With any form of defense, from firearms to home security, the ageless question has always been about whether or not it’s worthwhile to make your defenses readily apparent. Proponents argue that making your defense easily known can be a great help in deterring potential criminals from even considering a person or property to be a target. Those on the other side of the fence see transparency as a weakness; making your defenses obvious can also make them exploitable. In terms of home security, having equipment in plain sight can expose it to vandalism or exploitation. Where should those who want to be prepared for home invasion stand?
How effective is deterrence?
It’s no secret that home defense can deter crooks, which is why many individuals even without security systems seek out stickers to place conspicuously in windows and on doors to warn off unwanted guests that a system is installed and armed. It’s the same reason why convenience stores frequently install false security cameras, and why many retail stores prominently display live CCTV feeds on television screens at key locations. When someone knows they’re being monitored, it unquestionably changes the way they behave. This applies similarly to residential applications of security equipment, which is why nearly every home-insurance provider gives owners discounts when measures are installed.
What problems does visibility present in home security?
The concern in making measures apparent is that equipment can be damaged – or even (ironically) stolen – when it is easily known. This is the greatest concern with outside pieces, like security cameras, flood lights, motion sensors, and locking mechanisms. While this can be a costly problem, many of these technologies have advanced to include anti-vandalism and anti-theft features.
- Many modern cameras come with tamper-proof mounting rigs that prevent prying or unscrewing, and some even set off indoor alarms when such tampering is detected.
- Advances in locks, such as bump-proof models and biometric technologies, make tampering considerably more difficult.
- Alternative power sources are an increasingly popular feature for shrewd homeowners, meaning that damaging or deactivating a home’s power supply upon realizing security devices are in place is no longer a viable route for home invasion.
However, another problem is that even more advanced technologies can be exploited. Motion sensors are often calibrated to avoid lower ranges where dogs or other pets might roam, which is unfortunately common knowledge. Security cameras that are easily seen have the most easily located blind spots. And finally, basic alarm systems rigged to doors and windows frequently only cover primary entrances and first story windows; putting a security sticker on a window might only limit a few obvious entrances for more resourceful thieves.
While there are several problems associated with making your defenses transparent, true preparedness comes with an element of deterrence that a purely stealthy system cannot provide. Your system may be more likely be successful in detecting criminals once they’ve invaded (which has been demonstrated to reduce most criminals’ staying time before making a break for it), but the truth is that these break-ins might have been avoided altogether if that intangible element of deterrence was at play.
Incorporating modern tamper-proof features in your equipment is essential to reduce the odds of making transparency work against your odds. The best method of structuring security should account for visibility with elements of stealth, such as a visible camera with auxiliary units or motion sensors accounting for blind spots. By compensating for the areas where security might be exploited, a homeowner can reap all the benefits of a deterrence without worrying about a security system being gamed by more savvy crooks.
About the author:
The above article is by Naomi Broderick on behalf of Protect Your Home, an ADT home alarm supplier. A keen writer on emergency preparedness and parenting advice, Naomi enjoys writing when she has a break from the full-time job of motherhood.