direction. There’s also the “Wiretapping Law”, a federal law making it illegal to record conversations electronically without the consent of at least one party. This law is enforced by the state of New Jersey. If your camera can record audio, it is illegal to use it to record a conversation without permission from at least one of the people involved.
Safety During Natural Disasters
Besides crime, it is also important to prepare for natural disasters. New Jersey isn’t as prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods as other states, but there’s one natural disaster that frequently affects the Garden State: blizzards. In fact, as I am writing this article, a snowstorm is currently moving in… in the middle of March.
What’s the best thing to do before and during a snowstorm? As a snowstorm moves in, it is important to prepare for supplies that you might need, such as food and water. Second, it is also recommended to cancel any travel plans. Third, it’s best to stay indoors during a snowstorm. If you can’t avoid going out during a blizzard, be sure that your car is well-maintained. Check its anti-freeze level, the brakes, the exhaust system, and the heating system. Also, be sure to use winter tires.
In regards to preparing for the cold there are two things you need to watch out for: carbon monoxide poisoning and fires. Make sure your CO detectors are working properly. If you don’t own a CO detector, buy one. Finally, it’s also important to watch out for home fires. Opposite of popular belief, home fires are more common during winter months partially due to increase usage of heating devices.
Although uncommon, Jerseyites must also prepare for other types of natural calamities, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. You will find helpful preparation tips here.