Sometimes the simplest steps are the smartest! By placing a sign that advertises your home security system in your yard, you can dramatically reduce your chances of being targeted by thieves.
In a study published in the Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, Dr. Yochanan Shachmurove, Dr. Gideon Fishman and Dr. Simon Hakim studied the motivating factors behind a burglar’s decision to rob one home over another. Their findings indicated that isolation and occupancy were the two major considerations.
The study indicated that while you are reclining in your lazy chair and flipping through 100 channels of Cable TV (and still finding nothing to watch) you can rest easy. Ok, the study did not read quite that way – but it does tell us that burglars rarely target homes with occupants in residence.
Homes that are more frequently targeted tend to be secluded or isolated. Keep in mind that this definition encompasses homes with an entrance that is not visible from the street, due to foliage or other visual obstructions. The ideal ‘pigeon’ for a thief is an expensive home that is detached with no security measures and is located less than a mile from a major highway or road.
The study also revealed that the third most important factor is highly visible security measures. Deadbolt locks can’t be seen so they did not deter burglars. However, advertising the fact that your home is protected by a security system was a major deterrent. The professors found that if a house is protected by an alarm system, the chances of a burglar’s choosing it are virtually zero. Those are pretty great odds!
In the study’s conclusion, the professors determined that homes without security systems were 3.5 times more likely to be burglarized than those with protection. If a thief does victimize a home with a security system, they spend far less time in the house during the robbery and therefore remove fewer pieces of property.
This research and similar studies have led insurance companies, such as State Farm, to advise their clients to install home security systems. In fact, many times homeowners with alarm systems will receive an incentive in premiums. The National Crime Prevention Council in Washington, D.C. has also endorsed security systems as a deterrent to crime.
A home security system can range in cost from less than fifty dollars to upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes you can actually get a system for free, when you sign a contract with a monitoring company. You can also opt for a wireless system, which is quite easy to install. In fact, these systems typically fall under the “do it yourself” category. But before you decide to tackle that particular project, you need to be armed with a working knowledge of all your security system options. No pun intended!
First, there are two basic types of systems. One option sounds an alarm and turns on various lights throughout the home. The other offers those features, but is also connected to a monitoring company twenty-four hours a day. With this system, an employee at the monitoring company automatically calls the police for you, when the alarm is tripped. These systems not only protect against intruders, but can also be hooked up to fire alarms and carbon monoxide protectors.
You may also want to consider a system that provides you with the option to place “panic buttons” throughout your home. These are particularly valuable, for those with a medically fragile family member.
The most expensive systems have surveillance cameras placed at checkpoints throughout your property. You can actually monitor your home yourself from any location, by connecting to a closed circuit program on your laptop.
Detectors can be found not only on doors and windows, but also underneath rugs and in every room in the house. When a detector is tripped, the homeowner checks his control panel to see exactly where the disturbance is occurring.
If there is no danger, the homeowner can opt to cancel the phone call to the monitoring company, or shut down the alarm by entering a pass code on the control center. To avoid sending false alarms, family members should be taught how to use the password system. If the system is not halted, the monitoring company phones the police and they are dispatched to your home.
Now how do you translate all this information into practical applications, when it comes to actually keeping your home from being burglarized? Let’s summarize:
– Put a sign up in your front yard advertising your system. Decals on the windows are not as effective.
– Buy a system that sounds an alarm.
– Invest in a system that provides protection against fire and carbon monoxide. One smoke detector in your kitchen is not as effective as a series of smoke and heat detectors placed strategically throughout your home. If your house catches fire when you are not at home, your monitoring company alerts the police immediately.
– Monitoring companies are very valuable in emergencies, but you will also need to educate family members and household guests to maximize the benefits of your system.
– If your house is secluded or in the country, your best defense is a system connected to a monitoring company. A sounding alarm may not offer enough protection.
– Burglars may cut the outside telephone wires before they enter a house. If you don’t have a cell phone, you won’t be able to call the police and your system won’t be able to call the monitoring company. So consider adding a second phone line.
– Cut any foliage hiding doors and windows. Burglars deliberately pick houses that they can enter without detection from the street.
– Join a Neighborhood Watch group or start one yourself.