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5 Things to Know Before Signing Up with Guardian Protection by BestCompany.com The demand for home security is only growing — the market is expected to increase to a whopping $4.3 billion globally by 2022. Are you one of the thousands of people looking for a security solution for your home right now? If you are, you might have heard of Guardian Protection. In business since 1950, the company serves residents of Delaware, D.C., Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia. And through its decades of experience, it has thousands of positive reviews. But what else should you know about Guardian Protection before you buy? Let’s take a look at some points that may move the needle for you. Guardian Protection uses an arsenal of high-tech tools from quality manufacturers Guardian uses some state-of-the-art tech. Some competitors are still using outdated products that feel clunky and don’t operate effectively, or worse yet, devices that are more susceptible to hacking. Guardian sources its tech for third-party manufacturers and includes products like the SkyBell, which has received many positive reviews. It’s one of the most secure video doorbells money can buy. If you’re looking into its video doorbell, Guardian uses the 888 SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt with Z-Wave Technology by Kwikset, known for its easy setup and re-keying system. For the backbone of your Guardian Protection system, the security itself, the company uses products from trusted manufacturers like Qolsys and DSC. While you’ll find most Alarm.com service providers using the same brands, Guardian has picked some of the best products from these companies’ product lines. Guardian Protection is an Alarm.com service provider Guardian Protection supplies this ecosystem of high-tech tools by being a service provider for Alarm.com. Alarm.com is a white-label service that powers other companies like Link Interactive and Uxari, as well as many small-business home security companies that work in a local region. In addition to access to Alarm.com’s product ecosystem, its service providers also have access to co-branded marketing material and a mobile app. Guardian Protection is one of the biggest providers of Alarm.com services. The company boasts a 30-second response time Guardian Protection’s monitoring center responds to an alarm within 30 seconds. You have the option to cancel a false alarm, but if you really need the help, Guardian Protection’s response time is fast when every second counts. It takes an average of seven minutes from when an alarm is initially triggered to the time a monitoring center alerts authorities, so the quicker the monitoring center is, the better. You can choose from 9 package options You may be holding out on home security because many providers set you up with a plan that includes products you don’t need. On the other hand, you may want to create an automated smart home in addition to creating a security system, or you’re looking for extra products to secure your home and some companies don’t have enough options. Thankfully, Guardian Protection has several packages to choose from that can match your budget and household needs: Security Products Smart Home Products Monitoring Products Bachelor(ette) Pad 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector N/A 1 video doorbell1 Guardian IQ2 panel Burglar Buster 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 glass break detector1 110db siren 1 smart light module 1 indoor camera1 outdoor camera1 Guardian IQ2 panel Family First 5 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector1 CO detector 1 smart door lock 1 indoor camera1 outdoor camera1 video doorbell1 Guardian IQ2 panel Frequent Flyer 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector 1 smart light module1 smart door lock1 smart thermostat1 smart garage opener 1 indoor camera1 video doorbell1 Guardian IQ2 panel Healthy (Green) Home 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector1 CO detector1 room temp sensor 1 smart light module1 smart thermostat 1 Guardian IQ2 panel Home Security Essentials 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector N/A 1 Guardian IQ2 panel Pet Parent 3 window/door sensors1 motion detector2 smoke detectors1 CO detector1 room temp sensor 1 smart light module1 smart thermostat1 smart door lock 1 indoor camera1 Guardian IQ2 panel Protect My Parents 1 medical pendant5 window/door sensors2 motion detectors1 smoke detector1 CO detector N/A 1 Guardian IQ2 panel The Works 5 window/door sensors1 motion detector1 smoke detector1 CO detector1 room temp sensor1 glass break detector1 medical pendant1 siren 1 smart light module1 smart door lock1 smart thermostat1 smart garage opener 1 streaming video recorder1 indoor camera1 outdoor camera1 video doorbell1 Guardian IQ2 panel Guardian averages 4.4 stars over 4,700 reviews To give you an idea of how difficult this is to achieve, be aware that most industries average nearly a third of their reviews being one star. With 66 percent of Guardian Protection reviews being five stars, and another 19 percent being four stars, it’s clear that this home security company is producing happy customers. Customer Review: Lori Ann "We did some homework on it and the ratings from people that use Guardian seem to just love it. We thought we would give it a try and I've really been very pleased. The customer service is outstanding and the support so far is really good. The other equipment I've used in the past has been very antiquated and this one is more up-to-date and that's why I like it. It fits me for my lifestyle." Customers rank Guardian Protection highly for service quality, company trustworthiness, and customer service. Customer Review: Philip from Greensboro, North Carolina "Very reasonably priced for the service we get. The technician that worked on our system was really helpful, clear, pleasant, and efficient. We've had really great and immediate service when we've accidentally set the alarm off. It seems to be working really well. The system has not had any problems, it's easy to use and the response time has been incredible in terms of when the alarm was set." And what about how Guardian Protection responds to negative reviews? ReviewTracker found that 53 percent of customers want businesses to respond to reviews within a week. If you read through more of Guardian Protection's customer reviews, you can see that they respond promptly to nearly every review they get, which is an essential part of customer service. Learn More about Guardian Protection Check out Guardian Protection’s profile to learn more about the company, read customer reviews, find contract and cost information, and decide whether Guardian is right for you. Is Guardian Protection Right for Me?
Guest Post by Hilary Thompson The promise of smart tech is convenience, but using it can also, over time, save you a lot of money. But between customer reviews, information from companies themselves, and independent evaluations, it can be hard to figure out what smart tech options are most worth it. Promises made by energy-saving tech companies don’t always turn out to be true (for example, check out concerns about SolarCity, which provides home solar systems). It’s important to figure out not only what types of smart tech devices are best for cost savings, but which models to choose. Every smart home has sensors, but the kind you buy (or don’t buy) will greatly influence the amount of money and energy you save in your home. Check out these seven smart tech choices with specific recommendations for each. Thermostats A smart thermostat is programmable so you can maximize efficiency with heating and cooling, but what’s more, it may include sensors to adjust the temperature in different areas of the house when they’re not being used. This device will learn your habits and make automatic adjustments. Smart thermostats are a good option for anyone who regularly forgets to turn the heat down at night or isn’t sure they’ve made full use of a regular programmable thermostat. The Ecobee smart thermostat has emerged as the best you can buy. Rather than only monitoring the temperature in its own location, this device comes with sensors you can place in different areas of your home so the thermostat can efficiently control temperature in all these zones. Following that, Nest is the most reputable option, second to Ecobee only because it offers compatibility with fewer smart home systems than Ecobee does. Also worth considering: Nest studies have found that users save between 10 and 15 percent on heating and cooling costs, while Ecobee claims that their option can save you up to 23 percent on your energy bill. Light bulbs Another way to reduce the energy bill is with smart light bulbs. These connect via either Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or (less commonly) Bluetooth so you can control lighting from your mobile device, program different lights to turn on or off at certain times, and connect them to sensors so they’ll respond to your movement about the house. Systems that use Zigbee or Wi-Fi are preferable since Bluetooth is less stable. Philips Hue remains the gold standard of smart lighting systems due to extra features in the app — which include routines, sunrise/sunset automation, geofencing, and a vacation mode — as well as integration with a wide range of smart home systems. More affordable but still reliable options are bulb systems from Sengled or Lifx. Sensors Smart home sensors are a must if you’re setting up a smart home system. They can be used with thermostats and lighting to optimize energy use, but also with security systems. Door/window sensors, for instance, will alert you whenever a door or window is opened. This has a dual purpose of providing security as well as helping you monitor airflow and temperature shifts in the home so you don’t lose precious cool or warm air. It’s easy to stick a contact sensor almost anywhere — the fridge, a garage door, a cabinet, and so on—for both energy conservation and safety purposes. You can’t go wrong with Samsung sensors — motion and multipurpose. Sprinklers We sometimes get so focused on energy saving in the home that we forget about another important conservation area: water. If you have a yard or garden, a smart sprinkler will optimize your water use to help reduce your water bill. They’re not the flashiest in smart tech, but they are well worth it. You’ll get the convenience of remote control and scheduling but also a system that will monitor local weather conditions and adjust in real-time. What’s more, a smart sprinkler can provide expert advice based on metrics about exactly how much water your yard needs and what schedule will result in the most absorption and least run-off, which will further reduce water use. The Rachio 3 sprinkler system is widely considered the best option for most people. It offers control over eight zones, integration with many systems, and robust automation abilities. A good runner-up choice for those looking to spend less is the Orbit B-hyve. Leak detectors Leak detectors, unlike some smart tech on this list, don’t do much to save you money on a monthly basis, but they can help you avoid thousands of dollars in repair bills from water damage. Leak sensors placed in key areas such as under washing machines, water heaters, or the kitchen sink will alert you to a new leak long before you’d find it yourself — and before it leads to a bigger problem. The Honeywell Water Leak and Freeze Detector is easy to set up, operating directly with your home’s Wi-Fi. In addition to leaks, it will alert you to freezing temperatures and high humidity levels, which can lead to or be signs of a problem in your pipes. Showerheads A third type of smart home tech that’s a must for conserving water (and reducing your water bill) is a smart shower head. These devices are newer to the market than some other smart tech products, so there’s not a lot of consistency yet in what they each offer. But at a minimum, a smart shower head will monitor the water temperature and pressure to optimize both. Some have a built-in sensor and will pause the flow of water when you step away to lather up. The Moen U Shower is a good option that offers water temperature and flow regulation through app or voice interaction and lets you set a timer to keep your showers short. A more affordable choice, the WaterHawk, includes a built-in hydroelectric motor, so all its features are powered by the water you’re already using rather than extra electricity. Its display will show you how much water you’re using, nudging you to adjust to reduce. Automated shades With all the focus on HVAC systems, it’s easy to forget that passive heating and cooling can make a big difference in your energy costs. The best way to optimize this is with smart shades that provide automation and respond to the position of the sun over the course of a day. (And a nifty bonus feature is that they can help you wake up in the morning.) You have a couple of options when it comes to installing smart blinds: buy a new set or retrofit your existing shades. Somfy and Lutron are well-known names in custom smart shade systems. If you have blinds with a chain raise/lower mechanism, look into Soma, which provides a small unit you attach to the chain that can then be controlled from your mobile device or a smart home system. With all these options (and more we haven’t mentioned), it can be hard to figure out where to start. If you’re setting up an entire smart home system, look for the devices that integrate best with your chosen ecosystem. If you’re not sure where to start with energy-saving products, consider first installing an energy monitor that will give you an overview of where energy is being used in your home and provide conservation tips. As you venture further into the territory of smart tech, you’ll realize there are changes you can make throughout your home to conserve both your cash and natural resources. Home security What many consumers prefer to do with smart home products these days is pair them with a home security system. Most home security companies offer affordable packages that pair top-of-the-line security equipment with home automation products, making your home not only a smarter home but a safer home. Although you can purchase smart home products individually like the products mentioned above, it'll most likely save you money if you purchase them in a bundle with a home security provider, especially if you want more than one smart home product. That way you get more for your money. Hilary Thompson is a freelance writer, small business owner, and mother of two. She loves to write about everything from business to parenting, sleep disorders, tech, and stress. She geeks out on digital marketing trends, weekend yoga, and will likely correct your grammar if given the chance. Coffee is her friend. Smart Home Technology and Home Security Learn more about smart home products and home security by looking at the top-rated companies and their offerings. Learn More
Guest Post by Dan Matthews For decades, we have imagined an autonomous home of the future — a living space that caters to our daily needs with the minimum of input or effort from its human inhabitants. While we’re not quite in Jetsons' territory just yet, the last several years have seen technology that helps us jump a little closer. Smart homes are becoming a practical reality for many of us. We can speak directly to devices and expect an intelligent response. Our TV viewing is not dictated to us by a rigid schedule but personalized based on preferences gleaned from data analysis and machine learning. Our gadgetry is connected, communicating with other devices for our convenience. But with these advantages also come concerns. Cybercrime has become a prevalent aspect of our society, to the extent that we must be vigilant about antiviral software and hack-proofing our digital devices As we move into 2020, it’s time to take a look at the current state of smart homes. What aspects we are already embracing, and what is waiting for us just over the temporal horizon. Just how close are we to the sci-fi robotic homescape? Energy management Some of the most important aspects of current smart home discussions are not necessarily the obvious devices that surround us. Smart home energy strategies are of particular importance. Both in terms of our huge number of electronic items putting pressure on the grid, but also from potential damage to our environment. Thankfully, developers have already begun to tackle this issue by including energy-efficient routines in smart devices. For example, smart washing machines already collect data on the level of dirt in a load and adapt their cycles to provide energy, water, and detergent-efficient cleaning. From an infrastructure standpoint, the government has already begun to recognize the energy consumption problems our smart homes may present. As a result, there are now loans and tax credits available to encourage citizens to adopt energy-efficient measures in their homes. Many of these directly reflect the amount you’ve spent to install energy-saving products and solar or geothermal systems. However, there are limits to which this should be taken into account. In the near future, it is likely we’ll see energy efficiency being adopted by entire smart communities. A trial neighborhood near Birmingham, Alabama, has 62 homes that are connected by high-performance, energy-efficient smart devices. Each home also helps to generate electricity for the neighborhood through solar cells, and a microgrid provides power to the community based on data received regarding its expected consumption. The Internet of Things The internet of things (IoT) has become a huge buzz phrase as of late, due to a rise in the development of traditionally static objects which can connect and share information with each other. In effect, the IoT makes up much of the ecosystem of smart homes, ensuring that menial tasks can be undertaken efficiently through automation without much human interference. While 2020’s average smart home isn’t quite into sci-fi realms, the current state of the IoT is still rather exciting. Robotic vacuum cleaners, like the Roomba, have become a generally affordable item — using smart technology to map the rooms in your home and undertake an automated cleaning schedule. Smart doorbells are becoming popular, recording footage of visitors and sharing the high-definition video to your virtual assistant for you to review before answering the door. Thermostats that learn from your environment, adaptive lighting, and even barbecue grills that regulate cooking are all part of the contemporary IoT. But where is our collection of connected objects headed? In the short-term, we can expect further smart updates of familiar items — development is already underway for an IoT-compatible intercom system. The number of IoT devices in 2020 will reach around 30 billion, and it is predicted to grow to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025. On a grander scale, the IoT is believed to be instrumental in the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), collecting the vast amounts of data needed to make machine learning useful in our homes. Security and cybercrime While most of us enjoy embracing new technology, we have certainly become more wary about security and privacy concerns. As smart devices are integrated into our homes, we must also consider what threats exist and how we can protect ourselves. Cybersecurity is becoming a huge aspect of our digital world, and this must be reflected at home. The most immediate concern for many of us is whether it’s possible for our smart homes to be hacked by unscrupulous actors. This is particularly important as our use of smart home security systems is on the rise, including automated locking and CCTV. A recent study suggests that manufacturers haven’t been especially proactive in addressing security concerns. Moving forward, it is vital that manufacturers hire IoT security experts and deal with potential issues from the start of development. Each of us should also be making intelligent choices about smart devices we welcome onto our lives. We must do our due diligence to keep on top of downloading security updates and researching exactly what data is collected by devices and how this is used. Concerns were recently raised regarding the plan for room mapping data collected by Roombas to be sold to other tech companies. For the majority of us, 2020 is unlikely to be the year that our homes become fully automated. However, there is a rise in consumers implementing elements that will take us closer to technologically immersed living spaces. We are embracing the IoT and paying close attention to the infrastructure that will support our smart ecosystem. However, we must also be careful to address the ongoing security concerns as we progress. Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Protect America is a well-known company that offers security and smart home products and services. Although it's based in Texas, the company services all 50 states. For years, the company has ranked number one on our Best Home Security Companies list, and we're here to talk about why. What keeps the company at its consistent number one spot, even with the security market becoming increasingly more competitive? Customer reviews put the company above its competition. With numbers reaching the thousands, Protect America reviews hold a high average of over 4 stars per review, with 79 percent of all reviews assigned 4 or 5 stars. Five-star reviews alone account for 55 percent of all Protect America reviews. With so many factors that go into customer reviews, it's impressive Protect America holds such a high standard of reviews. When customers leave a review, they rate the company on individual qualities, such as value for your money, company trustworthiness, and customer service. Protect America has an average of at least 3.5 stars for each of these categories. The company is clearly doing something right. So let's break it down. What qualities make Protect America stand out above other home security companies? We took a sample of the company's reviews and determined the common feedback among reviewers. As seen in the infographic above, when we took a sample of Protect America's reviews, there were four positive qualities continually mentioned: Superior customer service High-quality equipment and ease of use Simple DIY installation Affordable pricing Two-thirds of all sampled reviewers cited at least two positive experiences that prompted their review. So the majority of the time, it's not just one of these positive experiences reviewers want to highlight; it's multiple. Superior Customer Service High-Quality Equipment and Ease of Use Simple DIY Installation Affordable Pricing Quick Response Times Detailed Review Responses To better explain customer feedback and why they are impressed with these areas specifically, we'll drill down into each one, as well as add additional points we noticed when studying Protect America reviews. Superior customer service Fifty-seven percent of reviewers mentioned Protect America's superior customer service — that's more than half of every review we sampled. Diving into specific customer reviews, it's apparent the company has an attentive staff, especially during the installation process. Because Protect America has do-it-yourself security systems, customers have to install the system on their own. However, this is not difficult for most customers since the company has a representative guide you through the installation process step by step. On countless occasions, customer reviews noted they appreciated the friendly and patient guidance. Looking at additional Protect America reviews, we noticed customers appreciating Protect America's honesty. Superior customer service means not tricking customers into buying more than they need or want. The ultimate goal for companies should be providing you with all the information you need to make the best purchasing decision for your situation. And based on customer reviews, that's exactly what Protect America does. "She walked me through every step and made sure I understood what I was getting. She wasn't selling me stuff I didn't need. She helped me determine what equipment I needed and if the bandwidth of what I had was sufficient." — Mike, January 6, 2020 If you have a one-bedroom apartment, you aren't going to need as robust of a security system as you would if you had a two-family house. It's refreshing to hear that Protect America isn't the type of company that tries to upsell you even if it's not in your best interest. High-performing customer service also goes hand-in-hand with being transparent with your customers. How many times have you heard someone complain about a company because they didn't provide all of the necessary information before they let the customer purchase the product or service? Unfortunately, this happens too often. Thankfully, the review above presents the opposite situation. A customer noted that Protect America provided more information than necessary, but it was helpful to have the transparency. Most customers would agree that too much information is better than not enough information, and it's an impressive sign that Protect America makes this a priority. High-quality equipment and ease of use Thirty-nine percent of reviewers praised Protect America for not only its high-performing equipment but also its ease of use. You don't need to worry about the technology being too complex because evidently so many of the company's customers appreciate the easy-to-use equipment. Too often you have to sacrifice the quality of equipment for a decent price point, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Protect America. Customers appreciate the high-tech equipment that also includes an affordable price. The company's variety of equipment is also a perk. To give you a better idea of what the company has to offer, here is a breakdown of Protect America's equipment and home security packages. Protect America security system plans Protect America offers three main security plans with the option to upgrade to complete smart home automation. Packages start at $19.99–$42.99 per month and will vary based on the package you select. Copper Plan Silver Plan Platinum Plan Complete Smart Home Automation Standard control panel Standard control panel Standard control panel HD video service 3 Door/window sensors 9 Door/window sensors 14 Door/window sensors Smoke and fire monitoring 1 Motion detector 1 Motion detector 1 Motion detector Smart door lock control 1 Yard sign 1 Yard sign 1 Yard sign Garage door lock control 4 Door/window stickers 4 Door/window stickers 4 Door/window stickers Smart lighting control Protect America equipment Touchscreen control panel that allows you to control your home security system with a sleek design and a touchscreen base. The system is icon-based for ease of use. Sensors you place at the opening of your doors or windows. They are wireless and offer easy installation as well as a five-year battery life. The sensors are also pre-programmed. If a door or window is opened or closed, the sensor will alert your home security system, triggering the alarm. Indoor motion detector that is wireless and easily installable with wall-mount adhesives. The detector includes 25-feet of horizontal coverage and functions through heat emissions but is pet friendly as long as your pet doesn't weigh more than 40 pounds. Doorbell Camera that has 24/7 live HD video feed with infrared night vision and motion-activated alerts. Smoke detector to detect smoke 24 hours a day. Wireless video camera with 720p HD feed that has 30 frames per second and a 60-degree view. The camera also includes night vision with four infrared LEDs that can light up the surrounding 16 feet in front of the camera. The camera also has two-way audio so you can hear through the built-in microphone and talk through the speaker. You can access this with the Protect America app. Medical alert pendant that is worn as a necklace or bracelet and will send an emergency signal to the police if there is an accident. Home automation equipment that includes smart door locks, garage door locks, smart outlets, and smart thermostats. Simple DIY installation Do-it-yourself installation means no installation fees. So while some people prefer professional installation, many Protect America customers seem to enjoy DIY installation, especially since installation is free, simple, and straightforward. Twenty-seven percent of reviewers said simple DIY installation is one of the notable positives of the security company. Home security companies will typically just send written instructions and not supply a customer service representative to assist you through the installation process. This isn't the case with Protect America. The company walks you through the entire installation process so you don't have to figure it out on your own. A number of reviews also mention appreciating the representative's patience. Technology isn't always the easiest, and it's comforting to know Protect America has a team that will assist you without getting frustrated if you're having a difficult time. Affordable pricing Home security pricing varies dramatically. How much you pay largely depends on the equipment you want, which security package or monitoring option fits your needs, if you want DIY or professional installation, if you want a contract, etc. Although Protect America requires a three-year contract, that's common within the home security industry and makes it possible for a cheaper monthly fee and free equipment. Protect America's pricing starts at $19.99 per month with no upfront fees and no-cost installation. Sixteen percent of reviewers noted affordable pricing as one of the perks of Protect America. With multiple options to choose from, it makes it easier to select a plan that will work for your home security needs and your budget. The company also has a 14-day, money-back guarantee, which gives customers peace of mind in the purchasing process. Quick response times Although you hope to have home security just for precautionary measures, break-ins are more common than you would think. On average, break-ins happen every 23 seconds in the United States. And according to Alarm.org, break-ins are 6 percent more likely to occur during the day between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Most homeowners are out of the house during these hours, whether they're running errands, going to work, or other miscellaneous reasons. Some burglars will even watch a house before attempting to break in, so if you have a routine of being out of the house during certain hours of the day, it makes you a possible target. This is why alarm response time is an important factor when selecting a home security company. Thankfully, various Protect America reviews note quick response times as a benefit of the company. Especially since home security companies include home automation capabilities, such as carbon monoxide and smoke monitoring, now more than ever security systems can protect your family from potentially tragic accidents. If your home security company has a slow response time and doesn't alert you of a break-in or fire until long after the fact, that could put you and your family in immense danger. The reviewer below says his smoke alarm sounded off and less than five seconds later, Protect America was contacting the user to see if everything was okay. Even with smoke detectors operating with their own alarm sound, something could go wrong. Having a home security company monitor these things for you is just one other precaution you can take to protect you and your family. Detailed review responses With a company's online presence being so important in this day in age, it's impressive that Protect America takes the time to respond to the majority of its customer reviews. Many companies leave their customer reviews untouched and won't address them or make plans to improve the customers' issues, but Protect America shows initiative with its customer feedback. Whether the review is positive or negative, Protect America responds to it and includes an action item. If it's a positive review, the company will encourage the customer to reach out in the future if anything comes up, acknowledging the feedback and thanking the customer. If the review is negative, the company won't just avoid the review or sugarcoat its response. Protect America reaches out asking for information about the account to see how they can fix the proposed problem. That way, the company can privately message the customer and come to a conclusion. This shows that customer feedback is a priority, and not all companies take the time to make it one. Protect America frequently asked questions If the above information didn't answer all of your questions about Protect America, we answer some frequently asked questions below. How much does Protect America cost? Protect America's monthly cost ranges from $19.99–$42.99, depending on the monitoring package you choose. If you want a basic security package, pricing starts at $19.99 per month. If you prefer a more robust security package with home automation capabilities, you'll pay closer to $42.99 per month. What's the price point for Protect America equipment? Protect America does not charge for equipment. Equipment comes with the security package you select. Your overall price will only fluctuate based on the security package and monitoring plan you select. Does Protect America equipment have a warranty? Yes, Protect America has a lifetime equipment warranty. Is Protect America a professional or do-it-yourself home security provider? Protect America is a do-it-yourself home security provider. Equipment is user friendly and is simple to install yourself. Does Protect America require a contract? Yes, Protect America requires a three-year contract for its home security services. However, after the three years are up, you can opt into a month-to-month plan. How do you cancel Protect America? Like many home security companies, Protect America requires a three-year contract to keep its prices down. If you want to cancel the company's services, here are your options: Return the equipment and cancel your contract within 14 days of receiving your Protect America shipment. Transfer your contract to a friend or family member with Protect America's transfer option. Wait out the three-year contract and then transition to Protect America's month-to-month service that allows you to cancel anytime. Are Protect America reviews positive? Yes, 79 percent of Protect America reviews are 4 or 5 stars. The majority of Protect America reviews highlight the company's superior customer service, high-quality and easy-to-use equipment, simple DIY installation, and affordable pricing. Is Protect America customer service satisfactory? Yes, Protect America's customer service is the number one positive feedback that customers give the company. When taking a sample of Protect America reviews, 57 percent of reviewers noted the company's quality customer service. How does Protect America compare to other home security companies? Protect America ranks number one out of nearly 200 security companies. Here are a few company highlights that earn the company its high rating: Reasonable monthly monitoring fee of $19.99–$42.99 DIY installation No installation, equipment, or activation fees 3 monitoring options: wireless/broadband, landline, and cellular High-tech equipment Nationwide service 27 years in business Positive customer reviews Protect America Home Security Learn more about Protect America and its home security offerings, as well as read additional customer reviews. Learn More
Guest Post by Juned Ghanchi For some years, advanced technology and innovative mechanisms have been increasingly used for fields that were otherwise considered out of context for tech innovation. From poverty alleviation to enhanced public safety to agriculture production, modern technologies are being used with increased efficiency. From mobile app development for real-time remote monitoring to fully fledged intelligent surveillance systems, security continues to get smarter. Now, for safety and security in a smart city environment, high-tech innovations are playing a significant role. From saving public property and people's lives from global terrorist threats to preventing natural calamities from taking a toll on the livelihood of people and cities, technology has many roles to play. Smart security technologies are primarily making cities smarter. As saving natural wealth and environment is increasingly important for the human race to survive upon the planet earth in the years to come, administrators and governments in many parts of the globe are after technological innovations that can help protect forests or make oceans less polluted and safer. From protecting the wildlife and green cover to encouraging sustainable livelihood, modern technologies are now being used in a multitude of ways to make life better. Considering the increasing role of technological innovations for smart security in the cities, it is essential to know some important examples of modern technologies for all these purposes. Here we explain some of the latest tech options: Pre-crime cameras Pre-crime cameras for detection of the signs of a crime before it is actually committed are no longer something out of a science-fiction writer's imagination. In China, researchers have already developed a system by using thermal imaging cameras for detecting all the signs that typically appear before people commit a crime. The changes in body temperature and expressions in the face can easily be detected by such cameras that can send prior alerts to the security company. Signs exhibiting anxiety and stress for many people can help security personnel to monitor the potential criminals and people in the brink of committing something scary with close attention. There are other such technologies in the offing as well. A new surveillance camera system developed by BRS Lab can now monitor human behavior and can detect irregularities and deviations from the normal behavior. These cameras study hundreds of hours of footage to learn about normal human behavior. They can then predict potentially threatening behavior of a person. BRS Lab has used artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to build this unique surveillance system. Drainware For many large business corporations around the world, preventing espionage and leak of information remains a constant concern. In spite of taking the utmost care and having the most sophisticated mechanisms and measures, information leaks can not always be prevented. This becomes particularly alarming when the leaks exposes the company's future plans, product pipelines, and security solutions to outsiders. Drainware came with a full length of software solutions that, by using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, can easily detect threats to sensitive company information and files. The system can also help governments and administrators keep track of the confidential information, their storage location, and how and where they are shared. The system will also detect applications vulnerable to security breaches and unsolicited data access. Laser microphones Laser microphone surveillance technology can bring revolution to smart city security. This system uses unique laser systems that can quickly detect any little vibration in a room and record the tiniest of sounds. The security impact of technology on surveillance systems is vast. Thanks to this technology, a spy camera equipped with a laser microphone can hear and record a hushed conversation within a room by merely focusing the laser on the window. Consider how top military intelligence agencies and city security professionals now can use this technology to nab security threats before they even come out of their closet. Rudder Every one of us likes shortcuts to save time when going somewhere. Well, we have Rudder, an intelligent algorithm-based mapping app to help us find shortcuts while taking any road to our destination. By simply calculating the shortest possible path to the destination, this app helps us save time. In a smart city environment, this can decrease traffic congestion, improve productivity, and enhance security at certain times when individuals need to rush home for an emergency. Rudder achieves this surprising accuracy of finding the shortest paths with an intelligent algorithm that can compare various routes as per the database. The app can even use your smartphone camera to help you evaluate the distance with the inbuilt light meter to evaluate how well-lit the road is. Driver's Little Helper In a smart city environment, we now have some useful apps like Driver's Little Helper for helping children to get home safely and without worries. Since children can disobey directions and create security concerns, this app uses a wireless monitoring system and a host of connected car seat technologies to inform guardians whether their kids are getting out of car seats or whether the seat belts are not fastened. The bottom line Security has become smarter than ever before, thanks to technological innovations. In the years to come, we can expect more security vulnerabilities in our life to be addressed by new and innovative security solutions. In the meantime, if you're looking for security innovations to protect your home and family now, check out the top-rated home security companies in your area. Juned Ghanchi is a marketing strategist at IndianAppDevelopers, a high-quality Android and IOS platform-based Android app Development Company that he co-founded. He guides a range of organizations from big brand companies to startups for developing top-notch mobile applications.
Guest Post by Taylor Starc In recent years, the awareness about personal security has increased considerably, and as the crime rates increase around the country, more and more people are opting to install surveillance cameras in their homes. Though installing a security camera system can be advantageous due to its ease and affordibility, many people don't install surveillance systems because they don't know how to choose the right kind of surveillance cameras for their specific needs. So let's discuss some important things you need to know before purchasing a surveillance camera system. After reading this guide, you will be able to get the best kind of surveillance cameras according to your requirements. 1. What kind of camera do you need? There is a wide range of surveillance cameras available in the market, and one of the first things you need to know before you install a security camera system in your home is the kind of camera you should install. Different kinds of cameras have their specific advantages and flaws, so if you are going to choose the right one, you need to understand what your requirements are. If you are installing indoor cameras, you should go for something like dome cameras, while for outside security you can choose bullet cameras. You also need to choose between wired and wireless security cameras. For a small home security system with only two or three cameras, you should go for wireless cameras, because they are easier to install and operate. But, if you are installing a large scale surveillance system, then you should definitely use a wired system. 2. Which lens and resolution are suitable? Once you have determined what kind of security cameras you need, you will have to understand what kind of lens it should have and what resolution is suitable for you. The kind of lens you need will depend upon what you are using the camera for. If you want to monitor a large outdoor area, like a parking lot, you should opt for a wide-angle camera. On the other hand, if you are using the camera to monitor a room, then a camera with a shorter focal length is required. Similarly, for a long corridor, you will require a lens with a shorter angle and a longer focal length. As far as resolution is concerned, any modern security cameras system should be able to record HD footage at a minimum of 720p. Most cameras can do this. Still, some security cameras can record at 1080p or even 4K, so before you choose a camera, consult a CCTV video resolution comparison chart. This will allow you to make the right decision. 3. What is your monitoring and storage plan? Once you have bought the security cameras, you need to decide on a storage and monitoring plan. This also depends upon your specific requirements. For a simple home security system, you don't need to store too much footage. A backup of even a couple of days can be enough for a home security system. On the other hand, if you are implementing a security system in an office building or a shop, you should consider having a larger backup of footage. For a business environment, you should have at least one week of footage backed up. There are many different kinds of storage methods that you can employ. Some modern wireless cameras have micro SD storage capabilities, while some use cloud storage. For a larger wired system, you will need to use a DVR. Cloud storage and local SD backups are best for home security systems, while a DVR with local hard disks is better for a larger business. 4. Where should you install the cameras? The position in which you install the security cameras is also vitally important. Now, you should know that it would be completely impractical to monitor every inch of your property through security cameras. It would be super expensive, and it will be very hard to monitor all those cameras. Instead, you should install the cameras at the main locations like entrance and exit points, lounges, lobbies, elevators and corridors. For a simple home security system, one camera covering the front door and the porch, and another covering the backyard is enough. Also, when you install a wired security camera, make sure that you can easily manage the wires at the installation spot. You should also make sure that the cameras are high enough that they can't be tampered with easily. 5. How many cameras will you need? Before you implement a security system, you also need to know how many security cameras you are going to need. The number of security cameras again depends a lot on your requirements and the building you are trying to secure. For a small home, two or three cameras are more than enough; even a single camera covering the front door may be enough. But, if you are implementing a security system for a larger office building which has multiple entry and exit points and multiple floors with elevators and separate staircases going to those floors, you will need a lot of cameras. The number of cameras you need will affect every aspect of a security system installation, so make the decision carefully and considerably. 6. What will the system cost? Finally, you also need to consider the cost of the security system. This includes the initial purchase cost, the installation cost, and the monthly or yearly cost you have to pay for the maintenance and monitoring of the cameras. For a home security system, you can mostly monitor the footage of wireless cameras on your phone, and you only have to pay a small yearly fee for the subscription of the cloud storage. But, for a larger security system with multiple cameras, you may even have to hire a crew to monitor your cameras and maintain security. All these costs need to be considered when you are deciding whether a security system is financially viable or not. Taylor Starc is a student of software technology, in his first year at Columbia State University. His obsession with security gadgets and new technologies has made him research more and more on the respective topic. In his free time, he likes to take up writing projects to support his education. He regularly writes blogs at Mammoth Security.
Guest Post by Ethan Lichtenberg Homeowners insurance is one of the most important parts of owning a home. It can cost a lot of money if you aren’t doing the right things to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Many factors determine home insurance rates, from where you live to your credit score. But how do you get these discounts? One of the most significant ways insurers will give discounts on home insurance is by protecting your home. When insurance companies see that your home is equipped with security cameras and a security system, you are in the best position to receive a substantial discount. Just think about it for a minute. One of the main goals for insurance providers is to avoid claims at all costs. Anytime they have to pay out money, it’s a bad thing in their eyes. If you have something like a security system, which tends to result in less theft and fewer claims, they’re probably going to give you a discount. Whether it’s security cameras or smoke detectors, having your home protected is an enormous positive in the eyes of insurance companies. Here is why insurance companies love security systems, and how they can save you money on your insurance rates. Why have a security system? Many people believe that a home security system may not be necessary, or that it may not be worth the “cost of admission.” I mean, if you live in a good neighborhood, why bother? This is the opposite of the truth. There are many reasons, including the price, to have security cameras and a home security system. The most obvious reason is safety. Protecting yourself is a no-brainer in the twenty-first century. The world is a scary place where tragic things happen daily. Bad people do terrible things in every corner of the world, even in the nice neighborhoods. Homes are being burglarized and package thieves, mail snoopers, and vandals can all wreak havoc on your property. Security systems can deter that. One of the best ways to keep peace of mind and protect yourself is through a home security system. Security systems can also give you convenient access to your home as well. Everyone forgets to lock their doors or windows now and then. With the right home security system, if you forget to lock something or set the alarm, you can do it right from your smartphone. In many ways, home security systems can save you money in the long run. How much do you save? You may be thinking, “Can I save a worthwhile amount of money on home insurance by buying a security system?” This is a common question that is quickly answered: YES! While some home security systems can get pricey, the money you will be saving on your monthly premium will pay for that security system in no time, sometimes within just a year. As mentioned before, insurance companies hate claims. The last thing any insurance company wants to do is pay out a massive claim for a burglarized home. To cover themselves, they charge consumers more on their premiums. However, if a company knows you have a home security system, they know the chances for a break in are far less. Thieves know that when homes have security systems, they have a high chance of getting caught, so they often avoid homes equipped with those handy signs in the front yard. Insurance companies then give you a considerable discount, some reaching 25 percent, because they know that you probably won’t be filing a claim for burglary. Saving 25 percent a month will add up to hundreds of dollars a year, paying for your home security system. What is the true cost of a break-in? Burglaries and thefts are extremely expensive, even if you do have home insurance. On average, home security systems cost about $378 per year, which is a low price to pay for peace of mind. On the other end of the spectrum, on average, one break-in costs about $2,250. That number doesn’t include what your insurance may not cover in the instance of a break-in, not to mention the insecurity and uneasiness your family then has to live with for years to come. Most insurance companies cover 99.99 percent of break-ins, but they have to make their money back somehow. Similar to the increase you see in your auto insurance when you get in an accident, your home insurance rates also go up when your home is burglarized. Insurance companies have to get their money somehow, and it will be at your family’s expense. Compared to the true cost of a break-in, a home security system monthly payment seems pretty small in comparison. Home security systems can prevent break-ins altogether. Criminals know the warning sign of alarm systems and security cameras. If you have a home security system, the chances are you will never have to worry about a break-in at all. Which security systems are the best? Now that you know why you should have a security system, and the benefits they have on your home insurance rates, how do you know which systems are the best to purchase? This is a tough question that is answered by different factors. What you want to look for as a consumer is what features you get for the price. Security systems can be incredibly intricate. New features that you probably want to look for include fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, 24/7 remote surveillance, and medical assistance. Some high-end security systems can even keep your home more energy-efficient. Once you know what features seem necessary to you and your lifestyle, see what companies offer the most competitive prices. Here is a list of the best home security system carriers. This list includes average cost and customer reviews from all over the country. The bottom line Home security systems have come a long way with today’s technology. From carbon monoxide alarms to medical alerts, the features home security systems possess is staggering. The cost of a break-in compared to the average annual price of a security system is also eye-opening. Home insurance is vital to have. It could keep your money in your pocket in the long run, and save you a lot of money if a break-in did happen. But a home security system can also give you a significant discount on your monthly insurance premium. So keep yourself protected and save money at the same time. Ethan Lichtenberg is a writer for insuranceproviders.com. He enjoys Edgar Allan Poe and sneaking off to the beach every chance he gets.
Guest Post by Dan Matthews Roughly one out of every three homes in the United States is using smart technology these days, while half that number use security systems of some sort or another. In other words, smart home tech and security are common but not ubiquitous. As smart systems trend upward in popularity, consumers continue to grapple with the basic question of whether or not they’re worth the time, money, and management skills required to set up and maintain them. Is it worth bothering with smart tech and home security systems? Smart home and home security defined The concept of a “smart home” versus a traditional home is akin to the difference between a smartphone and its predecessor, the flip phone. At its core, a smartphone performs many of the same functions that a flip phone has nearly always done. It can make phone calls, send texts, and tell you the time. However, in addition to those basic abilities, a smartphone connects to the internet and can run numerous applications, which equips it with an impressive array of additional capabilities like checking the weather, measuring distances, watching movies, etc. The same comparison holds for smart homes and their traditional counterparts. While both are homes in their essence (they have roofs, rooms, furniture, etc.), a smart home takes things to the next level. It is equipped with a number of different gadgets that enable it to perform various additional functions on its own or at the remote command of its owner. Typical smart home features include the following: Smart light bulbs that can dim and turn on or off remotely A smart thermostat that can adjust the house temperature on its own An array of smart, energy-efficient appliances Fully integrated smart entertainment systems that can run throughout the home Advanced intercom capabilities In addition to the more functional elements of a typical smart home, there are the added features that come with a smart home security system. This, in essence, “plugs into” your existing smart home setup, providing tools to improve awareness and safety, whether you’re in bed, on the couch, or out of town. The average smart home security system includes things like: Sensors installed in order to detect when doors and windows are opened The use of smart locks for the doors A central smart alarm system or keypad Smart, motion sensor-enabled cameras Smart doorbells with a video camera and microphone While these are the standard features typically found in smart homes and security systems, many other components find their way into some of the more fully automated models. For instance, things like smart faucets, electric-controlled smart blinds and shades, and even smart toilets are becoming the norm. In addition, many wealthy people are customizing their smart homes. Take, for example, Oprah, who has a smart heating system that “melt-plows” her driveway when it snows. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, whose home is operated by his personalized AI system named J.A.R.V.I.S. All of this goes to show that the sky's the limit on the future capabilities of smart home technology. Is a smart home or a home security system worth it? While there’s no blanket answer to the question of whether this technology is worth your investment, here are some of the pros and cons that each homeowner should consider when making the decision: Pros Safety — Keeps your home safer and serving as a deterrent for crime, as well as informing you of any doors and windows being opened. Keeping track of your family — Allows you to observe who’s visiting your home, what time the kids get off the bus, when a package has been dropped off, etc. Monitoring access to risky areas in the home — Enables you to safeguard important items, like gun safes or liquor cabinets. Savings — Generally provides monthly savings on electricity and heating. For instance, LED lightbulbs, which comprise most smart home lighting, have become very affordable and can last as much as 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Lower insurance costs — Potentially lowers homeowner’s and renter’s insurance. Increase the sellability of your home — 50 percent of buyers claim that they want a programmable thermostat and a wireless home security system in their new homes. Cons The setup cost — Installing a high-end system can be costly. However, top-rated providers such as Protect America offer affordable security options with a variety of home automation capabilities. Long term costs — Many reputable services charge monthly fees that can cost dozens or even hundreds of dollars per month. This is why you need to carefully determine which security company is right for you, as many providers may overcharge. Check out our top-rated home security companies to find which companies you can trust to give you an affordable price point and quality service. Frequent turnover in new models — Systems can become dated quickly. Batteries — The added cost and hassle of changing out batteries in multiple devices on a regular basis. Time to evaluate your needs Whether you’re a brand new millennial homeowner, a Gen Xer humming along with life, or a baby boomer who has owned your own house for decades, it’s important to take your own specific needs into account when considering a smart home or security system. If you do decide to take the plunge, many different providers are available. The important thing is to map out what you want for your home and then gather quotes from competitors before committing to one specific option. Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Guest Post by Credit.com Every year in the United States there are an estimated 1.2 million burglaries, which means a burglary is committed roughly every 15 seconds. In light of these numbers, you may be wondering if a home security system is a worthwhile investment. Let’s examine the cost of a break-in versus the average cost of a home security system, as well as ways to prevent a burglary or mitigate the damage if your home is robbed. Homeowners insurance When someone breaks into your home and steals or damages your property, homeowners or renters insurance will likely cover the expenses. However, don’t be fooled. Insurance companies have to recoup their losses too and will almost certainly do so in the form of a premium increase. In most cases, these premium increases are permanent, so you will pay for the life of your insurance policy. Windows and doors Unless you’re a burglar’s favorite kind of victim (i.e., one who left the front door unlocked), there’s a good chance you may be looking at damaged windows and/or doors. The cost of replacing a front door or window is significant, often costing hundreds of dollars. Even if you’re a renter, you may be asked to pay for a portion of this. The exact amount will depend on the terms of your lease. Personal property Now for the most obvious of any burglary costs — personal property. Items such as jewelry, electronics, art, and more are the prime targets of any good burglar.While much of this cost may be covered by your insurance, don’t count on everything being covered. The gap between what insurance pays and what you lost will vary (unfortunately not always in your favor). Furniture In many break-ins, burglars tend to damage items around the home simply because they can. Many burglary victims have reported their furniture being damaged beyond repair, which is yet another loss that may not be completely covered by insurance. The cost of new furniture and replacing other damaged property could be another hidden cost of a break-in. Cleanup Destructive thieves take it upon themselves to completely trash the home they’re robbing. Sometimes this is because they’re looking for more valuables, looting in haste, or just because they can. More often than not, burglary victims are forced to hire cleanup services, which is yet another added cost. The average cost of a home security system Most security systems have three costs: The initial system cost plus installationActivation fees (usually a one-time cost)The monthly cost of “monitoring,” or having someone available to call the police should an alarm get tripped at your homeThe cost of a home security systems is a sliding scale depending on initial cost vs monthly fees. These systems range from $0 installation (usually comes with a higher monthly fee) to $700 for high-end equipment. Monthly fees tend to vary, but don’t expect to pay more than $100 per month. Overall, it’s cheaper in the long run to implement a security system than it is to recoup your losses from a break-in. Prevention Now that you know the exorbitant costs you may be facing if your home or business gets broken into, let’s talk about a few ways to prevent burglaries that you may not have thought of before. Alarm signsYou may think that a home security sign out front will help fend off potential burglars, but you may be inadvertently giving them the keys to your house. Knowing the name of your alarm company can allow criminals to either go online and download a diagram of your home or find out how the system is wired in order to easily bypass it. It’s still worth it to warn burglars that your home is protected, but invest in a generic sign that says something like, “This home is protected by an alarm system.” This way, you let people know your home is secure, but you aren’t giving away too much information. Storage of valuablesIf you don’t have a safe, you’ll want to hide your valuables somewhere a burglar wouldn’t think to look. For example, you could leave your grandmother’s diamond brooch in the basement ceiling or inside a cereal box. Just don’t leave them in your underwear drawer or between the mattresses, which are the first places thieves are going to look. Your best bet is to invest in a safe or safe deposit box. "Beware of Dog" signIf you’re a pet person, you may want to consider adopting a dog. This can be your second line of defense if a burglar does manage to get into your home. Dogs can sense danger better than humans and may be able to scare off an amateur burglar. VigilanceBurglaries can happen fast. That’s why it’s important to arm your alarm system every time you leave your house even if you’re just “running out” for a moment. Thieves have often “cased” your home, meaning they know a little about your daily routine and if your home is well protected. If you leave without setting your alarm, you’re inviting these burglars into your home. Never leave your home unalarmed when you’re gone. When it comes to the cost of a break-in versus the cost of an alarm system, the alarm system wins by a wide margin. Break-ins end up costing victims thousands of dollars, while an alarm system is in the hundreds. Additionally, no one will steal your priceless valuables or heirlooms, and you don’t have to deal with the disturbing feeling of having your personal space violated. Having your home broken into can lead to financial problems down the road, even damaging your credit if you rely too heavily on credit cards to replace your stolen property. Or, you may spend so much trying to recoup your losses that you fall behind on other bills. Don’t let a home break-in lead you down a “bad credit” road.
Roughly two million household break-ins are recorded each year in the United States. This doesn't create peace of mind, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. You want to live in as safe a neighborhood as possible and feel confident your home is protected.Don’t worry. We spoke to home security experts and asked them to share their top security tips for first-time home buyers. Whether you’re already a homeowner or you’re currently looking for a house, we have some helpful security tips. Visit your potential neighborhood at all times of the day Trying to decide if a neighborhood is safe? Set aside some time to visit the neighborhood at all times of the day, security expert Emily Patterson advises.Research neighborhood safety and crime rates and visit your new neighborhood at all times of the day. What looks like the perfect home and street may have a different vibe in daylight versus after dark, and you can generally sense this just by driving by or taking a short walk. Tools like NeighborhoodScout and AreaVibes provide data about neighborhood crime rates, public school rankings, and other livability factors. Whether you have kids, are single, live with roommates or a partner, etc., security is an important part of choosing a new neighborhood. Research traffic patterns Patterson also advises prospective buyers to learn about traffic patterns, for both cars and people, before deciding on a neighborhood.This is something you can observe on your own by visiting at different times of day, or you can ask your prospective neighbors. If you have kids who want to play in your yard, a dog to walk, or like to run/bike/walk yourself, it matters whether a heavy volume of cars speeds past your new home or a lot of pedestrians are wandering by. Is your new house on a busy thru-street, or does the neighborhood have a single entrance/exit? Are there speed bumps and stop signs to regulate traffic speed and flow? If so, do people actually abide by the rules? (In my old neighborhood, few cars actually respected stop signs and speed limits, which made walking, running, driving, etc. pretty dangerous.) Does the neighborhood have a lot of businesses interspersed with residential buildings and therefore a lot of foot traffic? Look into local crime Security expert, house flipper, and landlord, Tyler Weinrich suggests looking into local crime when choosing a neighborhood. Although every place will have crime, Weinrich explains it is the type of crime you should be concerned with. You can look at all the recent incidents on a crime map to see how good or bad an area is. Every place will have “crime.” However, some will be minor and others not. I wouldn't worry about distance to police station as the cops can get to any place quickly. I would focus on crime rate and examine types of crimes that have occurred.Another one of our security specialists, Sean Little, agrees with Weinrich. No neighborhood is immune [to crime], and while one might have a higher overall rate than another, the higher rate area could have more property crime or vandalism compared to more violent crime that happens less often than the property crime in the other. Some people may be willing to risk one type of crime over another in order to purchase a home in their budget, so being honest with what risks you’re prepared to take is important. Evaluate community involvement Little continues with additional tips, starting with seeing how involved a community is. You can find out when city council or neighborhood meetings are held and drop in to observe what type of engagement and conversations take place. Are neighbors engaged and proactive in making sure the neighborhood is kept up and engaged in honest discourse with residents, or are meetings a sparsely attended formality?It’s also important to look at the long-term statistics. Transitional neighborhoods that attract many first-time buyers may not look the best one month to the next when house hunting, especially compared to the nicer areas with higher home prices they’re compared against. If a potential homeowner only looks at a few months of crime statistics, they may not see that while comparatively the crime is not great now, the neighborhood has improved greatly over the last year and only looks to continue to do so. Lock valuable items in a home safe If a burglary does take place within your home, you want to ensure your valuable items are still likely to be safe. Little advises purchasing a home safe.If you have small, expensive items like jewelry or sentimental items like family photos, heirlooms, etc., I’d highly suggest you purchase a fireproof lockbox or safe that can be bolted to the floor. This provides another layer of security to hinder a thief if they did happen to gain access to your home and went searching for expensive belongings. It’s always better to be extra careful than leave it to chance and regret it later. Odds are a burglar won’t waste their time trying to break into a quality safe that can’t be moved when other, less expensive items could be easily taken instead. Get to know your neighbors Don’t underestimate the helpfulness of an additional pair of eyes watching out for your home. Little thinks it’s an important step to creating a safe environment.Another great deterrent is a live human being keeping an eye on your home for you. You may also want to make friends with any retiree or stay-at-home neighbors by introducing yourself and offering a small gift when you move in.Showing neighbors that you are friendly and that you care will increase the likelihood that they will too. This way, you can both watch out for each other and each other’s homes. This makes it less likely that suspicious activity in your neighborhood will go unnoticed. Consider looking into the previous home owners If you’re in the process of looking for a home, Little explains you might want to consider doing some research on the previous home owners. This is being a bit paranoid, but depending on the neighborhood and how comfortable you feel with your new neighbors, you may want to look up the previous owners’ information or ask neighbors about them to make sure that they didn’t attract unwanted attention. While it doesn’t happen often, there are times that break-ins and home invasions happen because criminals had a connection to the previous owner of some kind and believe they still live there. Odds are if the neighbors are observant, they will have some information that could help you gain valuable knowledge about potential threats that might be left over from the home’s previous owners and their past. Don’t let gated communities fool you Although gated communities have fewer burglaries, it is not by a significant amount. Don’t assume there are no break-ins just because there is this extra precaution. Previously mentioned security expert, Weinrich, explains further:Gated communities are often seen as a security plus and they are, but they aren't fail proof. Most often the gates are open or people just follow other cars in. Burglars on foot can easily get through these fences as well.Don’t let security precautions slip through the cracks, even if you do live in a gated community. It’s safer to prepare for the worst rather than the best case scenario. Avoid areas with boarded up buildings or houses Weinrich also points out boarded-up or dilapidated buildings or houses are a big negative. These types of areas are targets for crimes and decrease the property value in a neighborhood. Build a fence around your home Weinrich notes another good precaution is having a fence around your home. Although like gated communities, you can’t assume this will stop the crime. However, it will make it more difficult for burglars to access your home, especially if you put locks on any of the fence openings. Consider picking a home with a fence or building a fence if the house doesn’t have one. Insert a piece of wood to prevent your sliding glass door from opening Weinrich’s last piece of advice is this: Sliding glass doors are easily broken into and should be reinforced with a bar or piece of wood on the inside rail to prevent the door from being opened from the outside. Hide valuables in unusual places When asked what security measures to take in the home, security expert Vi Trang says to hide any valuables in unusual places. He gives an example of what he has done, noting he has hidden cash in coffee tins and left his laptop underneath the couch. Burglars know the typical spots to find cash and other valuables, so switch it up and put these items in places that aren’t obvious and that are difficult to locate. Burglars want to be in and out of your house as fast as possible, so they most likely won’t spend too much time searching if they can’t find what they are looking. Hire a house sitter when you’re out of town Trang also suggests hiring a house sitter whenever you are out of town. Whether you hire a professional house sitter or ask a friend or family member to do it, have someone stay at your home while you are gone. This way, you won’t have to worry about the condition of your home when you get back, and you can have someone watching your home at all times. Instead of taking extra precautions to make your home look lived in (leaving a car outside, having lights on, etc.), you can let the house sitter take care of it. Change the locks on your new home When you move into a new home, Trang suggests tells homeowners to do this:Get a locksmith to change the locks on all doors and windows, in case the former homeowners have failed to turn over all the keys. Check the neighborhood’s proximity to resources Another of our security advisors, Justin Lavelle, recommends checking the neighborhood’s proximity to resources. He prompts us to ask ourselves these questions:How close is the home or neighborhood to schools, parks, hospitals, and shopping? Some neighborhoods might have all of these resources within their boundaries, otherwise are they accessible by a short walk or do you have to pack up the car every time you need to get the kids out? Is the house or neighborhood located by busy streets or large commercial or industrial sites? Kids like to play outside and enjoy riding bikes and playing with friends. Parents may be more comfortable knowing that the neighborhood is not by nuisances that may prove dangerous to kids. Make sure the actual home is safe Lavelle also recommends a home inspection before purchasing. Although this doesn’t necessarily have to do with home security and burglary prevention, it is important for the overall safety of your home. When deciding on your home, pay attention to the details. For example, on the home’s exterior, is there any rotting wood on the outside of the home? What about the landscaping? Anything that is damaged or needs updating could result in an added cost for you. Always have a home inspection done before completing a home purchase. Always lock tool sheds and/or storage areas Gregg DeRouanna advises keeping tool sheds and other storage areas securely locked up. People frequently forget to lock an outside storage area because it’s not as obvious a target as the home is, but it is just as important. DeRouanna recalls one particular time not securing a storage area went wrong:In one case I know, a burglar used a family's own set of bolt cutters to rob them. Your tools are easy targets, so keep them safe. Get a home security system The most important tip for any homeowner is to get a home security system. Patterson agrees security systems play a large role in home safety. Security systems are great because they are comprehensive and allow you to link a bunch of sensors, cameras, and other monitoring devices under a single umbrella, and they can catch dangers like CO and fire even when you aren't home. You can also start simple with motion-sensing lights in the darker corners of your properties and around doorways (burglars don't want to risk being placed in the spotlight — literally), installing smart cameras or doorbell cams you can monitor from your phone when you're not home, or even just setting your interior lights on timers. Burglars are actually far less likely to go after property they believe is equipped with security devices. Consider pairing your security system with home security cameras DeRouanna advises getting home security cameras in addition to a home security system. I recommend that first-time homeowners consider a high-definition surveillance camera system to monitor the inside and outside of their home, and keep an eye on any suspicious activity. Monitoring family, maintenance workers, pets, and keeping an eye on the home while vacationing will provide them with the peace of mind they need.