Burglar Alarm Systems Near Me - I currently live in a high rise apartment which is very secure with cctv, fob controlled access and more. Unfortunately, due to Grenfell, our block is being vacated for refurbishment. I don't know what kind of property I will be offered, but I have to provide my own security system for my home. Cost is not a big issue as I will be getting a disruption grant for the forced move. But as a retiree, I don't want to be saddled with a high monthly premium for monitoring. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Peter
Technology companies are selling many new gadgets to increase home security, including smart locks, motion detectors, window sensors and digital cameras. Many are part of the trend toward "smart homes" with internet-connected doorbells, lights, voice assistants and more. Most of these things fall under the general technology-industry label of the Internet of Things (IoT).
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New technologies have certainly made many things easier, and sometimes cheaper. CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is a prime example. Early productions used analog television cameras attached to VHS tape recorders. These systems are expensive and somewhat complicated to install. Today, you can stick small battery-powered digital cameras anywhere and access them via smartphone. They are activated when they detect motion and automatically upload clips to the cloud. Amazon's Blink is a great example of this type of system.
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However, real home security has more physical components than electronics. When I'm away from home, it's reassuring to be able to remotely access camera images and see that everything is fine. On the other hand, if there is a thief in your room, the system has already failed. Maybe the money was better spent on window locks than cameras.
The good news is that the number of house burglaries in England and Wales fell from 2,445,000 in 1993 to 411,536 in the year ending March 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. Because theft is often opportunistic, even small increases in security can deter thieves, and smart devices undoubtedly play a role.
There is also a legal aspect. If you install CCTV, it should only record images of your home and garden. If you capture images of your neighbours' homes, public spaces and public roads, UK data protection laws apply - the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) . As the ICO explains, this requires you to put up signs indicating CCTV is in operation, handle data securely and be prepared to deal with subject access requests (SARs) within a month. For example, if you have taken pictures of your neighbors, they may ask to see them and ask you to delete them.
When it comes to home security, different people have different needs. In some parts of England, you can leave your windows open and your doors open. Among others, you may want reinforced doors with triple locks, bars over windows, and moat.
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Once you know where you live, you can get a general idea of the threat level by typing your postcode into the Hacking Hotspots page on Moneysupermarket.com. This is based on the number of insurance claims per zip code, not the number of robberies. However, I would guess that most robberies are reported because people may need a crime reference number to make an insurance claim.
Numbers can vary greatly. Within 10 miles of where I live, they range from 1.48 claims per thousand in SW3 (Chelsea, Brompton, Knightsbridge) to 36.34 in SW14 (Mortlake, East Sheen).
When you're on the move, you can check your security. In some areas, a crime prevention officer may be asked to visit your home to provide advice. You may also want to join a neighborhood watch program. Either way, it's a good idea to introduce yourself to your new neighbors and ask them to watch out for intruders. You will definitely do the same for them.
Most police forces offer advice on internet safety and there are some good public resources. Examples include Who?, Consumers Union, Age UK and Moneysupermarket.com. Preventive measures range from putting lights on timers to planting cycads.
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Most police forces support programs that tag valuable assets with your house number and zip code. You can put a note of this on your window next to a neighborhood watch sticker. Tagging makes it more difficult to sell stolen property and easier to identify if found. Marking systems range from simple UV pens to dot bean engraving to alpha dot forensic marking. Other options include SmartWater, Selectamark and ImmobiMark.
The Metropolitan Police recommends SmartWater marking, which can also be used in sprays that "coat the criminal with an invisible fingerprint and mark stolen property at the scene of the crime." Free tools are available to local residents through MetTrace.
High-tech security options range from Neos SmartCam (£19.99) and GHB (four for £24.99) window alarms to whole home systems that can be professionally installed.
The innovative Neos SmartCam is being sold directly by home insurance companies, which believe their customers will receive fewer claims if they use the monitoring devices. Its neat feature is "auto-arm" where it will arm itself if other devices indicate that no one is home. This is how it should be if you leave the house with your smartphone and take it outside of your Wi-Fi range.
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Of course, there are dozens of smart cameras with advanced features like lens rotation and zoom. There are also potential risks. For example, you give away a lot of personal information, so I avoid Google products as much as possible. Some cameras may use default passwords - which you should always change - or be easy to hack.
Alternatively, instead of shopping for separate devices, you can purchase an integrated, expandable kit. You can install it yourself or have someone do it for you. A major advantage is that everything can be controlled from a single smartphone app.
An example is the Yale IA-320, which works with Yale smart locks and individual Amazon Alexa devices. The Family Kit (£235.68) includes an internal alarm, two motion detectors, a keypad and an external bell box with a 104db siren - see installation video. Larger kits available. There are no rental fees and you can take the entire space with you when you move.
Yale's IA-320 Home Security Kit is sold directly by Currys, Costco, Screwfix, Wickes and other suppliers as well as Yale, so it should be a very secure choice. However, it had mixed reviews on Amazon, with the smartphone app receiving particular criticism.
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You should also consider Honeywell's RCHS5230WF Starter Kit (£248.32). Unlike Yale's system, it's built around a base station that includes an HD camera, motion detection, a siren, and a built-in Alexa smart speaker — see video. The kit includes two wireless door/window sensors and a small remote control. As usual, there's a companion smartphone app and limited cloud storage.
Yale's biggest challenge now comes from Ring's five-piece alarm security kit (£249), which recently launched in the UK. The Alexa-friendly kit includes a base station, a motion sensor, and a contact sensor for a door or window (you can buy more on the Ring website). Ring started with a video doorbell, its US range includes flood sensors and other sensors not yet available here. However, Amazon bought the startup last year, so rapid expansion is possible.
Users without a reliable broadband connection can consider the JC Wireless Kit (£83.99), which can be used with a 3G or 4G network, although it also works via Wi-Fi.
These and other products are also covered in aggregated information on PC Magazine, Bestspy.co.uk, TekTouch, Digital Trends (US) and similar sites.
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Finally, it's a good idea to talk to your local crime prevention officer and your home insurance provider, who may offer discounts if you install certain products. But ultimately, only you can decide which approach best meets your needs and finances.
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