Male-Dominated Security Business Makes Room for Top Female Consultant

July 8, 2010
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Security Consultant Sharon Schlessinger has a disarming personality that will put you at ease when discussing your security needs.

Security Consultant Sharon Schlessinger has a disarming personality that will put you at ease when discussing your security needs.

Don’t look now, but if you’re walking around the La Verne Police Department, Bonita Unified School District, University of La Verne, Oak Mesa Park or the La Verne Skate Park and Sports Parks, Mijac Alarm is monitoring your every move.

Mijac (a name that rhymes with hijack and takes its name from founders Mitzi and Jacques Sopkin) has been a provider of security, surveillance and alarm systems for 40 years in the Inland Empire and east San Gabriel Valley. Mijac’s security consultant for La Verne, San Dimas and Glendora is Sharon Schlessinger.

Two weeks ago, Schlessinger was out walking a north La Verne community to inform residents about two recent burglaries in their immediate area. She wasn’t spreading fear, just facts.

“So many people will say, ‘I don’t need a security system; I live in a gated community or I live in a very high-end area or I don’t have anything valuable to steal,’” she said. “Well, the people who are breaking into your home don’t know that you have nothing of value in your home until they’ve broken your window, come in, ransacked your house and violated your privacy and security.

“The whole idea is to deter that in the first place.”

According to Schlessinger, the burglars aren’t getting nicer or more respectful of you or your property.

“You’re starting to hear much more about violent, follow-home robberies, home invasions and things of that nature,” she said. “The more crime there is, the more creative people get. It’s people who are down on their luck, out of work. It’s just not the profile anymore of the 18- to 23-year-old male looking to break into your house.”

Homeowners don’t have to be victims if they take proactive security measures, says Schlessinger.

“The FBI puts out stats on a yearly basis,” she said. “By virtue of having an alarm system or the appearance of an alarm system, it reduces your risk of being broken into by 60%.”

Nowadays, security systems for both homes and businesses are high-tech, and Mijac has been at the cutting edge of both. With hardwired and wireless sensors and video surveillance, Mijac can monitor and detect break-ins, smoke, fire, water and carbon monoxide leaks.

“Everybody’s got smoke detectors in their home, but if you’re not at home and the smoke detectors are activated, who’s going to hear them,” Schlessinger asked. “Who’s going to call the fire department? By the time the flames are leaping out your window and your neighbor sees it, your home is a total loss.”

A Mijac Alarm doesn’t require a telephone land line to alert the Fire Department or other first responder. Mijac uses a wireless GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) connection that is directly linked to its own Central Monitoring station in Corona, Calif., which operates 24 hours a day.

“By virtue of us never tying into your phone line, your security system will never be disabled,” Schlessinger said. “That’s important because in most homes, you can cut a pair of telephone lines with a pair of nail clippers.”

On the receiving end, Mijac’s central monitoring station can instantly determine the status of the call. “As soon as the system is activated, we’re able to determine if somebody’s burned the toast or if there’s a real emergency going on,” Schlessinger said.

Installation of a basic Mijac system runs $299, which includes a control panel, a key pad, two sensors (for two openings), a motion detector and a panic button. Using a key fob, the home or business owner can easily arm or disarm the system. The monthly monitoring fee is $36 a month.

For an additional $10 per month, many customers select Mijac’s “Total Connect” package, which includes a comprehensive monitoring package that alerts the home or business owner by text or email whenever an event occurs.

“Let’s say you have a child who comes home from school to an empty house,” Schlessinger explained. “They come in, they punch in their code. As soon as they punch in their code at 3 p.m. or whatever time, it sends mom and dad a text message, an email or both, so you know that Jimmy or Sandy has arrived home safely.”

Such a system could also be employed to notify parents about their children’s activities while the parents are away on a weekend, a common scenario where mature teenagers are involved that have earned the trust of their parents.

Sensors could be placed on a gun or liquor cabinet or other off-limits areas that teenagers are strictly forbidden from accessing. If the signal is tampered with or compromised for any reason, the parents will automatically be notified.

Schlessinger helps customize each security system to meet the individual needs of her clients. The system itself is also flexible. Should clients forget to arm or disarm their system, they can do so via their phone or computer.

“If on your way to work, you remember you’ve scheduled the cleaning lady, you can disarm your Total Connect system from your phone to let her in and then rearm the system again when she leaves,” Schlessinger said.

“Or if you have a neighbor who wants to borrow something out of your garage and you’re at work and your system is armed, you can disarm it from your computer or your phone, tell him to open the garage and take what he needs and then rearm it.”

Security and protection are paramount in Schlessinger’s life. In 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and sports a tiny breast cancer ribbon on her right shoulder blade indicating she’s a fighter and a survivor of the disease. “It’s a blip in my rear view mirror now, but every day I’m astounded by how many people have been touched by this disease.”

Earlier in her career, she worked in the garment, travel and the wholesale electrical power supply industries.

“I absolutely love what I do,” she said. “I’m healthy, I have my energy and I love bonding with every one of my clients, helping protect them, their valuables and giving them that peace of mind that you can’t put any price on.”

To learn more about Mijac and its full range of services, call Schlessinger at (909) 982-7612 or via email at

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