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Good security will send thieves packing with someone else’s stuff

(Shutterstock Photo)

One of the single-greatest deterrents when it comes to keeping a home safe is a good-functioning and monitored home security system.

Burglary is a crime of opportunity. If a thief has the opportunity to pick between several houses, chances are he will choose the easiest target, the one without an alarm system.

Alarms.org reports these “alarming” statistics.

• Burglars are most attracted to homes that do not have home security systems, but only 17 percent of houses have a system in place.

• Homes without a security system are 300 percent more likely to be burglarized.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina Charlotte reported that 83 percent of burglars admitted they specifically look to see if there is an alarm. Sixty percent of those burglars said they would skip a house if one was installed.

Burglars are confident they won’t get caught. That is why 51 percent of homes are burglarized again within one month of the first break-in. They know what is in the home, how it is secured or unsecured as the case may be, and are banking that a security system is still not in place.

“It’s especially important to be thinking about security with the increase of online shopping,” said Theresa Chrest, CISR, licensed agent, Phocus Insurance, a Rosie-Certified Partner. “More packages are regularly being delivered and porch pirates can easily swoop in and snatch your new items.”

Be sure you have clear signage that suggests an alarm system is active. Place one in your front yard, in the alley near your gate, and side yard if you live on a corner lot. Also, add a security sticker to each window.

Regardless of whether you have a security system or not, never, ever, ever post on social media that you are away on vacation.

Wait to share your vacation photos after you return. Make it clear in your post that you are back home. Also, don’t post photos of valuable souvenirs.

Homeowners insurance

Your mortgage company requires you to have homeowner’s insurance. Be sure your valuables are protected too with a comprehensive plan that includes monitored fire and burglary alarms.

Home insurance premiums are determined by many factors, the most important being your personal claims history. Living in a neighborhood where the majority of homes have alarms puts you at a lower risk of break-ins, which can lower your area’s theft claim quota, which is a gauge providers use to determine rates for a specific neighborhood.

Some insurance companies that insure high-value properties may actually require homes to be fitted with a professionally monitored security system.

“Your insurance company may provide a discount on your insurance premium depending on the type of alarm installed and the protection it provides,” said Chrest. “Most carriers discount up to 10 percent. Check with your local agent to see if this available on your policy.”

We are all for saving a few bucks. But installing a security system just for the insurance discount is not the point. Use the money you save to further secure your home.

While some items simply can’t be replaced, for those that can make sure your insurance policy covers items of exceptional value.

If you don’t have an insurance rider for high-value property, such as antiques, fine arts, expensive technology, jewelry, and musical instruments, you won’t recoup your losses if they are stolen or damaged from theft or fire. A security system reduces the chances that your home will be broken into, thus lessening your chances of having to replace these valuables.

In the event of theft or fire, don’t rely on your memory to track your lost valuables. Create a home inventory with a web program or mobile phone app, such as HomeZada, to catalog your belongings. Store video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.

A note about electrical outlets and security

The security system you are installing or upgrading may include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If your system requires adding new outlets or moving current ones, you will likely need to pull an electrical permit.

“Most cities offer a minimum permit that you can buy online without having to complete an actual submittal package,” said Bruce Stumbo, project manager and sales consultant, Rosie Right Remodeling.

“All the cities that we know of will require the smoke detector system to be brought up to new home standards before they will sign off on the final inspection.”

The system needs to be interconnected (the detectors communicate with each other) and hard-wired on a dedicated circuit that is protected by an arc-fault circuit breaker.

If the construction of the house makes it difficult to do a hard-wired system, there is an exception that allows the use of a 10-year sealed battery (not replaceable) system so the detectors can communicate with each other using wireless technology.

No matter where you live, an active security system will keep your home, its contents, you, and your family safer than without one. With so many options available serving a wide range of budgets, install a security system, and send the thieves somewhere else.

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix, 9 to 11 a.m. on KAFF-AM (930) in Flagstaff, and 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

Rosie on the House

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