Do Home Security Systems Deter Crime?

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If you are considering purchasing a home security system, one of the first questions that might come to mind is whether home security systems actually deter crime. According to the research, the answer is a resounding "Yes."

Studies have been conducted on the effect of the presence of a home security system. The results are in: as much as 60% of burglars casing a potential target would indeed be deterred by an alarm system.1

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Burglary by the numbers

Though the occurrence of home burglaries has decreased over the past decade, burglary remains a real concern for many Americans. According to the FBI, just over 1 million burglaries took place in 2020, and the average dollar loss per burglary was $2,692.2

Beyond the monetary cost, the effect of losing the ability of feeling safe in your home is impossible to measure. Those costs combined could explain why more and more people are investing in home security systems.

Alarms help deter burglars

It’s hard to measure a negative—that is, count occurrences that didn’t happen, like burglaries that might have taken place but didn’t because of the presence of an alarm system. The best way to assess whether home security systems deter crime is to go straight to the burglars themselves.

In a comprehensive study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, researchers interviewed more than 400 incarcerated men and women who were convicted for burglary. The majority (60%) of the burglars in the study said they would look for an alarm before robbing a house, and if an alarm system were present, most would move along to another target.1

Making your home safe from crime

There are many steps you can take to keep your home and family safe: installing sturdy window locks, deadbolts, and sliding door locks, using outdoor lights to illuminate paths to home entryways, and following common-sense burglary prevention such as never letting a stranger into your home. A home security system adds an additional layer of protection and peace of mind.

Alarm systems have become increasingly sophisticated through integration with smart home technology. Beyond a simple blaring alarm, many of today’s home security systems include real-time notifications to your smartphone if an unauthorized person triggers a motion detector or a door or window sensor.

An investment in your safety

Whether you’re thinking of a simple video doorbell camera near the front door or a fully integrated and monitored security system, anything you can do to protect your home from being broken into is a smart investment. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done everything you can to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your valuables as safe and secure as possible is indeed priceless.

The right combination of motion sensors, video monitoring, alarms, and 24/7 support can give you a greater sense of security at home. We've put together guides to help you start exploring home security and choosing a security system that’s best for your needs.

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  1. Joseph B. Kuhns, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, "Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender's Perspective," December 2012. Accessed May 12, 2022.
  2. FBI, Crime Data Explorer, Crime in the United States Annual Reports "CIUS Estimations File, 2020," September 2021. Accessed May 12, 2022.

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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help everyone find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

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