In conversations about home security, we often encounter people who shun alarm systems in favor of other alternatives. Some of these include relying on a firearm, a dog or even brute manpower for protection instead of an alarm system. While each of these may play a role in home security, none are as reliable or safe as an actual home security system.
One of the most common security alarm alternatives proposed by the uninformed is a firearm. People often brag on the types of weapons stored in a home and even speak in vivid detail about what would happen to an intruder who chooses to breach a home’s security. While a firearm does have the ability protect a home’s occupants, there are a number of very serious drawbacks to relying upon a firearm as a home’s primary source of protection. A few of these are:
- A firearm is only useful if a home is occupied at the time that a burglar breaks in.
- A firearm is only useful if a homeowner is able to reach it before a burglar does.
- If an intruder finds a firearm, it can be stolen or worse– used against the home’s occupants.
- The legalities of possessing and using a firearm in the home vary from one jurisdiction to the next and may, in fact, present severe legal ramifications for a homeowner.
- Shooting at, wounding or killing a burglar can also carry severe legal ramifications under certain circumstances.
Using a firearm for security may also present a very serious danger to other family members. Of course, a loaded firearm can cause injury or death to a child who discovers it, but using a firearm for security purposes can also lead to fatalities due to mistaken identity. In two recent, but separate incidents, homeowners mistakenly murdered their own children after assuming that a burglary was being attempted.
After receiving a phone call from his sister who lived next door and believed that a burglar was lurking around her home, Jeffrey Giuliani sprang into action. Gun in hand, Giuliani confronted a masked individual outside of his sister’s house. When the unknown person advanced toward Giuliani, he opened fire only to later discover that he’d killed his 15 year old son. In a second incident, a retired police detective, James Griffin, mistook his son, Michael Griffin, for a burglar as he entered the back door of the family’s home. The elder Griffin thought that his 48 year old son, who’d just moved into the home after falling on hard times, was inside sleeping and did not know that he’d actually gone out and was merely returning for the evening. Reacting to a perceived threat, the retired detective shot and killed his son in a case of mistaken identity.
People also often rely on dogs for a home’s security. While it is true that a barking dog may deter a burglar (which is why we sell the Rex Plus Electronic Watchdog Alarm), this is not always a guarantee. In fact, relying too heavily on a dog for security may actually put a pet at risk as the dog may be poisoned, beaten or even shot. The latter actually happened to one of our dogs when I was a little girl. Although our dog lived, it was an extremely traumatic event, which also resulted in an extremely high emergency vet bill.
While no one wants to encounter an intruder in the home, having the strength and the ability to fight one off is good. It is not, however, enough to rely on one’s physical strength in such a dangerous situation, however. Often, burglars break into homes in order to steal items that can be traded for drugs and, as such, may be high or in a very desperate frame of mind when they enter a home. No one can predict what a person will do under these circumstances, not to mention that there may be more than one intruder present or that a burglar may be armed. Even if trained in martial arts or some other type of defensive fighting skill, physically engaging an intruder is only recommended as a last resort when no other alternatives are available.
Alarm System Vs. Alternatives
None of these so-called alternatives can compare to the effectiveness of a good home security system. In addition to the enormous room for error each one represents, these solutions are, at best, only useful once an intruder has attempted a break-in (or actually gained entry to a home). On the other hand, by itself, the presence of an alarm is often enough to deter a burglar who’d rather not risk the shrill announcement of his entry. A good security alarm system like the Visonic Power Max Pro Kit With Built-in GSM can also do things that the alternatives named cannot, such as:
- Immediately contact a homeowner (by cell or landline) and a monitoring station whenever an intrusion has been attempted or even if a system has been tampered with.
- Interact with X10 technology allowing homeowners to remotely control lighting, appliances and even the alarm, itself.
- Support add-ons, such as surveillance cameras which allow a homeowner to remotely monitor a home’s interior from a smartphone or a computer with an Internet connection.
Alarm alternatives are not bad ideas, nor are they completely useless in home protection. They should not, however, be used as a primary source of protection. A good home security system is by far the best and most reliable way to ultimately protect a home.