One simple question homeowners never tend to ask themselves is "How secure is my home alarm system?". Knowing the statistics behind how well a home alarm system can prevent theft & more can help give you greater peace of mind.
First of all, do you really need to invest in a home alarm system currently on the market? Well, just consider the following statistics.
In the U.S. alone, there are more than 1.7 million home burglaries every year, with the average value of goods stolen in each burglary working out to about $1,600.1 And if that's just the average, then that means the cost to some people is much, much more.
And here's more:
Those are some pretty startling statistics.
According to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, roughly "60% of the burglars [interviewed] indicated that the presence of of a home alarm system would cause them to seek an alternative target altogether."3 In addition, a "comprehensive study of five years of statistics by researchers at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) in Newark found that residential burglar alarm systems decrease crime."4 Also, some recent studies conducted by the FBI "have shown that security systems make your home 15 times less likely to be victimized."5
So there you have it: alarm systems do deter criminals. And an added bonus is that with the installation of an alarm system, you can save up to 20% on your homeowner's insurance.
Now, while home alarm systems may not always be 100% effective, the right one for your particular situation can go a long way toward protecting you and your loved ones and your cherished belongs. With the current dizzying pace of advances in technology and criminals rapidly growing more technologically advanced, you simply must ensure that the alarm system you select for your home is as secure as it can be. So to help you choose the best system for your unique circumstances, we offer the following four crucial considerations.
Self-Monitoring or Professional Monitoring
A monitored system is, of course, more secure than an unmonitored one. But, for you, will self-monitoring or professional monitoring be more secure?
With a self-monitored system, whenever an attempted break-in occurs, the system is triggered and sends you, and only you, a notification, most often in the form of a text message. Then, when you get that message, you take whatever measures you deem appropriate.
But do you always get all your text messages right away? What if you were in a meeting or on a plane? In situations like that, the thief would be long gone with your valuables in hand before you could respond.
With a professionally monitored system, on the other hand, when the system is triggered, it sends out a call to the monitoring service, and then an operator calls you to verify the alarm. And most services practice double verification, which means that if you don't answer, another call goes out to a second number. If the service operator receives a confirmation from you or from someone at the second number that a break-in has occurred or if no response is received, the operator then calls 911. Either way, you're covered, and the authorities are notified.
In some areas, 911 calls received from a professional monitoring service are taken with more seriousness than calls received from people with self-monitoring. This isn't the case everywhere, but it's certainly something to look into.
Wired Alarm Systems or Wireless Systems
The basic difference between wired and wireless systems lies in the way communication happens between the security devices and the control panel. Obviously, in wired systems this electronic communication takes place by means of signals sent through wires. Wireless systems use radio signals to achieve the same kind of communication.
Now, it is true that hard-wired systems can sometimes incorporate more sensors than wireless, and they are tried-and-true systems. But you face the prospect of having installation technicians in your home and having holes drilled in walls and baseboards to accommodate the necessary wiring. Owing to the wiring and fixed hardware, these systems are permanent, and you can't take them with you when you move. In addition, some of the systems are now woefully outdated.
But with wireless systems, installation is simpler, easier, less intrusive – and far less expensive. In many cases, homeowners can perform the installation themselves. Wireless systems are also portable, and if you move, you can take your system with you.
For added security, there are no wires that a home invader could cut or that could become corroded and loose connection. And with recent technological advances, upgrades are easier with many options available to meet your specific needs. For example, Think Protection offers a product called "ThinkPro 1," which is intelligent, and, consequently, "software updates can be pushed directly to your system, so your system will always have the most advanced technology."
Systems with "Crash-and-Smash Protection" and Systems without
Most alarm systems are designed to allow you a brief period of time, usually about 30 to 60 seconds, to get through your door and to the alarm's control panel. This gives you time to disarm the alarm before it goes off. But what if an intruder is experienced enough and fast enough to get inside your home and get to the control panel within that same amount of time?
And that's where the term "crash-and-smash protection" comes from. The intruder "crashes" through your door and then "smashes" (with some effective tool like a hammer) the control panel before an alert signal can be sent out. A truly secure alarm system, then, will have a solution for and protection against just such a scenario.
With crash-and-smash protection, the system still works even if the panel is destroyed. If the system begins its countdown and the connection between your alarm and the central station goes offline before sending a “disarmed” signal, an alarm will still be triggered. So you're still protected in the event of a crash-and-smash attack.
Experience and Expertise of the Alarm-System Company
In the arena of home alarm systems, there are more than a few fly-by-night, high-pressure-sales companies – some of which may actually pose a threat to your home security. A big step, then, toward ensuring that the system you choose is secure is to research and choose a reputable company that actually has the experience and expertise to protect you and your family.
Here are just the most salient things you'll need to consider:
And do be aware that signing a long-term contract can make you vulnerable to hidden rollover provisions. Also, you should find out whether updates are available and how easy (or difficult) they are to implement. Basically, if the company is in fact reputable and experienced, you want to make sure they offer the options that will meet your specific security needs.
Think Protection, headed by Joel Matlin, the original founder of AlarmForce, offers professional monitoring, a wireless system, crash-and smash protection, and no long-term monitoring contracts. At Think Protection, we have over 125 years of combined experience protecting North Americans. We also have the best value proposition around – and we stand solidly behind that claim.
2Reolink, "Home Burglary and Crime Statistics"
3University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, "Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender's Perspective"
4Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, "Rutgers Study Finds Alarm Systems Are Valuable Crime Fighting Tool"
Household Tips Guide, "Pros & Cons of Security Systems for Home Protection . . . Are They Really Worth It?"
Home Alarm System – A device or network of devices consisting of sensors and a control panel, designed to monitor unauthorized activity at your home. In the event of such activity, the system automatically alerts you and/or the proper authorities.
Professional Monitoring – Alarm-system monitoring that, when an alarm is triggered, notifies you, uses double verification, and notifies the authorities through its central monitoring service.
Self-Monitoring – A system that notifies only you when an alarm is triggered.
Wired Security System – An alarm system that sends signal from sensors to control panel via wires.
Wireless Security System – A system that uses radio waves for communication between sensors and the central station.
Crash-and-Smash Protection – A safety feature to ensure that if the connection between your alarm and the central station goes offline before sending a “disarmed” signal, an alarm will still be triggered.