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Home Security Basics

Home Security Basics

Home security is an area we don't like to think about. Most people put it off until it's too late. However, advances in electronics and survewillance  technology have now made home security systems, both wired and wireless, affordable. With a little planning ahead, you can do a great deal to protect your property and your family with little muss or fuss.

Alarms, or Electronic Security Systems, usually consist of a control panel, keypad, and a variety of sensors. Systems may be hardwired with wiring run from each sensor back to the control panel, or wireless systems may be installed to avoid the cost and expense of running wiring through the walls.

Alarm systems sound a siren or bell when they're activated. To be the most effective, they should also be monitored by a special monitoring center. Signals may be sent by telephone, cellular, or radio transmitters to the monitoring center, where personnel may verify the alarm and notify local police, ambulance, or fire personnel.

Home alarm systems are very effective at preventing burglary. Just the use of signs and stickers warning of a security system will help deter theft. Burglars tend to target the 80% of home that do not have alarm systems, or other security measures. However, all an alarm system really does is sound an alarm and send signals to a monitoring center. They do nothing to physically prevent someone from breaking in to your home.

Other Security Measures
A well designed security system also includes proper door and window locks, and a variety of other measures that help reduce ways for a thief to easily force their way into your home. Thieves will tend to target another home that presents less work and less risk for them.

Property Inventory and Marking
Coming home to discover their home has been broken in to, with things thrown around the floor and in a mess, few people are able to quickly give detailed information to police about their stolen property. This allows the thieves time to get rid of what they took and makes investigation very difficult.

Taking and keeping an inventory of your property helps you quickly determine what is missing and provide information to police and insurance companies. Inventories should include make, model, serial number, and estimated value. Photographs and video helps identify hard to describe items, such as jewelry. Taking photos and videos of the property with a family member holding the item helps establish ownership. Many insurance companies encourage property inventories and even provide templates, forms, and free software. I recommend against using your computer as your sole source for inventory information. If your computer is stolen or destroyed, the inventory will be gone, too.

Your inventory should be kept up to date and stored in a safe place. Such inventories are helpful in cases of flood or fire, as well as burglary. Marking property, both visibly and invisibly, helps police identify and recover items. If potential thieves know your property is marked, then they know it will be harder for them to get rid of it, thus serving as a deterrent.

Residential Video
Video surveillance technology is becoming affordable and effective. We have digital cameras in our cell phones and PDAs. It is only natural that quality video systems are becoming popular for home security. These systems can provide extremely valuable evidence for police, as well as insurance companies who must be wary of false claims.

Some residential video systems allow for real-time monitoring by monitoring center personnel, as well as viewing by homeowners from anywhere in the world through the internet. Other systems may be configured to merely take still photos activated by motion detectors.

Without a proper security system, your home is more likely to be broken into. Repair costs, time off work, and the cost of replacing items can total in the thousands of dollars. Additionally, many people feel so unsettled in a home after it has been burglarized that they move to a new home as quickly as possible, losing valuable equity. Without an alarm, surveillance system nor inventory,  you may not even know what time of day the crime happened, or be able to provide details o­n what exactly was stolen.

Having a proper alarm system, and other security measures, reduces the chance that a home will be targeted by burglars. Just in case there is a burglary, security systems and measures help reduce the amount of loss, and provide valuable information for homeowners, investigators, and insurance companies.