When considering home security options, you may find the variety dizzying. There are many ways to protect your home, and in this article we will take a look at different products and methods.
The standard fare in home security would be an alarm system, activated and controlled through a keypad that the consumer programs with an access code. This type of system bleats a loud alert when wired areas (doors, windows) are compromised, is often connected with local emergency services, and usually has a provisional battery back-up, for use in the event of a power outage or cut power lines.
These systems are good for the consumer who can afford to spend at least $30 a month on subscriber fees to the various companies that install, set up, and monitor system activity. Many of these systems include motion-sensors, as well as key fobs. These keychain fobs allow the consumer to control their system from the moment they enter the walkway to their front door. These fobs contain a panic button, as do the keypads inside the home. These are wall-mounted pads that are installed, often free of charge, when you order service.
The advantages of such systems are several fold. Primarily, you have the feeling of security. That alone counts for a lot when considering your options. Also, in the event of the unimaginable, you have a direct line to help. Maintenance should be minimal, and is likely covered by the company should you require it.
These systems, however, are not without their quirks. Setting them off unintentionally can be a problem, and glitches in the mechanisms can cause alerts when you aren’t even home to quiet them, resulting in peeved neighbors and a potential visit from the Sheriff’s Office. The latter can result in fines being levied against you for failure to maintain your alarm, and resulting in waste of police resources and causing a neighborhood nuisance. You typically get a few free passes to work out the kinks, so no major worries here.
There are many other options, both more or less expensive than the latter. One such option is to simply advertise as if you had an alarm. Studies show that simply putting out signs stating that the property is protected by so-and-so alarm monitoring company is enough to deter most criminals. Another option is a “Beware of Dog ” sign. Better still, get the dog.
No, really. More than man’s best friend, a dog can be a wonderful alarm system. While not cheap, and usually not purchased or adopted for the sole purpose of providing security, a dog can be a wonderful first-alert to trouble brewing on the home front. Just recently, I was awakened at midnight by the sound of furious barking. My 80-pound Labrador-mix was jumping on the front door, trying desperately to get at some teenagers looming on my stoop.
I quickly dispatched them (holding my large, rather intimidating-sounding dog at the collar) by informing them that, no, they could not enter and use my phone. I watch Dateline; I’m just not that trusting. They left, and I gave my dog a treat. Had he not alerted, I would have had no idea that there were strangers lurking on my property, whatever their intentions.
Now, had I purchased the surveillance cameras I was eye-balling last month at a local chain electronics store, I might have spied the trespassers myself, had I been awake. These weather-resistant, wall-mounted cameras provide a constant “eye-in-the-sky” wherever you place them, and for little more than a hundred dollars. You can monitor them from inside the home, and keep an eye on the driveway to watch for company, or that pizza you ordered an hour and a half ago.
You can also have it recording at all times, and review tapes to find out where all the soda bottles on your front lawn are coming from, or to see where the eggs on your car window came from. In the event anything more malicious were to take ever place on your property within range of the camera, you have evidence that would be practically irrefutable.
There are several simple, cost-free steps you can take to secure your property and domicile. Always check that your doors and windows are secured before leaving home, or going to sleep. Keep your property well-lit, and ensure plantings in your front and side yards aren’t things easily hidden behind. Keep areas in front of doors and windows clear, avoiding large bushes which would afford a robber a retreat from a passing car or nosy neighbor.
No matter what you choose for home security, it will only work if you use it properly. If you have an alarm system, it will only help protect you if you arm it every time. If you choose video camera systems, it will only be useful if you monitor, and preferably record, the activity detected. Your lowest maintenance option would be posting signs suggesting an alarm system, whether or not you actually have the system. Again, don’t discount Fido as a viable home security option; likely the most fun and rewarding way to defend your home there is. And still one of the most reliable…plus, it’s the only one that comes with teeth.