According to the FBI’s crime reporting data, nearly two-thirds of all burglaries in the United States involve some sort of “forcible entry.” That means picked locks, kicked-in doors, smashed windows, etc. The other third is from “unlawful entry,” which covers things like doors and windows that have been left open or unlocked.
This tells us that the typical criminal is not that sophisticated, and is more likely than not to use brute force to gain entry to your home. Here are some tips and strategies for thinking about your home security system that keep this data in mind:
If criminals trying to break into your home are likely to try smashing your windows, that’s a pretty good reason to give those windows some extra protection. Glassbreak detectors know how to listen for the sound of breaking windows, and the good ones can even tell the difference between something like a glass bottle breaking inside the house and a window breaking from outside of the house.
Gone are the days of home video monitoring systems being a luxury tool for the rich, famous and paranoid. Now, the technology has become much more compact, and much more affordable. Most systems give you the ability to check in on your home from wherever you are, streaming live, HD video directly to your smartphone or tablet.
If a burglar is able to get past your doors and windows without triggering the alarm, you certainly don’t want them being able to move freely about your home. If glassbreak detectors and door and window sensors are a great first line of defense, then motion sensors are the next line. Make sure the motion sensors you get are customizable enough that you can control which ones are on or off while you are home, and you can time them for when you go to sleep.
Criminals who are likely to smash through your doors and windows, might try to break other things too. Like your alarm panel, or your phone line. Many security panels have a 30 or 60 second delay before the alarm triggers so that you have time to enter your code and deactivate the system. The problem, is that the brains of most security systems are located in the panel, and if a criminal is able to locate the panel and destroy it or cut the wires (30 seconds can be more than enough time for this), then the alarm will never sound. Fortunately, modern systems, such as Honeywell’s LYNX series for one, have technology that sends a signal to the monitoring company once a door or window is opened, and the only way the alarm DOESN’T sound is if the code is entered. Smashing won’t stop it. In addition, having multiple ways of sending a signal, such as by land-line and cellular backup, is crucial in case one way is disabled or fails.
The most important thing you can do is to get a home security system that is specific to your home. Every home has it’s own quirks and unique security needs, so don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all solution. Find a home security professional you trust to assess your homes weaknesses, and design a system that gives you the best possible protection, specific for you.