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Guaranteed Safety?

Do Security Systems Guarantee Safety?

ABC’s "20/20” recently aired a special on home security alarms that raised the question "Do home security systems guarantee safety?". The report was based on a home owner who recently purchased a security system. To answer the question, "20/20" enlisted the help of two former thieves Jon Douglas rainey and Matt Johnston, the hosts of "It Takes a Thief" on the discovery channel. They encountered no problem defeating the alarm system and entering the home.

To read to the story:

Every consumer should be made aware of what their particular system can and cannot detect. Discussing these issues with your salesperson and/or your security company will give you a better understanding and a realistic expectation on your purchase.

Point #1

Door and window contacts are only activated if the door or window is opened. Entry into the fore mentioned home was made by breaking the glass in a basement window and crawling through the window without opening the window.
  • Security screens could have been used.  a security screen will activate if (a) the screen is removed or if the screen material is cut or broken.
  • Motion detectors should be installed within the interior of the home or business to provide a second line of defense.
  • Glass break detectors could be used to detect the breaking of glass.

Point #2

Because only one motion detector was installed (they cased this home prior to breaking in to see where the motion detector was) and in a poor position the burglar was able to move throughout the home without being detected.
  • Motion detectors should be installed in a manner that ensures activation and traps potential thieves from having free movement throughout the home.
  • A motion detector should be located in all areas that you are interested in protecting. For example, the master bedroom, stairways, hallways, where you have your stereo and tv, and one of the most important areas you should protect is the area near your alarm panel. (also see point #3)

Point #3

Rainey states the he could have easily dismantled the alarm system by disconnecting a couple of wires. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of protecting a home or business.
  •  Never purchase an alarm system that the keypad and control panel are an integrated unit. (Click here see our article on this)
  • Always consider installing a motion detector that prevents a thief from walking right up to your alarm control panel.  Whether your control panel is installed in a closet, your basement, or some other location.
  • Always consider installing tamper switches.  A tamper switch activates the alarm system is the door to the control panel is opened.
  • So far we discussed ensuring that you alarm system is activated. Now consider ensuring that your monitoring station can receive the alarm signal by protecting the communications link. 
    • Often the telephone junction box is located outside your home or business and is an easy target. Consider having it moved inside your home or business.
    • Install a tamper switch on the phone line box.
    • Add a backup communications devices (e.g. cellular backup, TCP/IP network, or similar device).
One of our basic needs is to protect our families. A properly designed and correctly installed security system can provide a reasonable step towards accomplishing this. An Accent Alarms security system has some of the most advanced features in the industry to not only help protect your home and/or businesss, but the people that are most important to you. For example:
  • Ambush Codes: an ambush code is a code that you can use in the event that you are forced to enter your home or business to disarm your security system. The alarm system is disarmed as normal, however a manually activated panic is sent to the monitoring station, who reports this to the police department. Police departments treat this type of alarm with extreme high priority, realizing that they likely have a "hostage" situation at hand.
  • Hold Up/Panic Buttons: can be either hardwired or wireless to manually activate your alarm system.
  • Peace of mind when returning to your home. Do you ever feel like you need to sneak around your home when you get home to make sure nobody has been or is waiting for you? With a Accent Alarms security alarm you will know immediately upon returning to your home if the alarm was activated.
  • Peace of mind while you sleep:
    • Home: for when you are home and want the perimeter of your home protected.
    • Away: for when you are not at home and need your entire system protecting.
    • Sleep: for when you are sleeping in your home and want a high level of protection but turning off protection in the room(s) you are currently occupying.
  • Networking Monitoring provides one of the most reliable and the quickest signal transmission (milliseconds vs. minutes). Most alarm systems only check the phone lines once a month, whereas a network connection can be programmed to "check-in" as frequently as once a minute! Compare that to a panel that "checks-in" once every 43,000 minutes!

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