The FBI estimates about 8.9 property crimes were committed in the US last year, a decline of almost one percent from 2011. Even with this decline, these crimes cost property owners $15.5 billion. It’s hardly surprising that one in eight homeowners today invest in security systems to protect their property and the people inside. The number of new home security systems went up by 40% in just five years.

Home security systems not only alert police of an intrusion but may also deter any intrusion at all. In late 2012, the University of North Carolina released a study of interviews with 442 male and female offenders serving time for burglary. Eighty-three percent said they considered security systems when deciding on a break-in and fully half admitted that visible security systems deterred them. Sixteen percent considered themselves skilled enough to try to disable the system, but we should take into account that they were, after all, still caught!

There are plenty of other ways to deter crime, such as keeping property well-lit at night, securing doors and windows, and making the home look occupied by halting mail and newspaper delivery when out-of-town. But these steps won’t help if someone does break in. Only an effective security system will literally sound the alarm.

Adding an Alarm Systems Increases Home Value

Most experts believe that installing a home security system will increase a home’s value and are an item prospective buyers look for. strongly recommends that homeowners who are preparing to sell to get one professionally installed if they don’t already have one in place. Security cameras are another upgrade that buyers appreciate, as well as sensor-operated security lights.

A security system can slow drops in home values that occur because of factors a homeowner can’t control, including the recent real estate bubble burst, inflation, and other economic conditions.

Talk to your neighbors about how they address their home security. A 2009 study by Rutgers University found that burglaries dropped in Newark, N.J.-a city with a stubbornly high crime rate-in neighborhoods where more homes began registering burglar alarms with the police department. If more neighbors install home security, word gets out that it’s not an area worth scouting for burglarizing.

A Basic Systems Provides More Features Than You Might Expect

A basic alarm system is not just a siren wired to a door or window. It will include a few other features:

  • A control panel that has all the wiring and a backup battery that kicks in if there is an electrical outage.
  • A keypad to arm and disarm the system with a password; it can also be used to contact 911 through a disguised password.
  • A siren that goes off when triggered by inside motion, or when a door or window is opened.
  • Inside motion detector(s)
  • Door and window contact.
  • Central monitoring by a 24-hour service that will first attempt to contact the telephone on file; if contact isn’t made, police, fire, and/or ambulance are alerted.
  • Cellular backup in the event phone lines are out.

Additional home security services can include:

  • Panic button remotes
  • Pressure mats placed under rugs to detect footsteps
  • Broken glass detectors
  • Wired screens that set off alarm if cut or removed
  • Wired smoke and fire detectors
  • Heat detectors, or smart thermostats
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Medical alerts
  • Carbon monoxide detector

Insurance Companies Offer Home Security Discounts

Insurance companies love customers who install security devices and systems. At the very least, they will discount five percent for a burglar alarm and up to 20% for a security system, or a combined fire/burglar alarm. Contact your insurance company to get specific details for your policy.