As technology advances, there seem to be more and more home security options on the market. Every option is a little bit different, so we've put together a guide to ensure you put together a solution that makes sense for you and your specific needs.
Home invasions grab headlines: A 17-year-old breaks into a woman’s bedroom in East Vancouver at 2 a.m. Three suspects force their way into a home in Surrey. Another three restrain a couple in their Port Coquitlam apartment. A man tries to push past an 86-year-old woman as she enters her Oakridge home.
Similar statistics are available for New Westminster, Richmond, Delta and other municipalities.
Such reports prompt homeowners to consider installing or upgrading their home security package. But how do you choose the best security package for your home? Here are some factors to consider:
Are you building a new home? If so, your security provider can hardwire a new system before the drywall goes up. In an existing home, it’s probably easier to use a wireless system. If you already have a system and wish to upgrade, some existing components can be adapted, while others may need to be replaced.
As any police officer or security professional can tell you, the most effective system is a monitored one. With today’s mobile technology, you can control your system from your smartphone. This includes arming and disarming your system, monitoring who disarms your system, even checking in on your pet, kids or parents.
If you use a cell phone instead of a landline at home, ask your security provider about wireless monitoring.
So what components do you need? At a minimum, your package should include a control panel, keypad, siren, and a motion sensor. Beyond that, you may want to consider:
- Contacts: Protect all vulnerable windows and doors, especially on the ground floor or in the basement. If more than one door or window open into the same space, e.g. in the corner of a room, it creates a “choke point.” A single motion detector could do the job of two or three contacts
- Smoke Detector: This allows your home to be monitored for fire as well as burglary
- Glass-break Sensors: These detect the sound of breaking glass, in case an intruder breaks a window without disturbing the window contacts.
- Extra Key Pads: Do you want keypads for your patio entrance, back door and garage? More keypads make life more convenient.
- Extra Motion Sensors: Do you want to protect multiple areas? More sensors can mean detecting an intruder earlier.
- Flood or Temperature Sensors: These devices can be useful if your washing machine or dishwasher overflow while you’re out. Or, if your furnace fails while you’re on vacation.
- Key Fob: A convenient way to arm or disarm your system from outside.
- Personal Alarm: Worn on a belt clip, pendant or lanyard, these personal “panic buttons” allow you to alert your monitoring service immediately. Such devices are useful for the elderly and others facing medical challenges or living alone.
As you interview security providers, confirm which components are included in your package. Do you want or need all these devices? Perhaps you don’t mind relying on a central keypad that you can reach from any entrance. Or you might prefer motion detectors rather than glass-break sensors or window contacts. Do you feel vulnerable living alone? Do you worry about fire, flood or freezing temperatures when you’re not home? These are good questions to ask yourself.
The Vancouver Police Department has the following advice for choosing a security alarm company:
Ask for recommendations from friends that have alarm systems or from your insurance agent
• How long has the company been in business?
• How many service facilities do they have?
• Do they possess adequate liability insurance?
• Are their employees bonded?
• Obtain detailed quotes and system information from at least three alarm companies prior to making your decision
• You can also check with the Canadian Alarm and Security Association, or the Better Business Bureau
To kickstart your research, here are Radius Security’s answers:
Radius Security, as part of Vancouver Fire and Security, has been protecting homes in the Metro Vancouver since 1948. We operate from a central monitoring station in Richmond and operate a fleet of 60-plus service vehicles. We have liability insurance, our employees are bonded, and we are proud members of the Canadian Alarm and Security Association and the BBB (A+ rated). You can also check out our testimonial page.
We hope this blog post has been helpful.
Home security is important, so we think everyone should feel informed about the system they choose.
Interested in our pricing? Try our DIY Home Security Calculator to get an instant quote for your home!