Straight Answers

Why don’t some people buy home security systems?  What reasons do they give?  Are they good reasons?  Or not?

Here’s what we sometimes hear, and what we say:

“We live in the best neighborhood.”

People in the best neighborhoods get robbed.

“I didn’t know home security systems could monitor fires breaking out, or water damage.”

They can.

“We have one of the best police and fire departments in our area.”

That’s great.  But who is letting them know that your house is being robbed? A home security system is needed to send that message to those people — immediately!

“It’s expensive!  We really can’t afford it.”

Most people nowadays manage to afford cable, broadband Internet, cell phones, text messaging, long-distance regular phone service, $4 a gallon gas prices, car payments, mortgage payments, credit card payments, and much, much more.  Our systems cost much less — sometimes literally thousands of dollars less — than any of the above.

If you can text, you can afford a home security system.

“It’s hard to use.”

It can be as simple as pressing 1-2-3 on your telephone.  Believe me, if you can program a microwave or a record a TV show, you can set a home security system.

“I don’t want to waste my time with false alarms.”

Good modern home security systems are just about fool-proof.  Most false alarms occur because of the client’s lack of training. Or because they don’t show a friend or relative how to use it properly when the system owners are away.  Less than 2% of false alarms are due to equipment failure — most of the cases we see are just someone forgetting to close the door tightly, and letting the wind accidentally blow it open.

With a little instruction, false alarms turn out to be rare to nonexistent.

And we don’t leave a home or business until they get that instruction, and are confident in using the system.

“I don’t really have any valuables or high-ticket items worth protecting.”

Some people really don’t think they have any thing to lose. They forget that you can lose more than property — you can lose pets, family members, and even your life.

“I have a pistol or rifle permit.  I can take care of things myself.”

What if a burglar breaks in when you’re not at home?

And what if they break in when you are at home, and you don’t realize it till they’ve reached your gun first?

What if you shoot and kill or injure the burglar, and the burglar or their surviving family sues you for the use of excessive force?

What if your child gets his hand on it?

We don’t necessarily oppose having a firearm in the house — after all, some cities require that any such weapon requires a security system in your home to ensure both homeowner safety, and also to help ensure that burglars don’t steal the firearm and sell or use them.

But, bottom line?  Guns don’t keep homes safe.  Home security systems do.

“I have a dog.”

Will your dog call the police or fire department when anything happens?

“All my neighbors are retired and are constantly looking out for my home.  We have a Neighborhood Watch program in place.”

But are they really watching out for your place 24 hours a day?  It’s great to have a neighborhood watch and good neighbors, but, in our experience, I’ve found that many times when an alarm siren activates, no one pays attention to it. Most people think it’s a false alarm.

When was the last time you heard a car alarm, or an alarm by a home or a place of business, or even a bank.  What did you do?  Immediately take out your cell and call 911?  In most cases, most people do nothing.

“My husband, or wife, or next door neighbor works for the police department.”

You may know that your spouse or neighbor is a police officer.  Burglars don’t necessarily know that.  Some burglars don’t care — they may be mentally ill; many are on drugs; smarter, professional burglars may think that police officers can be called away for long late night hours, and that that will leave their homes more vulnerable.  Some police officials make enemies of criminals, who want to get even.

I work in security, and I like and respect police officers, and have security systems in many of their homes.  But if I were a police officer, I would be especially worried about my family and loved ones.  And if I knew, or lived near, a police officer, I wouldn’t draw the conclusion that nothing could ever happen to me, or to my home.  I’d ask that officer’s advice on whether I should get a home security system or not.  And I’d bet the answer would be yes.

“I’m insured.”

Insurance is good.  But insurance can’t restore you to life, or take away memories of rape or molestation, or return irreplaceable possessions, or stop the ongoing problems stemming from identity theft.

And — so long as we’re on the topic of insurance — you might just possibly pay less for your insurance, if you had a home security system protecting you.

These are some of the things I say to people when they ask me about home security systems.  You may want to talk to me in person or on the phone about other home security questions of your own.  Please do.

I’m Donald T. Noga, and you can reach me at 585-342-4480.

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