Home security may not be a popular topic on the home improvement blogs across the Internet, but it should be. According to the FBI's Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, burglaries in the country are down 2½ percent from last year. It seems like a paltry reduction to me. Moreover, the report shows no metrics on what caused the reduction. For all I know, it could be that more people are installing home security systems. With the economy struggling, I'm surprised the rate hasn't increased.
While the FBI reports a slight decrease in property crimes, too, I'll stick with prevention as the first measure, rather than taking comfort from the Feds. I turned to another source, a sheriff's department in Missouri. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tips on protecting your home, 90 percent of the five million home burglaries every year can be prevented. Now those are strong numbers.
One of the best weapons to discourage burglars, the sheriff's office says, is strong exterior lighting, mounted where burglars can't unscrew the bulbs. Low-wattage, motion-activated lights are easy to install and inexpensive. Timers on interior lighting when you're away are also good at discouraging break-ins. And trimming back shrubs near access points to the home will cut down on hiding places from which burglars can do their worst.
Home Security Systems and Add-ons
The writers at Hip Home recommend a monitored system as the single-best deterrent to burglars, adding that reductions in the cost of your home insurance premiums can help offset the installation costs. Check with your homeowner's insurance carrier and see what's covered.
The Hip Home writers also suggest that you consider add-on features that can boost the prevention power of a home security system. Let's look at their five must-have features:
Video Cameras. Indoor and outdoor cameras don't need to run all day and night. Many systems can be started by a timer or activated by motion.
Keyless Combination Locks. You won't have to worry about someone picking your pocket or purse for your house key.
Ultrasonic Sensors. These detectors can be programmed to sound the alarm when doors or windows are opened by intruders.
Wireless Annunciators. Receive notification as soon as someone approaches an exterior door or turns into your driveway.
Security Robots. The latest and greatest systems patrol your home and send live images to remote viewing locations. You can get an alarm while on vacation, log on to your laptop or Internet telephone, and see who's walking around your home while you're gone.