According to the FBI, between 2009 and 2010, property crimes such as burglary have dropped by over 2%. While this doesn’t sound like a significant drop, the trend has continued, making property crimes relatively less frequent than violent crimes in America. While this data is encouraging, it’s still highly important that every house is fully equipped with the best defense against home and property crime: a home security system.
The Importance of Home Security
Home security systems help defend against the possibility of outside intrusion. There are a variety of systems available, meaning that every home has the capability to be fit with the perfect system to best defend it. There are also plenty of reasons to utilize a home security system, and the bottom line is that a home security system should be implemented to protect not only the building, but more importantly the people, pets, and possessions within. Home security systems, especially those used in homes, can be tricky to understand and implement.
This guide was created to convey exactly how important a home security system can be, the best type for specific areas, and other additional information needed to effectively choose the correct system based on personal and situational needs. A stark contrast from similar home security articles, this was tailored specifically for the needs of homeowners and provides information on home safety in addition to why a home should be secured.
History of Home Security
The first home security system was created in 1966 by Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband, who lived in Jamaica, Queens and were tired of feeling vulnerable in the crime-riddled neighborhood. To combat their fear, they combined their efforts and created the first closed-circuit television security system. Of course, their idea and invention took off, and for good reason. Today, most countries benefit from a plethora of home security systems now available on the market.
Types of Systems
Because each home and resident has different needs based on their individual property, many home security systems have been developed:
The most commonly used visual system is a type of wireless camera that connects to a smartphone or computer, making viewing all angles of a home significantly more efficient and accessible vs. a classic television monitoring set. Television monitoring sets are, however, greatly utilized in more industrial aspects of security. Wireless surveillance cameras come in many different shapes and sizes, and the recommended amount to have installed in one area is four. Each camera must be connected to both the receiver (phone, laptop, television) and some sort of power (generally batteries).
Window Alarm Sensors
These are installed and send an alert to both your personal system and the police that there’s suspicious – possibly criminal – activity taking place. There are several different models of window (and door) alarms and they can be both wired and wireless. While there are many different kinds, the most commonly used (with the best results) include but are not limited to vented window sensors, surface contact sensors, and garage door contact sensors.
Often implemented for security, a doorbell camera – depending on the model – will either send video footage or a picture of whoever rang the doorbell to your preferred system.
These sensors are also widely used, in which the motion of something large enough will trigger an alarm and alert system. There are two types of motion sensors – passive and active, of which passive is far more common in home security situations.
Active: Active motion sensors operate by sending and reflecting ultrasonic wavelengths in a pattern throughout an area. If the pattern is disturbed by something significant, like a person, the motion sensor can be set to sound an alarm, send an alert, or both.
Passive: Passive motion sensors, commonly used within residential areas, can be purchased and utilized in two different ways:
Infrared: Infrared motion detectors read heat given off by humans, animals, and even appliances. These systems, when a sudden rise of heat is detected (like that emitted from a human) will sound an alarm. Fortunately, this alarm ignores minor heat fluctuations, like the subtle rise of household temperature due to the sun setting and rising.
Photo Sensor: Photo sensor motion detectors utilize light beams or lasers to map an area. If the light pattern is disrupted, the system will detect it and sound an immediate alarm. Of course, these are the most common and effective systems, but there are also systems considered unusual and even strange. One such system emits light that mimics that of a television, making the house appear occupied and therefore less likely to be invaded.
Because every home and the needs of the homeowner are different, there are many different versions of each system, and these can usually be installed by a professional, or if preferred, independently. Certain systems can be installed in various places throughout a home. The most important places to secure are doors and windows, ensuring both the locks and seals are reliable. Then, cameras or motion sensors should be implemented in other key places that allow for the best visibility or detection range so the home is as secure as possible and visually accessible to the owner through whichever device is chosen.
Home Security System Costs
Home security systems can cost anywhere from $20 to $2,000 but are usually a couple hundred dollars. Home security systems protect a home and its residents, therefore, should not be turned down due to price. Taking into consideration production costs, shipping, installation, and the actual quality of the product, it’s fairly clear that home security systems should not be cheap. Investing in a system that will function properly and last several years is far more important than a short-term financial hesitation, as nothing is more important than keeping the home and family safe. However, something is better than nothing, and those looking for a less expensive solution can choose from a variety of affordable security systems that last and function properly for a considerable amount of time before failing.
Why Home Security Should Be a Top Priority
Every year, homes and privacy are invaded by outsiders, and while oftentimes the police are able to intervene, much of the time there is nothing to stop intruders. Fortunately, home security systems are a near-foolproof way to keep both a home and those inside of it safe, and should, therefore, be implemented as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many people, especially those from an earlier generation that believe in the power of settling things personally, suffer due to not having a security system installed.
One such unfortunate soul was Thomas Harty of Orange, Massachusetts and his wife, Joanna Fisher. Both were killed in October 2016 due to a home invasion and lack of alarms. Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan reiterated Fisher’s story while she was suffering in the hospital, explaining that she and her husband were “watching television when a pair of suspects invaded their home, launched a savage attack and fled with credit cards, cash, and the couple’s 2003 Toyota station wagon.” While this story is heartbreaking, it’s hardly uncommon, and further illustrates the absolute need for home security.
Home Security Statistics
While property crime occurs significantly less often when compared to violent crime for the majority of America, it is still imperative that homeowners take the time to properly secure their homes and property for the safety of both themselves and their family members and their home. Crime is best kept at a potential, and in securing a home, the potential for crime decreases considerably. To better understand why it’s so important that a home is secured:
- An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year on average from 2003 to 2007, according to the United States Department of Justice.
- Simple assault (15%) was the most common form of violence when a resident was home and violence occurred.
- Robbery (7%) and rape (3%) were less likely to occur when a household member was present and violence occurred.
The decreased percentages in both rape and robbery are highly encouraging but not enough to believe that homes and families are safe from outside attacks.
- The FBI national data states that in 2010, a property crime happened every 3.5 seconds.
- A burglary occurred every 14.6 seconds.
These numbers indicate a huge amount of crime taking place within only a minute, meaning every home is a potential target.
- Between 2003 and 2007, household members became victims of violent crimes in about 266,560 burglaries annually.
- Offenders known to their victims accounted for 65% of these burglaries; strangers accounted for 28%.
Strangers make up only a fraction of those that commit burglaries; a sign that home security is needed more than ever. Because knowing a person does not always mean they can be trusted, especially when it comes to home security.