According to the 2016 Uniform Crime Report shared by the FBI, Americans experienced 1.5 million burglaries, of which nearly 70 percent occurred in residential properties. It is also estimated that the victims of these burglaries incurred property losses amounting to $3.6 billion.
Though it can be overwhelming to incur heavy monetary losses post a crime episode, the ensuing trauma can adversely affect the victims’ physical and mental wellbeing. Every household has a unique way of protecting their valuables; yet, technology plays a crucial role in developing a security plan to protect homes from burglaries and other crimes.
According to a report published by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, burglars usually avoid houses with smart home security systems and alarms. Automating home security systems not only safeguards your valuable possessions, but also protects your family from intruders.
Here are six things you must consider when automating your home security system from guest blogger Ann Neal:
1. Determine Your Security Needs
Every household has unique security requirements. Before you invest in a home security system, determine the level of security you require. Conduct a pilot security assessment and identify the gaps in your current system. This will enable you to decide on the layers of security your house requires.
The large variety of smart home security solutions can make it confusing to choose the right one for your dwelling. If you wish to have a basic alarm system, ask the service provider for a package that offers 24-hour monitoring and sensors that detect motion, break-ins, fire, flooding and carbon monoxide.
In case you desire extra features such as remote access, freeze/heat sensors, and other home automation features, you can invest in a high-end or advanced package.
A number of home improvement stores offer customized solutions on the basis of clients’ requirements and schedule. For instance, if you are out for work and your kids or elderly parents are alone at home, a few special features such as video door locks or voice door locks and/or emergency alarms must be added to your package.
Depending on your safety concerns and requirements, you can choose a smart home security system that offers other features such as glass break sensors, door/window sensors, wireless monitoring, and wearable personal security devices.
2. Consider the Costs Involved
Purchasing a smart home security system is a huge investment. Before making a decision, consider the monthly cost, the activation cost, the service cost, the relocation cost, and the cancellation cost. These costs vary depending on the company and package you choose. The total amount, however, will determine the type of home security system that’s within your budget.
Numerous companies offer lease options too. Leasing the security system allows you to significantly reduce the upfront cost of purchasing the equipment and enables you to pay for the services on a monthly basis.
3. Research Wireless versus Hardwired Systems
Installing a smart home-security system doesn’t necessarily require you to drill massive holes in the walls of your house. Numerous modern wireless options are available that are extremely reliable and require no wiring except for a power source.
Most modern security systems are hybrid, which means a part of the system is hardwired, yet it has wireless devices too. Wireless security systems communicate over a cellular network using a Wi-Fi connection.
The major advantage of a cellular-network-enabled system is that it will not stop in case of a power breakdown. However, in such cases, you need to make sure that the system has adequate battery backup.
4. Enquire about Self-Controlled versus Central Monitoring Systems
Self-controlled security systems are becoming increasingly popular because of their low cost and do-it-yourself aspects. Moreover, they give the homeowner complete control over the situation, enabling him/her to decide on the next step. If a burglar or a miscreant breaks into the house, the homeowner receives an emergency text message or email, which allows him/her to contact the local police.
However, self-controlled systems may not be the best option if you tend to get busy with work or often keep your mobile on silent as you may miss the security notifications sent to you. In such cases, a central monitoring system is recommended, in which the security company assigns executives at their call center who monitor houses and notify you and the police of the security breach.
Talk to a smart home service provider about your requirements and arrive at the most relevant security option for your dwelling.
5. Consider the Must-Have Devices
The U.S. smart home security market is gaining momentum and is estimated to reach $9.81 billion by 2020. With the massive growth in this category and the countless choices available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing the right security devices for your home.
Pay attention to the features of the smart security appliances and select those that address your needs. For instance, if you travel often, it is wise to choose a device with remote access, such as a surveillance system that will keep you updated on your home’s security status when you are away.
Check the authentication and verification methods and the process and frequency of updating the devices. Depending on your requirements, security systems offer motion detectors, door sensors, door access control system, security cameras, burglar alarms, video door locks or voice door locks, motion sensors, fire alarms, and emergency services, among other features.
6. Involve an Expert
Choose a service that specializes in automated security systems and offers satisfactory post-sales services. The security company you choose must be reputed and equipped enough to protect you from hackers and intruders.
Research on how long the company or the service provider has been in this business. Check their website for customer ratings and talk to a few home improvement stores for recommendations.
Thorough research will enable you to shortlist a few reputed firms like Lintech that have been in this industry for over a decade and deal in all kinds of security products. Such service providers entirely understand their customers’ requirements and are, therefore, able to offer their clients the best security services.
If you are investing in a central monitoring system, consider the distance between your house and the monitoring location. A distance of more than 250 miles will delay the relay of signals, preventing you and the service provider from taking the necessary steps in case of an emergency.
Getting a smart home security system installed is the best option to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm and your assets from being stolen or damaged. Consider the above-mentioned pointers when automating your home security system to deter burglaries and dreadful crimes.