Home is where the heart is, so no matter where you make your home, or what type of home you live in, you want to feel safe and protected. A home security system can help keep valuables and loved ones safe, but not all systems have the same features and protections, and some companies leave out some key information when they're giving you the sales pitch.
Here are a few things to consider about your security system that the security company might have forgotten to mention.
You May Need to Buy a Whole System
All the bells and whistles may make you safer than a system with fewer components, or they might be unnecessary extras. If you can’t feel safe without a camera installed at every door and window, then by all means, do what you need to do to make sure you are comfortable in your home.
Just know that you have the option to assemble security systems piece by piece, connecting whatever smart devices you like.
You Might Have to Sign a Lengthy Contract
If a monthly fee sounds low, make sure you find out how long you're locked into paying it before you sign the dotted line.
You Could Get Hacked
If you’ve opted for a smart system, good for you! We love how smart technology has made our lives easier. With smart security systems we can now monitor and make adjustments while away on business or vacation. But with that convenience comes some potentially serious risks.
Data breaches can compromise your personal information. Without strong passwords—or even with them—a savvy intruder can hack into your system. They can access cameras, watching you when you’re most vulnerable without you even knowing.
Companies Might be Keeping Your Data
Security companies might not be tracking mouse clicks, but they do have access to your habits, like how often you’re setting the alarm, when you’re home, what time you leave in the morning, etc.
Any data you opt to share with your smart security system is information that can indicate patterns in your daily routine, which can then be used to track when you’ll be away and vulnerable to a break-in.
Neighbors Might Think You’re Nosy
To you, it’s just a way to feel safe, but to your neighbor, it could be an invasion of privacy. A security camera installed in your backyard can become a serious point of contention between you and other people who get caught in its field of view.
States vary on their stances toward this type of claim, with some stating it's legal as long as it’s on your property, and other places making security recordings illegal across the board. Depending on the state you live in, this can leave you liable to a lawsuit.
Your Data Can be Used in a Court Case
If you’ve got cameras set up outside and a crime happens that may have been recorded by your camera, you may be asked to provide the recordings. Much as we’d like to believe that our data is ours, unless you’ve completely removed yourself from the grid, that’s unlikely to be strictly the case.
Safety and security in the home is something we all want. It’s certainly achievable with the tools and systems available to us, but staying aware of the potential failures of security is also important to keeping you safe.
You Should Cover the Security Basics First
Before you invest in a high-end security package with a two year contract, install the basics to help deter potential burglars from entering your property.
Adequate lighting to brighten up those spots where someone can gain access can be a valuable deterrent. If you don’t want to have the feeling that you’re being showcased at a carnival, install motion detectors so they only go on when something moves.
Deadbolts and secure locks are (wait for it) key components to making a home feel safe. Of course, they do no good if they’re not engaged. Even if you live in a community where doors are commonly left unlocked, why take that risk? The fewer barriers between a burglar and your valuables, the easier for them to get in and out.
Speaking of valuables, please don’t keep them in the master bedroom. That’s just too obvious. Even if they’re locked up in a safe, the master is one of the first places an intruder will go to find the things that are precious to the homeowner. Find a clever spot, but not too clever. You’re not trying to hide it from yourself.
Close your windows and blinds. It’s fine to bring in the daylight, but once the sun goes down, and things start to creep, you don’t want someone peeking into your windows while you sleep to see if you have items worth taking.
Let your neighbors know when you’re out of town. They can help keep an eye on the place. If you don’t have a good relationship with them, or if you simply don’t trust them enough to let them know your house is now available to be ransacked, a house sitter is a good option. Otherwise, lights set on timers or smart lighting that you can control while you’re away will at least give the illusion that you’re home.