Security Sunday 20161023
Security Systems and Monitoring Services.
This series has been dealing with measures you can take to improve the security of your home. Many of these required you to do the work, but that is not always something that is feasible. Obviously paying for these services are not inexpensive. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. And the service you receive will vary accordingly. This blog will not endorse any company or product. What it will do is provide you with what to look for in these products and services.
Intrusion detectors with an alarm is a must. Every window and door should at the very least be equipped with a mechanical switch type intrusion detector. This really is nothing more than a magnetic switch that lets you know when a door or window has been opened. The alarm must be LOUD and annoying. These systems cost in the low hundreds. Unfortunately they typically only cover a couple of doors or windows. To have real value look for one that in expandable to cover all of your windows and doors.
When possible include other types of detectors, such as infra-red motion detectors. When armed these detectors will pick up movement within your home. This is important since a well-versed burglar knows how to circumvent mechanical switches. Cameras that can operate in low light conditions are also helpful.
Wireless or wired is the question. Wireless is easy. Typically you just peel and stick the detector and alarms and you are all done. The drawback is that each detector and alarm will need a battery and when the battery goes dead you will either wake up to an annoyingly loud alarm, or you will find that someone stole all of your stuff. This can also be a plus since the alarm will continue to function during a power outage. Wired systems do not suffer from battery issues since they are wired to your home’s power. If you buy a system that has a battery backup they will even work during a power outage. The drawback to this type of system is, they are not easy to install.
Wireless and wired systems are both vulnerable to hackers.
Monitoring services are easy. They will in most cases install an alarm system in your home for low or no cost, as long as you buy their monitoring service. There are some very good services out there, but they all have drawbacks. Chief among their drawbacks is cost.
Monitoring companies use terms you need to understand. Response time is a term that they use. Their reference to response time is the time between an alarm in your home being initiated and the monitoring service taking an action.
These actions typically include calling you to determine if the call is indeed a break-in and not a malfunction. The monitoring company will attempt to call you based on a notification tree you have set up with them. For instance, you can have them call your home number first, then your cell number, then a trusted agent you have established with them. The number of calls they will attempt before calling the police varies. Why not call the police first? The police may, and often do charge for false alarms. Your local police department can advise you on these charges.
Regardless of how you proceed with a home alarm system keep in mind, these systems are the last line of defense, and typically will not do much to stop a determined burglar. To depend on these systems alone will do little more than provide proof to the insurance company that you at least tried to protect your stuff.
Consider this. The average response time to a life or death situation by the police is 10 minutes. For a burglar alarm, the time is as high as an hour. The time it takes for a skilled burglar to take your valuables is 8 minutes. The good news is, burglars like the easy mark with the highest payout. If you have followed the Security Sunday series of posts to this point you increased the difficulty for a burglar, and protected your valuables by keeping them out of sight.
In the next series of Security Sunday posts, we will deal with personal security while traveling.