December 13, 2011
Eleven in ’11: This Year’s Top Trends in Home Security
It's been quite a year for the US home security industry: plenty of breaking news and hot trends to track and report on. So, as we approach the new year, here's a brief overview of the 2011 topics that made the cut for the top eleven in 2011. When it comes to protecting your home and family, you want to be in the know on news that affects homeowners all across the country. It's all about getting the peace of mind you deserve – this year and every year.
- Alarm Systems are Only as Good as Alarm Companies.
This year saw two significant recalls: one by ADT of roughly 20,000 carbon monoxide detectors where atechnician wiring error was the culprit, and another by alarm equipment maker 2GIG of about 30,000 alarm control units with potentially faulty signaling technology. The lessons: wireless sensors are increasingly the choice of smart shoppers (you can even install them yourself!), and always look for the UL stamp of approval on your alarm equipment. And yes, FrontPoint's GE Security equipment has the UL listing.
- Burglars are Dressing Up.
Bad guys are increasingly playing on homeowners' trusting natures. "Ruse" burglaries are up, where one perp take your attention while another rips you off, and another scary trend is the burglar dressed like an alarm salesman or a cable guy to case your place for a return visit. They're also calling to ask about your alarm system: be careful what you tell them on the phone!
- Big Companies can Make Big Mistakes.
ADT settled a wrongful death suit where a mom and her boyfriend were murdered after she bought an expensive ADT system – and the equipment did not provide the specified level of protection. After fighting very hard to keep this from going to trial, ADT settled the suit three days before trial commenced, supposedly for millions.
- Door to Door Alarm Sales Reached a New Low.
Warnings on "door knocker" alarm companies are all over the internet: the Better Business Bureau, local police departments, and even the Federal Trade Commission have advised consumers to think twice about opening your door for that aggressive pitch. Here's the best insider view on these over-the-top sales tactics – from someone who knows.
- Burglars Use Facebook, Too!
Facebook cuts both ways: while it's true that police are catching criminals by posting pictures of burglary suspects on Facebook, it's also a fact that posting your travel or even weekend plans on-line is as bad idea. More burglars are using social media to track your whereabouts, so be very careful what you post. Same goes for your kids.
- Intruders are Cutting Phone Lines to Defeat Alarm Systems.
Remember that high-profile ADT lawsuit mentioned above? The murderer defeated the alarm system by cutting the phone line before breaking in, and this is happening more and more. A cellular link to the monitoring center is the only reliable method. And these days, plenty of homes don't even have a phone line. Cellular monitoring is just safer.
- More Alarm Companies are Relying on the Internet.
The alarm industry is finally getting smart with systems that offerinteractive features like remote arm/disarm, text and email notification, event history at the touch of a button, and even free mobile apps. The bad news: most of these providers are late to the game(like ADT's Pulse) and are charging more for services than the good companies established these advanced features years ago. And the worst part of it is that the latecomers offer interactive services only over an internet connection, which is the first thing to go down, and the first thing a burglar cuts. Remember that important cellular connection? Cellular isn't just the only safe and reliable method for monitoring: it's also the best way to stay connected as well as protected.
- Cable and Telephone Companies are Offering Alarm Services.
What do you do as a utility when competition gets tough, your cancellation rates are high, and profits are in jeopardy? You look for ways to keep your customers around longer, despite your poor service. And that's just what some US cable and telephone companies are doing. They seem to be selling the right stuff (interactive monitoring services and home automation), and in some case they are. But if you can't get good service response for your cable, is that the company you want protecting your home and family? I didn't think so!
- Burglars Add Guns to the List of Things They Steal Most.
For a long time it was the usual list of targeted items: cash, jewelry, and electronics (think computers, phones, games, etc.). Two disturbing trends have developed: one is the addition of prescription drugsto the list, since many intruders are abusing drugs themselves. The other is guns, which more families are keeping in the home for self-protection. Remember, the gun a burglar steals from you (or another home) may be used against you. Think hard about the safest way to store any guns in your home.
- On-line Shopping is Still Growing.
Shopping analysts predict a 15% increase in on-line holiday shopping compared to 2010's – which is huge. And as more customers shop on-line, for almost everything you can imagine, on-line reputation gains in importance. Of course, it's not all good news for companies: the number of complaint sites (and complaints) has also risen, showing that people are more determined than ever to get their money's worth. Happily there are a few great alarm companies with world-class reviews - as you'll learn when you start shopping for peace of mind!
- More Police Departments Recommend Monitored Home Security.
It wasn't long ago that home security tips from local police just included the usual: lock your doors, put up outdoor lights, trim your hedges, and mow the lawn (or shovel the walk!). Then there's alsokeeping an eye out for your neighbors. But now that standard list is more likely to mention a monitored home security system. One reason is that more homeowners are confronting burglars in what should be an empty home, and the results can be tragic. Police would much rather track down a burglar than someone who has injured a homeowner, or worse, so they would rather you have a monitored alarm system.
FrontPoint cares about your safety and peace of mind – after all, protecting homes and families is our highest priority. We'll keep on sharing industry news as it occurs: it's our goal to be your resource for crime statistics, burglar behaviors, and the latest technologies to thwart intruders. After all, FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the country to use safer cellular monitoring on every system we sell – and charge less for it. But what people really know us for is our smarter Interactive level of monitoring. Make sure your home is protected: by FrontPoint, theleader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.