The trick to protecting your property is to be smarter than your average thief – which if you have a high school diploma and a few years of marriage should make success a walk in the virtual park!
Determining which or which combination is best for your circumstances and pocketbook is a vital part of the final decision that you make.
If you have been a victim of a home burglary, you have a 60% chance of a second break-in within 6 to 8 weeks.
Hardwired or professionally installed systems are available only to those who own the home where they live.
This is because wires must be run through and into walls, equipment attached to the interior and exterior of the building and contracts are required for continuous monitoring during the length of the contract.
Additionally, professionally installed and monitored services also include fire alarm services that are part of the package and not optional.
The fire alarm is also a hardwired system with battery back-up so that removing a battery only serves to set off the alarms.
Both ADT and Vivint offer the same options for homeowners to choose from.
In the last few years, both have added services for monitoring temperature changes stating that this is to help prevent bursting pipes and if the room becomes too warm, there is a remote access to turn on the air conditioner if preferred.
Another recent monitor option is for flooding at which point the company will notify you of the problem and you have the opportunity to send someone to the home to stem off any damage.
If you live in an area where flooding is likely to occur, you may find this a frivolous option since you will probably be watching the weather and preparing anyway.
If you choose one of the video surveillance options, you can watch your home at remote locations.
With technology today that allows you to have this ability over the internet or on your Smartphone, you may not want to incur extra charges on a contract.
Medical alert services are incorporated into the fire alarm service since most fire companies also dispatch medical emergency personnel. The alarm company services are usually behind the time and depend on hardwired alerts from the person needing assistance.
Finally, one of the latest sales temptations that both major companies promote is referred to as “storm safety” guarantees. Basically, they are referring to the battery back-up system that is required by law to be part of a hardline system.
If you live in an area where power outages occur during storms, the back-up battery system will automatically kick in but it only lasts for a maximum of 12-hours and that is true only if your battery is less than 6-months old.
After that, the length of time that the system will operate goes down gradually. A battery that has not been replaced in 5-years may not work at all.
The one exception to home ownership is for apartment complexes that arrange to have a security system installed at the time that the complex is built.
Then, renters have the option to turn on the system which will require a contract or choosing to use a wireless set up from another company.
Wireless systems are available as do-it-yourself installation set-ups and require only a Wi-Fi service through your cell or cable provider.
Since there is no necessity for attaching equipment to walls as part of the permanent structure, relocating cables or electrical components and no damage to the structure of the home in order to establish service, wireless systems are ideal for apartment dwellers and renters.
Monitoring is done by the home owner or a professional monitoring service, such as a security guard company, or the company that provides the kit for self-install.
Some companies that provide wireless kits with monitoring services do have alarms for fire, carbon monoxide, medical, flooding or change of temperature with the wireless systems.
Others, such as Dropcam Pro, do not and you will have to find these separately.
All hardwired burglar alarm systems include sensors either for windows, doors or room monitoring.
Some wireless systems kits provide these as well.
If you choose to have sensors installed on your doors or windows, maintaining them is vital to proper usage whether in a DIY or professionally installed system.
The best place to use window sensors are for rooms that are least often used and rooms where teenagers who want to escape at midnight might sleep.
The other rooms should have pins installed to cause someone to hear the intrusion if they are home and prevent easy access on a locked window when vacant.
Professionally installed systems operated by landline connections have some benefits that wireless systems cannot provide.
These types of connections might provide coverage for CCTV set-ups that are monitored at a remote center, by the police department (which is done in some cities in California right now) or by a private monitoring company.
However, hardwired systems have their own set of problems.
Once the wires are nicked or corrode, they operate only sporadically and you need to have them replaced to ensure the system will work.Wireless systems have come a long way since they first came onto the market and they are often better than the wireless options available through the major ecurity services.
Those with Cloud, store all the data in the Cloud rather than on a tape attached to the camera or on a flash drive. If the camera is stolen or removed, the data remains and can be downloaded to your computer, smartphone or the police department immediately
Wireless cameras with alert systems can be programmed to send alerts to your local police department if you are out of town or to a private security guard company to monitor if you cannot receive calls at work – such as military personnel or people who work in jobs that are sensitive.
How do you decide if you should use a hardwired or wireless system?
There are some areas of the country where wireless is still very sporadic or unavailable. In spite of the guy standing on the mountain asking, “can you hear me now”, there are wide areas in the Rocky Mountain States that have no cellular service.
And, because there are miles and miles between large towns, many do not have broadband service either.
If you live in Centennial, Wyoming, for example, you may have no option other than hardwired security since you cell service is limited at best. The same is true on Native American Reservations where both wireless and landlines are limited.
You really need to know what is available in the area in which you live and make your decisions based on that information.
Most local laws require that businesses have hardwired fire alarm systems installed.
This is because the alarm goes directly to the fire department and then to the monitoring service.
Once a fire alarm goes off – whether business or residential – the fire department must respond even if the homeowner calls in to tell them it is a false alarm. This is a national safety law and neither the fire department nor the alarm company can modify the response.
Most fire departments have penalty fees for repetitive false fire alarm responses. That means that if your alarm needs a new battery, is removed for service or one of the sensors needs to be replaced; it may go off every night or every week.
The fees can be exorbitant and you may find that the hardwired fire alarm was a horrible idea after all.
Other than fire alarm laws for businesses, there is no law that states you must have hardwired or wireless alarm services in your home or business.
If you are not required to have a hardwired fire system, you may find it more economical and sensible to check out all the options that wireless systems now provide.
The video below is courtesy of ABC news in which they report on several different instances where burglars are caught by residents using Dropcam HD and Dropcam Pro – some with remote control and automatic notification to your cell phone.
The video that follows shows how a wireless security camera with live feed allowed police to capture intruders in the act.
Data indicates that wired security systems are not that good at preventing or deterring burglars and if they do not include cameras that record activities, they are useless at assisting the police in finding and capturing lawbreakers.
What many people do not know about security companies that monitor your alarms is that they are not allowed to call the police and report a break-in.
Using high-tech wireless security is no longer a “futuristic” idea. Maintaining copper lines that can carry a considerably smaller amount of data, corrode and need constant replacement as global weather patterns change is going to be much too costly over the next ten years.
Wireless security cameras have a much higher rate of arrest of the criminals because they all record the activities and enable you to see who is in your home and call the police with a verified break-in immediately.
Unless you have no other option, going wireless for all your security servicing needs is the best possible option, especially for the long-term.
None-the-less, we provide information on both wireless and hardwired systems in the next two chapters that you might not know otherwise.