Creating Circles of Protection With Your Home Security System

The primary goal of a home security system is to detect an intruder, and then scare him away as soon as possible before intrusion takes place.

A secondary goal of any good home security system is to alert the homeowner or security monitoring service to the danger, and if cameras are used, to enable prosecution.

Whether professionally installed, or do-it-yourself, the best home security system uses progressive layers, or concentric circles of protection, to accomplish this goal.

Imagine three concentric circles in and around your house.

    1) Inside layer: At the center is the interior of your home, containing your family and most valuable possessions.

    2) Middle layer: This is the shell or "perimeter" of your home, and includes all entry points into your house.

    3) Outside layer: This layer of your home security system includes all of the property surrounding your home.

Most people focus only on the middle ring, installing a home security alarm to prevent unwanted entry to the interior of the house. This is important, but its' a limited view that neglects the big picture, and provides only partial protection of the home occupants and possessions.

Outside Ring: Guarding The Approach

In creating a home security system, the outside ring should be considered your first line of defense. It includes the entire perimeter of your property, and takes into account all approaches that lead to your home. Your goal here is to keep a suspected intruder as far away as possible from your home, valuables, and family.

Even in quiet neighborhoods, this outermost circle should not be overlooked.

There are lots of simple and free things to be done, like increasing visibility into remote or dark corners of the yard. In addition, inexpensive home security hardware, such as motion sensors that turn on yard or garage door lights when someone approaches, are effective deterrents to potential intruders.

Security camera systems are extremely valuable for keeping an eye on vulnerable areas of the property. For the elderly and those home alone, a home alarm system that includes security cameras or a video intercom also provide a safe way to investigate strange noises in the yard, or to get a good look at someone entering your property from the street.


Middle Ring: Preventing Entry

The middle circle represents the exterior shell and points of entry to your home. Here, the typical home security system includes a main unit capable of monitoring various burglar alarm sensors at several points-of-entry, and possibly a security camera or two.

The priority here is to stop the intruder before they find an entry to your home. And it is here that most of your security alarm system planning and dollars should be concentrated.

Like the outer ring, this layer of protection also starts with simple steps. Clearing away shrubs that can be used as hiding places near windows is an obvious (and free) action item. Solar-powered or low-wattage lights that stay on all night can be strategically placed at entrances and near windows.

Upgrade to more secure door and window locks. And then use them ! It may sound obvious, but police reports indicate that up to 50% of home burglaries are due to unlocked windows and doors.

Inner Ring: Last Line Of Defense

The inner ring completes your home safety system, and includes interior motion detectors and security cameras. They also serve as backup to the point-of-entry protection. Should an intruder slip through the outer and middle rings, an interior home security system will activate an alarm as soon as he enters its field. Well-placed cameras can make apprehension and prosecution much easier

At a minimum, the innermost circle requires security alarm protection for high-value areas, such as a entertainment systems, gun cabinet, jewelry boxes, etc. Consider placing motion detectors in hallways, entry areas, and family rooms. Even better, add sensors and/or security cameras in all rooms that contain valuables.

You can include an interior alarm bell or siren to scare off the burglar and alert you to the situation. And you should consider having your home security system monitored by an alarm monitoring company.

Spot protection is often controlled separately and can remain on even when the rest of the home alarm system is turned off. Consider a 24-hour panic button that can be pressed at any time to sound an alarm. If the home security system is monitored, this will also summon professional help. Panic buttons come in a variety of portable versions that can be slipped on a key chain, or carried in a pocket.

Once you've thought through the three layers of protection, and how they fit your situation, you'll be better able to prioritize vulnerabilities. Avoid thinking of your home security system as simply a collection of security devices.