Do I need a home security system?
• Do you have a family living with you?
• Do you have any small children living with you?
• Do you have any pets?
• Do you have any valuable belongings?
• Most importantly, do you feel safe at night lying in bed?
Except for the last question, answering “yes” to any of those questions means you’ll most likely want to investigate owning some type of a security system.
But I already have a gun!
And that is excluding 99.9 % of the population in Mumbai! For the .01 % population holding a firearm licence, having a firearm is an excellent idea, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need a residential security system. Remember that the gun only works if somebody is able to point it at the intruder and possibly pull the trigger. It doesn’t work if you’re asleep in bed or away from your home.
Using a gun against an intruder also means a great deal of stress and responsibility. Can you handle holding somebody at gunpoint until the police arrive? Are you ready to do the final act of shooting and possibly killing a person should they become violent and threaten you or your family?
What about having a dog?
It is still argued today that if you have a dog, then for the most part you shouldn’t need a security system. After all, most dogs bark at intruders and can successfully scare them away. Having a growling German shepherd on the other side of the door is an excellent type of criminal deterrence. What kind of person would want to challenge a dog like that? A foolish one I would say!
Some large, well trained dogs make excellent companions and security guards. Their faithful allegiance is told time and time again throughout history and movies especially Bollywood ones! It’s common to find news articles about dogs going against all odds to save the life of a family member, even if it means their own death. That kind of heroism and determination is simply laudable and without comparison.
The problem is that there will always be ways to get around a guard dog. Here are a few reasons:
• Dogs can be bribed to stay quiet. A dog treat, chewing gum or even a little peanut butter can go a long way. You may even make a friend out of the guard dog.
• Dogs can be put down with a gunshot or severe beating with a stick or crowbar.
• Dogs are not always on guard 24x7x365. A dog cannot guard your home when it’s out on a walk or visiting the veterinarian.
• Dogs may spend the night in a cage or isolated room. Intruders aren’t as fearful of trapped dogs.
Dogs are great for barking at intruders and showing force. The barking is loud, fearsome and should easily alert everybody in the house. But despite all of that, can you still count on a dog protecting your home at all hours every day?
Lets look at the types of Residential Security Systems that you are available in the market today as of December 2012.
Types of Home Security Systems
When considering a security system, there’s an important question you need to consider before proceeding. Do you want the intruder to be detected inside or outside your home? If you want the intruder detected while still outside your home, then you need to consider a perimeter security system. If you’d rather catch the burglar inside, then you will want to stick with an interior system.
That seems like a no-brainer question, but there is logic and reasoning behind both choices.
Perimeter Security System
As noted above, this is a system that is alarmed before the intruder enters your home. This type of system relies heavily on the usage of door contacts, window contacts and glass break detectors. The moment somebody opens a door or window, or breaks glass, then the alarm is activated.
Put yourself in the intruder’s shoes for a moment. You managed to sneak up to a home and quietly defeated a deadbolt lock. Just as you’re slowly swinging open the door the alarm starts blaring. You haven’t even made it a step into the home and you’ve already been detected. The police are probably being dispatched right now. Is it time to continue into the house and grab some stuff, or should you just get out of there as fast as possible without getting caught?
As you can probably guess, most thieves and burglars would rather stay on the run and live to burglarize another day (or night). The odds of that burglar returning again are between slim and none.
There are two main problems with using just a perimeter system: the cost and the size of the system.
1) Cost of a Residential Perimeter Security System
The cost of a Residential Perimeter Security System is a big factor. Each door and window contact costs money. Each glass break detector also costs money. Start counting all of the outside windows and doors, and multiply that by about Rs. 2,500/-. That will give you a good ballpark to start thinking about a perimeter system. A good security company like Alliance One in Mumbai will have a package deal and include a number of contacts for free.
The size of the system is another factor. This will depend on your residential security system’s main control box, the control panel and your personal preference. If you want to know where the intruder is breaking into your home (either by the room or the actual doors/windows), then each set of windows needs to be in its own zone.
Zone 1 may be for the front door, Zone 2 for the living room windows, Zone 3 for the garage door, etc. A general rule of thumb is that most systems can handle between eight and ten zones. Otherwise, it is going to need a zone expander or two to handle the size of your system. The system’s control panel needs to be advanced enough to be able to know about the zones and let you know exactly where the trouble is being reported. Again, not every system has to be this way.
This is again up to your own preference.
The good thing is that if need be all of the windows and doors can be combined into the same zone. When the alarm goes off the system will not tell you exactly where in the house it is, but it will still work. If your home is monitored it will still report the alarm to the monitoring agency. The only difference is that you have to guess which entry point the burglar used.
Interior Residential Security System
This type of security system is designed to “trap” intruders on the inside of your home. As opposed to the perimeter system with all of its door and window contacts, the interior system mainly relies on the use of motion detectors. As the name implies, the intruder needs to be inside the building before any alarms are sounded.
Believe it or not, but there are two main reasons on why it is an advantage using an interior residential security system: simplicity and cost.
A security system based on using motion detectors is usually fairly basic and simple to install. Using the detector’s wide field of view and ability to use line-of-sight, you can create “secure zones” such as hallways, garages and staircases. The far range and wide field of view gives a large square footage area of protection.
Generally, a security system mainly composed of motion detectors is substantially cheaper than using contacts in every door and window. Most security companies charge between Rs. 2,500/- and Rs. 5000/- for additional motion detectors. A home that would need 15-20 contacts may only need two or three motion detectors to provide protection.
Again, let us put ourselves in a burglar’s shoes and do another example. You managed to sneak up to the dark side of a home and found a window in the shadows. The window is easily forced open and you’re standing in the dining room. Seeing nothing of value you creep into the hallway and make your way to the family / entertainment room. After taking a step or two, all of a sudden the alarm sounds. Somebody turns on an upstairs light and you hear footsteps. Are you going to stay around for a while and do some looting, or is it time to get out before anybody can recognize you? A smart thief would flee instantly with his heart thumping like a maniac!
Disadvantages to using an Interior Residential Security System
1) Inside only
The first problem was noted in the previous example. The intruder has to be inside the house before the alarm is sounded. Many people consider that idea revolting. They want that extra feeling of security by not allowing the intruder inside without being detected. This is especially true for families with small children or expensive possessions.
2) Modes of operation
The next problem is that the motion detectors are not to be used when you’re home and moving around the rooms. The best times to use the detectors are when you’re away or asleep. This may not be adequate protection if you’re living in a high crime area.
This is the main reason that animal owners stay away from using motion detectors. Different companies handle dogs with one of two different ways. First, they may use a special pet motion detector. These detectors need the animal to weigh at least 80 pounds before they’re detected. This allows most of the larger breeds of dogs to safely move around the home without setting off the alarms. The other method companies may use is to turn a regular motion detector upside down. This creates a small corridor near the floor so the pets can pass without detection.
What if an intruder were to also stay low to the floor?
The Cat Problem
The other problem with pets and motion detectors involves ordinary house cats. It’s a well known fact that cats love to jump onto furniture, bookshelves and other higher places. The jumping is what is noticed by the detector, and it’s treated as if an intruder was in the room. Even people with pet motion detectors have reported false alarms because of their pet cat. The best way to use motion detectors while having a pet cat is to keep the cat contained in a different room while the detectors are active.
Note: Feel free to republish this article on your own blog or website but please copy paste the below ‘Author Credits’ and include it at the bottom of your post or page. Thank you.
Amit Sen, a commercial pilot by training, has over 15 years experience in the space of corporate investigations, handling Copyright & Trademark infringement cases, Pre – employment verification Industrial Espionage investigations, Asset & Net – Worth assessment assignments and vendor / supplier verification cases, among others. Co-founder of Alliance One Detectives – which is the best matrimonial detectives Mumbai. Apart from specializing in marital investigations, Amit has also successfully completed assignments in a wide range of sectors, including the machine tools industry, pharmaceutical industry, hospitality sector, specialized equipment (Oil & natural gas sector, aviation industry etc.), telecom industry & the IT & ITes sectors. These cases have all involved both offline and online investigations.