How often do you hear a homes alarm going off in your neighbourhood… and think to yourself “I hope someone gets that!” In this day and age, are you going to walk over in the middle of the night and make sure everything is ok?
No, me neither!
Why? because we all know that opportunistic burglaries are not going to go away any time soon.
What are some practical things we can do to protect ourselves, and how can we get help from our local locksmith?
Consumer NZ suggest that the first line of defense is to discourage thieves from targeting your home in the first place.
Use Effective Deterrents
They go on to list some simple deterrent actions you can take:
- Lock windows and doors, preferably with deadbolt locks.
- Don’t leave ladders and garden tools lying around – they can make breaking in easier.
- Install sensor-controlled automatic security lights.
- Mount a visible outside alarm box.
- Keep a barking dog on the property.
- Make your home look occupied during the holidays.
- Think about using a house sitter when you’re away for longer periods.
But it is clear that, while these actions are good deterrents, they are not fool proof.
Does my alarm need a landline?
Consumer reminded me that alarm systems used to send signals down the copper phone-line to the alarm monitoring service. But there are now other ways they can communicate.
Most alarm companies now offer IP monitoring – this lets them monitor the alarm through your internet connection, using a small device connected to your alarm and also to your router or modem.
Another method is cellular monitoring. This is where a wireless device and SIM card in the alarm panel sends a signal to the alarm company through the mobile network.
Install an Alarm
Again, Consumer suggest an alarm system that can be configured to sound inside and outside with sirens that are louder than the pain-threshold for human hearing. They’re designed to make the intruder give up and to alert neighbours or passers-by.
So they acknowledge that a quieter option is to have silent alarms, with alarm monitoring. The alarm makes no noise when it is activated – but it alerts a home security monitoring service.
Use Alarm Monitoring
Chubb Security suggest that, whether you are at your property or away, alarm monitoring will protect the things that are most important to you – your family, your home or business. A business or home security system combined with alarm monitoring can help protect and monitor your property in the event of burglary, intrusion, fire and also look after you and your loved ones in emergency situations.
Chubb also note that alarm monitoring may be good for your insurance premiums too.
Check with your insurance provider if this available to you.
What Can I Monitor With Alarm Monitoring?
Burglary and Intrusion
Perimeter protection devices provide your home or business with extra security and protection, for you and your family when home alone or asleep at night, or for staff working late. When perimeter protection devices are added to your security system, you can arm doors and windows and move freely around your property providing you with extra protection and feel secure in the knowledge that if activated you will be alerted.
Smoke and Fire Detection
Incorporating hard-wired smoke detectors to your security system can provide the ultimate fire protection for your home or business. Unlike traditional smoke detectors that are only useful if you are in the premises, wiring the smoke detectors into your security system, will mean a signal will be sent to your security alarm monitoring centre who will alert you and call the Fire Service.
With alarm monitoring, you can customise your own Activation Response Plan to establish what happens when certain alarms are triggered.
Emergency / Panic Alerts
In a home environment, it’s a great idea to keep panic buttons in easy reach of each of your family members to help you feel secure and have a good night’s sleep. In the event of an emergency situation, the buttons can trigger the alarm system, allowing the system to respond by contacting the alarm monitoring centre, alerting them to the situation.
Alarm monitoring is worth the cost
Calder Security state that the average cost of a robbery greatly outweighs the cost of any security system!
According to their statistics, one burglary happens every 108 seconds in the UK. That means there are on average 34 burglaries committed every hour. When you add it all up, that’s 816 burglaries in a day.
In New Zealand, with a much smaller population, its 160 burglaries per day!
And that’s not counting 72 car thefts per day.
Calders comment that good alarm monitoring centres check and verify every alarm “instance” they receive. This checking and verification process ensures that no alarm goes unnoticed, even when the owners are away.
Good business or home security systems are also equipped to detect and verify false alarms, which can be caused by improper arming and disarming of the system, weak batteries, and even wandering pets.
Benefits of having a monitored alarm
Both Chubb and Calder note the psychological benefit of having a monitored alarm.
But there are many other benefits to consider. Homewatch Smart Home Security Identify the following:
- Increased security due to 24/7 monitoring.
- Less reliance on neighbours for alerts.
- System is monitored whether you are at home, at work or on holiday.
- Reduce the number of false alarms.
- Reduce cost of unnecessary call-outs.
- No alarm or suspicious activity is ignored.
- Offers immediate police response.
- More likely to catch criminals.
- Your home will less likely be a target.
- Peace of mind knowing your home is being monitored.
- Potential reduction in insurance premiums.
- Notification of system faults.
I have to add that it is also very convenient having someone else keep an eye on things – whether that’s your home or your business.
Help for Various Events
Vivint make the point that, while burglaries are among the most common concerns for homeowners, additional threats lurk in the form of fire, carbon monoxide leaks, and flooding. Even if you were to purchase different alarms for each event, they’re not helpful if you’re not around to hear them.
Difficult to Disable
Single alarms, such as motion sensor or fire alarms, are susceptible to tampering, damage, and failure to notify. Unfortunately, by the time you notice the malfunction, your life and property may be on the line.
In comparison, monitored alarm systems are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to disable. Should a malfunction or drop in service occur, a monitored alarm system alerts your security provider immediately.
It’s Worth It
Vivint comment that many homeowners are tempted not to use monitored alarm systems because of the associated monthly fees.
However, hearing a friendly voice on the phone or breathing a sigh of relief at the sign of help outside your door makes alarm monitoring worth the investment.
I couldn’t agree more.
So, talk to your local locksmith today.
Remember, its better to start a relationship with a local locksmith before you need it!
Next week we look at Key Systems.
Restricted key systems carry a much higher level of security than standard lock and key systems.
See you soon