Increasing your home security with alarm systems

An alarm system is a big deterrent to burglars, one that is linked to a security company that provides monitoring even more so.

But be careful. You do need to ensure you have the right sort of system, or false alarms will be an inevitable, and annoying, part of your life.

So, how do you choose one, and – importantly considering you will have to pay monthly subscriptions for monitoring – is it worth the money?

Yes, say the experts. “It is definitely worthwhile once you have a reliable system in place,” says National Home Security Month’s Clint Jones.

Although stand-alone systems are available, security should be thought of – and installed – in layers. A suitable alarm should come after you have the basics in place: burglar bars, a secure perimeter fence, solid external doors and strong door and window locks. Then an alarm is a great part of a homeowner’s arsenal.

Isn’t it expensive?

Technological advances mean that professional systems are becoming more intuitive, easier to install and far more affordable. You can bank on spending between R5 000 and R8 000 for a professional DIY wirefree alarm system.

There are various options, says Jones. Depending on budget constraints, homeowners can select from standalone units to a fully monitored system that triggers signals to armed response companies, from the alarm or from panic buttons.

Bear in mind, having an alarm system can lower your insurance premiums. You do however need to keep it well maintained and ensure it is in full working order to validate any claims.

Aren’t burglary statistics down?

They are, however the police have recorded 250,606 house burglaries in the 2015-16 reporting year, a 1.2% decrease on the previous years. It’s good news, but it’s still an average of 686.6 houses a day which is still an alarming figure.

On top of that, there were 20 819 recorded house robberies in that time, a 2.7% increase over the previous year and an average of 57 houses a day. Often monitored alarm systems with armed response also provide panic buttons so that you can call for help when you are at home and the alarm is disabled.