Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?

In this article we’re going to answer the question “Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?” by taking a close look at several factors. Those include cost, value, effectiveness and the most important question of all; do home security systems actually work to deter burglars and criminals? The fast answer is that yes they do, and yes, they are, and after reading the article we’re sure that you’ll agree with us on both counts.

 

Why is a Home Security System Important?

In today’s world the sad fact is that, even in your own home, you and your family are not always as safe and secure as you might think. It may be alarming to know that the average home has several different areas where burglars, thieves and others looking to rob or hurt you can break in quite easily.

The front door is one of them, and surprisingly it’s the entrance used by nearly 40% of burglars. For a career burglar, the amount of time it takes to break into the average home is crazy fast, under 1 minute in most cases using basic tools. The next favorite point of entry into your home preferred by burglars is a window on the 1st floor, followed by the back door. Basement entrances, garage doors, and 2nd-floor windows are also used but not nearly as often, mostly because there’s no need (They get in easily without them.)

The average loss per home burglary is $2230.00, not a small amount of money for anyone we think you’ll agree. Usually, it’s in the form of cash, jewelry, electronics, guns and various precious metals like gold and silver. While burglaries, break-ins, and home invasions can happen at any time of day or night, most tend to occur between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. That’s when the majority of homeowners and their children are either at work or school, which gives the thieves the ability to get in and get back out without being caught.

Lastly, the average amount of time a thief will spend in your home 8 to 12 minutes. That’s an eternity for them to quickly find the most valuable items you own and make off with them, but it’s a scant few minutes in real-time during which you and your family could lose some of your most precious items (or, in a worst-case scenario, lose your life).

 

Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?

After reading the information above you might be wondering more than ever about whether a home security system is a good idea, and is it worth the amount of money? Many homeowners and apartment dwellers are under the impression that home security systems are expensive and, frankly, some are. There’s the cost of installation, maintenance, and upgrading also, further adding to the conundrum of whether to buy.

In order to determine if a security system is indeed worth the cost, you must first take a look at the different types of home security systems that are available so that you can find the system that fits your needs and budget best. There are, for ease of explanation, 4 basic types of security systems that can be installed on a home or apartment (and, for that matter, your business as well).

Pros and Cons of a Monitored Alarm System

One of the most frequently used types of home alarm systems is the monitored alarm system. With a monitored system, multiple detection devices are placed in and around your home that will be triggered if a burglar tries to break in. When that happens, a call is placed automatically to your local police, alerting them to the burglary.

The best thing about monitored security systems is just that, they’re monitored by humans every day, all day. When something happens they will immediately call you and, if they can’t reach you, call the police. If they do reach you and you tell them that, in fact, you’re not home, they will also call the police. Of course, how fast they react and how fast the police react will have an effect on the outcome of the crisis. Sometimes the police arrive in time to stop and arrest the burglars, sometimes they don’t.

Monitored Alarm System PROs

  • Around-the-clock security monitoring. 7 days a week, 24/7, your home is being monitored by a team of security professionals
  • Alarms and signs that can scare off potential home invaders
  • Immediate notification that a break-in is occurring or has just occurred
  • Police are automatically contacted when the alarm goes off and directed to your home
  • Many systems work even if the power is out since they use the phone system
  • Key areas where illegal entry are made can be monitored

Monitored Alarm System CONs

  • More expensive than other systems, with added costs over time including maintenance and the actual monitoring service
  • Monitoring and police contact services come with a monthly fee
  • You must set the alarm system when leaving the house, every time, or your system won’t be activated and your home will be vulnerable
  • False alarms could cost you extra service fees, especially if the police or emergency services come out to investigate

Pros and Cons of An Unmonitored Alarm System

Is it worth having a security system?Another common type of home security system is an unmonitored security system. These are also referred to commonly as ‘self-monitored’ systems. With this type of system, the same types of devices are placed around your home to detect if and when someone is breaking in. That includes motion sensors, silent alarms, door sensors, security cameras, and sirens also. As with a monitored system you can also get more or fewer of each component (more cameras, more motion detectors, etc.) as you see fit to protect your home or listen to the recommendations of your local home security expert.

When someone tries to break in, alarms sound and, based on the unmonitored system that you’ve purchased, lights can also flash in order to let the criminals know that they have been detected. Also, based on the system you purchased, a text message can be sent to your phone to alert you to what’s happening so that, if necessary, you can call the police.

This type of system relies on you, or your neighbors, waking up of being notified from the sound of the siren and the flashing lights and, hopefully, having the wherewithal to contact the police. Yes, the loud sirens and flashing lights might scare off the thieves but, in many cases, they won’t, and that’s why the police should be called.

That’s actually the biggest drawback for these types of security systems because, if nobody calls the police, the burglars will be left to their own devices and will likely keep ransacking your home. If you don’t have neighbors that care (and, sadly, these days they’re hard to find) the police might never be contacted.

Unmonitored Alarm System PROs

  • Less expensive than monitored systems
  • Usually have an app that you use for alerts and solo monitoring
  • No monthly monitoring fees from the security company
  • Can be installed DIY to save even more money
  • Cameras can record what happened so that the police have evidence

Unmonitored Alarm System CONs

  • Many don’t work if the power is out or gets disabled by the burglar
  • You need your phone on and within your sight to get the notification that something has happened
  • Cameras only can record specific areas
  • Some unmonitored systems don’t have alarms
  • Noone is actively keeping an eye on your home, or checking to make sure no alarms have been triggered

Pros and Cons of a Wireless Alarm System

Not too long ago most home security systems were hardwired into your home, meaning that there were cables connecting everything. That included the cameras, sensors, keypad and any other peripheral equipment you might have attached to your system. The major drawback to a hardwired system is that, when it needs to be upgraded, changed out or repaired, all of those wires need to be run through the walls again, a time-consuming and costly process.

Thankfully, hardwired systems are now being replaced by wireless security systems that, you guessed it, don’t have any wires connecting anything to anything else. Sensors can be easily placed wherever you need and want them. Cameras can be placed anywhere too since there are no wires to connect. If you move from 1 home to another you can take your entire wireless security system with you and use it at your new home, a great way to save money. Plus, upgrading and replacing components is simple and fast and much less expensive than hardwired components.

Wireless Alarm System PROs

  • Easy and quick to install. DIYers love wireless security systems for this main reason
  • Easy to take with you if you move
  • Great for renters since no holes or other damage needs to be made
  • Upgrading is easy and fast, and so are replacement and repairs
  • Integrates with ‘smart home’ systems for even better and easier use
  • More affordable than other types of security systems
  • Most have batteries so that, in the event of a power outage, they still work
  • Work on wi-Fi systems, not phone lines, so they always can send out an alert
  • Arming and disarming the system can be done through an app
  • Customizable. You can add as many sensors, cameras, and alarms as you like, to grow your system as your home and family grows
  • Less vulnerable as there are no wires to cut

Wireless Alarm System CONs

  • Less reliable than a wired system. Like any WiFi network, the weather and EMF interference can be a problem
  • Can be vulnerable to hackers
  • Not ideal for very large homes as many sensors and other peripherals have a limited functioning distance.
  • More maintenance needed as all components run on batteries and batteries tend to die over time

Pros and Cons of an Electric Current Alarm System

Although these are often referred to as ‘wired’ security systems they are not hardwired in the traditional sense. Instead, they use a low-voltage electric current between sensors and an alarm or lights. If, for example, a window is opened, the small amount of electrical current that is going through the sensor is stopped, setting off the alarm.

An electric current alarm system has one major downside and it’s that, in the event of an electrical storm or power outage, they will be immediately rendered useless.

Electric Current Alarm System PROs

  • Practically all windows and doors can be monitored 24/7
  • Excellent if you have small kids and worry that they might wander off or fall out a window
  • Always on as long as the power is on
  • More difficult for burglars to thwart

Electric Current Alarm System CONs

  • Must be installed when your house is being built
  • Can be expensive since it’s another system to install when your house is being built
  • Electrical storms can interfere with the system
  • If the power goes out so does your security system

Do Security Systems Deter Burglars?

This is the biggest question about home security systems for obvious reasons. As with any system, if it works well the investment is worth it and, if not, you’ll probably want to save your money and wait for something that does work.

Is it worth having a security system?Yes, they do work

The fact is, however, that home security systems do work and, based on statistics, they seem to work well. In several studies it has been shown that approximately 60% of burglars are deterred by an alarm system of some kind, preventing them from breaking in and stealing your valuable stuff.

Those numbers were found when the University of North Carolina at Charlotte engaged in a thorough study several years ago. In the study over 400 men and women, who were convicted and sent to prison for burglary (and still in jail) were asked a slew of questions about why, how and for what reason they were robbing houses.

Again, as we said above, 60% of those convicted burglars sais that, if they saw that a home security alarm system was being used, they would pass that home or business up and head to another home where, in all likelihood, no security system was in place.

A Security Alarm System is an Investment in You and Your Family

As we’ve already talked about, the world today can be a very unsafe place. While most homeowners and parents do their best to keep their families safe, like installing better locks, lighting pathways and keeping shrubs and trees cut down, an alarm system can be more effective than all of those things combined.

 

Home Security Systems Give You Peace of Mind

While it may seem like a quaint or old-fashioned way of thinking, peace-of-mind and a sense of security when in your own home should not be overlooked or overrated. A well-chosen, properly installed security system can give you that peace of mind in spades, knowing that there’s an extra set of eyes keeping watch at all times and making sure your home and family are safe and sound.

 

What is the Most Effective Home Security System?

Now that we’ve taken a look at the different types of security systems it’s a good time to discuss which of them is the most effective. The truth is, the answer to this important question depends on several different factors.

  • Are you single, married or a family?
  • Are you away from home on a regular basis?
  • Where do you live?
  • How big is your home or apartment?
  • Do you have the ability to keep your smartphone on you and ready at all times?
  • What can you afford?

 

All of these questions will factor into your decision-making process so it’s a good idea to sit down and think about them before you start making calls to a security company or make a purchase.

The fact is, all of the home security systems we’ve talked about will work well in most circumstances but, in others, might be woefully inadequate. For example, if you live in an area of the country where storms are frequent and cellular connections are weak or unreliable, an unmonitored security system is probably not a good choice. If you’re living in a house that’s older an electric current alarm system isn’t a good choice because the cost to install one would be fairly high.

If money is no object a monitored security system is always a good call because you’ll get the best security, 24/7, and don’t have to monitor the system yourself to make sure nothing bad is happening. Then again, if you’re younger and on a tight budget, having a monitored security system is likely not an extra expense that you want at this point in your life, especially since there will be extra monthly bills that you’ll need to pay. In your case, an unmonitored system would be a lot more affordable.

At the end of the day, however, having any type of home security system in place is better than having none. Most will alert you to a possible break-in, allowing you to alert the police and get them to your home as fast as possible. Cameras are a great tool if and when it comes time to go to court because, obviously, they can film the burglars in action and give you evidence to use against them, and, hopefully, get your valuables back.

 

Our Verdict

The most effective home security system is a monitored, wireless system that uses sensors and cameras and is tied-in to a live monitoring station where security specialists are on-duty at all times of the day and night. The system should include an app to alert you, the homeowner, that something is happening, and should not rely on landline phone cables since they can be cut but instead on Wi-Fi-enabled systems.

Indeed, the correct combination of motion sensors in the right locations with video cameras, alarms, flashing lights and human support that’s there for you 24/7 is one of the very best ways to protect your family, your home and your loved ones from harm.

So, Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?

We think you’ll agree with us after reading this article that, yes, home security systems are worth the cost. Depending on the type of system you purchase the overall investment might only be a few hundred dollars but the amount of money, stress, and danger that they can save you from is well worth every penny.

The simple fact is that you’re much better off with a home security system than without.

 

PROS of Having Any Type of Home Security System

  • Burglars are deterred by them and will more often than not move on if they see one
  • Peace of mind knowing that you have extra security
  • Police can be called automatically
  • Less or none of your things will be stolen
  • Less risk for your family that someone breaks in while they’re home
  • Less cost for homeowners or renters insurance when you have a security system
  • Evidence on video if you are robbed that can be used by police to identify the people who robbed you
  • Evidence for the court to show that you were robbed and get reimbursed

 

As you can plainly see there are a lot of good reasons to have a home security system installed in your home. The truth is, after the initial investment, your costs won’t be very high but your security level will be much higher and your family and belongings will be much safer.

We hope you liked this article and that it gave you all the answers that you were seeking. If you have any additional questions or would like to leave a comment or remark, please do so in the space provided, and best of luck purchasing your new home security system.

  1. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective
  2. FBI Unified Crime Reporting, “2015 Crime in the United States
  3. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective

 

Why is a Home Security System Important?

Burglars say home security systems deter burglars

In today's world the sad fact is that, even in your own home, you and your family are not always as safe and secure as you might think. It may be alarming to know that the average home has several different areas where burglars, thieves and others looking to rob or hurt you can break in quite easily.

Are Home Security Systems Worth the Cost?

Is it worth having a security system?

Yes. We think you'll agree with us after reading this article that, yes, home security systems are worth the cost. Depending on the type of system you purchase the overall investment might only be a few hundred dollars but the amount of money, stress, and danger that they can save you from is well worth every penny.