Thinking about burglar alarms and home security? The good news is that according to the Office for National Statistics, burglary rates are at a record low, with year-on-year decreases since 2011. However it is still worthwhile having an alarm fitted as a professionally fitted alarm/security system is a proven deterrent to potential burglars and helps give you peace of mind.
If you're considering fitting a burglar alarm or home security system in your home (or having one fitted) or upgrading from an older system, we run through the options available below.
A 'bells only' alarm means that if activated, the alarm will sound inside and outside your home to alert you and/or your neighbours to the situation and scare off any intruder. To comply with noise pollution regulations, the alarm will automatically silence itself after 20 minutes, or can be shut off sooner by an authorised person.
There are 'bells only' alarms which you can install yourself, saving installation costs, but if you're not confident of your ability then it's better to contact a professional alarm fitter to ensure the system is correctly set up and will work reliably if triggered.
Dialler burglar alarm
A 'dialler' or 'auto-dialler' alarm is one which will automatically contact you or another nominated friend or family person if triggered. This allows you or the person called to contact the police or ask someone else to investigate the situation.
Some more advanced dialler alarms can even alert you if a fire or flooding occurs at your home, or can be connected to a panic button to be triggered by someone manually.
Dialler alarms can either use your land line (Speech diallers) or a mobile network (GSM diallers) to alert the registered individuals if triggered.
Smart home security systems
Smart home security systems use your home's wi-fi network, and can alert you or other nominated individuals via smartphone or tablet. There are a range of options and more features becoming available all the time. A central hub connects wirelessly to the various compatible devices including sensors, cameras and lighting sockets (allowing you to control your lights from an app on your phone even if you're out).
You can have cameras integrated so that you can see what's going on at any time via your mobile device, or in the case of the alarm being triggered. Smart home security systems can also be integrated within more extensive home automation systems (allowing you to control heating, entertainment, lights, curtains etc.).
You can install some smart home security systems yourself, but we recommend contacting a professional home security or home automation installer if you're interested in a more extensive setup.
Alarm monitoring contracts
A monitoring contract means paying an amount either monthly or annually to have a dedicated company monitor your alarm 24 hours a day.
Monitored alarms can be wired or wireless types including smart home security systems, but the alarm must have been installed professionally.
Your alarm will automatically contact the monitoring centre, where someone will call your home to ask for password identification. If the password given is wrong or there is no answer, the keyholder or police will be notified.
Take a look at our directory if you'd like to discuss a burglar alarm or home security system with a trusted burglar alarm installer.