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What is the role of a home security system, alarm system, or security system?

home security

What is the role of a home security system, alarm system, or security system?

The security system’s purpose is often misunderstood.  Some seem to think that an alarm system must catch a criminal. Really, that’s not its purpose. Sometimes they help lead to an arrest, but the main roles of a security system are as follows.

1. Home Security Systems are designed to be a deterrent.

We want a burglary to never occur. There is no larger deterrent a person can add to their home or business than a security system. Many studies have proved this. The most recent is the “Rutgers Study,” where they tracked the location of every alarm system and burglary for more than 5 years in Newark, NJ. The study showed that alarm systems are not only extremely effective at being a deterrent to the home or business, but they even reduce crime in surrounding areas. The higher the concentration of alarm systems, the further out the deterrence extends. See this report at www.airef.org

2. Alarm systems warn the occupants that an event is occurring. 

Most security systems have a high decibel siren. This not only lets the home or business owner know that something has happened, but it also lets the intruder know that something has triggered the alarm. This increases the level of fear of apprehension or arrest.

3. Alarm systems reduce risk to life and property. 

Studies have shown that most burglars do not typically break in to a home that has a security system. But if they do they only stay less than 3 minutes. This minimizes the damage, loss, or risk of life by a short period of time to just grab something and leave.

4. Security systems summon help. 

Someone is going to know about what is going on. Usually it’s a well-trained, sworn law enforcement official. If needed, someone will check on the home, business, or person where the alarm was triggered.  This saves lives every year. The easiest to document are the alarm systems that have a monitored smoke and heat detector.

Occasionally intrusion alarms are silent, or without a siren. When that is the case, the capture rate increases. But this means that the first three functions of an alarm system are sacrificed. There is no deterring, warning, or loss prevention. It’s better for home and business owners to use all four functions.

The alarm industry has never claimed that we intend for our systems to act as a tool to capture criminals. As technology advances, there will be a larger focus on video verification and video surveillance, but the 4 main purposes of alarm systems are most likely here to stay.

We used materials from SIAC to help prepare this post. We thank them for their work in reducing false alarms across the country.

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