This article provides practical and effective techniques for securing your home and protecting your family from intruders. The report highlights the safety of doors, windows, alarm systems, and general security.
According to the FBI, homes equipped with centrally monitored alarm systems are 15 times less likely to be targets of break-ins. These guidelines will help you choose one that’s right for your security needs.
1. Determine how much protection you need.
The goal of a residential security system is to detect an intruder as early as possible, alert the home’s occupants to his presence, and scare him away before he does any harm. Progressive layers of protection accomplish this goal. Imagine four concentric circles around your house:
For most people, a system that protects the second and third circles is both effective and cost-efficient. This involves installing sensors on the windows and exterior doors, and interior motion detectors as backup to the point-of-entry protection. The additional cost of protecting the innermost circle adds spot protection for high-value areas, such as a security closet or safe, and may include a 24-hour panic button. At the outermost circle of protection, motion sensors let you know when someone enters your property. Unless you live in a remote or concealed location, this protection may be more than you need when balanced against the equipment and installation costs.
2. Decide how you want the system to respond.
At a minimum, include one interior siren to scare off the burglar and alert you to the situation. You may want to add an exterior siren so your neighbors will hear your activated alarm. Some systems include automatic, silent monitoring, meaning they send a signal to a central station where operators notify the police, fire department, or security company.
3. Choose an alarm system.
A basic alarm system consists of a low-voltage electrical circuit with sensors installed on doors and windows. When someone opens a door or window, it interrupts the flow of electricity through a sensor and activates a siren or flashing light. Many systems also include motion detectors. When something moves within the detector’s range, an alarm sounds.
Electronic alarm systems come in two basic types:
Optional enhancements are available in both wired and wireless systems – from motion detectors that can’t be tripped by pets to remote access that allows you to check the system by phone from a distant location.
4. Compare prices.
Get bids from two or three reputable security companies in your area. Compare the installation charges, annual inspection costs, and monthly fees (for monitored systems). Also, check with your insurance agent to see if you’ll receive a discount for installing a certain type of system.
5. Use it right.
Alarm systems are only a part of good home security. Make sure that all the people who live in your home understand how to use your electronic system. Check your protective devices periodically to ensure they’re in working order.
Content provided by Better Homes and Gardens from the HomeAdvisor.msn.com Web site.