Tips to Improve Your Home’s Security

Home burglaries, even if you are not there, can have a major impact on you and your family’s sense of safety and well‐being. There is nothing more personal than having one’s home and privacy invaded by an unwelcome intruder. While it is difficult to protect your home from professional thieves, most home burglaries are done by amateurs. These thieves are more easily thwarted if you employ some of these simple security precautions.

Home Security Systems

As homeowners, we all have to make a decision on whether or not to purchase a home security system. Does the peace‐of‐mind and added safety offset the cost and inconvenience of installing a home security system and if so, what should be included in that system?

My wife and I recently moved to the Bryan Place community and determining the appropriate home security system was one of many important decisions we had to make. Hopefully, what we learned in this process will help other Bryan Place homeowners get a head start in evaluating the many options available in the marketplace.

There are over 100 home alarm providers on Angie’s List for the DFW area. They range from the small local shop to the large publicly traded company. My informal walking survey showed the following most prevalent systems in our neighborhood: ADT, Itec, Smith Thomps, AT&T and Hawk Security Services. It is a good idea to check the rating of any company you are considering on Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau to help limit your search before making that first call with a salesman.

Typical System Features

Basic

  • Outside sign and window stickers
  • Door and window contact monitors
  • Glass‐breakage monitors
  • Motion detectors
  • Smart phone monitoring of system with email notifications

Advanced

  • Heat/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
  • Video cameras
  • Remote lock/lighting/thermostat control and monitoring

Every provider will have different product packages and pricing but most have basic systems that will include contact monitors for doors/windows, motion detectors and glass breakage monitors for a fairly reasonable price. You may also consider more advanced features such as video cameras and other high‐tech options such as locking/unlocking your home, adjusting your home thermostat or home lights from your smart phone.

These high‐tech features are not cheap and can substantially increase your installation cost and monthly bill.

You can expect a basic system to range from $200 ‐ $800 for equipment installation and monthly fees of $18 ‐ $50 depending on the size of your home and desired level of protection. We found these fees to be surprisingly different from company to company and many offer limited promotions, so shop around.

When an alarm is triggered, the security company will try to contact the homeowner via phone and email before calling the police to investigate. All homes with an alarm system require a permit from the police at a cost of $50 per year. As you can imagine, the police are very sensitive about excessive false alarms and they allow three free false alarms per twelve month period. Subsequent false alarms are charged $50 per occurrence for the next three false alarms with the fees escalating very quickly from there if false alarms continue.

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Published on January 22, 2015