Your car got broken into last night while you were home alone with the kids. While you’re angry, you are also relieved that the crooks didn’t try to break into the house. And wondering what you would have done if they had. Here’s what we have to say about home security.
The FBI calculated that of the 1.5 million burglaries in 2015 the total loss was $3.6 billion. And 70% of burglaries are of homes, compared to 30% of commercial properties.
Even with those stats, only 30% of the U.S. homes have a home security system. Research has shown that having a sign in your yard from an alarm company can deter a burglar. Burglars will avoid an entire neighborhood if they see a home security sign.
And having a home security system might even get you a discount on your home insurance.
So are there different kinds of systems and what do you need to know? Should you get a company-monitored system or self-monitored?
Home security systems cost $400 for the equipment, and, if you choose professionally-monitored, there will be another $10 and $50 a month.
With both systems, you can get cameras, sensors on doors and windows, keypads, blaring alarms, and alerts to your cell phone.
With self-monitored, the system will send a message to your cell phone to let you know there’s a problem and then you contact the police department.
So the downside is that if you aren’t near your phone or don’t answer because you’re in a meeting, asleep or on vacation, nobody calls the police, your house gets robbed and the security system didn’t help at all.
Consult a Professional
Furthermore with a professional system, if you don’t answer your phone, the security company calls the police. If the company calls and you do answer, you will have to supply a pre-approved password or they will call the police. In the event, it’s not you that answers the phone.
The downside is that sometimes the alarm goes off and it’s not a burglar – it’s the kids accidentally opening a door after the alarm was set or the grandma burning the cookies and setting off the smoke alarm. If you aren’t home to answer the call from your company, they’re calling the police or fire department. And if the police and fire get enough false alarms they are not going to be happy.
So Do Companies Help Stop Burglaries?
Very few burglaries are ever solved, some surveys saying 10 percent or fewer. And some estimates show that half of all burglaries go unreported, so that number is actually higher. The best way to help police is to have a security camera that captures photos or video of the burglars. Your camera might grab a photo of a crime that could help the police catch a suspect to the crime. If a burglar continues to work in a neighborhood and is captured by several cameras. Police can get a really good idea of what he or she looks like.
Also, crooks are looking for a quick and easy way to get in and out of a house without attracting attention. Having a security company sign in your yard, motion-activated lights, and cameras can be enough to deter burglars from your house.
But if someone does break into your house, those cameras will probably be the only clue the police have about who did it.
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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