According to FBI Uniform Crimes Reports, more than 2,000,000 burglaries occur in the United States each year with annual property losses of about $3.1 billion. In the wake of these statistics, thousands of people are forced to replace stolen possessions and endure the feelings of vulnerability that result from having their homes and privacy violated. Home burglar alarm systems can help reduce the chance of a burglary and help protect homes and property, renewing feelings of security and giving peace of mind.
Anatomy of a Home Security Burglar Alarm System
For those interested in having one installed, it is best that you know the parts of a typical residential burglar alarm system. Sensors are installed at potential entry points such as doors and windows. In the event of unauthorized entry through one of the protected points, the act of opening the door or window triggers electrically the activation of the alarm. Sensors installed at entry points form perimeter security.
In addition, alarm motion detection sensors can be installed inside to provide an additional layer of security. These sensors trigger alarm activation by sensing movement inside the protected areas. Fire protection can also be integrated into the infrared burglar alarm system.
The alarm system is controlled by a central keypad installed near a frequent exit which is used to arm and disarm the alarm. Additional keypads can be installed at multiple exit points if desired. Wireless fobs are also available that can be used to manually activate panic alarms in the event an instruction or medical emergency.
One additional component of typical monitored burglar alarm systems is a battery backup. This feature allows the alarm system to continue to function even if the power is cut by an electrical outage.
How Home Burglar Alarm Systems Work
Once a system has been armed, unauthorized entry activates a local audible alarm. These audible local alarms emit loud, high pitched tones which may alert neighbors and passersby and may cause a potential burglar to flee. In addition, activation sends a signal to the local burglar alarm monitoring system. Upon receipt of an activation signal, the alarm monitoring representatives call appropriate emergency services agencies and request a response.
Installation Costs for a Home Burglar Alarm System
The cost for installing a cheap burglar alarm system vary based on the features selected but typical systems that include up to three perimeter sensors, keypad, audible siren, yard sign and window decals typically cost less than $200. Monthly monitoring services cost about $30. Many insurers offer discounts of up to 20% for households that have a burglar alarm system and this savings can help offset the cost of installing one. Home security companies frequently offer advertised specials that allow installation to be obtained at additional savings.
Where to Buy a Burglar Alarm System
There are a number of home security companies like Brinks Home Security, ADT and APX that specialize in the sale, installation and monitoring. Quotes may be obtained by calling one of the providers or by visiting their web sites.
Residential home builders frequently install alarm systems in new homes during construction. When purchased, the home buyer need only arrange for a monitoring service saving the cost installation.
DIY residential alarm kits are also available online for the mechanically inclined and can offer cost savings. Systems are available designed for both monitored and unmonitored installations. Typically, a monitored system offers the best security since alarm activations will obtain an emergency services response. Unmonitored systems however offer more security than not having a burglar alarm at all.
Getting the Most from your Burglar Alarm System
To be most effective burglar alarm systems must be properly maintained. Also everyone living in a home protected by an alarm system should be aware of the codes to arm and disarm the alarm. The popularity of home burglar alarm systems has caused a spike in false alarms due to poorly maintained systems and operator error. As a result many municipalities are now imposing stiff fines for false alarms to combat the escalating costs of law enforcement responses to false alarms. When installing a home security system it is always wise to check with the local municipality as some also require that alarms be registered which may or may not involve a fee.
It is also important to keep an up to date contact list on file with the local alarm monitoring service. Should a local burglar alarm occur while you are out of town or away on vacation and police find evidence of an unauthorized entry, the monitoring service will be requested to send a representative to the location.
In summary, burglar alarm systems do require an investment but can pay big dividends in a number of ways. They can reduce the chance of burglaries, help safeguard homes and property and provide an increased sense of personal security.