Don’t you just love those news reports that show photos of crooks caught in the act? They think they’re getting away with it, only to see their mug shots staring out at them from a crime report. Chalk one up for justice!
It’s not just in banks and stores either. Low cost home surveillance kits are helping to catch more burglars than ever. And goodness knows how many more they deter from even thinking of burglarizing a protected home in the first place.
In fact, security systems are now so effective and can cost so little that everyone should have one. Some insurers even discount homeowner premiums on well-protected property.
As with most things in life, when it comes to buying home security equipment, you get what you pay for and, sometimes, if you have a lot of valuable or irreplaceable stuff in your home, it’s worth bringing in a professional to advise on your needs.
But even the most basic of security systems and devices, many of which you can install yourself, offer a considerable amount of protection, plus, of course, peace of mind. If you don’t already have a system in place or you’re reviewing your current set up, here’s our suggested priority list:
- Start with window and door bolts and security chains. They’re low cost, easy to install, and slash the risk of anyone getting inside your house.
- Reduce the risk further with external, motion-activated security lighting at strategic points around the house. Sometimes you can use adaptors to convert existing lights.
- Internal motion detectors, linked to an alert system (an audible alarm or, say, a visible flashing light in your bedroom), come wireless now, making them simple to set up.
- Position cameras both inside and outside the house. They’re a powerful deterrent (sometimes even dummy cameras discourage would-be thieves). You can even use cheap webcams, linked to your computer, to monitor activity and even email images, so a burglar can’t destroy them. (See this useful article: http://tinyurl.com/webcam-security)
- For greater needs, consider a professionally-installed system that activates if anyone enters your home, either sounding a loud alarm or dialing directly into a security service.
Of course, there’s an additional, vitally-important element of home security on which we hope you’re already covered: fire / smoke and carbon monoxide (fume) alarms. No home should be without one or several and, if you don’t have them, we urge you to buy now. They cost a few dollars, are usually easy, stick-on devices, and could save lives.
One final alert: another police report we saw recently warned about con artists posing as home security system salesmen. If someone knocks at your door selling these or any other products, take their phone number and say you’ll get back to them. If they’re crooks, they won’t give you a real number. If they’re genuine, you can add them to your research list.
Now here’s some good news. According to the FBI, burglaries in the US fell 1.7 percent in 2009 over 2008. Perhaps that’s because law enforcement was more effective – but no doubt the use of security systems helped as well. If you don’t have one, maybe now’s the time to think about it.