More than 1.5 million American homes fell victim to burglaries in 2016, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Today's modern home security systems do more than just protect your home from intruders. A security system may include protection sensors that also monitor for fire, smoke, CO2 and other issues; closed-circuit TV monitors; and remote access to devices such as connected locks and video doorbells.
Most homeowners and renters know the basics of home security, from locking windows and doors to contracting with private firms that monitor entrances and motion sensors. But home security in the last few years has expanded to include what the industry refers to as “access control:” Home security is more than keeping the wrong people out, it’s also about letting the right people in.
Video doorbells can monitor who’s on your porch – and allow you to “answer the door” from your smartphone even if you’re nowhere near your home. Connected locks can be programmed to let you know when someone’s coming or going with a variety of entry methods (numerical PINs, for example) - and even recognize when you’re coming home.
A professionally installed home security system can be customized to fit your budget and security needs. It can include components such as outdoor and indoor sensors, fire/smoke/C02 alarms, connected locks, video monitoring and doorbells, and panic buttons placed within the home.
A CEDIA professional can install sensors at multiple entry points, including front and back doors, side garage doors and garage-to-home doors. Homeowners also may desire window sensors for ground-level windows. Some perimeter sensors use an infrared ray that senses when someone enters an area of the property uninvited. Sensors can be coupled with lighting controls that will illuminate the perimeter of your home -- and even trigger audio that mimics a watchdog’s bark.
A home security system should extend to inside the house as well. Sensors can be configured so your daily life is not hampered by unintentionally setting off alarms. Indoor sensors can provide overnight protection without being tripped by pets. Sensors that detect breaking windows are an additional option.
Businesses use surveillance cameras to protect their property and employees; home surveillance cameras work in a similar way. A home security system can include camera surveillance technology that ties into a DVR system and actually allows the homeowner to monitor their home when they are away.
Video doorbells allow two-way interaction with your front porch. These products allow the homeowner to talk to a visitor via the user’s smartphone – from literally anywhere in the world. You can see and speak to your guest to ensure he or she is welcome, and these products often include video recording options, too.
Imagine if every member of your family had a personalized PIN to the doors of your home. You’d know who’s home – and when. (And wouldn’t it be nice to go for a run without your keys?) Additionally, locks can recognize a signal from your smartphone and open for you automatically – it’s something we call “geofencing.”
The monitoring company
A home security system must be connected to a company that monitors the alarm. When an alarm is tripped, the company notifies the local police and/or fire department as well as you and anyone else you have designated as an emergency contact.
While most homes already have fire/smoke/CO2 alarms, connecting those alarms to the home security system adds another level of protection. In addition, panic buttons installed as wall-mount keypads or as remote key fobs offer a way to trigger the alarm manually.