A WORTHY SECURITY system for a
home or business can consist of many
; Video cameras with Web/smartphone
viewing and recording capabilities
; Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
linked to your system
; Panic buttons, alarm window screens,
pressure mats, water detectors, shock
sensors and strobe lights
; Control panel with at least one keypad
; High-decibel siren
; Window and door sensors
; Interior motion detectors
; Glass-break detectors
; 24/7 central monitoring by an
Cause for alarm
Think you can get by without a security
system? Consider these facts provided by the
FBI and the Electronic Security Association.
; In 2010, more than 2 million burglaries
and nearly 370,000 robberies occurred in the
U.S.—the equivalent of an intrusion every
15 seconds and a robbery every 1. 4 minutes.
; Most burglaries happen between
9 a.m. and 3 p.m., when a home is most
likely to be unoccupied.
; Burglary victims suffered an estimated
$4.6 billion in lost property in 2010; the average dollar loss per incident was $2,119.
; Homes without alarm systems are
three times more likely to be burglarized
than those with one installed.
; Nine out of 10 convicted burglars said
they wanted to avoid homes with alarm systems, and if they did encounter an alarm,
they would abandon the break-in.—EJM
While prices will vary depending on
your needs and the options you select, you
can expect to pay from between $100 and
$300 minimum for a basic alarm and sensor
kit you set up yourself, to more than $1,000
for a sophisticated system. If you are hesitant
about setting it up yourself, some companies
will install your equipment for a small fee,
but may require a multiyear commitment to
monthly monitoring, for which they typically
charge at least $30 a month.
Alarm dealers and monitoring-service
providers usually include a free security
assessment that analyzes your property’s layout and vulnerabilities. Because these professionals know how and where to place preferred
components for maximum effectiveness, even
with a system purchased as a DIY, it’s often
best to get advice from the experts. C
Costco member Erik J. Martin is a Chicago-area freelance writer.
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