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Home Security Systems and Alarms

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 5 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Alarm System Security Home Security

It seems quite surprising these days that everybody’s home isn’t fitted with a burglar alarm as standard and so many people still choose not to have one.

It was perhaps, once thought by many people that those who did have an alarm fitted had something valuable to protect so this would only encourage burglars to target those homes more frequently but most of us today will probably have a PC or more than one, perhaps an expensive plasma or HD- TV, top of the range hi-fi equipment and other valuables such as jewellery, laptops, MP3 players, games consoles etc. that burglars are only too keen to get their hands on so to have a burglar alarm fitted simply makes sense for everybody.

It’s estimated that about 60% of attempted burglaries carried out on homes fitted with burglar alarms are thwarted which is evidence that they do give you extra protection.

Two Main Different Types of Alarm Systems

There are a number of different variations on alarm systems today but they still operate on mainly two principles. The first being a ‘bells only’ alarm system which will alert both you and your neighbours that someone is trying to enter your home. With a bells only alarm, many of us are that used to hearing alarms go off at all hours of the day or night, be they home alarms, car alarms or alarms from nearby businesses and shops. If you’re honest, unless it’s your home where the noise is coming from, how many of us get up straight away to go and check outside to see where the noise is coming from? Maybe we’ll do that after a good half hour or so if the alarm is really starting to annoy us but in that time, a burglar could have been in and out of a neighbour’s house and well on his way from the area with his stash of booty.

However, in an area where most homes have an alarm system, a burglar is more likely to target a house where there is no alarm at all, so even a bells only system is better than no system at all.

A far better solution, however, are ‘monitored’ home security systems. These are connected to an alarm receiving centre where somebody will inform the police that a house intrusion has been detected and therefore the police will be able to make a more rapid response. They are ideal if you keep a lot of valuables at home, work away a lot where the house is often empty and offer a greater sense of security if your home is located in an isolated rural area where there are fewer people around. Unlike with a monitored system, which obviously costs far more, police will never respond to a bells only alarm unless they are alerted by you, a neighbour or a passer-by that a burglary is taking place.

Professional Installation or DIY?

The cost of having a professional tradesman to come to fit your alarm will sometimes put people off having one installed. However, your insurance company will possibly be able to offer you a substantial discount on your annual contents insurance which can go some way to offset the costs if having an alarm fitted over the years so it may not be quite as expensive as you think.

You can always DIY but you run the risk of it not being as reliable. It’s better than nothing though but if you do go out to buy an alarm to fit it yourself, make sure it complies with BS6707 standards.

Conversely, if you decide to get the professionals in, make sure they are reputable. Ask to see documentation and look for any of the following accreditation – NACOSS (National Approval Council for Security Systems), SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board) or NSI (National Security Inspectorate). Any professional installer should be checked out to ensure they meet BS4737 standards.

Other Security Devices

There are many other sophisticated home security systems which you might also wish to consider too. These can include CCTV systems, wireless devices using sensors which can trigger off a call or text to your mobile phone if an intruder enters your home, and webcams strategically placed around the home which can e-mail you images of people entering the house.

In fact, the technology is almost endless but an alarm or monitoring device is a good place to start and any additional security features you think you might want can always be added on later.

However, technology cannot work on its own. Your own vigilance when it comes to home security is equally important. Things like leaving doors and windows ajar are like sending out an invitation to be burgled and even the family dog can be a good deterrent too!

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