Self-Monitoring Vs. Professional Alarm Monitoring

New technologies within the home security space are emerging at a steady pace. While we are grateful for high-tech solutions designed to keep criminals at bay, keeping up with the best and latest security takes effort. This is particularly true when making an important decision such as choosing between a professional alarm monitoring service and a DIY alarm monitoring device. We hope that this post helps add to your knowledge and confidence in making such an important home security decision.

Is Alarm Monitoring Really Necessary?

Before we go any further, it is important to address the necessity of alarm monitoring. Yes, whether using a professional service or an automated device, monitoring a security system is necessary if aiming for optimal security. Without monitoring, a criminal has a better chance of getting away with a household’s goods or worse– harming its occupants.

According to the Electronic Security Association, 74% of burglaries which are not completed are due to the sound of an alarm triggering. While this number is enough to support installing an alarm system in your home, what do we make of the 26% of burglars who do not seem fazed by an alarm’s noise? With the added fact that most thieves are in and out of a home in a matter of minutes…and that some don’t even mind the occupants being at home during a break-in, we begin to see why alarm monitoring is so important.

The Advantages of Professional Alarm Monitoring

Whether a criminal completes a burglary or not, a professional team of monitors can begin the process of capturing a culprit. After allowing a few moments for an owner to disarm a system (in cases of false alarms), a monitor will attempt to contact a homeowner or someone from the homeowner’s list of emergency contacts in order to determine whether or not there is a problem at the alarm’s location. If unable to contact anyone or if unable to clearly identify the reason for the alarm, monitors will contact local authorities who can then physically visit a location in order to assess the situation. Mind you, this entire process happens within minutes of the alarm’s first sound.

In cases of home invasions, live alarm monitoring can literally be a life-saver as there are a couple of options available to a homeowner in trouble. One option is to create a distress code, which will quiet an alarm and satisfy an intruder (who most likely has forced a homeowner to turn the alarm off). At the same time, however, this distress code also indicates to monitors that a person is in trouble. A similar ‘secret’ code word can be given to monitors who may call on the telephone during a home invasion.

The Disadvantages of Professional Alarm Monitoring

There aren’t many disadvantages to professional alarm monitoring. The only two that are sometimes floated about in these conversations involve calling the authorities unnecessarily and the monthly cost of a monitoring service. In cases where homeowners have disagreed with authorities being called, it helps to understand that this only happens after a monitor has made several attempts to contact the homeowner and other authorized contacts about an alarm being triggered. Only when these contacts cannot be reached will a call then be placed to local law enforcement. While a false alarm may result in a fine, such calls are highly necessary as it is better to be safe than sorry.

With regards to the monthly monitoring fee that some may complain about, that is entirely understandable. What is not understandable is that home security companies tend to set the prices on this service so as to add to their own bottom line. More often than not, monitoring is done by a third-party company for a much lower fee while home security companies (i.e. the middle men) pocket the difference between the high amount the homeowner pays and the lower amount that is actually being charged for the service.

Our answer to that, of course, is Alarm Relay, which can be found on our main page. Through your relationship with the Home Security Store, you are able to benefit from a far more realistic rate than you would if you were to contract with an outside vendor for the same service.

Self-Monitoring Your Alarm System

This is an exciting time in the DIY home security market as manufacturers continue to make great strides in providing high-tech security options at the most reasonable prices possible. One of these options offers homeowners the ability to monitor a home security system remotely via computer, tablet or Smartphone. For details on how such a function works, we encourage you to take a look at the Envisalink Internet Alert Module for DSC and Honeywell Security systems.

The Advantages of Self-Monitoring an Alarm System

Self-monitoring does not involve a monthly fee and can often be added to an existing alarm system. Text and email alerts happen within seconds of any activity taking place in a zone once an alarm system is armed. Some self-monitoring devices will even place a phone call to a homeowner and other contacts on a user’s list. The ability to peer into a home is also possible with certain systems which feature surveillance capabilities.

The Disadvantages of Self-Monitoring an Alarm System

There aren’t many drawbacks to this sort of monitoring. Of course, one might be the lack of a live person (other than yourself) paying attention to a system’s alerts. Some choose to work around this potential drawback by still paying for an affordable service like Alarm Relay, but that is entirely optional.

Self-Monitoring Vs. Professional Alarm Monitoring Boils Down To Preference

Whether an alarm is professionally monitored by an outside service or whether you decide to monitor it online or via a Smartphone app, the most important thing is that your system is monitored. Otherwise, it likely comes down to an issue of preference. People who are attached to Smartphone’s and other mobile devices seem to rather enjoy being able to remotely control and monitor a system, while those who aren’t may be a better fit for a live monitoring service.

Ralph Winn

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