According to the FBI's 2008 Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, property crimes in the Northeast rose 1.7 percent while the South saw a .6 percent increase in increase burglaries and a .5 percent increase in thefts. Bottom line--crime happens. And here's what you can do about it.
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House Security Systems: More than an Ounce of Prevention
A monitored home security system remains the single biggest factor in securing your home from intrusions and burglaries. In fact, you can earn a sizeable discount on your home insurance policy just by installing a house alarm. But if you're going to do it, you need the right accessories. Matt and Jon, Discovery Channel bloggers and home security system experts, recommend these must-have features.
- Ultrasonic Sensors. Not only do they detect the opening of doors and windows, the latest models also detect movement inside your home, as well. If you have a large home, consider purchasing sensors that are zone-specific for customized protection. Having panic buttons at strategic locations throughout the house is also a smart strategy.
- Combination Keyless Locks. These tools take the threat of a lost key completely out of the equation. Perfect for families with children or elderly members, a house alarm with a combination keyless lock can be programmed with a familiar set of numbers for activation. For added protection, leave the combination with a trusted neighbor.
- Video Cameras. Deter criminals and provide evidence for prosecution in a single stroke. Video cameras placed strategically throughout the inside--or even outside--of your home capture activity and store it to your computer. Use motion-detectors to conserve hard drive space and camera covers to protect from the elements.
- Wireless Annunciator. Be alerted anywhere in your home the minute a car drives into your driveway or someone approaches an exterior door. The wireless annunciator is motion-activated and can be set to several levels of sensitivity. Couple with a video camera for added awareness.
- Security Robot. This is the ultimate in next-generation home security system. The primary benefit here is mobile interior video surveillance and audio capability. Hook your security robot into a web-based application for remote viewing. Use the robot's voice feature to warn potential thieves before they get to work.
Keep in mind that these are premium features above and beyond the traditional house alarm setup--they will cost extra. But you'll find them well-worth the initial investment to keep your property secure and your home insurance low.