Home Security Is Just One Tool, Not the Only Solution


A recent conversation among friends had us all talking about a home burglary that was captured on video. One of the things that kept coming up was the fact that the victim’s home security system didn’t stop the burglar. A couple of the guys went so far as to insist that investing in home security was useless because it doesn’t work.

I humbly disagree. As someone who has been researching and writing about home security for over a decade, I am a firm believer in homeowners installing systems that include window and door sensors, motion detectors, and video surveillance cameras.

I also know something that so many people seem to have trouble grasping – home security is just one tool in the fight against crime in the home. It is not the one and only solution a homeowner could ever need. It’s not the be-all and end-all of personal safety.

What Home Security Can Do

Home security technologies can do a lot to keep homeowners and their families safer. Right off the bat, security cameras act as both a deterrent and a means of gathering evidence when crimes do occur. Window and door sensors alert homeowners to unauthorized entry. The same goes for motion detectors.

A home security system is designed to do four things:

  1. Deter crime whenever possible.
  2. Alert property owners to crimes in progress.
  3. Reduce response times from local police.
  4. Provide evidence for criminal investigations.

From a deterrence standpoint, criminals need to know that a home is equipped with a security system before they will be deterred by it. That’s why companies like Vivint give their customers signs and window decals advertising the fact that a home security system is installed and active.

What Home Security Can’t Do

As beneficial as home security systems are, they are incapable of fully protecting a home 100% of the time. There are certain things home security equipment cannot do. At the top of the list is prevent a determined and motivated criminal.

Someone intent on committing a crime may have to do a better job of planning to work around a home security system. But if an individual is determined and sufficiently motivated, that’s exactly what he will do. He will not be stopped by video cameras and motion detectors.

Home security systems also cannot stop burglars from stealing things once they have made entry. They cannot prevent a burglar from turning a house upside down in the search for valuables.

One of Many Tools

The most important thing to understand here is that home security is one of many tools that property owners should be utilizing to minimize their risks. And just as with any other tool, it needs to be used properly. A home security system must be installed correctly. It needs to be maintained and constantly monitored.

Even with all of that, a home security system works best when it is combined with other tools. Examples of other tools include heavy-duty deadbolt locks, block glass basement windows, and exterior lighting.

Tying everything together is a homeowner’s behavior. A homeowner who is diligent about safety and security will be in a better position than a neighbor who is careless. Home security system or not, criminals prey on the weak. They prefer careless homeowners over diligent ones. And that’s the biggest lesson of all.

Home security is just one tool for protecting against crimes at home. It is not the only tool. It is also not the most important one. What makes the most difference is a person’s attitude. Diligence is the most important factor in staying safe.

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