Around 10 PM on August 15, 2014, police in Moorestown, NJ responded to an activated burglar alarm on the east side of town. When they got there, they found a shattered window but no suspects inside. Police concluded the burglar alarm scared off the would-be thief or thieves before anything was stolen.
Police in Lake Forest, Illinois responded to a similar call around 12:20 PM on August 19. Again, there were no suspects in sight when police and the homeowner arrived minutes after the burglar alarm was activated. They found a rear sliding glass door shattered but nothing missing. Police believe the burglar alarm also scared away the thief or thieves in this case.
Although these two cases occurred hundreds of miles apart, they prove an important point: burglar alarms do work for their intended purposes. Some critics of home security systems argue their burglar alarms are no defense against the determined burglar or home invader unafraid of being caught. And that may be true. However, there is no means of self-protection that can guarantee 100% success.
Burglar alarms are intended to be part of a larger personal security solution that aims to cover all potential security breaches. In particular, the three primary purposes of the burglar alarm are:
- making noise
- securing help
FBI crime statistics from 2012 suggest a home burglary occurs at a rate of one every 12 to 15 seconds. The numbers clearly show that burglars are alive, well, and doing business throughout the United States. In most cases, they are looking for items that they can grab quickly and sell easily. The one thing that all burglars all have in common is the desire to pull off their crimes without being caught. That is where burglar alarms come into play.
A burglar alarm increases the chances of being caught by way of noisy alarms and 24-hour monitoring services. All things being equal, is the burglar more likely to hit the house with or without the alarm? The answer should be obvious. If a burglar knows an alarm is being used on a particular house, he or she would most likely move on to a home without an alarm.
As evidenced by the two news stories above, making a lot of noise is a great way to scare away burglars that might otherwise be undeterred. Noise prevents a burglar from completing his or her mission inconspicuously, something that the average burglar hates. A burglar wants to get in and out completely unnoticed.
When a home security system includes 24-hour monitoring, the burglar alarm also becomes a method for securing help. As soon as an alarm is triggered, the monitoring center quickly springs into action to evaluate the situation and contact the appropriate authorities. The lack of an alarm system could put you in serious jeopardy should your home be burglarized while you are occupying it.
In cases when a home is not occupied, securing help is still an important advantage. In both the New Jersey and Illinois cases, the noise of the burglar alarms likely scared away the burglars because they knew help was on the way. They had no intention of being there when police arrived.
No, burglar alarms are not foolproof by any stretch of imagination. However, they are an important tool in safeguarding your property against enterprising thieves that would seek to break in. A burglar alarm acts as a deterrent, makes a lot of conspicuous noise, and, when coupled with 24-hour monitoring, gives homeowners quick access to help in time of need.
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