Burglars Beware...This House is Armed!

Our homes are our sanctuaries and

the thought of someone breaking in is

disturbing to say the least. But each year

there are more than 2 million burglaries

in the United States according to the

National Burglar and Fire Alarm

Association (NBFAA). By taking

precautions and installing a burglar

alarm, you may be saving yourself the

heartache of dealing with the effects of a

burglary. Homes without security

systems are three times more likely to be

targeted than homes with security

devices"and we're not talking about a

junkyard dog guarding your home.

While we are enjoying the summer

months vacationing with our families,

burglars are also taking pleasure in what

June, July, and August can offer"no one

at home. According to FBI statistics,

those three months tend to see a 10 to

18 percent increase in home burglaries.

Approximately 28 percent of burglaries

are made without force, meaning that a

door or window was left open, and can

be easily remedied by locking up your

home when you leave even momentarily.

For the other 72 percent of burglaries, an

alarm system can be a huge deterrent.

Common burglar alarm systems

consist of a control panel, a security

keypad, magnetic contacts for windows

and doors, a siren and a battery for a

back-up power source. Other, more

advanced, security items include motion

sensors and sensors that detect the

sound waves from breaking glass, closedcircuit

TV monitoring and panic buttons

that notify the authorities in an


One of the most important elements

of modern security systems is two-way

monitoring versus an alarm that makes a

lot of noise but doesn't do anything else,

also known as a "local" alarm. Alarm

systems can be connected via telephone

lines to a 24-hour monitoring station. If

your system detects a break-in or a fire

alarm, the monitoring company will alert

the proper authorities as to your

problem"leaving you peace of mind

while you are away from home.

How much is a system and what

do I get?

NBFAA estimates that homeowners

spend more than $15 billion on

professionally installed security devices

and services each year. Individual system

costs can range from about $100 and up

depending on the alarm system.

Available monitoring services are

often closely linked with the system you

have installed in your home, so before

you install a system, make sure you can

get the type of monitoring service you

prefer. Some alarm companies outsource

their monitoring to out-of-state

companies while others have highly

trained local staff to monitor your alarm

system. Matthew Foster of FSA, Inc. a

Brinks Home Security Authorized Dealer

in Reno, Nevada also recommends that

you find a monitoring company with a

back up station to answer alarm calls.

That way, if one call center has a phone

system malfunction, the secondary call

center can handle any alarms that occur.

There are a lot of items to consider

when finding the alarm system that is

suitable to your needs. You should ask


- Is the system easy to use?

- Does the system come with a

maintenance plan to cover parts

and service?

- Does the system have a rechargeable

backup battery?

- Am I satisfied with a "localized" system

or do I want to be connected to a ULListed,

24-hour monitoring center?

- Who does the monitoring, and what is

their experience and reputation?

- Do you want your system to protect

you against fire and carbon monoxide

poisoning as well as burglary?

"Crunch the numbers before you

purchase a system," says Matthew Foster.

Sometimes it is far cheaper to lease the

system than it is to purchase the system.

And make sure to check the cost of

moving. Does the company offer free

installation at a new home or do they

charge for time and labor and product all

over again? "Make sure the monitoring

rates are fixed," cautions Foster. "You may

have signed a contract that contains fine

print allowing the rates to be increased if

another monitoring company takes over

the contract."

Current security system technologies

make it easy for homeowners to install

their own systems. And while this can

save you money, it is much better to hire

a professional to install your security

system. With professional installation you

can be assured that the system will

function properly and follows local

building codes. When looking for a

professional, follow these


- Ask your friends, family, neighbors,

and insurance agent for referrals.

The Builders Association of Northern

Nevada can also offer some company

names and contact information.

- Call several companies and ask if their

employees are regularly trained and

certified by NBFAA and vendors.

- Contact your police department's

crime prevention department,

consumer protection agencies and

the Better Business Bureau for an

installer's work history information.

- Ask the installation company

representative to provide inspection

information, recommendations, and

price quote in writing.

Whatever system you choose, you will

be purchasing peace of mind from

burglaries. Now you can enjoy the

summer months while putting a damper

on the fun burglars are having in your



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