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Tackling Ten Common Home Security Myths

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A few months back we provided some Important Questions to Ask Security System Providers. In that post, we aimed to clear up some of the more confusing aspects of buying a home security system. However, homeowners have to do more than just compare one security company to another when considering home security. They must also weigh the pros and cons of a home burglar alarm against the potential headaches it may cause. Some potential customers have heard enough security system horror stories to feel wary about installing an alarm in their home. After installation, our customers generally find these fears unfounded. However, we do wish to shed some light on why people either fear alarms or fail to install them.

In this post, we aim to identify and address ten of the most popular home security myths. Many of our customers call us after experiencing a break-in. Not many homeowners that experience a break-in remain happy with the decision to wait for home security. In order to help you avoid this fate, here are ten of the most common concerns regarding home security, as well as some facts to help ease these concerns. Some of these ideas did have some truth to them at one point. A few of them can resolve themselves if you choose your security system and provider wisely. Finally, a couple of them we just find plain wrong! Since many people consider the “bottom line” first, let’s address concerns about the cost of home security.

Myth 1: Home Security is Too Expensive

As with any major work done to your home, a burglar alarm system does come with a cost. However, we put this at the top of our home security myths for a couple reasons. For starters, the average burglary costs a homeowner $2,416, according to the latest FBI statistics. The average security system costs far less than that. Additionally, adding monitored home security often activates a discount on your homeowners’ insurance. Our Security Tips to Save You Money showed how home security can actually pay itself back in a short amount of time. In that post, we also dove into other security measures homeowners can take to continue saving money. Cutting down the risk of a burglary (or minimizing the damage if one does occur) alone makes installing a burglar alarm a no-brainer for our customers. The ability to save additional money only makes this decision easier.

Myth 2: False Alarms are Unavoidable

A few months back we created a post to answer the question “Should I Have My Security System Monitored?” There, we pointed out how smart security system design can greatly reduce false alarms. Additionally, we recommend regular security system testing and maintenance to ensure proper system operation. Unfortunately, many people tend to “set and forget” their home security systems. For this reason, we work with customers during the system design process. We identify potential causes of false alarms. These can include pets, excessive heat, or other factors such as indoor plants blown by a fan in front of a motion detector. Additionally, we teach proper maintenance to ensure that you don’t have the local police department visiting your home regularly for no reason.

A contract and pen

The prospect of signing a long-term monitoring contract scares away many potential security customers.

Myth 3: I’ll Find Myself Tied Into a Long-Term Monitoring Contract

Out of all of the home security myths listed here, this one brings the biggest grain of truth with it. After all, you will find yourself in a long-term monitoring contract if you choose the wrong security provider. Many national security companies even dramatically increase their monitoring rates while you remain under contract. However, we monitor our burglar alarms with no long-term commitment. Therefore, you can have a security system installed even if you plan on moving within a couple years. When you do move, you can do so without paying us a dime. Try doing that with some national security providers, however, and you may find yourself in a different situation.

Myth 4: Burglars Can Cut My Phone Line and Disable My Alarm

In the not-too-distant past, homeowners did indeed require a phone line to monitor their security systems. However, we pointed out in our post on why VOiP is a Poor Choice for Alarm Systems that you now have other monitoring options. Smart criminals often cut the phone lines before breaking into a home as a precaution. A couple decades ago, this would prevent your alarm from creating a police dispatch. Monitoring your home alarm through a cellular dialer, such as ours powered by Alarm.com, eliminates this danger.

Cell dialers use a cellular network to communicate to the central station, and bypass old-fashioned phone lines (and their inferior VOiP counterparts) completely. This means that your alarm system will still communicate when your phones go down. Installing an interactive cell dialer also allows you to control your alarm with your phone and receive security alerts. Our post on How to Use Your Smart Phone to Add Security to Your Alarm explores how adding these features adds both security and convenience. The invention and advancement of cell dialer technology has made fears about burglars cutting phone lines a thing of the past.

Myth 5: I Don’t Have Anything Worth Taking

While we certainly don’t have an inventory of our customers’ personal belongings, this myth almost never rings true. For one, we install security systems for both life safety and property protection. If a burglary interrupts your sleep, at that point your concern will be self-preservation, not the cost of the items the burglar may take. Additionally, burglars often target items that you may not consider. For example, criminals often steal and sell homeowners’ copper piping. If this happens to you, the price having this work done again can greatly surpass that of installing a burglar alarm. This does not even mention loss of peace of mind that a break-in creates.

On top of this, a complete home security system does more than protect against burglary. Installing environmental sensors can protect your home against damage from flooding, frozen pipes, or appliance failure. The cost and headache associated with repairing this type of damage far outweigh that of installing a basic burglar alarm. Adding monitored fire protection can also save your home or even a life in the case of a fire. Most homeowners would agree that their home itself (and the lives in it) are worth more than the price of home security. Thinking of home security in a small-picture sense (protecting possessions) can lead to falling prey to this myth. Using a big-picture approach can help you install security system that keeps you and your home as safe and secure as possible.

Myth 6: My Dog Will Protect My Home While I’m Gone

 A "Beware of Dog" sign on a fence

While some homeowners trust their dogs to protect their homes, smart home security customers install alarm systems to protect family pets from violent intruders, fire, and other environmental dangers.

Sure, a big dog acts as a tremendous threat deterrent at times. However, in most cases, having pets creates more need for home security, not less. In our post on Using Your Security System to Protect Your Pets, we outlined how smart customers use their alarm systems to keep their pets safe. We do not recommend trusting your beloved pets to prevail against burglars, fire, or environmental dangers. Even the most ferocious of dogs can often be tamed with a steak or other treat. If this does not work, burglars will often resort to violence. Finally, adding monitored fire and environmental protection as mentioned in the previous section can save your pets from dangers other than intruders. Smart security customers often install security systems with the sole purpose of protecting their furry, feathered, or slimy members of the family.

Myth 7: Home Security Doesn’t Actually Help Catch Burglars

Homeowners often feel that a burglar alarm doesn’t get the police to the property in time to catch a thief. They feel that if burglars have time to quickly take what they want before the police arrive, why bother? For one, it is worth noting that a blaring siren often drives burglars away from the house immediately. This greatly alleviates the damage done, even if it doesn’t lead to an arrest.

Additionally, installing specific equipment to help catch thieves often proves effective. Many of our customers add surveillance cameras to their security system. These can certainly help track down a thief after a burglary. If you do have an Alarm.com account with us, you can also utilize image-capturing motion detectors. This can help lead to catching a burglar in two ways. For one, a police department will respond more quickly to an alarm event if the central station can verify an actual break-in. An image of a burglary in progress can provide this quicker response. Secondly, the captured image is saved, allowing you to reference it for future use in solving the crime. The availability of affordable equipment that stores video or images of crimes in progress make this one of the more outdated home security myths.

A QOLSYS IQ Panel 2, along with door contacts and a motion detector.

The QOLSYS IQ 2 Panel features touchscreen controls and an easy-to-understand interface, making it one of the most user-friendly security systems on the market.

Myth 8: A Burglar Alarm Will Cause More Headaches than it Saves

We certainly understand homeowners who cling to this idea. After all, almost nobody grasps an entirely new technology immediately. In many ways, learning how to use certain older security systems could feel like learning an entirely new language. However, customers have found our security system options very intuitive and user-friendly. In fact, our preferred security system uses the same interface, touchscreen commands, and menus as an Android tablet. The QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 combines ease of use with modern features, such as the ability to connect smart home devices to your alarm. Older security systems often left users feeling confused and frustrated. Recent technology, however, has turned this fear into a thing of the past.

Myth 9: Gun Owners Do Not Need Home Security

If you consider your firearm to be your home security system, you are certainly not alone. However, as we discussed in our post on Improving Bedroom Security, weapons in your home can add additional peril to a burglary. Walking in on a thief who has found your weapon makes the situation even more volatile. If you do keep your weapon in a safe, burglars can break into safes if given enough time. We certainly recommend securing your weapons in a safe. We then recommend installing a security system then ensures that burglars will not have the time to find and open your safe to access the weapons. Just as with pets, the presence of firearms only increases the need for a security system.

Myth 10: I Live in a Safe Neighborhood and Don’t Need Home Security

The idea that homes in “safe neighborhoods” do not require an alarm remains one of the most enduring home security myths. Burglars find homes in suburban areas ideal targets for a number of reasons. For one, less foot traffic in the suburbs means that burglars have a better shot of entering and exiting a home unnoticed. Additionally, burglars know that suburban homeowners often do not install security systems. An isolated home with no yard signs or stickers indicating an alarm system makes a great target for a potential thief. Therefore, this particular security myth has led to many break-ins. We have heard countless homeowners tell us “I never thought something like this would happen here.”

Overcoming Home Security Myths to Create a Safe and Secure Home

Hopefully, this post has helped you examine some of the most common home security myths. Certainly, some of these ideas do have some merit. Understanding the entire scope of home security can help dispel some of these myths. Additionally, advances in technology have made security systems both more reliable and more user-friendly. If you have any questions about the information in this post, please do not hesitate to contact us. Perhaps you have a question about one of the home security myths or solutions provided here. Or maybe you have additional concerns about home security that we did not address in this post. We are always happy to answer any questions about home security. We also provide free home site surveys to address your security concerns and provide recommendations of our own. Together, we can create a home security plan that leaves you feeling comfortable, as well as safe and secure.