Burglary and home invasions are some of the most prevalent crimes in the US. With a break-in happening every 26 seconds, you can see why home security is an important area to consider.
The difference between a home invasion and burglary is if there are homeowners inside the residence during the break-in. A burglary occurs when no one is home and becomes a home invasion if someone is present during the crime.
You’ll be happy to know that burglary rates in the US have been steadily falling over the past decade, but that still resulted in 314 burglaries per 100,000 people in 2020. Grim statistics aside, there are many methods to prevent this from happening to you and your family. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the necessary and more effective means of home security, as well as cost-effective options to keep your home the safe place it should be.
Top 10 Reasons You Should Have A Home Security System
- Deters burglary and property crime before it happens. Homes that do not have security systems are 300 times more likely to be targeted than homes with security systems.
- Protects your pets while you’re out of the house. While it’s not overly common for burglars to harm pets during a break-in, it’s not unheard of. Even if your pets are unharmed physically, the fear they can experience during a burglary is still traumatic.
- Reduces home insurance rates. It shouldn’t be a surprise that if homes without security systems are 300 times more likely to be broken into, insurance companies are willing to give breaks to homeowners with security systems. Less chance of a break-in, theft, or property damage means that your insurance company is less likely to have to pay out to cover losses.
- Increases personal safety in the case of a home invasion. If you or other household members are at home at the time of a break-in, a security system can give advance notice allowing occupants to hide or protect themselves from harm. Allowing advance notice could increase your chances of avoiding that outcome.
- Increases your home’s value. It can be a significant attractor for potential home buyers to know that there is an existing security system ready for them. While there’s a balance when you’re selling your home between wanting to provide that sense of security without making it seem like your house is in a dangerous neighborhood, overall, a modern security system increases your home value. Be sure to talk with your realtor about this if you’re selling your home — they’ll have insight into what your market would respond to best.
- Helps you to have peace of mind while you’re on vacation. Monitored security systems aren’t just great for protecting against theft but also for making sure that you don’t come home from vacation to find that your dishwasher flooded your kitchen or that there’s been a gas leak. Most home security companies allow you to customize the level of monitoring you pay for. Usually, you might not have your system monitored by an actual person on the other end, but while you’re away on vacation, it can be a great way to ensure peace of mind. Some home security companies even contract out security guards to perform a home safety check if requested.
- Helps you keep track of your kids. Smart locks and home camera systems can also go a long way to giving you peace of mind concerning the whereabouts and safety of your kids. If they’re at the age where they can stay home alone or come and go when you’re not there, having that checkpoint can be a huge relief.
- Allows remote access to your home. Smart home locks aren’t just convenient because you can program them to do things like automatically unlocking when you’re walking up to the door (no more dropping groceries because you’re fumbling with keys), they can also allow access to your home when you’re not there. Say you forgot to drop off plants to be watered by a friend while you’re away. You can remotely unlock the doors for them to pop in and grab your plants and then safely lock up again when they’re gone. Easy peasy! You can also control your smart locks with Siri and Google Assistant.
- Monitors for gas leaks and fire. Not only will you rest easy knowing that your home is protected from intrusions, but surveillance systems also monitor for things like gas leaks and fire. You can customize wireless home security systems to tie into your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, providing more insight into any safety issues in your home.
- Improves your energy efficiency. If you include smart lighting and a smart thermostat with your home security system, you can dramatically improve your energy efficiency. Doing this ensures that your consumption matches the times when you’re at home using it and energy isn’t being wasted when you’re away.
Most Important Elements To Consider
Robbery prevention has a few core elements that you’ll want to consider as you set up your home security system. Here are the main pieces that most systems will incorporate:
The home alarm is the main panel that your system runs off and will include sensors for all the main doors to your home. Most companies will offer the option of multiple alarm panels so that you can enter through the garage door or the main door without having to make a mad dash across the house to turn the alarm off.
One of the best burglary prevention tips is good lighting in any area that might be vulnerable to a break-in. Outdoor security systems will typically include floodlights as a standard component, but it’s worth considering having them inside your home.
Cameras are a homeowner’s best friend when it comes to robbery prevention. The sight of cameras highly deters would-be thieves, and if that doesn’t stop them in their tracks, you’ll have all the evidence you need after the fact to hopefully identify them. Approximately half of all burglaries in the US happen during the day when you’re more likely to be away from home, so having recorded evidence is important in solving a crime.
Window sensors are not standard for every window in your home or even with a home security system. Often, they’re only put on ground floor windows or windows that are in out-of-the-way places, like on the side or back of your house. They are an extra cost, but a very worthwhile one, even if you only have a couple in well-chosen places.
Wireless security systems are increasingly popular. They can incorporate several elements easily — for example; we talked earlier about the importance of lighting. If you don’t love the idea of a floodlight installed in your living room (understandably), you can use smart bulbs in your existing lights and connect them to your home security system to turn on if the alarm is triggered. The same goes for exterior lights, although it’s more common to have a floodlight or motion-activated light in your yard.
Consider a safe if you have valuables or weapons that you must securely store. Safes range in price from quite reasonable for something like you’d find in a hotel room — suitable for storing passports and important documents — to built-in wall and floor safes that are very costly. If you’re thinking about this option, bring it up with the security companies you’re considering and see their options and recommendations.
Get to know your neighborhood! Even if you’re an introvert that cringes at the thought of neighborly chit-chat, your neighbors are excellent sources of community safety information. Many break-ins will go unreported to police or insurance because people don’t want to pay their deductible and risk their insurance going up. Still, they will absolutely tell their neighbors about a burglary.
Talking to neighbors is a significant step, but you should be doing some due diligence to stay informed about your neighborhood’s safety. Apps like Nextdoor and Citizen can be helpful tools for people living in the same area to connect, discuss community events, and meet up. Citizen is an app that gives you real-time safety information from your area.
The FBI Crime Data Explorer is an excellent tool for staying informed on crime in your state and area. You can choose your state and then filter by the law enforcement agency that covers your area and by year. If you’re thinking about moving, this is a great way to get an idea of the safety of a new neighborhood.
If you know your neighborhood isn’t as safe as you’d like, you can take lots of measures if you don’t want to, or can’t, move. Spending a bit extra on hefty window locks and door locks is a great measure. In addition, you can easily install a CCTV system that isn’t connected externally but can allow you to see what’s going on in areas inside and outside of your home.
Home security can be easy to push to the back of your mind until something happens. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you wish you had taken extra measures sooner. Options are available for everyone’s budget, so get out there and find a solution that works for you.