This is a subject that I feel strongly about.  It might stem from being in the home security business for a few years, seeing homes and personal lives invaded, or worse because the occupants of that particular domicile did not have a security system to help protect them at their perimeter.  Now, this is not to say that a home security system would have stopped the burglar, robber, murderer, fire, flood, etc. from happening.   My home security philosophy is such that the security system is a deterrent  and notification platform to help you or the proper authorities be proactive about protecting your property and your life.  

I feel you should have a home security system whether you rent or own your apartment, and whether you rent or own your home.  I know some of you are going to say, “but I keep my rifle, handgun, shotgun, next to, under my bed, within arms reach, etc.”  And, all that is fine.  But what happens if you are working and the babysitter is there, and something happens?  Anything?  Think  she is going to make it to the bedroom, chamber a round, and save the day?  I think not.  I paint a weird picture here, but I have a point.  A home security system works for you 24 x 7 x 365 whether you are home or not.  It can notify you if the temperature goes below 50 degrees while you are on vacation in February so you can make an emergency call to your heating guy and continue to enjoy your vacation.  It can give you piece of mind that while you are sleeping your doors and windows are covered, and the alarm will sound if there is an issue, also alerting the police.  The upside for you is that you are alerted as the perimeter is being breached, also alerting the would be intruder, scaring them off 99% of the time.

Now that said, people who live in an apartment, condo, brownstone, or town home think that they are safe because they are in a community of people around them that are aware of what is going on.  Let me point out that people are scurrying about their lives with no concern for you, your stuff, or your life.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking they are.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are protected from the threat of robbery or a break in.  You are not.  Even if your building or neighborhood is patrolled by security, there are large holes in the security plans of most apartment complexes.  The truth is, if someone wants to get into your complex, apartment building, home, etc. they will.  They will find a way.  If they want to get in, they will scheme, lie, sneak, etc. to make their way to their destination.

This is not to scare you.  This is the truth.  We are taught at an early age that a man or woman with a badge and in uniform are enough to keep you safe.  Not so.  In fact, where I live in the suburbs, I am, what I call, security blind.  There are so many guard services, and so many police officers around here, I don’t even pay attention to them anymore.   I am going to go out on a limb and say that if I am security blind, then so is your would be aggressor to the level that he is only aware of them when they want to be.  Which brings me to my point…

You should investigate installing a home alarm system even if you live in a small apartment.  I hope I was able to explain why with the above dissertation.  A security system can have multiple functions.  It does not have to only have to be for anti – burglary measures.  There are a multitude of functions they can serve that can save you time and money in the long run.  For instance, along with burglary prevention you can add devices that can alert you of the following issues:

  • Falling temperature in your home
  • Broken pipes and water on the floor
  • Fire (both smoke and heat detectors)
  • Thermostat control to turn your heat up or down automatically or remotely
  • Egress reporting (you can give people in your family or your landlord a code, and know when they come and go)

The newer systems can do even more than that.  I can put a pressure plate under the carpet outside may apartment door, and have the keypad alert me with a chirp before the would be guest or intruder even knocks on the door.  Some pretty cool stuff.  Now, the more devices you add, the more the system will cost.  But I suggest at the minimum, the doors on your apartment, and the window(s) where there may be a way to the ground via fire escape.  In my case I would have two doors, and a motion detector and/or a glass break detector.

One of the benefits of the security system are the door and window stickers.  The door and window stickers alone are a deterrent to a would be intruder.  The statistic is that an intruder is three (3) times less likely to approach your home with window and door stickers than without.  Note however, that they should not be relied on as the only deterrent because your would be intruder may actually be someone you know, that has been in your home before.  If they have been there, they know that you do not have an alarm system, and you are now a victim of your own making…

Now, let’s broach the idea that a would be intruder actually makes their way into your home after they have set off the alarm system, and are still brazen enough to come in.  I am assuming you will still want some sort of response from the authorities, and that is what your central station monitoring is for.  Your central station will receive a code from your alarm system that there is an intruder, and call you for your code.  They will ask if everything is okay and if you do not answer correctly or give a duress code, the authorities are immediately dispatched.  If you do not answer, the authorities are also dispatched.  Note: In many cities if your alarm goes off three times, are sent to your location, and they are false alarms you may be fined by your local law enforcement agency.  Central station monitoring runs anywhere from 20.00 – 30.00 a month, but the benefits FAR outweigh the costs…

You may also have to obtain permission from your landlord to install the alarm system, and if you do, you should make sure you give them a code to enter your apartment in the event of an emergency when you are not there.

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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.