Providing your building with a high-quality burglar alarm system is one of the most trustworthy ways you can protect your property.
It doesn’t matter the size of your building, but ensuring that all your doors, windows and other entry points are secure, is vital to always keeping your belongings and valuables safe.
Studies have shown that buildings with an active security system in place are three times less likely to be broken into than a building without protection. Therefore, having one installed is something that all building owners should consider for additional protection.
Should I get a burglar alarm?
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home, and so it’s important that you consider investing in some measures for extra security and peace of mind.
Whether you decide to install security lighting as a deterrent, or invest in some security equipment, such as a burglar alarm; the investment would be worthwhile.
When considering whether you should get an alarm or not, you should research and check out some known, reputable alarm companies before making a purchase.
You should avoid purchasing any alarm systems that are being sold by cold callers or other unreliable sellers knocking on your door.
Types of intruder alarms
Although the purpose of all intruder alarms is to detect intrusion or invasion, their operation can vary slightly. Therefore, it is important to know what kind of alarm would suit you best.
Safe Alarms – Attached to a safe deposit box, these types of sensors trigger an alarm by recognizing unauthorised attempts into opening a safe. These can work in various ways.
Some are designed to detect when a safe is moved, while others aim to detect when the safe has been tampered with or when it has been opened by force.
Motion Sensors – Can be installed both inside and outside the home. These types of sensors trigger an alarm by identifying movement. They work by creating an ‘invisible area’ that cannot be accessed without sounding an alarm. They are often used to protect areas containing valuable items.
Break Glass Detectors – These types of sensors trigger an alarm when the sound of breaking glass is heard. They hold an audio microphone designed to recognise the frequency of glass breaking and usually have a working radius of several feet so that they can be placed in the middle of a room if there are multiple windows to secure. This will only alert once the break in has been attempted, not before.
Door and Window Sensors – These alarms are triggered by identifying unauthorised entry via doors and windows. One part of the sensor is installed on the door or window, and the other part is located on the door frame or windowsill to detect motion and unwanted entry.
Shock Sensors – These types of sensors trigger an alarm by recognising an impact or vibration caused by a window or door being broken into.
Panic button: older, more vulnerable people, and those with mobility issues, can really benefit from a panic alarm system that activates a home alarm system. Whether it calls emergency services help, or alerts a relative, is down to the user. Some panic alarm systems have connected sensors that are able to detect other hazards; for example, fires or floods and can provide complete peace of mind.
if you have pets, you’ll need a pet-friendly alarm system that’s specially designed to ignore floor-level body heat, the type that’s caused by pets. A pet immune PIR sensor will ignore weight or mass less than 35 kilos.
Even if an intruder does try to enter a room by crawling, they will still be detected, as they will generally weigh more than the alarm is set to ignore.
There are also solutions for households with larger animals if this does not suit you. Additionally, owning pets itself can have a deterrent effect. Large dogs can ward off intruders, and animals in general may alert their owner of unusual activity in the home.
Service & maintenance: There are over 600,000 burglaries a year in England and Wales*. With a well-maintained alarm, these property owners could have significantly reduced their risk of being burgled.
Did you know that under many insurance policies, you are responsible for looking after alarm systems and security devices? If burglars managed to gain entry to your property because your security systems were not properly maintained, your insurance company could refuse to compensate you.
Keeping up to date with repairs and maintenance will also save you money in the long term – prevention is better than cure and certainly costs a lot less!
24hr Monitoring with Police Response: According to West Midlands police, potential intruders will actively look for visual signs of a security system when selecting their next target to burgle. If they spot an alarm, it will deter them.
At Countrywide Security Systems, we aim to not only deter intruders from breaking into your property but also to stop the intruders by capturing them if they do pose a threat.
Therefore, a police monitored burglar alarm system from Countrywide Security Systems, means that your home or business will be looked after 24hrs, 7days a week. We will be sure to investigate if your alarm is triggered, thus protecting you, your property, and your possessions. Every time an alarm is triggered we will call you, and the police upon confirmation.
Area control: certain burglar alarm systems can be set up to function only in allocated parts of a home as required. For example, if you are doing something upstairs all day, you could activate only the alarm downstairs.
Key fobs and tags: for enhanced convenience and control, key fobs or tags can be used to activate or deactivate an alarm, without having to enter a CODE into a control panel. Whilst you do need to be near the burglar alarm system to use the fobs or tags, they are still much easier to use than a keypad. If you are looking for full remote control, then you’ll need to opt for a smart home security system. This will allow you to arm and disarm your system from any location via a internet connection.
How Does a Burglar Alarm System Work?
Even though alarms can work independently, they tend to work best when they’re integrated together into a proficient security system. Having this network of alarms ensures your property is protected in a myriad of ways; making it increasingly difficult for criminals to overcome.
Burglar alarm systems work by monitoring movement in the home while the alarm is set and active. If movement is sensed inside your home while the alarm is set, these systems will trigger a sound, alerting you or your neighbours to a potential intruder.
The sensors should be in areas where people are more likely to try to enter your home, such as doors, conservatory, and windows. Additional technology can be added to your system for additional protection. Such as window sensors that trigger the alarm when a window is opened.
It’s thought owning an alarm system will put burglars off attempting to get inside a property, as it will arouse the attention of you and your neighbours.
When you have an alarm system installed, it is suggested that the alarm box is visible from the front of your home, making it clear that you do have a working alarm and your home is secure enough to detect an intrusion.
The Control Panel
All security systems have a control panel, which is what controls the system entirely. All alarms are linked to the control panel, helping it to gather and process information from each detector and respond accordingly.
The panel typically feature an intuitive and user-friendly touchpad that allows the user to arm and disarm the alarms, as well as communicate with each individual device when appropriate. Most panel models also come with a built-in communicator to contact the relevant authorities in the case of an emergency.
When the control panel recognises an intrusion, it sends signals to the alarms to perform an action. What this action is will depend on the type of alarm and system you’re using, but it’s likely to involve sirens and/or strobe lighting to alert and detour the intruder from continuing.
Smart Alarms with Remote Monitoring
Smart Alarms now enable you to remotely monitor your alarm system from your mobile phone or tablet. This means that whenever you’re out of your home, you’ll be instantly notified if an alarm gets triggered. Or if you have forgotten to set your alarm you can arm it via your mobile phone. This is ideal if you’re often away from home or living alone, reassuring you that you’ll be instantly alerted should any problems arise.
We can protect your property from intruders, fire, CO2 levels, flooding and even automatically open doors, barriers and switch on your security lights. Some more advanced features are photographic evidence, the alarm can automatically take pictures of anyone that has activated your alarm giving the police photographic evidence of the burglar.
Do Burglar Alarms Really Work?
There has been plenty of discussion around whether burglar alarms can prevent a burglar from entering your home, or at least reduce the risk of this happening.
It has been argued that if a burglar were to come upon a house with an alarm installed, and one without. They would be more likely to choose the one without, as it’s a safer option to access and they’re less likely to be discovered. This is when an alarm could be beneficial. It will not prevent a break in, but it has a better chance at deterring one.
It has also been suggested that some burglars aren’t afraid of house alarms because most people tend to ignore them. Security Alarms conducted a survey and asked 1,000 of their website visitors what they do when they hear a neighbour’s house alarm going off. 1,000 people were surveyed.
42% of respondents said they would look out of the window to see what was happening or if there’s a problem.
Around 19% said they would go and investigate.
But 33% would do nothing.
Only 6% of people would call the police.
It’s still reassuring that nearly half of people would look to see what was happening. And it is likely that if they did see anything suspicious, they would alert the police, which demonstrates that house alarms can still do their job effectively.
Alarms are more effective when used alongside other security measures, such as CCTV, security lights and timed internal lights that make it seem like someone is always at home.
A burglar alarm could also be more effective if it’s directly linked to a security centre that can monitor your alarm 24/7 and will be alerted if it is activated.
Does a burglar alarm reduce home insurance?
The cost of your home insurance is determined by risk. Therefore, the riskier a home is to insure, the higher the premium. Some insurance providers offer a discount for those who have a working burglar alarm installed, and you may find that insurance is cheaper with an alarm system than without.
Some providers are particular about the alarm that you have installed, and you may only receive a discount if you have one that’s approved by the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board.
Alternatively, you may receive a discount if the alarm was installed by an approved installer who’s part of the National Security Inspectorate. Some insurance providers may not offer a discount at all.
Should you have a burglar alarm installed, but it was not active when a burglary happens, your insurance provider may choose not to pay out if you were to make a claim. You must check your policy for details around what would happen in this instance. Therefore, it’s important to set your alarm whenever the property is empty, and/or when everyone is in bed. Most alarm systems have zoning capabilities, which means you can set the alarm in certain rooms or choose to only alarm downstairs and not upstairs.
When your insurer relies on the presence of an alarm system, it is likely that a policy ‘alarm condition’ will be applied which may typically require:
- Installation/maintenance and any monitoring, to be undertaken by an ‘inspectorate’ listed company
- A maintenance contract with an ‘inspectorate’ listed company being kept in force
- The insurer is to be informed of any changes to the system (including signalling)
- Complete activation of the system when the grounds are left unattended
- Alarm operating devices (keys/fobs) or alarm code details not being left on site, or in an on-site, secure key box
- Suitable persons to act as premises keyholders
- The insurer is to be informed of any reduction in, or withdrawal of, police response
- Prompt attendance of a keyholder if there’s any activation or fault.
Insurers typically regard the suitability of system grades as being:
Grade 2E – Suitable for lower risk homes
Grade 2 – Appropriate for higher risk homes and lower risk commercial premises
Grade 3 – Best for high-risk homes and most commercial premises
A key difference between grade 2 and 3 systems is that in grade 3 systems, any movement detectors must report ‘masking’ to users when they set the system.
Masking is a tactic used by many criminals to deliberately impair the function of movement detectors, by covering (masking) them with sticky tape or hairspray.
The aim is to prevent control of the detectors during a subsequent break in and is most typically a risk at premises open to the public such as retail premises.
How often should burglar alarms be serviced?
A working alarm system is vital to reduce the risk of your home being burgled or disturbed. You should have your alarm serviced at least once a year by a professional. They will come out and test the system, to make sure that all the sensors are working correctly. The engineer will also check for signs of damp that can damage the alarm. As well as ensuring that all the fuses are still working and check your alarm log. An alarm log stores data such as any malfunctions and when the alarm has sounded. This information could be useful when determining what to check in your alarm system. Alternatively, for battery-powered alarms, you may wish to get them serviced twice a year, as the batteries can eventually run flat.
These alarm checks are important as any faults can be identified quickly and resolved as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be left without a working alarm for some time before someone can look at it and fix the issue. Additionally, having your alarm regularly serviced could be a requirement of your home insurance policy.
It is important to note all alarms may function differently, and therefore will require their own steps. In order to receive the correct information for your alarm, please read the user manual or contact your alarm provider. However, below is some general advice.
How much do alarms cost?
Alarm costs will vary significantly and depend on what kind of alarm you buy, the features you want it to have and several other factors. You can buy alarms outright or opt for a monthly payment with some security companies.
How to fit a burglar alarm system?
In theory, you can install your own alarms, but if you are looking to install a burglar alarm it will require and electrician. “Under the legislation, anyone involved in the sale, installation, maintenance, repair or servicing of security equipment needs to hold a Class 2C security licence.” (police.nsw.gov)
How to install a wireless burglar alarm?
Homebase have a step-by-step guide to how to install a wireless alarm which is copied below. However, it is recommended to get a professional to fit your system to ensure all is working correctly.
How long does a burglar alarm go off for?
Typically, around 20 minutes. Most alarm systems will have a cut off after 20 minutes for sound but will still have an active flashing light until de-activated.
How to use a burglar alarm?
Each alarm system will be different and therefore the user manual will need to be consulted. But typically to activate your alarm you will just need to set it or activate it. This might need a password input but can be as simple as just pressing ‘activate’.
How to reset a burglar alarm?
If you’re looking to reset your system with a password, it is normally as simple as clicking reset and entering the password. Without this however, you will need to:
go to your alarm system’s main access panel.
Remove the power plug to the alarm console from the socket.
Unlock and open the main panel with the console access key, or a small tool, such as a screw.
Disconnect one of the wires from the system’s main battery.
How to set a burglar alarm at night?
Secure all doors and windows, making sure they are locked. Then activate your alarm system as per its instructions and settle in for the night.