5-Figure Home Security Spreads, As Do False Alarms


Baltimore area homeowners are buying sophisticated security systems that offer a level of protection typically found in commercial buildings, the Baltimore Sun reports. Among the features: remote-monitoring capabilities, digital cameras, infrared sensors, and fingerprint scanners. Home systems that can cost $10,000 or more.

The trend is fueled by several factors, including cheaper technology, a hot real estate market and fallout from terrorist attacks. “They’re not looking for the $99 system anymore,” said John Grab, a salesman with Vintage Security. He cites a $28,000 unit in a 5,000-square-foot home. It featured remote camera viewing over the Internet, sensors on all windows and doors, and backups.

One home builder said: “I’ve got a client who works at the White House, so he needs extra security…he wanted cameras…[so] he can be at work and see anything that’s going on at his front door, or at his kitchen breakfast room or in his basement. If they get through his alarm system, he can still see what’s going on with his video cameras.”

The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association in Silver Spring, Md., says that nationwide nearly 20 percent of homes have an electronic security system.

A troublesome side effect to the proliferation of home security systems is false alarms. “Ninety-nine percent of all alarm activations are false,” said Sherry Llewellyn of the Howard County, Md., Police Department, whose officers respond to nearly 20,000 false alarms each year. Several localities require homeowners and businesses to register alarm systems for a fee. In Howard, residents must register for a one-time $25 payment. After three false alarms in a year, fines start at $50 and can increase to $1,000.

Link: http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/howard/bal-ho.security30dec30,0,6627492.story?coll=bal-local-howard

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