Deterrence, Detection, Notification and Response.
The first step in making a home secure involves incorporating elements which make it less attractive to criminals. Burglars are attracted to homes which appear to be easy targets, providing the type of external environment and “signals” conducive to an easy and low risk break-in.
Listed below are some of the elements which act as deterrents to criminals who are looking for easy targets:
- • Locked gates, tall walls and fences surrounding a property, making access more difficult.
- • Steel security exterior doors and bars on windows (more commonly found in high crime areas).
- • Trimmed bushes and trees which do not conceal windows and doors from street observation.
- • A “real” home security system sign clearly visible from the street. Criminals know the generic signs without a security company name are usually phony and are not usually connected to a central monitoring station.
- • A real security company’s window stickers.
- • Good window and door locks (all external doors should have double keyed deadbolt locks with a minimum one inch penetrating “throw”).
- • Good lighting around the perimeter of a home.
- • Homes providing a “lived in” appearance.
The following represent target signals to a burglar:
- • A poorly maintained front yard with bushes and/or trees concealing doors and windows.
- • Piled up newspapers.
- • A full mailbox.
- • Poor or no lighting.
- • Exterior lights left on during the day.
- • Garage doors left open.
- • A front lawn strewn with kids’ toys.
- • No real security system sign.
- • Homes having an uninhabited appearance.
- • No interior or exterior lights left on at night.
The remaining 3 keys relate to homeowners who already have or are considering installing a security system.
If you’ve done as much as possible to make your home unattractive to burglars and they still decide to break-in, it’s now up to your security system to detect them.
The best security system is a combination of both perimeter protection and area surveillance. Perimeter protection means that exterior accessible doors and windows are monitored by a sensor (usually a magnetic switch and/or a glass breakage or vibration detector). Perimeter protection can also include alarm screens and the use of sensors on the exterior of a home which pick up body heat, motion or both. These sensors can be used with lighting and cameras which can also be an integral part of a security or video surveillance system.
Typically, area surveillance protection means that a specific area of a home (i.e. bedroom, hallway, living room, etc.) is monitored by a sensing device which picks up body heat, motion or both. These types of sensors are often used for perimeter (inside and outside a home) and area surveillance detection where they can provide coverage of doors and windows as well as a room. Motion activated video cameras, which can be accessed over the internet, can also be used in the interior and exterior of a home for detection purposes.
The level of sophistication for security and video surveillance systems has dramatically changed since 9/11 and is now more affordable than ever. Call Private Security for a Free Home Security Analysis.
The next key in the security process is notification that an intrusion has occurred. This notification can take the form of an alarm signal sent through a telephone land line, cellular transmission, or, the internet, to a private central monitoring station (not the police). Depending on how the system was configured and programmed, the point of entry can be identified and transmitted to a central monitoring station.
The rapid advancement in video technologies has now enabled notification of an intrusion to a homeowner or business owner by way of an email or text message to a person’s cell phone or computer. The homeowner or business owner can then access the individual cameras at the location through their cell phone or computer and see what caused the activation.
A central station monitoring subscription service is a critical and integral part of making a home more secure. It provides reception of the essential notification that an alarm activation has occurred. A central station also notifies the appropriate authorities when the panic/duress, police, fire department or medical buttons of an alarm system are activated.
A monitored alarm system is only as good as the alarm response resulting from its activation. Alarm response will take the form of law enforcement, private security, or both, responding to a burglar alarm call. Depending on where you live, many law enforcement agencies classify unverified burglar alarm activations as low priority calls, often resulting in a delayed (hours) or no-show response.
Security companies offer different forms of alarm response with armed or unarmed officers and level of investigation at the site of an alarm activation. An armed, professionally trained alarm response officer, who does a thorough perimeter check for signs of a break-in, vandalism or trespassing, will be able to provide a more accurate assessment of an alarm activation than an officer that does a drive-by (only checks the front of a home or business from the street, does not exit his/her vehicle and does not perform a perimeter check for signs of intrusion).
Drive-by alarm response is basically worthless, since it leaves the most critical areas of a home un-checked, while eliminating the responding officer’s ability to verify that an actual crime is, has, or hasn’t taken place. Private alarm response provides the added benefit of insulating customers from expensive false alarm fines.