Despite crime being at an all-time low, the home security industry is at its largest ever size. According to some sources, the home security market is growing, albeit slowly, to millions of customers in the United States alone. That being said, even though crime is low, are these systems worth the cost? How effective are they even in the best of circumstances?
The basic blueprint for these products is a camera and an alarm system. A security camera is installed by the biggest “weak points” around your property, and then those are attached to software that looks for things like movement to alert you about somebody or something entering your property. Usually, there’s a keypad or a passcode you can enter to disable this system so that you don’t get flagged by your own alarms.
However, depending on how much money you’re willing to spend, the expansions can get even more extreme. You can install door sensors, window sensors, floodlights activated by motion sensors, and even an elaborate safe room dug into the ground.
In the best of circumstances, the statistics about the efficacy of these systems is rather dubious. ADT, the premier home security system company in the United States, likes to source a statistic invented by alarms.org claiming that homes without alarms are 300% more likely to be burglarized; however, their source, the FBI crime statistics page, does not separate out crimes along that variable.
With this shaky evidence in mind, making a strong claim about these being effective or ineffective is impossible, the evidence simply doesn’t exist. What we do know is that despite the American population increasing, crime by absolute numbers is decreasing.
You should look at your own neighborhood to see if one of these may be worth it. If you live in a rich, sleepy neighborhood in the suburbs of a major city, you’re almost certainly throwing money into a fire by paying hundreds of dollars for one of these systems. However, it could be worth it if you live in an area with more crime.
All in all, the lack of evidence about the effectiveness of these systems make it hard to justify the cost. You should do research on your local level of violence, and decide whether you think the peace of mind outweighs the cost.