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7 Things People Get Wrong About Home Security

June 07, 2018

Myth #1: Home security systems have to be expensive.

Just a few years ago, a single security camera could set you back a thousand dollars (or more) to purchase and install.

Today, 1080p high-definition cameras cost a fraction of that and they’re easy to set up. This isn't just true for cameras; alarm systems too have become even cheaper than some of our mobile phones.

According to manta.com, the average cost of a home security system in the city of Boston is $780. 

average home security cost chart(Source: manta.com)

The Takeaway: Assess your home. Take note of weak points and research a few different products that you think would secure those locations. Make sure all of those products are compatible with each other and fall within your budget.

Myth #2: Do it yourself (DIY) home security systems are hard to install.

A few years ago, this would have been true.

Before wireless technology, putting in a security system required expert knowledge to install and maintain. Because of the high costs associated with home security systems in past decades, 83% of homes lack monitored alarm systems (Source: National Council for Home Safety and Security).

vista 20pThe trusty Honeywell Vista 20p Ademco control panel

Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Now, it’s as easy as taking the pre-programmed sensors and literally sticking them to the right locations.

Wireless security systems mean you don't have to be an expert to set it up. Plus, your system moves with you; no need to start over every time you relocate.

The Takeaway: While DIY is a cost-efficient option, if you want a pro to help out, work with a company that hires in-house technicians. The best technicians are background-checked, licensed, and actual employees of the alarm company.

Myth #3: A dog or a weapon is enough to protect my home.

There's no doubt about it: a rottweiler at the door and a handgun or two stashed in a safe next to our bed can make us feel very safe.

But from a statistical standpoint, do dogs and guns protect us from burglary? Surprisingly, there's not much data to support that theory.

Insurance companies have legions of risk analysts who are tasked with collecting and analyzing data on what security methods protect you and which ones provide the illusion of safety.

For an insurance company, a few additional percentage points of risk mean more costly payouts down the line.

Why do burglar alarms reduce home insurance premiums?

A study by the The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology published in 2012 discovered that burglar alarms reduce the chance of home invasion by 60%.

A Rutgers University study came to a similar conclusion: residential burglar alarms reduce the number of burglaries and also help reduce the overall crime rate in a community.

The consensus is clear: if you install a monitored home alarm, you reduce the statistical likelihood that you will be robbed.

You're also making it less likely that your insurance company will have to give you a payout cover your thousands of dollars in losses. The less of a risk you present to your insurer, the lower your rates will be.

You need to be in your home, have easy access to your weapon and be well-trained for it to be useful.

Here's the thing:

A burglar who's cased your house knows you own guns; that might be why they targeted your home in the first place.

They're not going to run in there when they know you're in the house or nearby; they'll track your habits to see when you leave for work or go on vacation.

Guess what they'll try to take first?

Your guns.

Misconception #4: Self-monitoring is an adequate means of protection.

Most self-monitored systems rely on Wi-Fi to alert you of an emergency. If an intruder cuts the internet cable located outside your home, your security system is useless.

Modern security systems need dual-path communication: security systems that contact a central station using both Wi-Fi and cellular paths, so that in the event that one path is disrupted, the system can still contact our dispatcher to get police to your door.

Misconception #5: Wired systems are safer than wireless ones.

While it's true that some unsecured wireless signals can be disabled by skilled hackers, professional-grade security equipment is a way tougher nut to crack.

data encryption

Honeywell holds its Lyric products to a high standard, protecting all of the data from its security systems with 128-bit AES encryption. That's the same level of encryption used by national banks.

Plus, with no wires to cut, a burglar can't simply disable your wired system by slicing through the electrical lines outside your house.

Misconception #6: A strong lock will keep burglars from getting into my home.

When we're considering security, one of the areas that seems obvious to focus on is the quality of the locks on our doors. With all of those lockpicking tools out there on the market, everyone wants something that can't be picked, bumped, smashed, or drilled through.

schlage mortise deadbolt grade 1(Source: Schlage)

While these are legitimate concerns, data reports from past burglaries tell us that few burglars have the skill, patience, or toolkit necessary to break into an ANSI Grade 1 lock. The lock doesn't need to be enormously expensive to be effective, especially when there are far easier ways of entering a home.

Burglars by and large opt for the path of least resistance. The majority of burglars gain entry through either unlocked doors, open windows, or by simply smashing a hole through them with a well-placed kick or hammer blow.

The Takeaway: Rather than paying for an expensive lock and calling it a day, reinforce your doors and windows, too. We'll cover how you should approach this task in the Homeowner's Ultimate Guide to Home Security.

Misconception #7: You must buy an entire system regardless of your needs.

The old—and still popular—way that people buy home security is by purchasing equipment "packages" that include a set number of sensors, cameras, and so forth.

You'll run into dramatic names like "The Knox" or "The Ultimate Bundle."

But homes don't come in 3 different sizes, so why should your security system? 

home security package moni$1,000 for only 3 door/window contacts? That's a red flag.

Fully customizing a home security system to fit your needs and lifestyle is easy. You can even program certain aspects of your system with just a few button presses, no tech skills required.

In fact, customization is essential to ensuring that the security system is a right fit. By picking and choosing only the products and features you genuinely need, you'll save hundreds of dollars on equipment alone.

The Takeaway: Your sales rep should always listen closely to your needs first before offering advice on what equipment best addresses the weak points of your home. Any time a company offers you security “kits” or a laundry list of items that you “need” without considering your situation, it's a red flag. 

Any other common security myths that we're missing? Let us know in the comments.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Home Security and learn:

  • Top 5 misconceptions about home security
  • How to assess vulnerabilities in your home
  • Why home security is about more than preventing burglaries
  • Cutting-edge security equipment: how home security has changed
  • Monitored vs. Self-Monitored Systems
  • Local vs. National Security Companies

... and more!

Download Ultimate Security Guide
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