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Home Security Alarms

Burglar alarms contribute more so to the internal security of your home and will be tackled in detail in the internal security section of this guide.  However, as we are currently talking about external wall fittings which can deter burglars then it is appropriate to mention them in that context as this stage.

If a burglar could choose between burgling a house with a burglar alarm or a house without out then in all likelihood they would choose the one without.  Combined with a garden and perimeter which suggest to burglars that a house has security conscious owners, a burglar alarm can add a highly-visible and highly-effective deterrent.

Burglar alarms are common fixtures on the vast majority of homes in the UK.  One of the key benefits they provide, as discussed earlier, is the visual deterrent they provide.  Seeing that a home is equipped with a burglar alarm can make a burglar think twice about targeting it.  However, a burglar alarm must be used properly to be truly effective.  Here we explain:

Moving into a house where a burglar alarm is installed

You move into a house and a burglar alarm is already installed.  Great! But what questions do you need to be asking?  It might seem obvious, but a burglar alarm that work properly is much more effective than one which does not.  Speak with the previous homeowners to find out if the burglar alarm has ever been faulty, or whether it is in top working order.  What has triggered it in the past?  How many times has it been triggered?  Having a good working knowledge of your burglar alarm is important.  You may wish to change the burglar alarm code, after all it is not impossible that there are more people than just the previous occupants who are aware of what it is, and therefore, there is potential for somebody with malicious intentions to be in possession of that information.

It is also important to know which parts of the property the burglar alarm covers.  Does it, for example, cover all the entrance points?  You expect that it would, but that might not be the case.  For example, if a burglar alarm was installed prior to the addition of a conservatory to the house then that room may not be covered, and neither will be the external door that lead to it from the garden.  So make sure that your burglar alarm covers all of your entrance points, don’t just presume.

Burglar alarm options: which is best?

There are number of burglar alarms available on the market.  You can spend your money on an audible only alarm, or you could invest in a monitored alarm.  Even within the bracket of monitored alarms there are several options.  Typically, monitored alarms which contact a control centre when they are triggered provide the highest levels of security.  They are however, the most expensive type of alarms.  Here we outline the different types of burglar alarms which are available for your home and the levels of protection which they can provide.

Audible-only alarms

There alarms are the type of alarms with which you are likely to be most familiar.  With a box on the outside of the house providing a strong and highly-visible deterrent to burglars, they will detect entry to a home and, after a warning period within which the code can be entered to disable the alarm, will sound out to alert others to the intrusion.  These are alarm are effective in that they are likely to cause a burglar to flee.  However, a problem with this type of alarm is that, as they are heard to sound quite regularly, they are now often ignored as people presume that a burglary is not actually taking place and that, instead, there is a fault with the alarm.  This has, to some degree, diminished their effectiveness.

Auto-dialler alarms

Auto-dialler alarms connect to your alarm panel and call out to a selected list of contacts when activated.  With these alarms you record a voice message which is sent out to contacts in the event that your alarm is triggered.  The first recipient of the message can stop subsequent contacts being contacted by inputting a code into their phone.  If they do not respond then the next number is contacted.  These alarms enjoy the advantage of being more likely to illicit a response that a simple audible-only alarm.  However, if the the alarm is set up to contact people who live far from your home some of the effectiveness may be diminished, as they will be unable to reach your property quickly.  It is possible for some auto-dialler alarms to send different types of message depending on the cause.  So, for example, a message could indicate a burglary, or a message could be sent to indicate a fire.  For these alarms to work it is necessary for your property to have a landline.

GSM diallers

GSM operate in the same way as auto-diallers, but they are able to communicate over mobile networks.  Therefore, they can send pre-recorded voice messages of text messages to contacts you select.  For these systems to work they will need to use a sim card, and you will need to ensure that the sim card is either on a monthly contract or is continually topped up.  If it is not then it will not be able to contact your chosen numbers in the  event that the alarm is triggered.  If there is a bad mobile signal in your area then this could also hinder a GSM dialler.

Monitored alarm systems

Monitored alarm systems are in many ways the most advanced type of alarm systems.  They work in a similar manner to auto diallers, but instead of contacting friends or relatives they contact an alarm receiving centre when they are activated.  The alarm receiving centre responds to  signals sent by the monitored alarm systems, and can consequently contact nominated key holders or the police, depending on what sort of package you invest in.  These systems use their own phone lines, incoming call on which must be barred to prevent burglars calling the line to engage it and stop it calling out.  As such, it is necessary to pay for line rental, and it is also necessary to pay an annual fee to the alarm receiving centre.  The key advantage of these is alarms is that they are never ignored.  it is possible to have systems which operate using land lines, and it is possible to have systems which operate across mobile networks.  It is even possible to have systems which use your home broadband to contact an alarm receiving centre.

Added security can be provided by investing in a monitored alarm with a dual signalling path rather than a single pathway.  This means that if the primary path, for example a landline, is unable to be operated then a second backup path is used to contact the alarm receiving centre.  This makes them effective security tools, even against the most organised burglars who may attempt to cut lines to stop alarm systems dialling out.  Some monitored alarms can even record the area of the house that has been broken into and send that information to the alarm receiving centre.  Despite their impressive performance, however, it is worth saying that advanced monitored alarms can be very expensive, and as such, are not for everyone.

NEXT: Home Security Locks

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