When it comes to designing home security systems-creating a perimeter of protection is your primary concern. In medieval times this meant erecting giant walls, digging moats and erecting drawbridges, Thankfully, today’s technology has greatly simplified the process.
Nevertheless, the concept of creating multiple layers of protection is as valid today as it was hundreds (or even thousands) of years ago. Your first objective is to create a perimeter barrier that will prevent intrusion and detect any sort of breach before entry is gained into the home.
The 3 D’s of Home Security Systems
When designing your home security system, it is helpful to employ a strategy incorporating the 3 D’s:
- Deterrence– The majority of potential intruders will avoid homes that are protected by a monitored home security system. Let them know- and you are 300% LESS likely to be targeted.
- Denial- Locking all doors and windows and installing deadbolts will delay entry and make it more difficult to gain entry.
- Detection- If the home is violated then it is important to have the means of detecting entry…and alerting the authorities.
Perimeter protection starts with Deterrence.
Employ yard signs at the end of the driveway to let potential intruders know that your home and family are protected by a reputable, nationally recognized and professionally monitored home security system.Prominently displayed yard signs and window stickers serve as a strong deterrent and are your first line of defense against would be intruders.
While I typically would not use exterior sensors to activate alarm signals, they can be very useful to detect movement outside the home and alert you to the fact that someone has entered the property. While motion sensors can sometimes be problematic, there are now driveway sensors that sense changes in the magnetic field that can be used to let you know when a car drives in.
This sensor is available through Protect America, and is a great way to be alerted that you have company- guest or intruder….
Companies like Honeywell have developed weather resistant sensors that can be used on gates and sheds- as well as outdoor motion detectors that can activate exterior cameras when someone moves within their field of “view”. These can be set up to notify you, but not necessarily activate the alarm system.
These are somewhat specialty items for specific security applications. Most homeowners would be best served by focusing on the higher priority items first.
Layers of Protection
The next layer of protection begins with sensors placed at strategic points that are most vulnerable to forced entry. Statistics show that almost 80% of all break-ins involve entry or exit through a door. While it may be ideal to contact every door and window in the home, it is often cost prohibitive to do so. A good rule of thumb is to protect all of your doors with sensors that creates a magnetic contact.
Typically one would place a magnet on the door frame and a sensor that houses a wireless transmitter on each door. If aesthetics is an important consideration, then there are mini sensors, embedded sensors and and plunger style sensors available that may be suited for custom installations. Link Interactive offers the most comprehensive lineup of door contacts, and has a number of takeover options for someone looking to upgrade a hard-wired system. Check out Link Interactive Leads the Way for details.
In addition, if it is in the budget, one should consider securing at least the most vulnerable 1st floor windows. Statistically, entry is rarely gained through second story windows. ( unless they are readily accessible to decks with stairways, overhanging branches etc.)Particular attention should be placed on windows that are obscured from the neighbors’ view and are easily accessed. (i.e. in the rear of the home, hidden by shrubbery, over a basement “bulkhead” door)
If the window is low enough, you may also want to prevent against the possibility of the top window being lowered to gain access. This is accomplished by placing a magnet on the bottom sash of the upper window frame, with the sensor placed on the upper sash of the lower window.
You might want to also ask for additional magnets to enable “venting” of the window. This will enable you to raise the window a few inches to allow for cool air during a warm summers night, but sytill being able to “arm” the window. Talk to your alarm provider for the best sensors and procedure to accomplish this.
So…what happens when the perimeter is breached?
When the protected door or window is opened, it breaks the magnetic contact and a signal is transmitted to your main control panel. If your system is unarmed, it may activate a “chime” signal to let you know the door or window has been opened.
If the system is “armed” it will either set off the alarm, or, if it is a main entry door, it initiates a countdown(typically 30 seconds) signaling that the system needs to be disarmed, by entering a 4 digit code. Most systems today will start beeping, and a voice will prompt you to disarm the system.
If the system is not properly disarmed, then an internal siren is activated, which is typically 85-110 decibels. This will alert anyone on the premises that the perimeter of the home has been violated, and will hopefully scare off an intruder.
At the same time, the system notifies the central monitoring station when and where the breech occurred. It will send a signal via landline, broadband or cellular connection-depending on the communication technology of your system. While broadband is the fastest, both landlines and cable connections can easily be compromised, by simply cutting the lines. For this reason, cellular communication as primary or a back up is highly recommended.
The CMS typically calls the home to verify the signal. If no one picks up, or they are unable to provide the correct verification code, they will dispatch the local authorities.
As mentioned earlier, it is ideal to protect every possible point of entry, but strategically locating sensors in the most vulnerable areas (and thus the areas most likely to be targeted by an intruder) will provide you and your family with a solid foundation of perimeter protection. It is far better to prevent any entry into your home, than to detect an intruder after entry is gained.
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