A modern home can be a complicated thing. It is essentially a network of systems put together to ensure the comfort and well-being of the people occupying it. Alarm systems are just one of those systems. In this post I examine whether alarm systems are worth the cost – whether they do in fact deter burglars and thieves and how we should use them.
Typically, alarm systems function on several levels. The most basic kind (aside from a simple sticker on the door) sound an alarm when an someone triggers the alarm by entering a residence without properly disabling the alarm. This type of alarm can definitely deter a casual thief or burglar or at least make them nervous. However, if the intruder is determined or they know you’re not at home there is nothing stopping them from entering and turning off the alarm or ignoring it. Something to note, though, is that it’s not evident to the intruder right away whether the alarm has notified authorities – which leads me to the second type.
A step up is an alarm that notifies police or other authorities. Obviously, this can be a deterrent. The trick is knowing whether the authorities will react. In some jurisdictions (though not as much in Quebec or Canada in general) home alarms are given low priority due to the number of false alarms.
A more complex system is one that gives voice or video monitoring. This works in two ways: it gives police or authorities a chance to verify whether the intrusion is real, and it can provide evidence to catch the criminals once the crime has been committed.
Now so far when we’ve been discussing whether an alarm system is worth it, we’ve only been thinking about the safety offered in case someone decides to invade your home. The fact is that home insurance premiums are often reduced when an alarm system is installed. This means savings even when no-one tries to steal something. And if you’ve been thinking about getting a dog instead you should know insurance premiums won’t take a dog as an alarm system.
The bottom line is that it depends what you want in terms of your security. No-one should depend only on an alarm system. There are a lot of factors that go into the security of the home. These range from installing quality locks to making sure it isn’t evident when you’re not at home. But an alarm system is an important part of your security; and if you don’t think so, your insurance company certainly does.