Security Systems

Do I Really Need A Home Security System? Statistics, Permit Requirements & More

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ADT yard sign in front yard of home
You probably see several security yard signs around your neighborhood. But does a home security system really make you safer?

Home security systems are everywhere these days. If you haven’t seen the yard signs in a neighbor’s yard, you’ve probably seen an ad on TV for them or while surfing the web. Security systems can alert you of unexpected activity in your home, and they can give you peace of mind. But are they worth the cost? Let’s find out.

Who Invented The Security System And Why?

Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system. She was born in Queens, New York, on October 22, 1922, and resided there until her death on February 2, 1999.

Marie Brown worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown, worked as an electronics technician. The crime rate in Queens was very high at the time, and police response times were slow. So Brown created a two-way communication and surveillance system that has been the foundation of modern security. Her original invention was comprised of peepholes, camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The final element was an alarm button that could be pressed to contact the police immediately.

And if you think she stopped there, she is also credited with the invention of the first closed-circuit television (CCTV). The reasons for getting a home security system are more or less the same today. Here’s our top eight.

Do Fake Home Security Signs Really Work?

Having a security sign in your hard, without an actual security system behind it, can fool the casual would-be intruder. When canvassing a neighborhood, they’ll typically target homes without any kind of security presence to start (coupled with homeowners with predictable schedules).

However, if there is additional value associated with your property for some reason, or you live in a neighborhood already flush with security systems, a sign in the yard might not be enough.

But the bigger question to ask yourself is why are you getting a home security system? If the sole reason is to deter burglars, you might be okay with simply a yard sign. But there are so many more benefits to home security, which we outline below.

8 Reasons You Might Need A Home Security System

  1. Reduce The Chance Of A Burglary
  2. Early Warning Of Fire & CO
  3. Keep Tabs On Loved Ones
  4. Protect Your Valuables
  5. Professional Monitoring
  6. Save Money On Homeowners Insurance
  7. Use An App To Check Your Home
  8. Save Money On Your Energy Bill

1. Reduce The Chance Of A Burglary

The top reason to install a security system is to protect your family and property from intruders.

A burglary takes place every 25.7 seconds in the United States according to the FBI. And homes and businesses without a security system are 2.7 times more likely to be targeted by a burglar, Erwin Blackstone points out in her publication Securing Home and Business.

These stats show that the presence of home security equipment, yard signs, and window stickers can be enough to protect you from a break-in. However, some burglars may still take their chances.

The good news is that when burglars enter a home with a security system, in most cases the alarm will be enough to send scare them off. And if not, you’ll be alerted in plenty of time to find a safe location inside or outside your home while the monitoring station dispatches authorities.

2. Early Warning Of Fire & Carbon Monoxide

A home security system can alert you and the monitoring station at the first sign of fire or CO (carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly, odorless gas emitted from cars, natural gas lines, and more) in your home. This can make the difference between saving family, pets, and your home’s structure or losing lives and all your valuables.

Many home security systems offer interconnected smoke detectors and CO detectors that notify you when they sense a hazard. Having these devices installed in your home can save your family’s lives.

Consider just one scenario: you’re at work and your children are at school, but someone accidentally left the iron on. One of your pets knocks it over and a fire begins to engulf your home. Thanks to the smoke alarms connected to your security system, the monitoring station dispatches the fire department to your home. Firefighters can contain the fire to a smaller area of your home and save your pets’ lives as well. Without the monitored fire detectors, your home may burn to the ground and your family would be mourning the loss of their furry family members.

3. Keep Tabs On Loved Ones

Many home security systems allow the owner to add other users or emergency contacts to the account. This can provide peace of mind for parents of school-age children, people with elderly parents, or those of you with pets.

Parents can check in on their children when they arrive home on the school bus by viewing your home alarm system’s activity and cameras.

Additionally, people can make sure their elderly parents’ security systems are equipped with a medical alert system or panic button. And if you miss your furry pals during the day, you can check in on your pets to make sure they’re safe and happy. These devices can send help to a loved one at the push of a button.

4. Protect Your Valuables

Whether it’s a family heirloom with sentimental value or jewels worth thousands of dollars, we’ve all collected items that we don’t want to lose.

The average loss per burglary is $2,661 according to the FBI. That’s a big loss financially and an even bigger loss if the items stolen have sentimental value.

Your system notifies you the moment someone enters your home and dispatches authorities. Not to mention, the sound of the alarm going off may deter the burglar enough to leave immediately.

5. Peace Of Mind Professionals Are Monitoring Your Home

Customer service rep at home security company

Signing up for a professionally monitored security system means your home is being watched 24/7, even while you’re in a remote area of the world on vacation with your family. Monitoring professionals will respond to any emergencies that occur, giving you the peace of mind you need to relax on your trip.

If a sensor triggers while you’re away, the monitoring station will dispatch authorities to your home. This makes it more likely for police to find the thief and recover your stolen items, instead of you returning after a week-long trip unsure when the burglary took place and having to dig around to discover what was taken.

6. Discount On Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance offers financial protection in the event of a loss or damage caused by various tragic events. But homeowners insurance can be a hefty monthly bill that many first-time homebuyers fail to consider in their budget.

By having a working home security system installed in your home, you can save on homeowners insurance or renters insurance.

The amount of money you can save varies by the company you use, but it’s not uncommon to save 5-15% on the policy.

7. Check In On Your Home Via An App

ADT Doorbell App screenshots
Home security apps like this one from ADT allow you to keep an eye on and control your system remotely.

Many home security companies have apps that allow you to monitor your security system remotely. You can arm and disarm your system through the app and check to see if any sensors have been triggered.

Additionally, if you have any cameras, smart locks, or smart home equipment installed, you can view and control these devices. Apps also allow you to grant someone access into your home (like a dog sitter) or turn the lights on or off to make it appear like you’re home.

8. Save Money On Your Energy Bill

Many home security systems offer integrated home automation equipment. Installing home automation equipment like a smart thermostat and lighting can help reduce your energy consumption. You can access the devices via an app and can turn off any lights you accidentally left on or adjust the thermostat, so it’s not cranking out the AC while you’re gone all day.

Which Security System Should I Buy?

As you can see, having a home security system can provide many benefits. Whether or not you actually want to invest in one or would prefer to just stick a security sign in your yard (which acts as a great burglary deterrent) is your call. If you do decide to move forwards with one, which one should you buy? We’ve compared some of the top home security systems. Our comparison includes pros, cons, pricing, equipment lineup and more.

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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