On average, it costs a homeowner $2,100 in personal goods to suffer a break-in. This is a hefty price tag for an easily preventable occurrence. Most business owners generally lose products, customer data, inventory, and computers as the result of a burglary.
A quality security system can help prevent these unnecessary incidents. With the rise in crime and economic uncertainty, security has become a major concern for many owners. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2.2 million homes are burglarized annually. This equates to a burglary every 15 seconds in the United States.
That figure makes it clear that no business, home, or apartment in the United States can afford to ignore the benefits of a good security system. A home will require a different security system than a small business. The functions and features for an alarm system can vary greatly depending on what is being protected. For instance, jewelry and other types of high-value inventory may require a more sophisticated system. This is why it is important to understand if the alarm system fits the needs of the property. An owner needs to ask specific questions before investing money on security equipment and continuous monitoring. When considering buying an alarm system, it is important to recognize the do’s and don’ts.
Buying an Alarm System
According to the Consumers’ Checkbook, prices for three years of monitoring, installation, and equipment can range from $300 to more than $3,000. In most cases, monitoring fees can range from $35 to $95 a month.
When buying an alarm system, shopping around to find the best quote is essential. It is important to remember that the price to secure a small business will be significantly different than that of a larger one. Although some systems are expensive, the peace of mind a good security system offers is priceless. Moreover, owners should ask about the total cost of the security system. This includes the fees for installation, monitoring, and equipment as well as changing passwords. Most owners do not spend the appropriate amount of time understanding how much the “total” alarm system will cost.
Although there are obvious upfront fees; there may also be add-ons, updates, and continued maintenance fees that can become very costly. It is important to realize how much specific changes to the system will cost. This will help reduce confusion in the event passcodes require changing, pass cards need updating, or an employee is terminated.
Before Buying an Alarm System
Prior to contacting the security company, the property should be thoroughly inspected. It is not sensible to invest in a new security system when the locks and doors require an upgrade. Dedicate some time to inspecting the windows, doors, and other entry points of the property when buying an alarm system. This will help understand where the property is most vulnerable.
This can also help save money on the security company’s estimate. Before investing in the system, ensure that the system will provide the ability to effectively monitor exits and entrances. An owner should also ask about how the system is monitored and how it is connected. Newer systems include motion sensors and wireless connections to prevent burglaries. Many companies use a centralized monitoring center that connects the system using the main phone line. However, in most cases, this is ineffective because this is the first thing many criminals deactivate. Before buying an alarm system, ask questions that are specific to the needs of the property.
Choosing the Right Company
When selecting a security company, location can be a deciding factor. There are nationally recognized security firms as well as local companies. This can decide whether the monitoring center will be around the corner or in another state. One of the first things an owner should confirm is that the security company is at least licensed in the state they operate. More importantly, when choosing the right company, the owner should confirm that the company offers exceptional equipment, excellent customer service, and advanced security features.
The ability to use a smartphone or mobile app to monitor the property is an advanced feature that many owners find extremely useful. Transmitting information to the monitoring center as well as to a smartphone can help an owner determine if a thief has entered the property or if an employee or family member tripped the alarm by mistake.
Handling the Alarm
Completely understand the system when buying an alarm system. The owner should understand how the alarm is triggered. The owner needs to know if the system uses the main phone line or an Internet connection. The owner has to know what happens when those primary connections are deactivated or altered. When using an alarm system, the owner should know how fast the response time is, who will respond, and how they will enter the property. For those leasing an apartment, a warehouse, or office space; always consult with building management or the landlord about installation and handling the alarm.
Discussing the installation and function of an alarm system can help avoid potential issues and additional charges. This will help uncover any requirements or restrictions from the building’s owner that can affect the installation process and system function.
Reasons Not To Buy an Alarm System
Although the reasons to buy an alarm system outweigh the reason not to; there are some distinct disadvantages. It is important to keep false alarms to a minimum. Many police departments charge a response fee for false alarms. There is generally a bill from the city after the second or third false alarm. Many owners claim the alarms are annoying and automatically have a high false alarm rate. In some cases, this rate is unreasonably high. Some central monitoring centers experience false alarm rates as high as 80%. Many alarms are ignored by neighbors. Experiencing false alarms have conditioned people to pay little attention. Although the authorities have an obligation to appear, most neighbors do not consider danger when hearing a security alarm.
Security alarms do not operate properly during extended power outages. Do not count on the alarm system for protection after 10 to 24 hours without power. A 12-volt back-up battery generally lasts up to 24 hours. Lastly, remember that alarm systems are not foolproof and they are not effective against snatch and grab burglaries. These burglaries occur so quickly that authorities have little time to react. Alarm systems can offer a peace of mind from burglaries, fires, and vandalism. They help to effectively monitor homes, businesses, and apartments. These systems offer increased protection for both homeowners and business owners. Although there are a few don’ts when considering buying an alarm system; there are far more do’s. When buying a security system, remember to shop around to find the best quote and to select the right system for the specific needs of the property.
Dylan Johnson is an extremely amatuer bicyclist, an entirely mid-level photographer and a writer for Security Options. For more info on them click here.