How to choose a home security system

Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Posted by: Robby Slaughter on Sunday, June 1, 2014

When it comes to protecting your home, the most important part to keep secure is your family. Many of your possessions can be replaced. Your mementos and family heirlooms might be priceless, but they are not as important as the life and health of you and your loved ones. The place to start with home security is with the people who live in the home.

That means the most important part of your home security system is your plans. Establish a code word with your kids so they know if a stranger's is legitimate when they insist you sent them. Determine escape routes from your house in the event of fire, flooding, or other natural disasters. If you decide to keep weapons in your home, use proper safety procedures and make sure everyone is educated on their role with regard to those items. If there are dangerous chemicals---including alcohol and prescription drugs---keep them safe from minors or individuals who might abuse them. Be smart, and talk through your security plans.

Call Your Insurance Agent

The person who manages your home insurance has a financial interest in keeping your home safe. Often, they will even give you a discount on your premium if you have a system installed. And tragically, insurance agents know more about burglary than the average person, having likely been through the process with other clients. Your agent should have a referral for you for a security company worth using.

Start with the Basics

You need a few elements of an electronic security system:

  • Control Panel: Where your system terminates, and the battery backup is located
  • Keypad: The place by the door(s) where you arm/disarm the system
  • Motion detector: Senses when there is activity in a room. (Special detectors are available if you have pets).
  • Central monitoring station: A company that watches your alarm system and notifies fire, police, or emergency services as needed.
  • Siren: Goes off when there is a break-in, which should send the intruder packing and let anyone who happens to be asleep know they are not alone.

In many cases, the basics are enough. If you have a larger property, however, you may want to add more items.

Additional Hardware and Services

There's plenty more to consider:

  • Advanced sensors: Everything from smoke detectors, glass break detectors, pressure mats, and security cameras are available. These may be needed if you have spaces that can't be otherwise secured, or valuable items that need additional protection
  • Enhanced perimeters: A fence is a good security system all by itself. You can also look at exterior doors that are made from thicker materials, bars on windows, deadbolts and strike plates, as well as chain locks.
  • Security Personnel: You may not need a guard at your door 24/7, but a patrol service that goes around your neighborhood might be a good investment. Talk to your neighbors if this makes sense.

A Dose of Reality

It's easy to feel paranoid when thinking about home security. But in the end, Hamilton County, Indiana, is relatively safe. And if you do experience a crime, you're most likely to have it happen when you are not at home. While this can be disconcerting, the most important thing to remember is that you and your family are safe. That's what matters most of all.

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