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Do you need a home security system?

BY Samantha Cossick | Tue Sep 10, 2019
Do you need a home security system?

Whether you’ve just moved into a brand new home or lived in your house for a few years, you may be wondering if you need a security system. Are home security systems are worth it? Here’s what you need to know.

Home security by the numbers

In 2017 (the most recent year for full data), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported an estimated 7,694,086 property crime offenses across the U.S. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, “property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.”

The 2017 estimates were a 3% decrease compared to 2016 estimates and a 21.3% decrease over 10 years. Preliminary figures for January to June 2018 show a 7.2% decrease in property crimes compared with data from the same time period in 2017.

Property crime is decreasing so I don’t need a home security system, right? Well, you may still want to consider it since a home security system is your first line of defense for keeping a secure home.

During the time that property crime has decreased, purchases of security products and services have increased. That seems like more than just a coincidence. The market for smart home security products has been steadily growing and is expected to almost triple from 2017 to 2023, according to Statista data.

Additionally, consumers as a whole are expressing more interest in smart home security products. These include outdoor cameras, alarm systems, smart locks, smart doorbells and motion sensors.

What types of security systems exist?

There are four main types of home security systems:

  • Monitored system – These are the types of security systems you most commonly think of when you think of home security. Monitored systems connect with a call center to alert authorities when the alarm is triggered. These can be set up through your traditional phone line, cellular radio signals, Voice over Internet Protocol or a high-speed internet connection.
  • Unmonitored system – Unlike a monitored system, unmonitored systems will not connect with a call center to alert authorities when the alarm is triggered. Instead, a loud siren will be set off so that either you or your neighbors can call the police if needed.
  • Wired home alarm system – This system uses low-voltage electrical circuits around doorways and windows that are triggered when they are disrupted (i.e., opened), setting off an alarm.
  • Wireless home alarm system – This type of system uses a control panel and a series of sensors connected over built-in radio frequency transmitters. When a sensor is triggered, the signal is sent to the control panel and the alarm is activated.

In addition to home security systems, there are a number of smart home security products, such as video doorbells, that are becoming more popular.

What are the pros and cons of home security systems?

There will be specific pros and cons for each type of security system, but in general, some of the pros and cons of home security systems include:


  • Peace of mind
  • Mobile notifications and alerts
  • Reduced home insurance costs
  • Remote access and control of your home
  • Scare off potential intruders


  • Chance of false alarms (and potential fines)
  • Cost of installation fees if professional installation required
  • Electricity-dependent systems may not work during power outages
  • Monthly monitoring fees (with some systems)
  • Potential for the hacking of the system


Are home security systems worth it?

For many people, yes, home security systems are worth it. Most newer home security systems don’t just monitor for burglars, but also fire, flood and carbon monoxide as well. While there is a monthly cost with many types of security systems, you’ll also be able to save money on your homeowner’s insurance.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of a home security system to determine if it’s right for you and your family. Compared to the average property loss of $2,416 during a single burglary, a home security system may be worth the investment.

Originally published 07/30/16. Last updated 09/03/19.
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