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Should You Invest In A Security System For Your Home?

» Security Cameras


Published: 12/21/2012


In today's world, a locked door no longer means "go away." Instead, intruders are unafraid to enter your home or business by whatever means necessary to find items to steal and sell. Should you have a security system to ward off potential burglars? If you are wealthy, your answer should always be "yes," but what about Joe Middleclass living in the suburbs?

What Is Included In A Typical System?

A security system is usually a mix of motion sensors, window and door contacts connected to a home alarm device that you control with a keypad. When you enter the home, you must enter the correct code within a short time, or a signal will be sent to your alarm company. You can add smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to the system, as well as enhancements such as video cameras, wireless motion sensors, smartphone based controls and more.

Should You Have A Security System?

If you live in a neighborhood with a higher than average crime rate, installing a system is a no-brainer. These days, however, no home is free from risk. Many homes are vacant all day, which makes them more susceptible to break-ins, but some bold thieves will enter the home at any time of day whether you are home or not. While having your home broken into at any time is traumatic, having intruders in the home while you are sleeping is even more frightening.

Having a security system installed is a deterrent to potential invaders. Even insurance companies recognize this and offer discounts on homeowners insurance, maybe even 15-20%, when a system is in place. The systems aren't foolproof, but according to the Electronic Security Association, homes protected by security systems lose around $2,100 less per incident than homes without them. Thieves tend to bypass neighborhoods where the concentration of security systems is high.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay?

Security companies often price their basic systems very low and make their money with a monthly fee of $30-$50. More intricate systems can be pricey for both upfront and monthly costs if you choose more options. Unfortunately, this industry is one where some telemarketers prey on fear and can suck you into a more extensive system than you need or offer a bargain price with extra charges or features and upgrades. You may need more than the basics, but to prevent overbuying, you should request a consultation from a local security representative who will discuss your needs and options.

Alternatives To A Professional System

Whether or not you decide to add a security system to your home, you should employ some basic precautions. Having a system is not a replacement for using common sense.

  • Leave your home well lit at night to discourage unwanted visitors.

  • Lock your doors and windows when you aren't home. When you are home, be especially careful about ground-floor windows that offer easy access to thieves.

  • Trim bushes and shrubs that might cover your windows and mask criminal activity from the outside.

  • Consider getting a dog. You don't need a vicious dog that's a target for liability suits, but one that barks loudly to discourage intruders could help you ward off burglars.

Occasional Cons Of Having A Professional Security System

A security system can be inconvenient. When you have a professional system, you need to remember the code. If you forget or are too slow in entering it, you could trigger the alarm and be assessed a charge by your security company or the local police or fire department. Depending on the type of system you have, the motion detectors inside your home could set off the system if you interrupted the light beam in your quest for a midnight snack.

As some homeowners with systems connected to the electric wiring have found out, the backup batteries in the systems can malfunction and start chirping without provocation, even when you change the batteries.

While having a security system is not a 100% guarantee against break-ins, the real benefit of a security system is in peace of mind. Especially when the system is tied in to a fire alarm or carbon monoxide detector, you can be protected from several types of invasions.