I have been covering home security and home automation for a number of years now. One thing I have heard consistently is that home security systems deter crime. They are especially effective against property crimes. But is that true? Or is it just home security companies saying it to try to sell expensive equipment and monitoring services?
The answer to the question lies in statistical data. If home security systems really do deter crime, we should see a correlation between increased home security adoption and property crime reductions. Apparently, that’s exactly the case.
Based on data cited by Vivint, here are five things homeowners should know about property crimes and home security systems:
1. Burglars Admit to Avoiding Them
Perhaps the most important data one could look at is actual data provided by criminals themselves. It relates to their willingness to hit properties they believe are protected by home security. Vivint cites a podcast featuring a burglar who admitted to avoiding homes with security systems. But one podcast doesn’t make the case.
Vivint also cited a report from KTVB channel 7 out of Portland, OR. Reporters at the station interviewed some 86 convicted burglars about their practices. Most admitted that home security systems and noisy alarms were problems they sought to avoid.
It makes perfect sense. People planning to burglarize a home or otherwise commit some type of property crime do not want to draw attention to themselves. They don’t want to be caught. A noisy alarm draws attention. A home security system being monitored 24 hours a day gets even more attention.
So many homes are not protected by security systems that it is not worth the risk to hit one a burglar believes is armed with security devices. Take a look at our informative guide which will help you understand how to make your home harder to break in for burglars.
2. Criminals Hate Video Cameras
Home security systems are even more effective when they include video cameras covering key areas of the property. Just like criminals don’t want to draw attention to themselves, they also do not want to be caught on video doing what they do. So if they see video cameras protecting a property they had hoped to hit, criminals are likely to think twice.
As far as data is concerned, Vivint cited a well-known study out of the University of North Carolina. More than 80% of the burglars who participated in the study reported making the effort to look for home security devices, like cameras.
Again, it makes perfect sense. Video cameras provide evidence. It is evidence investigators can use to identify suspects. Should those suspects be caught and arrested, video evidence can be used to secure convictions. A burglar entering a property he knows to be protected by video cameras is voluntarily creating evidence that can be used against him.
3. Home Security Reduces Crime Rates
So now we know what criminals have to say about home security systems. But is there any correlation between security system adoption and crime rates? Yes. Not only that, but the correlation is also a good one. Let us go back to the data cited by Vivint Smart Home.
According to a study out of Rutgers University, short term reductions in local crime rates were observed in Newark neighborhoods where home security equipment was prevalent. In the long term, those same neighborhoods experienced significantly less criminal activity than other Newark neighborhoods where home security wasn’t so common.
Linking security systems to lower crime rates is big. It proves what companies like Vivint have been saying for years: the best way to deter criminals from coming onto your property is to protect that property with home security featuring wireless cameras. The combination of a monitored alarm and video surveillance does wonders to deter criminals.
4. Law Enforcement Stands by Them
Perhaps the only organizations that have pushed home security as hard as security companies are local law enforcement agencies. To this day, law enforcement stands by home security with video cameras as one of the most effective means of deterring property crimes. Let us look at the data.
Vivint Smart Home cites a speech made by a New Orleans district attorney who, in January 2024, implored local residents to invest in video surveillance. DA Jason Williams declared that video surveillance “is a game changer” that has “the potential to make a huge difference” in fighting crime.
Of course, local police departments have also warned about false alarms. That is because they are obligated to respond whenever they are informed that a security system has been triggered by a potential intruder. They want to avoid false alarms so that they are not wasting time chasing down phantom criminals. But even that tells you something.
The fact that municipalities are willing to fine homeowners for excessive false alarms tells you that the police are responding. That’s a good thing. Law enforcement responding to a triggered alarm is exactly what you want when someone is trying to break into your house.
5. Home Security is Affordable
This last point comes from me rather than data provided by Vivint. Here it is – home security is affordable for nearly any budget. It wasn’t always that way. When I was a kid, this was the domain of wealthy homeowners who could afford CCTV cameras and alarms wired into their homes’ electrical systems. My, how things have changed.
These days, an entry level system providing everything you need in a single box can be had for a few hundred dollars. You can build your own system from scratch and save some money. And as far as monthly monitoring is concerned, most of us pay more for our monthly phone plans. That is how inexpensive monthly monitoring can be.
Home security companies have been telling us for years that their equipment and monitoring services reduce crime. Well, the data bears out such claims. By their own admission, criminals avoid properties with security systems. And because they do, the data shows a direct correlation between home security adoption and reduced crime rates. So there you have it.