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10 Startling Burglary Statistics

Dumb BurglarBurglary. The very word sends shivers through your spine, especially if you have ever been a victim. If you know what it’s like to experience those incomparable feelings of anger, shock, violation and vulnerability, then you probably already understand why a good home security plan is so essential. But if you have never experienced burglary firsthand, you—like so many people out there—might be complacent, assuming that it won’t likely happen to you. Consider these startling statistics, and see for yourself why this all-too-common scourge demands to be taken seriously.

Did You Know…

  • A home invasion occurs every 13 seconds in the United States, with more than 2.5 million burglaries occurring each year. Burglars commonly steal cash, jewelry, consumer electronics, firearms and power tools.
  • In 2010, just over one million burglaries were attributed to forcible entry. An additional 600,000 burglaries were attributed to unlawful entry (entry without the use of force). If you leave your doors or windows unlocked, you’re practically asking to be burglarized.
  • Also in 2010, a total of 127,251 reported robbery case involved a firearm, and more than 129,000 cases involved the use or threatened use of physical violence. This represents a small percentage of total invasions, but it’s all the more reason to ensure that you have a quality home security system with 24/7 monitoring.
  • The top 10 most burglarized cities are Cleveland Ohio, Toledo Ohio, Memphis Tennessee, Detroit Michigan, Cincinnati Ohio, Indianapolis Indiana, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, St. Louis Missouri, Tulsa Oklahoma and Oakland California. Of course, a burglary can happen anywhere, so even if you don’t live in Ohio (which, apparently, burglars are quite partial to), you should always be diligent about your home security.
  • burglarThe most common means of forced entry is to kick in the door. If you don’t already have one, install a security door made from solid wood, metal or fiberglass, and reinforce all other points of entry.
  • The majority of burglaries are committed by males under the age of 25. Some of these kids are motivated by drug addiction, others by financial hardship, and others by greed. Which leads us to our next point…
  • Eighty-five percent of break-ins are committed by non-professionals, and the majority of these individuals scope out the easy targets.
  • Only 13 percent of burglaries are ever solved, and only about 15 percent of stolen property is ever recovered. So hide the jewelry and lock down those consumer electronics.
  • What are some of the most common tools used to commit a home invasion?  Screwdrivers, pliers, pry bars and hammers. Not exactly the high-tech burglary swag that you typically see in heist films.
  • It’s not all bad news. Between 2001 and 2010, U.S. robberies decreased by 19.7 percent, and between 2009 and 2010 alone, burglaries decreased by 10.5 percent. The outlook may seem bleak, but the long-term statistics actually show a continuous positive trend).

Don’t Become a Victim

If all this burglary news sounds a bit frightening, take heart. You can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim by simply installing a quality home security system and exercising common sense. For instance, post plenty of signs warning potential intruders of your home security system (even if you don’t have one yet), don’t allow mail and deliveries to pile up while you’re away, and make sure to install additional security reinforcements like deadbolts and windows bars. Remember, the vast majority of burglars are amateurs in search of easy targets, and the more difficult you make it, the less likely you’ll come home to find a crime scene in your living room.

Do I Really Need a Home Security System? – The Homeowner’s Fallacy

Burglar Breaks GlassUnsecured homes are up to 300% more likely to be invaded than homes with a security system, and yet only about 16 percent of U.S. homes have any sort of security mechanism in place. A burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S., so are you prepared? If you’re living with the assumption that it won’t happen to you, it’s time for a wakeup call. This isn’t about inciting fear or paranoia; it’s about emphasizing the extreme importance of having a security plan, and thereby reducing your risk of becoming a victim.

It Won’t Happen to Me

Ah, those famous last words. If you have never been the victim of a break-in, it’s so easy to become complacent and underestimate your own burglary risk. In the gambling world, there is a term known as the gambler’s fallacy. It is the false assumption—often made at the craps table or roulette wheel—that one can predict future outcomes based on past results. Quite similarly, the homeowner’s fallacy might be reasoned along the lines of, “This is a safe neighborhood; nothing bad ever happens here,” or “I’ve lived in this house for over 10 years and have never had a problem.” But just like the craps player who mistakenly thinks he’s “due for a 7,” you’re drawing a false conclusion based on an unscientific premise. With over 2,000,000 homes burglarized every year in this country, none of us can afford to take chances.

I Don’t Have Anything That Burglars Would Want

It’s important to understand that burglars target modest as well as affluent homes, trailers as well as mansions. Granted, some are after the big payoffs, but others are just looking for easy targets. The typical burglar is under age 25, and just skilled enough to force his way into an average home. Never assume that your home is undesirable merely due to a lack of opulence or an absence of high-value goods. Even if a burglar spends several days casing your home, he (or she) won’t really know what’s inside until he breaks in, and at that point, he’ll take whatever he can get.

I Have Good Burglary Deterrents

Perhaps you haven’t invested in a full-fledged home security system, but you have taken steps to make your home less desirable to burglars. Maybe you have a home security lawn sign, a Beware of Dog sign, a few motion-activated lights or even a fake security camera. These are excellent tools to have at your disposal, and they will certainly reduce your likelihood of being targeted for burglary, but there’s just one problem. Not all criminals are deterred by smoke and mirrors, and in the event that a crook does enter your home, you have no defenses on the inside. The majority of burglaries occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and if an invasion happens while you’re away, you don’t want to be left with a defenseless home. It might as well be an all-you-can-eat burglary buffet.

iStock_000007366103XSmallI Can’t Afford a Home Security System

This is the #1 complaint among people who lack home security. Granted, if you contact an installer to arm your home, you may pay through the nose for parts, installation and possibly even a mandatory monitoring contract. That’s why many homeowners are now opting for the DIY option. Today’s wireless home security systems are remarkably easy to install, and more affordable than ever before. For one low cost (often less than $200), you can install your system in very little time and experience the immediate benefits. No high-pressure sales, no restrictive contracts, no overpriced components. For the homeowner on a budget, DIY is the way to go.

My Security System is Already Pretty Good

If you already have a home security system in place already, congratulations. You’re well ahead of 84% of Americans. At this point, your ideal strategy would be to enhance your system with some new accessories or burglary deterrents. If your system has expansion capabilities, you can always take things to the next level with additional motion sensors, glass break detectors, door/window contacts, or even a few surveillance cameras. Home security is always a work in progress, because it’s all about remaining one step ahead of the bad guys. So do whatever it takes to give yourself the total advantage today.


Surveillance Cameras for Everyone?

Surveillance CamerasIncreasingly, neighborhood groups are realizing that 24/7 public video surveillance is one of the best ways to promote the safety and security of local residents. With easy installation, more and more homeowners are also turning to DIY CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment in order to record and remotely monitor what is going on in and around their homes. Some are even allowing local law enforcement agencies access to private outdoor camera systems in order to help solve crimes. As these trends continue, we wonder if there will ever be a time where surveillance cameras become standard safety equipment common to every home much like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.

Cities Under Surveillance

Throughout the United States, city governments and law enforcement agencies are opting to install public video surveillance cameras in order to keep a close watch on their jurisdictions. With 3,000 cameras in action, Manhattan is already under watch. London is also under constant surveillance as thousands of public cameras are stationed throughout that city. While such an enormous presence of security cameras in public may make some individual citizens uncomfortable, there is no denying that these security devices also serve to make criminals even more uncomfortable.

Burglars Aren’t the Only Concern

Thieves aren’t a homeowner’s only threat, nor are they the sole reason for groups coming together in order to place entire neighborhoods under surveillance. Daily, our newspapers are filled with reports of sexual and physical assaults, kidnappings and terrorist threats. These crimes are of enormous concern to everyone and are what drives residents in support of public security cameras to advocate so tirelessly for more surveillance.

Residents of Brooklyn neighborhoods like Flatbush, Borough Park and Midwood have deep concerns about possible threats to their safety. Following the kidnapping and murder of a child in Borough Park (the suspect was eventually caught on camera), neighbors have banded together to install outdoor surveillance cameras throughout these areas. Doing so is no small feat either, as more than 300 public video cameras are being installed throughout those specific areas.

Standard Security Equipment

In some states, working smoke detectors are a requirement in every private household. Few would argue against these devices being a necessity as they provide early warnings to residents as to the possibility of fire and such technology is intended to allow enough time for individuals to escape and call for help. In areas where smoke detection devices are required by law, few have argued against them as many lives have been saved as a result of their presence.

Should we take a similar approach to home security? Imagine if every homeowner were required to install, at minimum, a burglar alarm and a surveillance system. Would people take home security more seriously? Or would such a requirement be going too far?

Cameras For Everyone?

Requirements and advocacy aside, we are of the strong belief that no homeowner should ever choose to be without a good alarm and video surveillance system. Indoor and outdoor cameras, as well as hidden cameras all help strengthen security layers and make it possible for homeowners to maintain better control over their own security. DIY home security manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make it easy and affordable for average residents to benefit from levels of protection that were once only achievable by the very well-to-do. With do-it-yourself DVR systems offering multi-channel and remote surveillance, homeowners have flocked to this technology for good reason. Since top-quality DIY video surveillance cameras are available to the public and since we know that they are such good crime deterrents, why shouldn’t everyone have one or more of these affordable devices in their home?

Beyond Home Surveillance

Crime is everywhere, so it stands to reason that everyone should join in fighting it. We believe this and the fact that you’re reading this blog suggests that you do, too. How far should we take the fight, though? Beyond placing surveillance cameras in every home, should private outdoor cameras be accessible to law enforcement agencies? Should neighborhoods continue to band together in a push to install surveillance cameras throughout entire neighborhoods?

This subject triggers a good mix of opinions including those with valid privacy concerns and who oppose moving beyond home surveillance to also include public neighborhood surveillance projects. What are some good security alternatives to public surveillance cameras? And how might we better protect our city streets against crime? All ideas are welcome and respected, so…

Let’s Talk About It

Do you live in a neighborhood where a high level of intentional security exists? Are you interested in forming a neighborhood group in order to focus on public surveillance efforts? Or are you opposed to widespread video surveillance? Please take a moment to share your thoughts, questions, concerns and experiences in the comments section below.

Bundle Your Home Security for Optimal Savings and Protection

DSCQP63-BUNDLEHave you ever tried to build strong security systems for multiple households? Or have you ever wanted to, but felt deterred after adding up the cost of doing so? If you have more than one household to secure or even if you have a large home that requires additional equipment to complete your security system, you may want to consider a bundled security purchase.

DIY home security is, by far, your best option for saving money and time when securing more than one building, but the a la carte purchase of each device and system can still be quite pricey. Bundling your home security, on the other hand, can help you save a nice sum while affording you the protection you deserve.

What Is Bundling?

Most of you reading this are already familiar with the concept of bundling services in order to cut costs. In fact, you’re probably already taking advantage of bundled packages with things like your cable company or your phone company. For those of you new to the idea, bundling is simply buying combined products or services at a discounted bulk price in order to save money. Companies create specially priced bundled packages in order to entice customers to purchase more than one item or service.

Who Needs Bundled Home Security?

Individuals who own multiple properties, those who wish to help secure a separate loved one’s home in addition to their own and those with larger than average houses may all benefit from bundled security packages. Even those who plan to layer DIY home security by purchasing and installing one device at a time can save money with bundled packages. For example, instead of purchasing a wireless burglar alarm, a separate outdoor siren, a wireless keyfob, PIR motion detectors, security warning signage, and door and window sensors separately, a customer can purchase the DSC Power Series 1616 Wireless Bundle Pack for less and install all of these home security devices at once.

If you or someone you know is interested in bundling home security, we strongly encourage you to visit our main store or call our customer service line now.

Is It Time To Expand Your Home Security System?

home security for saleI’m going to go out on a limb here and say, yes, it is time to expand your home security system. How can I say this with any measure of certainty? Well, for starters, most people don’t have enough and can benefit from additional security. I mean, who are we kidding, here? Burglaries, robberies and home invasions are reported each and every day in America and criminals don’t seem to discriminate when it comes to the victims of these crimes. To state this another way, no one– no matter who you are or what kind of neighborhood you live in– is exempt from a break-in.

Further, of those homeowners who purchase an alarm system, few go any further in protecting their home against intruders. Expanding a system and taking steps to layer security with other devices and strategies significantly decreases the likelihood of a break-in, but how many people actually make the effort to go this extra mile for better home security? The very fact that you’re here today and ready to entertain this question is a good step in the right direction. Continue reading for more information expanding your existing system and which devices are a must-have in order to make your security as tight as possible.

DIY Expandable Systems

Expanding your system involves installing additional zones to your existing alarm unit. This means that you need to first have a system capable of such action. To get a better idea of how this works, check out the GE Interlogix Wireless Security – Concord Kit with 16 wireless zones. Known as a hybrid system, this particular kit can accommodate both hardwired and wireless add-ons, such as additional sensors (for doors, windows, freeze alarms, smoke detectors, etc.), additional keypads and additional motion detectors. For an example of a purely hardwired expandable system, take a look at the Ademco 8 Zone Expander. A variety of other expandable systems are also featured in our main store, but these two will give you a good idea of how an expansion works and what kind of system is needed to make it happen.

Should you find that your system is out of date or, for whatever reason, cannot be expanded any further, then we encourage you to consider replacing that system with one of our affordable DIY options that will not restrict you in such a way.

Why Expand a Home Security System?

If any door or window in your home is not protected by a contact connected to your alarm system, your home is vulnerable to a break-in. As is sometimes the case, existing systems were established before an additional room was added to a home and a zone for that room was never created.

Expanding a system is also the best way to include additional alarms, such as those that provide environmental alerts, driveway protection, glass break protection and so on. While you can add each of these items through DIY home security efforts, in order to control them from your central unit, your system will need to be expanded.

ELK-M1GSYS3_1_Other Ways to Maximize Security

In addition to literally expanding your alarm system, homeowners are advised to always target ways to expand home security, overall. Some of these methods include:


  • Adding motion-activated security lighting all around a home’s perimeter (especially around doors and windows)
  • Installing surveillance cameras throughout the home and around the home’s perimeter
  • Monitoring a home’s security system via remote monitoring devices (by smartphone or computer) and a 24/7 live home security alarm monitoring service like Alarm Relay (see our homepage for details)

Of course, it doesn’t hurt (and in fact it helps) to also use a variety of deterrents such as yard signs, window decals and other warnings that tell a would-be burglar that you mean business. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times…burglars are lazy criminals who don’t want to work too hard at what they do. Making your home look as secure as possible tells a burglar that he’ll have to place considerable effort behind a break-in…and that he’s seriously risking capture if he does.

Home Security Store Is Here For You

DIY home security truly is the best way to save money while optimizing the safety of your family and your home. Doing it yourself, however, does not mean that you are completely alone. All of your purchases from our main store come with clear and concise directions, and should you need further technical assistance, we are always more than willing to help if you give us a call.

Any Questions?

Do you have questions about expanding your alarm system? Do you have advice to share with other readers that may help them in expanding a system or installing additional equipment in order to increase home security? If we missed anything important or if you have questions or comments, the floor is now officially yours.

The 25 Most Burglarized U.S. Cities

top cities for burglary

The FBI maintains comprehensive crime data for major cities across the U.S.

What are the odds that you’ll become the victim of a burglary? It depends largely on where you live. Each year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation collects and organizes data on a variety of criminal behaviors (violent crime, murder, assault, property crime…) in major cities across the nation. Burglary is one of the crimes assessed by the bureau, and it may surprise you to learn where some of our most popular cities rank on the spectrum.

The Top 10 Cities

The data below is from 2012, the most recent year for which we have comprehensive statistics. You can view the complete list at the FBI website, along with detailed numeric breakdowns. The FBI measures crime rates as rations per every 100,000 citizens in the population, since cities can vary dramatically in population size.

  1. Cleveland, Ohio (2,473.5 per 100,000)
  2. Toledo, Ohio (2,352.6 per 100,000)
  3. Memphis, Tennessee (1,912.7 per 100,000)
  4. Detroit, Michigan (1,907.5 per 100,000)
  5. Cincinnati, Ohio (1,851.1 per 100,000)
  6. Indianapolis, Indiana (1,761.6 per 100,000)
  7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1,654.4 per 100,000)
  8. St. Louis, Missouri (1,564.6 per 100,000)
  9. Tulsa, Oklahoma (1,563.0 per 100,000)
  10. Oakland, California (1,544.0 per 100,000)
  11. Buffalo, New York (1,515.0 per 100,000)
  12. Kansas City, Missouri (1,500.6 per 100,000)
  13. Stockton, California (1,476.4 per 100,000)
  14. Atlanta, Georgia (1,416.8 per 100,000)
  15. Bakersfield, California (1,404.0 per 100,000)
  16. Dallas, Texas (1,296.0 per 100,000)
  17. Baltimore, Maryland (1,242.3 per 100,000)
  18. Minneapolis, Minnesota (1,225.4 per 100,000)
  19. Houston, Texas (1,223.1 per 100,000)
  20. Greensboro, North Carolina (1,211.4 per 100,000)
  21. Albuquerque, New Mexico (1,205.9 per 100,000)
  22. Phoenix, Arizona (1,205.8 per 100,000)
  23. Fresno, California (1,166.4 per 100,000)
  24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1,164.0 per 100,000)
  25. San Antonio, Texas (1,135.3 per 100,000)

Some Interesting Trends


Cleveland, Ohio ranks #1 in the nation for burglaries.

  • Ohio holds 3 of the top 5 spots (including the number 1 and number 2 spots) for burglaries, with Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati.
  • Among the top 50 cities for burglary, California is ranked 6 times: Oakland (#10), Stockton (#13), Bakersfield (#15), Fresno (#23), Sacramento (#38) and Long Beach (#47).
  • Only Texas has more cities than California in the top 50, with 7 in total: Dallas (#16), Houston (#19), San Antonio (#25), Fort Worth (#27), Arlington (#39), Austin (#42) and Corpus Christi (#50).
  • New York City, which was once a bastion of criminal activity, actually ranks at #74 for burglaries in major cities. In cities with a population of 250,000 or more, the Big Apple ranks at the very bottom.

America’s Safest Cities

Now that we’ve discussed some of the nation’s most crime-ridden cities, what are some of the safest places to call home? Despite all the doom and gloom, America is actually becoming much safer overall. For instance, robbery rates dropped 38% between 1992 and 2011, according to the FBI. Last year, Business Insider compiled a list of America’s safest cities, also based on FBI crime data. Here are the top 10:

  1. Irvine, California (robbery rate 86% below average)
  2. Fremont, California (robbery rate 47% below average)
  3. Plano, Texas (robbery rate 65% below average)
  4. Madison, Wisconsin (robbery rate 11% below average)
  5. Irving, Texas (robbery rate 47% below average)
  6. Scottsdale, Arizona (robbery rate 55% below average)
  7. Boise, Idaho (robbery rate 73% below average)
  8. Henderson, Nevada (robbery rate 43% below average)
  9. Chandler, Arizona (robbery rate 46% below average)
  10. Chula Vista, California (robbery rate 20% below average)

Protect Your Home

Your geographic location may impact your likelihood of being robbed, but a burglary can happen anywhere, and it’s important to protect yourself and your family. If you don’t already have an alarm installed in your home, it may be time to invest in a quality home security system. By taking simple steps to secure your family and belongings, you can prevent the unthinkable from happening, whether you reside within the low-crime borders of Irvine, California, or within the burglary-prone reaches of Cleveland, Ohio.

Tips on Where to Install Your Wireless Alarm System

L5000PKPlace your control station in an area of your home that is centrally located to where your sensors and contacts will be. Doing so will help ensure that each one will be able to communicate with the main station. Also do this in an effort to make it easier for the system’s alarm to be heard throughout the home if it is ever triggered.

Door and Window Sensors

Place door contacts and window sensors at or close to the top of each of these locations. Doing so helps keep them out of the way of locks and latches, and reduces the likelihood of accidental contact while opening or closing doors and windows and that may dislodge a contact or sensor.

Other Devices

Avoid placing your base station too close to other devices, such as computers and cordless telephones. While technology has advanced to the point where interference between wireless devices is rarely (if ever) an issue, keeping a safe distance between all is still a good practice to avoid interference just in case faulty equipment with any of your electronic devices becomes an issue.

Always Read Your Instructions Carefully

Depending upon your system, the manufacturer may have additional ideas about where to install your wireless alarm system. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and remember that our tech support team here at the Home Security Store is happy to answer any questions that you may have.

We Want to Hear From You

Have you installed a wireless alarm system lately? Where did you end up placing your main station? Do you have any helpful tips or advice you’d like to share with our readers?

Ralph Winn

Is Your Home Security System Truly Secure?

improve home securityThere is a famous series of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons, which begin with the family’s return from a relaxing vacation. Calvin and his parents learn that their home has been burglarized, and understandably, they’re quite startled. As the husband and wife assess the damage, the wife says to the husband, “This is one of those things you always figure will happen to someone else,” to which the husband replies, “Unfortunately, we’re all someone else to someone else.” Truer words were never spoken.

Far too many of us are blasé about our security systems, because we have simply become complacent. We think it won’t happen to us.  The fact is that a quality home security system can save you thousands, sometimes millions of dollars in stolen property, and in some cases, it can even save your life. But it’s not enough to just slap a control panel onto your wall. How do you know that your home security system is truly up to the task? Burglars will exploit even the most subtle vulnerabilities in an alarm system, and it’s important to ensure that your security is actually, well…secure. Have you taken the time to put your system to the test?

Cover Up any Wiring

If you have a hardwired alarm system, and you have loose copper wires hanging anywhere indoors or outdoors, take some time to cover them up. Burglars will often cut the wires immediately upon finding them, not only because copper is so valuable, but because hardwired systems are pretty useless without a solid wired connection.

Test Your System

When is the last time you actually tested your system? Six months ago? A year ago? Five years ago? You should periodically test the alarm in order to ensure that it’s actually functioning properly. Call your monitoring company (if you pay for monitoring services) and let them know that you want to test your system. Then begin accessing and triggering the various functions of your security system. In most cases, everything should be fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When testing your glass-break sensors, you don’t actually have to shatter glass. You can use a glass break sensor tester to simulate the sound of shattering glass.

Back Up Your Power

What happens if your power goes out? Whether due to a power surge, a blackout, or the malicious actions of a skilled burglar? Your alarm should always have a backup source of power, whether in the form of a backup battery or an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).  Never rely on a single source of power to breathe life into your security system.

home surveillance kitAccessorize

What does your security system include? A control panel? A keypad? A siren? A couple of motion sensors? Door and window contacts? We all know what to expect from a typical security system, but there are a lot of components that you won’t find in your typical kit, which can nevertheless take your security to the next level. For instance, window bars can provide much needed reinforcement to your windows. Driveway alarms can provide advance warning whenever an intruder inches toward your home. Motion sensor lights can ward off burglars by shini0ng a spotlight on their covert intrusion.

Add Some Surveillance

Does your home security system include surveillance cameras? If not, it should. DVR-and-camera surveillance systems are now more affordable and easier to operate than ever before, and they can prove invaluable in prosecuting the criminals when an invasion occurs…or if an invasion occurs in the first place. After all, the other benefit of having surveillance cameras is that they make powerful deterrents. Even a really good dummy camera mounted on your front porch will often keep the burglars away.

Let the World Know

You might have the greatest security system in the world, but if crooks are unaware of it, they’ll still attempt to break into your home. Since prevention is the best cure, you’ll want to ensure that any would-be intruders are made well aware of your high-end security before they even attempt to force their way inside. Make sure to post yard signs near the front as well as the back entrance to your home, and place decals on your windows. If you don’t have any decals or yard signs, you can find them all at Home Security Store.

Don’t Take Chances with Your Home Security

Even a simple home security system can offer an unprecedented level of protection, but only if you’re proactive about keeping your ship in order and equipping yourself with the accessories needed to secure your fortress from all sides. So here’s a challenge for you. Put yourself in the mindset of a burglar, and take a stroll through your home. Walk the perimeter, look inside the windows, and then move from room to room. Determine where your security falls short, and then do something about it.

And finally, always remember what’s truly important…


Keep Your Burglar Alarm at Its Optimal Best

Alarm-SystemSo, you’ve had your burglar alarm for a while now and you want to keep it in tip-top condition. In other words, you can do without the false alarms you’ve heard others complain about and you want to make sure that your home security system works in the event that you actually need it to sound an alarm. In addition to making sure that you have a good burglar alarm system to begin with, there are a number of things that you can do to help keep your alarm working at its optimal best. As this is the end of the year and you want to start 2014 on the right side of home security, this is a good time to invest a few minutes in the following tips:

Reset Your Burglar Alarm Pass Codes

Just as you should periodically change your email and banking passwords, your burglar alarm pass codes should be changed from time-to-time, too. After all, there is a good possibility that your security may have been breached in that some unauthorized person may have seen you input your code or you may have even shared it with a household employee who no longer works for you. Remember to choose a code that is difficult to decipher and don’t forget to update every member of the household about the new code.

Check Your Alarm Batteries

One of the most common reasons for false alarms or a system failure is actually due to a low battery issue. For this reason, you should check your burglar alarm batteries a few times throughout the year. If your batteries do need replacing, your product manual will tell you precisely what you need and there is a good chance that you can find new burglar alarm batteries in our main store.

Check Your Door and Window Sensors

While we’re on the subject of false alarms and burglar alarm system failures, this is as good a time as any to advise you to check all of your door and window sensors. A loose sensor, one that has been dislodged or an improperly installed sensor not only makes your system a prime candidate for false alarms, but it may also lead to you being burglarized.

Have Your Burglar Alarm Monitored

Yes, we know. You’ve opted for a DIY burglar alarm system because you want to save money while taking it upon yourself to exercise a great level of control over your household’s security. The best thing that you can do for your family and to get the full benefit of your home security system is to have your alarm monitored. While a lot of nationally known brands charge a few hundred dollars per year for this service, Alarm Relay charges a mere $8.95 per month. While this is not a DIY service, it fits perfectly with the lower prices obtained by opting to install your own alarm system…which is precisely why we feature a link to Alarm Relay’s service on our store’s main page.

Expand Your Home Security System

Whether you have a hardwired or a wireless burglar alarm system, there is a good chance that it can be expanded to accommodate other security devices. Such devices include security lighting, a CCTV system, environmental controls and more. The idea here is to use your burglar alarm as the foundation for your home security system, but seek to expand it over time until you have built a system that brings you the best and tightest security any home can have.

Do Not Leave False Alarms Unchecked

Even if you only experience one false alarm, that is one too many. Your job is to immediately determine what the faulty alarm’s trigger is and fix it. A failure to take this advice seriously may cause you serious problems in the long run.

And don’t wait until you start experiencing false alarms to put this tip into practice. Remember that some jurisdictions charge a fine for false alarms if the police are sent to your home. It’s also likely that too many of these may lead to complaints from your neighbors.

Buy a New Burglar Alarm

If you have an old system, a broken one or an alarm that never served you well in the first place, replace it. Seriously, don’t put doing so off any longer. The mere fact that you’re here today means that you value your home’s security and that you know that affordable DIY burglar alarm options exist. Why wait until someone breaks into your home before you buy a new system?

What Do You Do?

Do you have a checklist for keeping your burglar alarm working its best? Do you agree with the tips shared here or have any of your own that you’d like to share?

Ralph Winn

Alarm Monitoring. Can You Do it yourself?

diy-monitoringIs it possible to do your own alarm monitoring? The answer is yes, and no. Home security systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Home and business owners can now work with fully integrated hardwire and wireless alarm systems, ensuring that they are secure and protected at all times.

Why You Need Alarm Monitoring Services

While alarm systems that are triggered by a door or window opened, motion detected, Glass break detected or smoke in the air are paramount to ensuring the safety of your home or business, they can be rendered ineffective if there is no one around to hear or react to the alarm.

Neighbors often take little notice of alarm sirens or flashing lights at a home in their street. That’s partly because the less sophisticated systems of years past were often triggered by the wind. And let’s face it – confronting an intruder on your own property is dangerous enough and not everyone is prepared to risk their safety to establish if your home is being burgled.

Monitoring your own alarms isn’t effective if you’re away and can’t take action quickly, or if you’re trapped by fire in your home and unable to summon the emergency services.  In fact, an unmonitored alarm is only a small step up from having no alarm at all.

Alarm monitoring is an essential aspect of having an alarm system, and ensures that, not only are people inside the property notified of any threats, but that external authorities, such as the police or fire departments, are also notified.

Consider a Combination of DIY and External Alarm Monitoring

While employing an alarm monitoring company to monitor your security systems is an added expense, the savvy home or business owner can easily cut costs by outsourcing only a small part of the alarm monitoring service to an external company, and doing the rest themselves.

A large part of an alarm monitoring company’s fee doesn’t relate to the actual monitoring of triggered alarms, but instead to installing, maintaining, and repairing systems and equipment. By installing the various components of the alarm system yourself, and assuming responsibility for basic day-to-day maintenance of any hardware and wiring, as well as for replacing batteries when necessary, you’ll get a better deal with alarm monitoring. Fees will be reduced because the company won’t have to dispatch repair vehicles and technicians to your property to test, service or repair your equipment.

Once the alarm system has been installed, the home or business owner can consult a security or alarm monitoring company that specialises in monitoring, rather than the sale of security systems. Often their service can be set up remotely without the need for an attendance call. They may also be able to offer flexible billing plans, such as billing on a yearly schedule, or offer package home and business deals that can save you more money.

For home and business owners who are technologically savvy and wise with their money, setting up a security system and outsourcing only the alarm monitoring that is required is a great way to make the most of a high quality alarm system at a fraction of the price. 

Ralph Winn


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