You don’t often turn to crime statistics for good news, but the latest ones highlight a couple of heartening trends. First, burglaries across the country are down, and home security systems are playing an important role in helping to deter this crime.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program 2018 statistics, there was an 11.9% decrease from 2017’s figures and a 44.2% decrease from nine years previous.
Defining burglary as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft, UCR points out that even with the decrease, there were an estimated 1,230,149 burglaries during the year.
Some other notable highlights include:
“Burglaries accounted for 17.1% of the estimated number of property crimes.”
“By subcategory, 56.7% of burglaries involved forcible entry, 36.7% were unlawful entries, and 6.6% were attempted forcible entry.”
“Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses.”
“The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,799.”
“Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 65.5% of all burglary offenses.”
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at additional research that proves home security systems are effective in preventing and reducing crime.
Are Home Security Systems Effective?
A study conducted by Dr. Joseph B. Kuhns of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte examined what motivates burglars and the methods they use.
The majority of the 422 incarcerated male and female burglars would take into account home security equipment, such as alarms, outdoor cameras, and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential target.
About 83% would try to find out if a home or business had a security alarm before attempting a burglary
About 60% claimed they would seek out an alternative target if an alarm were detected.
If the criminals discovered an alarm during a burglary, half would beat a hasty retreat, 31% would sometimes discontinue the attempt, and only 13% would always keep on going after finding the alarm.
The study findings also revealed:
Video surveillance of a home would be a factor in about 60% of burglars’ choice of a target. About 40% would choose an alternative target.
About 50% of the burglars commit residential burglaries.
Most burglars reported entering open windows or doors or forcing windows or doors open. Only about 1 in 8 picked locks or used an illegally acquired key.
Other sources back these findings. For example, statistically speaking, burglars are most attracted to homes without security systems, which means these residences are 300% more likely to be burglarized than homes that have security systems.
Some ADT home security system features you can install outside your home to deter burglars include:
How to Help Protect Your Doors and Windows
The most common way burglars get into homes is through doors and windows. The front door is the entryway used most often (for 34% of break-ins, followed by ground-floor windows and the back door).
Wise homeowners can cut back on this type of break-in by taking some straightforward measures, such as ensuring the doors and windows are shut and locked, even when they are at home. There are also some additional home security system features you can invest in, including:
Reinforce your front door with a smart lock and doorbell camera.
Install window and door sensors to protect entryways.
Invest in a garage door monitor.
Reinforce Your Front Door With a Smart Lock and Doorbell Camera
For the front door, you can replace a hollow door with a solid-core one, add a heavy-duty deadbolt, install a reinforced plate, or if you are not the first to live in the home or apartment, have the lock rekeyed.
A home security solution for front door safety could include a smart lock and a doorbell camera that can be programmed to send an alert to your smartphone if someone presses the doorbell or even approaches the door, picked up by the system’s motion-detection sensor.
You can talk to the visitor through a speaker and decide whether you will open the door, even if you are nowhere near your home. You can even have the camera programmed to automatically shoot video clips when the doorbell is rung or if someone approaches.
Install Window and Door Sensors to Help Protect Entryway
To make windows safer, you can make sure they are locked when you leave the house or go to bed. You can also add window security bars or grilles, apply smash-proof glass, security screens, and glass-protection security film.
A home security system could include sensors that detect when a window is opened when it shouldn’t be or if the glass is broken. The system could be set up to sound an alarm, send a notification to you by email or text, automatically get security cameras to film an intrusion, or alert a 24/7 monitoring station that will be able to get the proper emergency response immediately underway.
Invest in a Garage Door Monitor
After front doors, back doors, and ground-floor windows, garage doors are a favorite target for burglars. Often, homeowners will leave their garage door open or unlocked, and in some cases, leave the connecting door to the home unlocked, too – an open invitation to criminals.
So, making sure the garage door is closed (locked from the inside if you are away for a while) and the connecting door is also shut and locked are important measures. But our memories are sometimes fallible, so it is good to have a backup, such as ADT’s garage door security solutions.
Using your smartphone and ADT app, you can shut the garage door from virtually anywhere you are. You can even set the system to send you an alert when the door is left inadvertently open (or opened without proper permission).
Help Prevent Environmental Hazards
The more sophisticated home security systems can also provide environmental monitoring for fire, dangerous carbon monoxide levels, flooding, and sudden temperature changes.
4 Monitors to Make Your Home Security System More Effective
The National Fire Protection Association reports that smoke alarms sounding gives people more time to escape. Furthermore:
From 2012 to 2016, smoke alarms were present in 74% of homes and sounded in 53% of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
“About three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or with smoke alarms that weren’t working (17%).”
“The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths per 1,000 fires) … as it was in homes with working smoke alarms (5.7 per 1,000 fires).”
“In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.”
Dead batteries caused 25% of the smoke alarm failures.
Another benefit? Because fire damage is one of the costliest claims for insurance companies, a smart home protected by fire alarms, professional monitoring, and automatic alerts can help lower the bottom line of homeowners insurance policies.
Security Systems Help Protect Your Home When You’re Away
Statistics show that break-ins are 10% more common during the warm weather months of June, July, and August. The reasons for this include that burglars, like the rest of us, prefer to do what they do during warm weather. Also, since, statistically, burglars prefer daytime break-ins, the summers offer more daylight.
The other factor, of course, is that summer is vacation time for many people, often leaving their homes empty for days or weeks at a time. One of the best protections here is to make your house look as if it isn’t empty. Precautions could include:
Asking a neighbor to pick up your mail and keep the front doorway clear of flyers and newspapers (an accumulation shows than no one is home).
Hiring a local teen to maintain the yard.
Connecting a radio or TV to a timer, the sounds of which suggest someone is home.
Setting up a home security system.
With a smart security system, not only can you receive alerts if someone breaks into your house, but you can also control your lighting remotely so that it goes on and off as if someone were home. The system can also have outdoor lights with motion detectors.
Benefits of a smart security system include:
Exterior lights can be automatically turned on and off.
If you are away from home and want to change your lighting schedule, simply use your smartphone, iPad, or internet-connected computer to change the timing.
Some systems can adjust automatically for daylight savings.
Turn on lights automatically when you enter a room.
A flashing option signals the doorbell or phone is ringing.
Even though daytime is favored for break-ins, a lot still happens under the cover of night (1,495,790 daytime break-ins annually versus 1,324,090 at night). And as already noted, a house with visible security systems, including lighting systems, serves as a major deterrent for criminals. Having the lights turn on and off at different times is an important feature because lights left on around the clock could be a signal that no one is home (as well as adding to the cost of your energy bills).
Use Sensors in Areas Where You Want More Privacy
Many people are concerned about staying safe in their bedrooms. In a 2019 study, professional burglars were given a virtual break-in scenario. In it, they all bypassed downstairs living areas and headed straight for the upstairs bedrooms where they took valuables – jewelry and cash. Rather than stealing TVs and other bulky electronics, they grabbed what they could stuff in their pockets.
One lesson here is to think twice about storing valuables in the bedroom. A good choice is to hide them elsewhere or to get a good safe that’s bolted to the ground. You can also supplement your home’s larger security system – including outdoor and indoor sensors and lights, video cameras, motion detectors, and more – with sensors right on the bedroom door, alerting you whenever someone enters the room. You can receive this alert on your phone if, say, you are at work.
You could also put sensors on specific cabinets, including ones for storing guns or medicine, to receive immediate alerts if they are opened without permission.
Proven Expertise in Home Security
When it comes to home security systems that provide proven protection, ADT is the industry leader with 145 years of experience.
Available ADT solutions include:
A digital panel: The center of your smart home security system gives you fingertip control to arm or disarm your system and control dozens of smart home devices.
Entryway contacts: When someone enters your house uninvited, your security system’s door or window sensors will trigger the high-decibel siren and alert you and the monitoring station.
Wireless keychain remote: Easily disarm your home security system with the push of a button.
Motion detectors: Motion detectors cover wide areas of your home and can trigger lights and security cameras with certain ADT packages.
Yard signs and window decals: Alert potential intruders that ADT and its alarm systems are there to help protect your home.
24/7 monitoring: Experienced security professionals are looking out for you and your family day and night.
Whether you want one of our special packages or a customized solution, contact one of our ADT experts so we can design an easy-to-use solution for you. Home security systems are effective, and we can help you to stay safe and have greater peace of mind.