Burglar Alarm Systems

Here are a couple of crime-related statistics as revealed bythe FBI:

  • In 2012, there were more than two million burglaries in the US

  • Almost 60 percent of burglaries involved forcible entry while 33.9 percent were unlawful entries.

  • Victims of burglaries suffered an estimated $4.7 billion in property losses, bringing the average dollar loss per burglary at $2,230.

Keeping these figures in mind, millions across the United States now depend on burglar alarms as an effective way to protect. They’ve become a common sight at gas stations, grocery stores, malls and private homes. When it comes to selecting a burglar alarm system, you can choose from a wide variety of off-the-shelf as well as customized security options. Burglar alarms are designed to detect intruders and could even notify the authorities. Some of the burglar alarms are silent while others could wake up the entire neighborhood. The reason behind this - if the owner for some reason cannot get to a phone, neighbors could notify the authorities instead.

Burglar Alarm Systems
Burglar Alarm Systems

Components of Burglar Alarms

Burglar alarm systems consist of a number of interconnected devices. They usually have the following components, though they may vary across companies and typically come with different specifications.

  • Input Devices

    These sensors detect intrusions. They can be installed insidedoors and windows and come with glass break sensors and motion detectors.
  • 24-hour Input Devices

    Special sensors are activated whether the alarm is switched on or off. These include fire and smoke sensors, and water leak sensors.
  • Signal Devices

    These indicate that the alarm has been activated. They include strobe lights, horns and sirens.
  • Alarm Panel

    It serves as the central nervous system. It consists of a power supply, circuit board, wireless control and a phone line connection.
  • Keypads

    These are used to switch the alarm on or off. With their help, you can enable locks and security codes according to personalized settings.

See:How Burglars Pick a House?

Burglar Alarm Companies

Depending on the requirements of the client, many companies provide tailor made security solutions, while others specialize in off the shelf equipment. Since there are many companies out there promising maximum protection, it is important to rate them. Some factors that should go into evaluating a burglar alarm company are as follows,

  • Consumer Interest- the volume of visitors for each company.

  • Consumer Feedback (Rating)– users rate the security system, they can also write reviews.

  • Call Center Wait Time- the average time before reaching a customer service representative.

  • Video Monitoring–the availability of the remote video monitoring option.

  • Licensing- if the security provider is licensed by the appropriate regulatory bodies or not.

  • Equipment Warranty- equipment warranty in case of damage or a malfunction.

  • 24/7 Monitoring–Round the clock protection with live agents standing by to assist.

  • Mobile App– receiving reports and status updates on mobile.

It is important to do your homework before settling for a burglar alarm system. A fail safe way could be to check how the Better Business Bureau rates them. Having an effective burglar alarm system could essentially mean being safe and not sorry.



Q:What to do when burglar alarm goes off?

A:The first thing you need to do is verify if it is not a false alarm. Check what information is displayed on the control panel. Don't put yourself in danger, though, trying to figure this out. If you believe it is a genuine threat, then secure yourself and your family before calling the police. Secondly, you need to keep your phone handy. Your alarm company's monitoring service might call you. If you can't figure out why the alarm went off, and your company hasn't called, you could call them to find out what information they received. Or you can call the police for assistance. At this point you'll need to make a judgment call. Whether it was an actual threat or a malfunction, you may need some repairs and reprogramming. This is after the reason for the burglar alarm trigger has been determined. Get in touch with your alarm company to sort it out.

Q:How to Buy a Burglar Alarm?

A:Buying a burglar alarm is a two step process. First you need to take into account your budget considerations. Once you have decided on the amount you are prepared to spend on burglar alarms, you need to know the types of alarms. These are the two types of alarm systems. Wireless systems use radio waves and may require relatively less effort to install or relocate. On the other hand, these systems, in rare cases might be disrupted by electromagnetic waves transmitted by other gadgets in the house. Wired Alarm systems are more suitable if you are in the process of constructing your house or if your house is prewired for a security system. These systems are also more reliable, since they don't run on batteries and are not affected by other appliances. Once you have decided the type, the next step is to consider the components you want. This would include a wide set of options such as sirens, sensors, magnetic switches, ultrasonic detectors, microwave detectors and security cameras. Determine the needs of your home while keeping in mind what equipment is provided by which company. A good know-how of the security systems market will help you buy the most appropriate security system for your home.

Q:How do I report a noisy burglar alarm?

A:There could be two situations in which a burglar alarm might be causing this nuisance: The volume is too high, or the neighbor's alarm went off and no one is doing anything about it. In the first scenario, try contacting your alarm company for information on how to do the following: • Lower the volume • Reduce the time for which the alarm sounds before silencing automatically • Change the tone of the alarm to something less sharp or high pitched Knowing these things will help you control any noise that might be irritating. In the second scenario, you should try getting in touch with your neighbors if the noise bothers you too much and request them to turn the volume down. And on the off-chance your neighbors aren't home, and their alarm goes off, be a good neighbor and call the authorities, just to be on the safe side. Having said all of the above, you should understand that alarm systems are designed to deter burglars, startle them and scare them away. Being noisy actually helps in deterrence.

Q:How has home security changed in the past 10 years?? Technology?s place in those changes?

A:Technological advancements have opened up new and simple ways for you to keep your home safe. You can now unlock doors and windows using your iPad or tablet. You can use a tripwire technology, which triggers for pictures to be immediately taken and uploaded online. Another smart technology advancement is the light turning memory device, which analyses your pattern for turning lights on and off on days when you are home, and causes the lights to turn on and off in the same way when you are not home.

Q:Does the alarm sound a siren when activated by an intruder?

A:Depends on the type of alarm. Some alarm systems are designed to sound a high pitched siren, while others use strobe lights as a sign of warning to the burglar. There are also some alarms systems, which do not sound an alarm but instead send a notification to your phone as soon as your system is activated. The choice between these options will depend on your preferences.

Q:How long does it take for my security system to notify my provider of an intrusion?

A:Most companies do not give a lot of time when the alarm is first activated to when you personally disarm it. If you haven't disarmed it in this given time frame, the monitoring center would receive your information in about 10 seconds or as specified by your home security company.

Q:I rent an apartment. Should I still consider DIY burglar alarm systems?

A:Since you're going to be living in this apartment, it would be a wise decision to invest in a home security system of some sort. Talk to your landlord first, since in most rented properties, you are not allowed to alter the premises. Because of this, you might not be able to install a wired security system since it requires rewiring of the electrical network and drilling into walls. Consider buying either a wireless or a DIY burglar alarm system.

Q:What is a DIY burglar alarm and how does it work?

A: A DIY burglar alarm may work like any other conventional burglar alarms, but with the added benefit of using sensors and components that you consider necessary. You are in charge of setting up your own system, doing away with the need for a professional and customizing the system to suit your own house's requirements instead of getting a one-size-fits-all package. Simply unpack the starter kit, read the instructions, plug in your control panel and place the sensors wherever you want the area to be covered.

Q:Will the DIY burglar alarm systems notify police?

A: DIY burglar alarms may allow the police to be notified if you go for the third-party monitoring option. While self-monitoring is an option with DIY alarms in order to keep costs down, third-party monitoring may allow round-the-clock services, which notifies the police if it is an emergency, and that too after confirming that it is not a false alarm.

Q:Do I have to pay to have my burglar alarm monitored by a security company?

A:Most security companies provide monitoring services in return for a monthly or annual fee. Monitoring services can give you a peace of mind and offer better protection, but come with a cost. The fee will vary from company to company. You can search online and compare costs to select a monitoring service company that fits your budget and security needs.

Q:Does the burglar alarm work when power is out?

A:That depends on the alarm system you have purchased. Most alarm systems now have a built in power back up system. There are also systems which monitor the battery levels for your alarm system and notify you when the battery is low and needs to be changed. On average, a battery has a life of 3-5 years.

Q:How can I check which types of burglar alarm system components I have?

A:That depends on the type of system you are purchasing and the company you are getting it from. In most cases, your alarm system will come with a manual describing the contents and their installation procedures. you can also ask the alarm company's installer to describe to you the components your alarm system.

Q:How often do the batteries need to be changed on my burglar alarm?

A:In most cases, after 3-5 years you would be advised to change the batteries. Before replacing, check your system to find out which type of batteries it requires. The volts and amp-hours rating on the battery should be noted before you go to the market. The new batteries should be the same voltage rating and at least the same or higher amp-hour rating.

Q:How long does it take an alarm company to notify authorities of a break in when alarm is tripped?

A:The home alarm system is connected to a call centre. When the operator receives a notification that the alarm has been activated, the operator tries to reach the homeowner on different phone numbers. If the homeowner verifies that a burglary has actually taken place, then the operator calls the police department. The amount of time varies depending on the response time of your security company, but generally it takes 10 to 20 minutes.

Q:if my burglar alarm goes off, what is the chance someone was trying to break into my house?

A:In order to find out if someone tried to break into your house or it was a false alarm, you would need to check if the alarm was triggered because of incorrect key codes, if you ran into the house without disarming the system, or your pet moved into the sight of a motion detector. If you are unable to find the cause, it could be a real intruder.

Q:Why does my burglar alarm sensor make a high pitched noise?

A:A burglar alarm can make a high pitched noise for a number of reasons. The alarm may need cleaning or there may be an issue of wiring or overheating. It is better to seek help from a professional electrician to find out the real cause of this unusual sound. Your security company can also assist you in solving this issue.

Q:Why didnt the alarm or the surveillance camera work when the burglar broke into my home?

A:There could be a number of reasons why the alarm and surveillance camera didn't work when a burglar entered in your house. It could be the faulty installation of the alarm system or you could have forgotten to activate the alarm while leaving home. It is also a possibility that the burglar turned off your alarm system or entered from a place where alarm wasn't installed.

Q:How effective are burglar alarms in deterring burglars?

A:A number of factors come into play when you are assessing the effectiveness of a burglar alarm. For example, if your area is more populated, a burglar alarm will be helpful in deterring burglars. Besides, you will need to know how quick is the response rate of your security company, in case of an emergency. Plus, you would need to consider the correct installation of the system to make sure that the alarm works when it is needed.

Q:Is a cheap home security system really sufficient to prevent a burglary at my apartment?

A:When talking about home security systems, their price is determined by a number of factors. A 'cheap' home security system presumably would be one which offers you the most basic protections for your home and for a limited area. Prices for home security systems go up depending upon the size of the area that they are monitoring, the amount of sensors/equipment being used, the amount of add-on's, etc. Depending on the size of your apartment, a basic home security system may be sufficient to prevent burglaries. However, you would need to do some research and it would be beneficial for you to get a consultation from a home security provider who can assess the situation and recommend the best home security for your space.

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