Nowadays, it’s increasingly common to receive news of home break-ins, car thefts, purse-snatchings, and other crimes in our neighborhoods through social media. The world appears to be a pretty dangerous place. So you might be surprised to learn that crime has declined significantly over the past few decades. The violent crime rate is down by about 50% since the early 1990s. Property crime has decreased by an even greater percentage. And law enforcement and security experts point to the growing number of homes protected by security systems as one important reason why. It’s estimated that 38% of homes in the US now feature some kind of home security technology.
The reasons to install a home security system vary from homeowner to homeowner. Sometimes just the purchase of a new home triggers the decision. Sometimes the birth of a child inspires the move. But it’s also safe to say that the greater ease and affordability of installing a home security system is also driving the home security trend. The home security market is now full of products that feature do-it-yourself installation. Home security is also part of a larger smart home trend. Many contemporary systems can be integrated with other smart home features and controlled remotely through our smartphones.
Choosing the Right System
How do you know which is the best home security system for you? The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of property you live in. The ideal system for a ranch home in Syosset, with its multiple first-floor windows, will differ from a system designed to protect a fourth-floor condo in Oceanside. While a system built around motion sensors might suffice for your high-rise apartment, that ranch might be better protected by a system that combines electronic contacts and motion sensors.
The next question you should ask yourself is what you’re trying to protect. An antique car or the expensive power tools you’ve collected over the years? You’ll want to work motion-activated sensors and door contacts for your garage into your design. But most people will be more concerned with safeguarding people than possessions. Systems that incorporate cameras are recommended for homes where children reside. Being able to keep a watchful eye on kids makes many parents feel safer, particularly when leaving their kids home alone.
Get Some Expert Advice
DIY home security systems are a great way to save money. You can install a basic system, including some cameras, for just a few hundred dollars. But even if you decide to install your system yourself, it’s wise to get advice from a home security expert before deciding which system components to purchase. At the very least, do some research on system design. There are online resources you can consult to make sure you’re asking yourself all the right questions before you settle on a design, as well as instructional videos to help you understand where to place the various components of your system and how they work together to more effectively protect your home.
How the Costs Add Up
Today’s home security systems offer a wide array of sophisticated options. More bells and whistles—from being able to speak through your doorbell to locking and unlocking your doors from your smartphone—will add to the cost of your system. You should also be prepared for the ongoing cost of professional monitoring. Security pros across the board advise against DIY-monitoring. It’s time-consuming—and who will monitor your system when you’re asleep?
But you can still keep costs in check with professional monitoring. Look for a service that bills monthly and doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract. False alarms aren’t uncommon but many communities will fine you if your system repeatedly calls first responders out to your home unnecessarily. Find out whether you or your monitoring company is responsible for false alarm fees. In addition, if you decide to install a system, be sure to alert your homeowner’s insurance company. Most insurers discount policies for protected homes. Home security systems are increasingly considered indispensable. It’s one investment you may be able to recoup when the time comes to sell your home.
Keep in mind that finding the right home security system may take some time. It won’t help to rush with your decision. Instead, do some thorough research, read customer reviews, ask questions, and get professional recommendations. Then, once you make your decision, make sure your system is properly installed and monitored. In the end, what we all want with a home security system is peace of mind. And that is worth your time to learn and reassure yourself (and your loved ones) of making the right decision.
About The Author: Susan Doktor is a journalist and business strategist who hails from New York City. She writes, guest- and ghost-blogs on a wide range of subjects, including finance, technology, consumer products, and government affairs. Follow her on Twitter @branddoktor.
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