Die Hard with Home Security

by Matt Goering

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Having taken on every bad guy in the civilized world, including international terrorists, ruthless bank robbers, and corrupt elite military units, it's safe to say that super cop John McClaine of Die Hard fame probably doesn't lose any sleep worrying what might happen if an intruder breaks into his home. For the rest of us, however, making sure that our homes, our families, and our belongings are protected is a much more pressing concern. What should the average Joe be looking for when it comes to home security? Here's a little home protection 101 to keep you in the know.

From Die Hard to Die Hard with a Vengeance
A lot has changed in home security in the 20 odd years between the first and last installments of the Die Hard series starring Bruce Willis. Deadbolts, barred windows, and a big dog have long since given way to motion sensors, glass break sensors, keyless entry pads, and wireless video monitoring—and that's just getting started. In fact, if money wasn't an issue, you could build yourself a home security system that would make even John McClaine feel safe enough to give up his gun. With all those options floating around, homeowners are often left wondering just what their options are when it comes to securing a residence and what it will cost. We did a little asking around to find out which systems are being installed the most.

Wireless is King
According to Mandy Gilbert of Highpoint Alarm Service in Arlington, TX, it's wireless security systems that are stealing the show (we're talking home security systems here, not C-4 detonation devices of the type that John McClaine would use). "Wireless systems are the most popular, by far, judging from the amount of them that we install," says Gilbert, noting that most wireless systems use a combination of two way communication systems and cell phone back-ups to make sure you'll never lose touch with your home monitoring service. That said, while wireless is the most common system that Highpoint installs to protect their customer's homes, other security features such as glass break sensors and keyless entry are popular as well, and wired systems haven't gone the way of the dinosaur just yet, either.

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Do Home Security Systems Really Work?
When you set all the debates about wireless vs. wired systems, and video surveillance vs. simple audio alarms aside, you find that simply having a home security system is the single most important factor when it comes to deterring intruders, not the type of system you end up settling on. In fact, according to the national home security firm ADT, "nine out of ten convicted burglars agree that they'd avoid a house protected by a burglar alarm service"—no matter what type of system is installed. Read between the lines, and it's clear that not only is it wise to invest in a home security system, but you want to be sure and let people know that you've had it installed, as well. After that, you can rest easy and let the sticker on your front window do the talking. It sure is a lot easier than stocking up on bazookas, M-16s, and 9mm handguns John McClaine style!

Choosing the Right Home Security System for You
On a final note, it's really up to each individual homeowner to decide which type of security systems is going to make them feel the safest. Maybe the level of safety that a simple audio alarm system creates is security enough so you can sleep at night, or maybe, like John McClaine, you want to go the extra mile to make sure the bad guys get what they deserve, in which case a remote monitoring service is probably the best choice for you. Either way, HomeSecurityInformation.com stresses that the most important factor is choosing a system that provides you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you've done everything necessary to protect your home, your family, and your belongings from the unthinkable. There are many companies out there, both good and bad, so be sure to check ratings and reviews of home security services near you.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.