Jan15

Self-Monitored Security Systems Not Always Foolproof

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by Elli on January 15, 2013

In today’s safety-oriented environment, there is no shortage of devices and systems out there to protect your home and belongings. You can go the route of installing your own system and self-monitoring what is going on, or go with a company like ADT that can provide 24/7 monitoring of your system, helping ensure that your home is watched whether you’re there or not.

There are serious downfalls to having a self-monitored system in your home. A couple in Raleigh, North Carolina recently had their home burglarized while they were away for the weekend, despite having eight security cameras installed around their home. The couple had video of the break-in, which they posted on YouTube in hopes of tracking down the criminals, with no luck.

While a total of $1,500 in cash and electronics were stolen from the home, something far more valuable and difficult to replace was stolen as well: peace of mind and the comforting feeling of knowing that their home was vulnerable. What can you learn from the mistakes of this couple and their thoughts about utilizing a self-monitored security system? Read on.

Lack of Support: With a self-monitored system, if you aren’t keeping an eye on things, no one is. That means instead of having a security system, you have an expensive set of cameras that are doing little to protect you.

With a monitored security system, there are always a second set of eyes keeping an eye on your home. Should someone trip a sensor, break a window or gain access through other unauthorized means, it’s detected and dealt with in a timely manner. No one wants home movies of their house being ransacked with nothing being done.

No Guarantee of Arrest: If you rely on self-monitoring your home and something happens, there is no guarantee that any legal action can be taken. You may have footage showing the criminals in action and even pick out details that can identify them, but there is no certainty that they will be apprehended and brought to justice. While having a monitored system cannot guarantee deterrence of the criminals either, the odds are higher, as police are notified the instant that something goes awry.

Slow Response: In the case of the aforementioned burglary, the robbers had the run of the place, looking around for what to take for over 15 minutes. With a self-monitored system, you’re relying on you seeing an incident when it takes place or one of your neighbors catching it and happens to try and do something to prevent it.

The majority of the time, especially in today’s two income households when no one is home during the day, neither of the mentioned possibilities are likely to happen. If that’s the case, there is no dispatch for police or fire services, leaving you out in the proverbial cold.

Major Flaws in Coverage: Let’s be honest, you can’t watch your cameras 24-hours a day and even if you have the system programmed to notify you if something happens, there are times that you aren’t available. You could be in a meeting for work, in an area that cell phone reception is unavailable or even have the phone on your battery die out. In addition, you could be out of town or asleep when the message comes in, leaving you completely unable to do anything about it.

Maintenance: If you have a self-monitored system, you’re the one that is stuck doing any maintenance required on the system. That can include checking and replacing faulty motion detectors, door and window sensors, malfunctioning keypads or any number of other possible issues. If you don’t program your system to run daily self-tests, some of these may fail to work without you knowing about it, automatically making your home more susceptible to being burglarized.

Safety: Perhaps the biggest issue and one that may be easily overlooked is that of safety. Most people think about having their security systems in place for when no one is home, whether to keep an eye on their home and belongings, their pets or just for peace of mind.

However, what about those times when there is someone at home? Say you’re at work and your wife and children are at home when something happens. Would you want to roll the dice with a self-monitored system and hope that you’ll see what’s happening and respond in time? However, with a monitored security system, the authorities can be notified right away and emergency services dispatched, helping keep you and your family safer.

What do you think the biggest downfall of self-monitored alarms is?