How safe is it where you live?
Have you ever taken the time to look up the crime rate in your area? Each state has different crime rates, but you have to go deeper than that.
You need to look not only at the state, the county, and the city, but you have to look into the things that are actually happening in your neighborhood. Has there been a rash of break ins lately?
You can often find out quite a bit of information on police blotters and websites, not to mention your local news. It’s time that you started paying attention.
The results might surprise you. Even areas that look nice and peaceful could have a dark side to them. The location in which you live plays a huge role when it comes to how safe you and your loved ones are, not to mention your possessions.
We’re certainly not saying that you should pick up and move if you have crime in your area. All areas have at least some crime.
What we are saying is that you need to pay attention to it and that you need to take steps to keep your home safe. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to get safer, and expose some of the myths about safety.
The Nationwide Statistics
When a burglar enters a home, it is usually by forcible entry. This means they break a window, or more likely, bust through the front door.
They are only entering through unlocked doors and windows about 30% of the time. Even if you always remember to lock up, that doesn’t mean you are safe.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology conducted a study. They found that in most cases, criminals check to see if there is an alarm system before they break into a home.
They want to know if it is going to be an easy job or a difficult job. Often, they will simply pass over the homes that have security systems. It is not worth the danger and hassle to them.
However, only about 17% of the homes in the country have security systems!
There are more than two million burglaries in the country each year. The FBI says that the average loss, in dollars, for each burglary is $2,185.
Take a moment to think about that. They are accounting for the property that you lose and the damage to your home, and it’s a substantial amount. What they aren’t adding into that number is the mental anguish that can occur when you’ve been burglarized.
Your home is supposed to be your safe haven and when someone takes that away, it is very difficult to get back. Burglaries tend to be very difficult to solve as well, and chances are the police have plenty of other cases they are working on.
While you might get lucky in some cases, and some of your goods might be caught when a criminal tries to sell them at a pawnshop, it’s unlikely.
Compare the financial loss, as well as the loss of your security, with the cost of installing a security system. The home security system is a fraction of this cost, and it keeps you safe. Even when you have the monthly monitoring costs, it is well worth the peace of mind that you will have.
Your Location and the Cost of the System
Where you live can affect the type of system that you get and whether you can even get a security system, as well as the cost.
The price for home security systems can vary based on where you are located, as well as the company that you use. There are also differences in the type of system you choose, naturally, and whether you want to have a monitored system or not.
One of the other things that you need to consider is what type of system you are able to get if you are a renter. If you are renting a house or an apartment, the owners might not want you drilling holes in the walls so you can install a security system. In those cases, you might only be able to use a wireless system.
If you are a renter, always talk with the owners or apartment manager about the types of security system they will allow. In the case of renting a place from a homeowner, they might actually like the idea of having home security. They could pay for the installation, and then you can have the cost of monitoring added to your rent. Each owner is different though, so see what they are able to do.
What About Tax Incentives and Insurance Rates?
You might be wondering if there are any other ways that you can save some money with a home security system, and there could be some options.
First, let’s look at insurance. You need to have homeowner’s insurance, as that’s the simple fact of owning a house. However, many of the companies out there will offer discounts if you have a home alarm system.
Talk with your insurance company to see if they offer discounts. If they don’t, then you might want to start looking for another high quality insurance company that is able to offer discounts. It could save you quite a bit over the course of owning your home.
While you won’t be able to get a tax deduction on a home security system in most cases, it might be possible if you own a home business and have an office.
If it is only used to protect your home, the IRS considers the system nondeductible. If you claim a home office, or if you use your home for a childcare facility, then it could be possible to claim part of your home security system.
To qualify though, you need to regularly and exclusively use the office for business. If it is for daycare, then that part of the house does not need to be used exclusively for daycare.
There are a number of other requirements though, and it can be tricky. Your best option is to speak with your tax professional so they can make sure you are able to take the deduction without getting on the wrong side of the IRS.
Protecting Yourself – Guns, Dogs, and New Locks
Some of you might be thinking that you can protect yourself just fine and that you don’t need to have any type of home security system. You need to think about the reality of the situation though.
First, what are the laws in your state regarding defense in your own home? The laws differ by state, and you need to know what you are able to do legally to someone who enters your home and tries to rob you.
You don’t want to have the thieves turn around and file a lawsuit against you. That sort of thing really does happen.
If you are allowed to possess a firearm, you also have to think about whether that’s a practical response to a burglar in your home. If you own a firearm and have children, you want to keep those weapons locked up
Would you be able to get to them in the event of a burglary?
How functional are you when woken up suddenly in the middle of the night?
Could you get into the safe and get the weapon?
Would you know what you are doing in the middle of the night? There’s always the risk of injuring someone in your family if you aren’t exceedingly careful.
What if you aren’t home? A weapon isn’t going to do much if you aren’t there to wield it. In addition, it could end up stolen if you don’t have it locked away properly.
You also have to think about what it’s actually like to be in one of these situations. Your adrenalin races, and for many people, the hands start to shake.
You might think you would have no problem. There’s a big difference between talking about how prepared you are and actually holding a pistol, shotgun, or rifle in your hands when someone is breaking into your home.
You might also be thinking that one of the best ways to keep your home safe is to have a dog, if you are allowed to have them where you live.
While it is true that a dog can be a good companion to have around and that many burglars don’t want to deal with a dog on the property, they are not always a deterrent.
This is especially true if you have a friendly family dog that just loves everyone. Having a dog can be great, but you should never use a dog as a replacement for a home security system.
There are a number of other things that you can do around the house that can help to increase your security. Again, these things should not be in lieu of a security system. They should complement the system.
You should take the time to check all of the locks on your windows and doors. If they are old and untrustworthy, replace them.
It’s often easy to take care of this on your own, and it doesn’t cost too much. Just keep in mind the statistics we talked about earlier. Many of the burglaries involve forcible entry. Better locks can slow them down and make them think twice.
However, locks alone are not likely to keep out a determined criminal.
You need to have a high quality security system that works well for your particular property. Take the time to research the various companies in your area who offer these systems and then find the one that will work best for you.
Find a Good Security System
Now that you know a bit more about the importance and advantages of home security no matter where you live, it’s time to start looking for a good home security package that can help you and your family.
Take the time to look up the crime rates in your area now as well. It can give you a better picture of what you are facing. In the future, we’ll be providing information about each state in the country.
We’ll be covering things such as the crime rates, the laws for defending yourself, cost of security, potential tax breaks and insurance breaks, the average loss per break-in and more.