CRIMINALS prey on the most vulnerable homes. Investing in a home security system could potentially save, not only your life, but also the burden of losing very valuable assets.
"If a thief sees a poorly secured home with no indication of impairments, they are more likely to break in," said Tony Gentles, security consultant at KingAlarm.
Once you decide to invest in a home security system, know what you want to accomplish and as time goes by, you can include add-ons.
However, you would first need to ask yourself certain questions. Among them, do you want an automatic gate opener, so intruders wont have easy access to your home while you are away? Or do you want to have a record of everyone who comes in an out of your yard at any given time?
"It is our job to guide you and examine your exposure and then put the systems in place to protect you," said John Azar, KingAlarm's managing director, noting that the systems are to protect life, then property.
It could be closed-circuit televisions, intrusion or panic systems.
Each comes at a different cost, so it's important to know what you are up against before you buy into anything. And, what works for your neighbour, won't work for you, Gentles warned.
The consultant said closed-circuit televisions are ideal for viewing something remotely.
"You may want to stay inside your house and view outside without putting yourself in danger," he noted, adding that closed-circuit televisions are good for future analysis and gathering evidence.
But you may prefer the intrusion system, which detects intruders through sensory devices placed throughout your home, triggering an alarm that will summon the response team. That system would have an advantage, and it would be more cost effective, according to Azar.
Installing home security used to be expensive back in the days, when it was generally looked upon as a luxury for the rich. But those prices have come down over the years.
A standard alarm in a three-bedroom home would cost about $100,000 in the 1990s, now it runs you anywhere between $25,000 to $30,000, said the KingAlarm boss.
Home security systems come with a monthly monitoring fee from the company. You can pay as little as $4,500 per month. If you are constructing your home, you could also consider simultaneously wiring for security as you would with telephone or cable.
"That way, you would have save some labour cost when you decide to get home security in the future," said Ainsley Smith, client relations executive at Hawkeye Electronic Security Limited.
"Some of the necessary systems would have already been put in place," Smith said.
Further more, that would be more aesthetically pleasing as some home owners don't like to see the wiring on the surface, Azar added.
You also have the option of installing a security system on your own. Tariq Nembhard, manager of electronic retail store Watts New, told Sunday Finance that Internet protocol and analogue cameras are readily available for homeowners, who can install the equipment by themselves.
"Once connected, these systems can be viewed real-time," Nembhard said.
For instance, if you are at the movies and you have the camera set to motion, you get an email informing you that something has been detected. After which, you can use the Internet to view what's happening and alert a response team, he said.
But note, once again, that you must look at your property and see what system best suits your home — doing it yourself is relative to what you are trying to accomplish.
"You must do the research about what works for your situation," Nembhard said. "Some cameras can pick up movement from different heights and lengths."