There are only a few worse feelings than coming home and finding your home burglarized. You lock your doors and windows and turn on the lights, but that may not be enough to keep a burglar out.
Many people these days are going beyond those time-honored steps to prevent a break-in. Homeowners have decided one of the best ways to protect their home and their families is with a home security system.
When Martha Kempf and her family moved into their home a decade ago, it already had a home security system installed. After a couple of her neighbors’ homes that did not have alarm systems installed were broken into, she counted her blessings.
Kempf says, “It's a lot more comforting to know when I go to bed at night the house is secure, the kids are secure, and we're safe. I feel safer having it.”
According to one study, homes without alarms systems are three times more likely to be broken into than those without.
Tom Cook of TC Security has plenty of his company's signs throughout Michiana and he has installed thousands of security systems in homes and businesses.
Unfortunately, Cook says many of his customers call too late. He says, “Most of the time it's after they have a break-in. The morning after we get the call and they're in a very big hurry to have a system installed.
One reason many people wait is cost.
Security systems range anywhere from about $200 for a leased system to $400-$500 for purchasing a basic system. Highly sophisticated systems can get up to $1,500 to $3,000.
Additionally, monthly monitoring fees can start at about $20 a month.
While the initial costs may seem like a lot for a home security system, in the months and years to come, it could actually end up saving you money.
Tim Pingel sells homeowners insurance for the Healy Group and says that almost all insurance companies offer incentives for home security systems.
Pingel explains, “The benefit, first and foremost, would be that you get a five percent, even up to a 10 percent discount on your premium for the homeowner’s policy, and also the fact that you get piece of mind.”
Pingel says he has never processed a burglary claim for a homeowner with a security system.
Home security has evolved. You no longer need a traditional phone line in your home.
Cook says, “You don't need a phone line or a land line anymore. We have several different options. We can connect up to the internet, we have cellular technology, and also two way radio communications…we have apps and everything that would indicate when your alarm is going off. You can connect that with video cameras, like a latchkey situation for your child when they come home from school. There's a video clip when they come in. There's also alarm notification, texting and email that we can notify people when their alarm is activated.
Home security systems are not without their detractors. There is about an eighty percent false alarm rate which, some argue, has led to slower response times from police.
Because of this, police may do little to deter so-called "smash and grab" burglaries where someone kicks in a door, grabs a few things, and is gone in a matter of a minute or two.
So what can you do if response times by police are in the five to ten minute range? Have an alarm system that blares loudly both inside and out and also goes off within thirty seconds of a breach.
This is intended to scare off any intruder before they make off with much or anything at all.
One study shows the average loss for a home with an alarm is $2,000 less then one without because thieves have less time to clean out the house.