2014-03-21_14-35-45In this country, we have so many police organizations they trip over each other, yet our streets don’t seem any safer. What is going on? We have a government that can’t be trusted to tell us the truth. It seems the “government for the people, by the people” has changed to the government by the government. People do not actually elect the president, (the Electoral College of Congress does,) so the party with the most electoral votes wins.

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We are a culture that makes excuses; our students are graduating from high school and college, yet still cannot make change or communicate coherently. Therefore, we blame the teachers or the school board, yet nothing changes. Now the schools want to be able to opt out of core curriculum.

Our police are at the mercy of lawyers. They make an arrest and before we know it the person is back out on street. The criminal element realizes that the court system is on their side. It amazes me that when there is a crime committed, witnessed, and even caught on video, the more heinous it is the more we drag out the court case. I believe that way people can get there 15 minutes of fame on the big screen TV. Justice is secondary.

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Really, we as a people deserve to be safe and secure in this Unites states. We should believe that the government is looking out for the common person. That is not the way it is coming across. We have the NSA (National Security Agency), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), Federal Police, Capitol Police, State Police, City Police, County Police, Sheriff’s Department, (and the list goes on and on), and we still have problems with crime.

One answer is to start putting more surveillance cameras throughout cities, and now there is talk about using drones. Where is this all going? Is this all for our safety or is the common person being watched? Remember the book “1984?” Big Brother is already watching and the government makes it legal. The Constitution is slowly being rewritten to accommodate the whims of each new president. Explain this. We hear that crime is increasing on our streets so we blame it on guns; it has become more difficult to get guns today than 10 years ago, yet violence is increasing. So the proposed solution: more gun control. This way a responsible person will not be able to have a gun but the criminals will. Of course, the more responsible element will register their firearm, but criminals will not.

2014-03-21_14-36-09It bothers me that the people of this country really do not have a say when Government decides to pass a law forcing it on the American people (Obama Care is one example). If you do not sign up for health insurance, the IRS will punish you by making you pay a fine. I do not feel safe hearing this. I have no control over my own health or finances.

We as a country have lost our place in the schoolyard. We have been and still are being bullied by other countries knowing that we as a nation don’t stand up for what we used to believe in, that all men are not treated equally. We have always made a stand for those oppressed. That is what has made this country strong and respected. As a nation, we are now the oppressed. To feel secure and safe you would hope that the government would be aware of the burden it puts on the people of the United States when it decides to spend money it does not have, the answer is tax the people. I really love this country there are good hard-working people here but I believe the road we are traveling is going to be very costly to both our safety and personal security.
As always, stay safe and aware.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group
203 US Highway 31 S, Athens, Al 35611

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2014-03-07_17-13-47When we in the security industry are faced with writing an incident report we are taught to ask who, what, where, when and how. There is one more question that begs asking: WHY. Why did it happen? This question is normally left up to the investigators and lawyers, but I think we need to ask the question. Why is there so much violence in schools?

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There have always been fights at schools. These fights happened for various reasons: a girl, sports or just to see who the toughest guy is. But times have changed. We now have reports of children fighting with or killing other children for all kinds of reasons. Gang initiations, just for fun and sometimes for no reason at all. So, why is this happening?

In my opinion, the children that commit these acts are empty inside. They have been numbed to the reality that actions have consequences. I point the finger at Hollywood and the video game producers. Children nowadays play violent video games continuously and watch violent movies. These video games and movies have graphic scenes and encourage killing of both good and bad people. They are mentoring our children NOT to conquer the instinct of killing. I am told that in some of these games you must kill yourself in order to win. Why would anybody allow their children to play these games?

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Hollywood glamorizes the criminal and makes the police and other law enforcement to be the bad guys. Just look at the movies The Fast and The Furious and the “classic” The Godfather, and the hit show The Sopranos. In these productions you will see that the one they are calling the “hero” would actually be a bad guy in real life. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that any of these should be banned. What I am saying is that this is part of the problem. We as a society need to let Hollywood and the video game industry know that we want products that represent our standards.

2014-03-07_17-13-54Unfortunately, a large number of kids play, watch, and get addicted to these games and movies just as surely as if they were doing drugs. Like a drug user, over time they need more and more just to feel the same “high” if you will as they did when they started. Some of these children eventually lose their grip on reality and think life is like the games and movies. In an attempt to “feel” something, they act out the scenes they have seen time and time again. Unfortunately, there is not a reset or pause button for real life.

These children no longer have the interaction with other children the way we did growing up. They no longer are allowed to play outside or participate in organized sports because they “might” get hurt. We need to make sure that kids are properly supervised while playing and that inappropriate games and movies are kept away from them until they are more mature. If they are playing these games, parents should make clear the difference between reality and non-reality. The best way to keep your children secure is to be active in their life.

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2014-03-07_17-14-28

2014-02-22_16-40-25Why is the entrance to most drive-through windows adjacent to the exit for the in-house part of the restaurant? It’s dangerous for two major reasons. First, most of the time people using the drive-through are trying to hear the orders from their passengers or looking for their purse or wallet, distracting them from watching for people walking toward the entrance. Second, the patrons leaving the restaurant are not paying watching for vehicles because of their children or trying to manage their purchases and keeping their children in tow. It is human nature to think that leaving a restaurant would be safe and being hit by a car would be the last thing on your mind.

I have driven into a drive-through and had people leave the restaurant and walk directly in front of my vehicle, causing me to stop abruptly. I have learned to keep my eyes open so that hopefully, I won’t injure anyone. Safety doesn’t just fall on the driver; it’s up to people coming out of the restaurant to pay attention, especially when they have children with them. We all know that children are so excited to be there they will run in front of a moving vehicle without a moment’s hesitation.

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Another situation regarding a drive-through is the waiting. It seems that more often than not, you end up waiting a lengthy period of time at a drive-through. Reason for this may include those inconsiderate people who drive up with a car load of people and then starts deciding what they want. Or, the register could be acting up (everything is computerized) which would stop the process entirely. This idle time is when you become bored and start using your smart phone. Before you know it, you have bumped the car in front, OOPS! Or, you turn around to take control of the children and your foot slips and again OOPS! Try to stay focused on where you are.

2014-02-22_16-40-36Finally it seems that the drive-through has become a popular stop for those who have been drinking and are trying to sober themselves up. Be aware. If you see a person acting as though they are under the influence, don’t be afraid to call the authorities. You could save someone’s life, so be aware. I have noticed that the drive-through has changed from a person picking up a small order or a drink to people putting in an order that would feed a small army. This does cause some people to become angry and start to act out. If that is the case, don’t get involved. Don’t put yourself or your passengers in a compromising position. You can always try to get a description of the person, the type of vehicle and tag number, and then let the police know what happened. As always, stay aware and keep yourself safe.
By: Brian Black,
Operations Manager of Madison Security Group
203 US Highway 31 S, Athens Alabama 35611

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2014-02-07_15-59-56According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 1/3 of the U.S. population lives in multi-housing dwellings an almost 50% of apartments are occupied by a single resident with an average age of 50. With this in mind, let’s look at how to find the safest apartment options for you and your family.

When looking for an apartment, there are several things you should be aware of from a security standpoint. Does the apartment complex have security personnel actively patrolling the property on a regular basis? Many places say they have courtesy officers that live at the complex but do they actually patrol the area? You should go by the complex at night to make sure that the parking areas are well lit and observe what kind of activities are allowed to happen at night. You wouldn’t want to rent an apartment thinking it will be quiet and later find that there is a party in the parking area every night. Drive around surrounding areas to determine what kinds of activities are allowed to occur there. Sometimes, what happens next door will find its way into your apartment complex.

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Once you have found the apartment complex that you think you want live in you will need to decide if you want to live on the ground floor or not. If you choose to live upstairs, securing your apartment will be simpler than a ground floor apartment. For an upstairs apartment you will definitely want to put a wireless security alarm on your door. If you choose a ground floor apartment, you would want to have all windows and doors monitored by a wireless system. These systems are now more economical than they were just a couple of years ago.

2014-02-07_16-00-26No matter where you are, you should always be mindful of your surroundings. When leaving your apartment, make sure to look around to see if something or someone is out of place. Trust your instincts if you think something is wrong until you are certain there aren’t any threats. If you live upstairs, take a moment to look down into the parking area. If you are able to, look behind the building to make sure everything is as it should be. Be mindful of any bushes or trees that could conceal someone.
There is an aspect of living in an apartment complex that you can use to your advantage. As time goes on you may become acquainted with those living around you. You can then help each other by being your neighbor’s keeper. I don’t mean being in everybody’s business but being mindful of their comings and goings just to make sure they are alright (in other words be a good neighbor). Let them know if someone was at their door earlier in the day that seemed out of place or if someone was asking about them.
If you are currently living in an apartment complex that you think could be safer, talk to your property manager and have them give us a call at Madison Security Group, 256-232-7030.
By: Brian Black – Operations Manager of Madison Security Group
203 US Highway 31 S Athens Alabama 35611

Bullying – Security Savvy

1-17-2014 4-39-09 PMBullying seems like such a simple word save for the havoc it wreaks. In today’s world of technology it is easier than ever to be the subject of a bully. Adults are at risk as much as children now. Unfortunately it can be particularly devastating for children and young adults. In addition to bullying in school, now you have the added anguish of cyber bullying. With all the websites and accounts that you can have out there in cyberspace, anything can be posted for anyone to see. It’s not a crime unless it crosses the line to become assault or harassment, but it should be. It is not considered abuse but again it should be. When tragedy strikes and a person takes their own life because they just can’t take any more of the bullying, it is still very rare for anyone to be held responsible.

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Usually I write about how to protect you from danger. When it comes to bullying, all I can do is offer some things to look for if you suspect some- one you care about is being bullied.

Types of bullying:

  • Verbal – name calling or teasing
  • Social – spreading rumors or intentionally leaving someone out of activities
  • Physical – pushing, shoving and other acts of physical harm
  • Cyber bullying – using the internet, texting, e-mail and other digital technology
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It is particularly important for parents to discuss the facts of bullying with their children. Teach them how to watch for bullying and to avoid being bullied them- selves. Teach them the coping and social skills they will need?to not become a bully. Often children will fall in with a crowd just so they aren’t different.

There are several signs a parent can watch for if they suspect bullying is a problem.

  • Comes home with un- explained injuries or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Has a change in eating habits
  • Has fewer friends?• Feels helpless?• Talks about suicide
  • Acts out of character (suddenly picking on a sibling or friend)
  • Avoids certain places or playing outside alone
  • Feels like they are not good enough
  • Has trouble sleeping
  • Blames themselves for their problems

Some signs to look for if you think your child may be bullying:

  • Becomes frequently violent
  • Has trouble controlling anger
  • Is manipulative and controlling
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Does not accept responsibility for their own actions
  • Needs to be the best at everything

Understanding the warning signs of a child that is bullying or is a victim of bullying can help you get the help you need. Counseling can also be an option to help understand the underlying emotional issues of in- adequacy. People, especially children, that are confident and have higher self-esteem are less likely to fall victim to bullying.
By: Jim Doyle, Owner of Madison Security Group
203 Us Highway 31 S, Athens, AL 35611

1-17-2014 4-40-33 PM

1-3-2014 7-01-02 PMDriving is a privilege, not a right. That being said, there are a lot of us that practice this privilege. Some of us have been driving longer than we were in school, some longer than we’ve been married, some longer than there have been traffic lights, and some are just learning to drive. I’m not big on special restrictions for drivers, but I do think NASCAR has the right idea: put a yellow stripe on the back of cars to indicate that the driver is inexperienced and should be treated with caution.

I will not jump into the debates about speed limits, seat belts, or helmets for bikers. These are laws that should be followed until they are repealed. I do want to talk about the simple overlooked issues that we as drivers face every day.

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Road Conditions:
This is one of the biggest reasons for accidents we as drivers face. Let’s be honest: it’s not the road conditions that are the problem but our lack of adapting to these road conditions that causes accidents. When it is raining, snowing, icy, or foggy, SLOW DOWN! If you have to travel during these bad conditions, either plan to arrive later or leave earlier. Also, make sure that there is plenty of braking room between you and the car in front of you. Start braking earlier when coming up to stop signs, traffic lights and ALL intersections. Don’t drive on ice unless you have had lots of experience doing so. If you are reading this article, chances are you live in the South and know we don’t get a whole lot of ice. You have probably seen what happens when we do. If you are one of our cousins from the North, trust me, you’re not much better driving on ice than we Southerners are, so stay off the roads. Please.

Parking Areas:
You may be thinking “What? Parking Areas? That’s not driving.”
I know, but this is an area where the little things cause problems. First, let me rant for a moment. If you are not handicapped, please don’t park in these spaces. I will take it a step further: the only people that should park in handicap areas are people who are truly handicapped or are transporting them. Just because you have a handicap placard does not mean you should use it! Now, on to parking: please make sure your vehicle is fully in the parking space with enough space on each side so people parked next to you can get into their vehicle without hitting your car with their door.

1-3-2014 7-01-15 PMAnother overlooked issue is walking in the parking area. When you are walking from the store to your car, be mindful of cars trying to back out of a parking space. Also, these days many restaurants have parking areas near their drive throughs and have entrance/exits in these areas as well. Be mindful that even though you have the right of way, the drivers leaving the drive through may be distracted and not see you. Children are the most vulnerable in parking areas, so let’s keep them safe.

As with all things in security, remember, your best defense is to be aware of your surroundings.
By: Brian Black
Operations Manager of Madison Security Group

1-3-2014 7-01-41 PM

12-21-2013 9-45-09 AMWhy would this situation be a security concern?

The US ranks 20th in the world in reading.

The US ranks 29th in the world in math.

So why should we teach our children how to write their own name when they can print or TEXT?
How will a child learn when all they need to do is GOOGLE it on their SMARTPHONE?

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What is happening to our society? What will happen when a child needs to read a letter written in CURSIVE? Will they have to bring it to a person over 30 to read it to them?

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I have received text messages from savvy smart phone users and the new language or non-spelling has me confused. I don’t know what they are trying to say. OMG what am I to do. What if something serious has happened and I need to decipher what the person is texting me? I have witnessed situations that could have been disastrous, and I have witnessed one party say I sent a text about that problem. It seems that texting is the way of communication. To me it’s a way to hide from actually talking with a person face to face.

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I run a security company and one of the most important functions of security is reporting a crime or other situations. This is usually done by writing a report, which is a legal document and can/has been used in court. On most job applications it will ask whether a person can read or write English. I believe that our young people are becoming so dependent on the hand held computers and smartphones that they have a hard time talking with people face to face and have completely lost control of reality.

12-21-2013 9-45-17 AMzEvery time I get behind the wheel of my car, I notice other people driving with the smartphone flat against their head or holding it while they converse with someone else. In addition, texting has not stopped while driving. Maybe this is the new way to communicate; LOL, cannot wait to see this class taught in our schools. Then again, BLING has been accepted as a word. I really need to understand why someone decided that we need a machine that can think for our children and if needed correct their gramma (oops, that is a Boston word) grammar. Now I have one more question: when are we going to get rid of our teachers and have our children taught by a DROID, or just look at their tablet and be taught by video in a virtual classroom?

It really scares me that our younger generation is living in a world controlled by computers and they won’t be able to write about it.

As always stay safe, don’t post your private information on Facebook, and have a great Holiday.
By: Jim Doyle Owner of Madison Security Group

12-21-2013 9-46-02 AM

11-16-2013 10-01-33 AM

Editor’s Note: Jim Doyle, of Madison Security Group on Highway 31, provided us with these personal security tips for managing money, passports, luggage and credit cards when traveling. Please remember that you must now have a passport to cross all international borders, including those of Canada and Mexico. Bon Voyage!

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1. Put your name and telephone number inside and outside of each bag. Keep a written
inventory of each bag’s contents in your purse or backpack.

2. Whenever possible, ask for a hotel room on the 3rd through 7th floor—higher than thieves
can access from the street, and lower than fire rescue limits.

3. Photocopy your passport before traveling home. Put a copy inside each bag and give a copy to a close friend or relative to keep for you.

11-16-2013 10-02-05 AM4. Make a note of the credit limit open on your credit card. Do NOT charge over that amount on your trip. (In some foreign countries, Americans have been arrested for innocently exceeding their limit.) Also, the 800# listed on your credit card will not work from outside the US, so be sure to obtain the proper foreign access number before leaving home. Make sure you call your credit card company BEFORE you go abroad and let them know the countries where you’ll be traveling. That way they’ll know your card is not racking up a lot of unauthorized charges, and you won’t find yourself dealing with a card that is being denied legitimate use because they froze it in order to protect you.

5. Check whether your health insurance carrier covers you abroad. Consider purchasing short-term health/emergency assistance/medical evacuation assistance policies now offered for travelers. NOTE: Medicare and Medicaid do NOT provide payment for travel outside the USA.

6. Check your hotel room’s exterior door lock prior to check in (and daily thereafter,) for signs of wear or pry marks. If you question the condition of the lock, request a move to another room or change hotels.

7. Do not house keys under a doormat, exterior planter or in any easily accessible location outside your home. Give an extra key to a trustworthy friend, neighbor or relative.

8. Prevent vehicle break-ins. Always store your laptop, GPS, cell phone, I-pod, camera, video game, shopping bags, etc. out of sight. Add some insurance by using a permanent marker or Dremel etching tool to record a secure phone number on your portable electronic items.

9. Keep a copy of all your credit cards which you’ll be using on your trip separate from your wallet, as well as the 800#s to call to report if they have been lost or stolen. If either your wallet or the list of numbers goes missing, call the customer service number immediately to cancel the card. Only carry the card or cards on your person that you will actually be using, and leave the rest at home in a secure location.

10. Use travelers’ checks as much as possible. They can be replaced. Do not carry a lot of cash, and be very discreet when opening your wallet. Do not flash around either a lot of money or traveler’s checks. Don’t give a would be thief any reason to target you.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group

11-16-2013 10-02-31 AM 11-16-2013 10-02-43 AM

11-2-2013 8-42-29 AMIt’s that time of year when we start planning for the Thanksgiving travels. Last year AAA estimated that over 3 million people would travel over 50 miles for Thanksgiving celebrations. Just imagine how many will be traveling across town to Grandma’s house for lunch. The best way to stay safe is planning. You should plan to leave your house a little earlier than normal, in anticipation of others on the road that decided to wait until the last minute to leave, and are now in a hurry to get to their destination before the Turkey gets cold. Make sure you are not feeling the effects of the Tryptophan before you drive home; that is if you go home.

A “tradition” that some people have is to stay up after the Thanksgiving meal and go to the midnight openings of retail stores. These people are easy to spot, they will start gathering at 9:00 or 10:00 pm and stand in line outside these retail stores, even if it is cold and raining. This is a time when you need to be observant of all things and people around you. You probably will not have any problems until those doors are opened. When they are, that’s when friendly easy-going people turn into creatures you normally see on Halloween. Be careful of the stampede going in to the stores, there are always reports of people getting injured during these times. I would advise not taking small children with you, but if you must take small children with you, hold on to them. It would be real easy to have children injured or get away from you, and ruin the whole “fun” experience.

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While shopping on Black Friday, be aware of all kinds of crimes that can take place. Credit card number theft is one of the more popular crimes. Individuals working in teams can steal your credit card number before you realize what is happening. There are a couple of things you can do to eliminate this threat. Try to use checkouts that allow you to swipe your card. If you must hand your card to the cashier, try to maintain visual contact with your card at all times. Don’t be distracted by someone behind you or another cashier, as they could be working as a team to steal your credit card number. The theft works this way. The person to whom you have given the card has a card capture device hidden; while the other person distracts you, they capture your card number and the deal is done. You probably won’t know about it until January.

11-2-2013 8-42-40 AMSo just be vigilant this Thanksgiving. Have fun, be safe and be aware.

One final thought on Thanksgiving. As you gather with your family, remember the reason why we celebrate. We are fortunate to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. We have been blessed with resources and talents beyond all others.

Happy Thanksgiving, and remember to always remove the bag from the turkey before you cook it!
By: Brian Black,
Operations Manager of Madison Security Group
203 Us Highway 31 S, Athens, AL 35611

11-2-2013 8-43-21 AM 11-2-2013 8-43-32 AM

10-19-2013 11-27-51 AMIt is a Saturday morning, and you jump out of bed looking forward to a couple days off from work. Good time to pick up a few things at the retail store, or hardware store. As you arrive at one of the aforementioned, it hits you, THE PARKING LOT. For openers, you need to be aware of other drivers. Everyone is looking for that exclusive, convenient parking spot in the front by the entrance. As you drive down each lane, you come across the driver that goes against the arrow; why, nobody knows ,and then you have the teen driver, or the distracted parent on the phone, backing out without looking because they are on the phone, or texting and not paying attention.

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Then there is that driver that will cause a jam up because they think that a customer is loading up their car in what would be the perfect parking spot, and they will wait until who knows when to get it. This really is no joke, I have seen children jump out of a car and run into the traffic lane and almost get hit because a driver is looking for a parking spot, and not paying attention. Children also will jump from a vehicle playing with their siblings, again not paying attention to a vehicle that had been parked next to them and has now started to move.

Then we have the food carriages (buggies to the Southern folk). I love it when I see people empty their buggy and then push it into a parking space. Along comes Mr./Mrs. Shopper as they turn into a parking spot, and bang! They hit that buggy, or it goes into another car or a person. Shopping parking lots have corrals that people should use to bring their buggies to, (normally not more than 15 feet away from their vehicles,) but they leave them in some of the worst places. I have even seen Handicap areas loaded up with buggies. This is not fair to those people that need those spaces, and it forces them to move the buggies. In addition, I have witnessed buggies roll across a parking lot during a windy day and they can go pretty fast, hitting a vehicle or even worse, a person. So let take those few extra moments it takes to put the buggie in the proper place and be considerate of others.

10-19-2013 11-28-07 AMNow let us talk about the new rage called “sliding.” This is a situation where people wait to see if a vehicle is left open or the window is down. They park next to that vehicle, if possible, or they walk by the vehicle and quickly remove any items of worth and slide away. So please lock up your car, even if you are just a minute in the store or you are returning a buggy. The holiday season is close, so please be more vigilant in your awareness of your safety and that of your family. Remember, not all people are kind or honest, so using a little common sense will go a long way toward having a happy holiday season. I have stressed in the past articles: do not flaunt cash while shopping. If possible, use a debit card, as this way you won’t have someone wanting your purse. As always, stay alert and stay safe.
By: Jim Doyle, Owner of Madison Security Group

10-19-2013 11-28-33 AM