Home security system sellers try to hook buyers by mentioning the home insurance policy discount. This discount can vary by policy, but you can expect it to save you about 15-20% on your policy. Is that really worth the cost of a security system?
We’ll break down some myths about home security, and look at life without a system to see what you’re truly paying for.
What a Home Security System Does
The biggest myth about home security is that it prevents theft entirely. Having a sign on your lawn helps send the signal your home is prepared to deal with uninvited guests, but it may not deter smash and grab thieves. When there is security near you, response times are shortened and you suffer fewer financial losses. Think of it this way, a thief who doesn’t hear sirens might take the time to go after your TV or search the home for other valuables.
Home security, then, is all about letting thieves know there is a high probability they will be caught if there is a break in. Having home monitoring systems helps most when you’re not around, which is at least 8 hours of the day for most people.
Getting By Without Monitoring
If you choose to forego monitoring, take some basic steps to make sure your property looks secure. Remember, thieves want a nice empty property without animals and with lots of easy entry points.
- Privacy hedges can put some distance between your windows and any would be thieves, thus making it harder to peer inside and see what valuables they might snatch.
- Keep a dog. Even a small dog can make lots of noise and alert neighbors. A bigger dog acts as a better deterrent, but anything that makes noise and will stand its ground can do the function of a guard dog.
- Smart lighting systems do more than save money on energy bills. They allow your home to appear like it’s inhabited even if it’s not, usually controlled by an application on your cell phone.
- Garden frequently. Burglars tend to see overgrown hedges and poorly kept lawns as an invitation to break in because they think no one is home. They may stake a place out to be sure, or they may act impulsively. Either way, gardening is a good way to let someone know that someone is home and watching.
Another option that you can exercise is to start a neighborhood watch program in your area. These groups require commitment, so not every neighborhood will find them easy to start, but they can be a huge benefit when utilized. The posted signage sends a clear signal to would-be criminals, and helps circumvent a lot of the shady behavior that accompanies thieves and bad apples.
Break-ins are hard to quantify and measure. Should you be worried about the worst-case scenario? Look at crime reports in your area and stop by your local Sheriff or Police department to talk with law enforcement. This is especially true when you plan to relocate to a new area.
Knowing the dangers you face before unpacking can help you decide whether you want to live in that place, and what precautions you need to take to feel safe.
Also, be aware that security is a group effort. If you can convince neighbors to invest in cameras and better security, the entire neighborhood becomes a harder target for would be thieves.