Security That is Life or Death

Physical Safety Concerns

When people talk about security, they could be talking about a lot of different things. Rampart deals with a specialized subsection of security- the detection of a burglary or fire, reporting it, and getting a professional response (police or fire department). People want our type of security for two main reasons: 1) to preserve their belongings and 2) to help monitor and maintain their families’ or employees’ physical safety.

Physical safety concerns whatever threatens lives. Robberies, intrusions, and the like are really very rare compared to the threats I want to talk about today. I am on this train of thought because of flu season and politics. I have to post about this— I haven’t been able to stop thinking about health as a security issue. This year is the 100th anniversary of the flu pandemic of 1918, which cased the deaths of millions of people. Our national political discussions are full of gun rights/gun control arguments and healthcare/health insurance. Both things are huge security issues. So, while I applaud all of you who have or are considering beefing up your home security with an alarm system or cameras, I have to admit that your health is a bigger safety concern, and health should matter to everyone.

Most deaths in the United States are caused by the following: (figures are from 2016, CDC)

  • Heart disease: 635,260

  • Cancer: 598,038

  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374

  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 154,596

  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 142,142

  • Alzheimer’s disease: 116,103

  • Diabetes: 80,058

  • Influenza and pneumonia: 51,537

  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,046

  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,965

We’re talking about diseases and dangers that have caused a decrease in our Life Expectancy at birth nationwide. Since 2000 it has decreased, which you wouldn’t expect for a wealthy, industrialized nation. Most of these are not contagious, but many are common due to our way of life. We all can fall victim to fast food, less activity, desk jobs, and poor benefits. Many people scared to go to the doctor because of high costs or can’t afford required treatments. You won’t catch your neighbor’s heart disease, but you might get his flu.


So— what can you do?

As I see it:

Get check-ups

Get immunized

Take your doctor’s advice— have the recommended health screenings

Be selfish and consider that nation-wide healthcare is good for YOU

Wear your seatbelt (part of the accident numbers were traffic accidents)

Watch the sodium

Exercise regularly

Keep prescription drugs and guns secure (related to accidents and suicide)

Do what you can to promote mental health

Acknowledgment that this is a weird blog post

I should point out that I know what a weird blog post this is. My company does not provide what you need to address these problems. I just keep thinking about it, and how illness and disease is so much more likely to kill us than the things we can help protect you from. (Although, now that I think about it, we can at least help you secure your gun safe, and we do provide medical panic buttons/ medical alerts.)

I DO think that what Rampart does is of great value and does save lives. I have no doubts about that. I am choosing today to recognize the bigger threats and what we can all do to make our country safer.

To conclude, health threats are the leading cause of deaths in the US. If you have good health care, great! If your neighbors and millions of total strangers don’t, you are in greater danger than you think. We need to all do our part to keep our country safe, and it may start with your flu shot.

Caption this:

Caption this:

There’s still time to add a doorbell camera or Total Connect camera before Halloween, and certainly before you travel for Thanksgiving or Winter break/Christmas. Let us know if you’re interested. You can call 816-436-3000 x1 or request pricing from our website.

New DIY Security Trend in KC

Here’s the latest DIY home security and business security trend in the Kansas City area:



I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE— cropping up since last week around businesses and homes in all neighborhoods I visited. Brookside, Waldo, North Kansas City, West Bottoms, East bottoms— we’re all in the same moat.


But how effective are they?

I checked to find out if crime statistics changed when these moats started appearing. Is there a correlation?

Kansas City weather for the past week. Note that storms started Oct 5, 3 days ago.

Kansas City weather for the past week. Note that storms started Oct 5, 3 days ago.

Past week of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. LOTS of incidents!

Past week of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. LOTS of incidents!

Past 3 days of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. Very little crime shown.

Past 3 days of crime in part of Brookside, Waldo, and Plaza areas of KC. Very little crime shown.

You can see that way more than half of the reported incidents were before the rain started.

Conclusion and recommendations

To conclude, moats seem pretty effective. If your moat hasn’t shown up on its own yet— DIY one— start digging!

An actual moat in NKC MO

An actual moat in NKC MO

(Note: this post was not real research— I KNOW that there could be a reason for delay in reporting crimes to the website that would skew this. I’m just trying to find the humor in the flooded driveway and little ponds forming all around us, while there is more rain to come! I also know that a bunch of people have probably already actually studied this, and probably wrote many pages about it with footnotes and references. I’m revealing my social science background here.)

Why everyone hates Security Salespeople


I get it. I know why people hate security salespeople:

Cold calls

In the days of landlines and sit-down dinners, everyone was interrupted at some point by a security system company trying to sell you a “free” system with a 3 year contract. They called me too!

Rampart doesn’t do that. We don’t and never have tried to sell via cold-calls. We won’t. There is no need for someone to call you, scare you about the changing world/neighborhood/crime statistics and try to get you to buy or lease a security system. I know some companies are still doing this. It is ridiculous. They would surely stop if they never sold any that way, so it must work— but it is not our way.

I was once at a neighborhood potluck supper and a lady asked me what I did for a living. I said I work at Rampart Security Systems. She turned and walked away. She had never dealt with our company— of that I am certain. She walked away because of what other companies were doing, not mine. They give us all a bad reputation (not cool like the Joan Jett song). Still, though— ouch!— that was humiliating.

Scary Ads

Frankly, we don’t advertise much either. Our customers are happy and tell others to call us for security every day. I’m really grateful for that. It is soul-satisfying to know that we provide security people recommend to their loved ones and friends.

Companies that advertise on TV and radio do us a favor. They get people shopping for home security alarms and, if they do their research and they are in the Kansas City area, customers will find us. There is no lack of business, even though some people compete like that’s the case.

I’m not fond of the scary scenarios they show in the commercials— even if they are true, they aren’t really ethical IMHO. Wouldn’t it be enough to say— if you need security, here we are? Instead they create an urgent need by scaring people. Not my bag of tea. I don’t even like scary movies. Salespeople who scare in order to sell— I don’t like them either.


Nope— we don’t do that either. We sell our equipment outright, and there is NO REASON to make you sign a contract. We have a month to month agreement— you pay us to monitor the system, and we perform that job within reason. Those long contracts have nothing to do with protecting the customer. They are all about protecting the company. That said, when a customer insists on a contract we will sign a month to month version to close the deal.

You should always read the fine print— sometimes it is fascinating. Fascinating like you have to pay 2/3 of the remaining balance that you would have paid if you completed the contract— which could easily be over a thousand dollars!

Smarmy fake small-talk and BS

As you can tell, I am probably not a good small-talker. I can conjure a sentence about the weather or a sports team but after one or two sentences— I’m done. On “sales” calls (I prefer consultation or design meeting) I am all about the building. How many doors and windows? What kind? How can I minimize cost and make a system easy to use round the clock? (Many people don’t use their systems round the clock, but it is best to have that option if some worry or threat comes along.) Sure, I have met some nice cats and dogs and even had a customer serve me coffee and cherry pie once. I just don’t like the sales people (for security or anything) who pretend to be your new best friend until you sign the contract. We know our job is to educate you on how the system works, how it should be set up and why, and then get out of your way so you can make a decision.


Special offers that are only “today”? No thanks. I like to take enough time to make a wise decision. They say you sell best to people like yourself. I sell best to careful shoppers. People who are suspicious when something seems too good to be true— like a “free” $850 system. (Those are never free, you pay for them over the required 3 year contract term. I once asked a company that called me to drop off the system for me and they wouldn’t. Nothing is free if you have to sign up.)

Spam E-mail

If you give your email to most companies these days, you end up with spam. I know I do. If I give a salesperson for almost anything my email, I seem to get a regular newsletter or special offer every once in a while. With Rampart, we email your bid, your bill if you want it emailed, and documents you need. We do not email or mail you a bunch of stuff you don’t want. Maybe we’re missing out, but I think most people will call us if they want something instead of waiting for us to contact them.

Intrusion and inconvenience of home visits

In checking out the DIY security company sales-pitches, it is clear that they see an advantage to their mail order business model— no sales-people in your house. They present it as intrusive, and unnecessary. Sure, it is not rocket science, designing a security system, but people do tend to overdo certain elements or under-do others. Lots of people want to put a switch on every window— which is great if you can afford that— but limiting if you can’t. There are things we can adjust to minimize expense. Motion sensors are useful— but some people had a bad experience thirty years ago and are reluctant to try the newer technology. A pro can design a more effective, less expensive system than most DIYers just ordering from a screen.

That said— I do not go out to every house to design a system. After 20+ years, it just isn’t necessary. I rely on my knowledge of home plans and the thousands of homes I have visited. I also use Google Streetview. Between the two, I rarely give a bid that needs much adjustment when the installer goes out. If changes need to be made, he’ll discuss them with the homeowner and make sure the job is done right.

So, home visits are not always needed. They can be inconvenient or intrusive in the bidding process, when you are trying to compare apples to apples. Each company tells you something a little different to make themselves stand out— but it gets ridiculously confusing trying to compare them all. You have a bunch of total strangers walking through, and people are worried about security, and about the appearance of their homes (though we don’t care about your clutter).

The Willy Lowmans of the world aren’t so welcome in people’s homes anymore. I feel the same about salespeople for things I have shopped for: windows, gutters, painters, etc. We can do our jobs well without intruding these days.

There are surely more reasons why people hate security salespeople, but that’s all for now. I hope I haven’t overstayed my welcome.

Controlling your home's alarm with connected automation Alexa, etc.

In this episode I demonstrate the inner struggle between the Luddite in me and the gadget lover (also in me).

Are you sure you want to have a microphone listening all of the time? Maybe I have trust issues. There have been so many hacking cases.

Didn’t we all dream about living in the Jetson’s house? We’re getting closer and closer.

I see the utility in these advances for those with mobility issues. I think it is wonderful. For the rest of us, though, I worry about how lazy we will become.  Is it really too much to flip the light switch manually? Is it a good use of our resources to make it so that we don;t have to get up?

Our Honeywell Systems with Total Connect are compatible with Alexa, so if you have one— you can give it a go. If you have a Honeywell system but not Total Connect, give us a call and we’ll help you get that set up.

Total connect and alexa.jpg

There are a lot of ways you can use gadgets like Alexa— I think the setting of scenes would be the most useful. Try making a “go to sleep” scene or set of commands to make sure your house is locked and the system is armed, and turn off the lights without getting up, if you want.

honeywell commands for alexa.jpg

That said, we are not tech support for Alexa or any of the home speakers. We’ll focus on security and fire systems, thank you.