Home alarm systems are sets of linked electrical devices that notify homeowners about a possible unauthorized entry into a private residence. They alert homeowners of potentially criminal intrusions through the use of loud sirens and/or flashing lights.
Because of the loudness of sirens and the high visibility of flashing lights, alarm systems perform the additional functions of also alerting other people in the vicinity aside from the homeowners, and driving off the burglars or intruders by increasing their risk of getting apprehended and punished for their illegal actions.
Increasing demand for home alarm systems
Millions of burglary incidents occur in the United States every year, costing victims between US$4 billion and 5 billion in lost and damaged properties. It is estimated that on the average, a burglary is being committed in the US every 15 minutes.
The statistics are disturbing but they can be managed by each household through sound security practices, close coordination with local law enforcement authorities, and the proper installation of home alarm systems.
The risk of burglary has become a major problem in many areas that the use of security alarm systems are increasingly becoming a major requirement in home designs, constructions and improvements.
Many studies have attempted to assess the effectiveness of home alarm systems and most findings affirm their contributions not only in the deterrence of burglaries and the subsequent apprehensions of burglars but also in providing a reasonable peace of mind among household members who have installed decent models.
Basic home alarm system design
The simplest models use switches and sensors that are connected by cable to a control box. The control box, in turn, is connected to the alerting devices that ordinarily are very loud sirens and flashing lights.
Switches and sensors are usually installed in areas where burglars are likely to tread or hide, and from where they are likely to enter into the house. These include concealed corners, windows, doors, and glass panels. Most sensors use movement detectors using simple parallel metal strips but there are now sensors that use camouflaged cameras and sound detectors.
The control box functions as the user interface for the alarm system, allowing homeowners to configure the alarm and have it deactivated or reset when not needed or when a false alarm has been sounded.
Assessing a residence’s security needs
Preliminary research on the house structure, the immediate vicinity, the level of burglaries recorded in the area, as well as the efficiency of local police units should be conducted by house owners before deciding on which security system to deploy. It is also important that homeowners are aware of common preventive security measures that will help increase the level of security in any residence.
These include always locking doors and windows whenever there is no occupant in house and relocating structures such as trees and outbuildings that provide either a hiding place for burglars or additional access to the house’s entryways.