In the high-profile environment of New York City, the most sensational crimes and tragedies dominate the news. Residents in the city of millions tend to hear about extraordinary problems like a major gas explosion or an especially violent attack, but the average burglary and robbery hardly gets any attention in the Big Apple. No wonder, then, that break-ins are among the most common crimes in the city, because fewer home and business owners know how to prepare the right way for this everyday but underreported security threat.
Fortunately, there is a remedy that helps deter potential intruders from a home or business. That security solution is an alarm system. Chosen properly and installed correctly, the alarm system can significantly decrease the chances that criminals and thieves will invade a home or business. The key is to find the right alarm system, and the following tips can help. Most of the choices depend on the available budget and the conditions of the area that needs to be protected.
As nearly everyone knows, alarms emit a shrill noise in response to a clear and present danger. Other than that, alarm systems may be small and self-contained, or they may be elaborate, multi-zoned systems. Basic systems include a control panel, keypad, siren, indoor motion detector, door and window contacts, and a central monitoring station, if the alarm is monitored. More sophisticated systems include features such as glass-break detectors and pressure mats under carpeting.
One easy way to think of alarms is to consider their two main parts, sensors and controls. Think of the sensors as the heart of the alarm that collect information, and the controls are like the brains that process the information received from the sensors. Sensors, which are available in a variety of prices and types, detect sudden changes in the environment that could indicate the presence of an intruder. Some sensors detect motion, like a door or window opening, while other sensors detect sounds like glass breaking or the sense of someone stepping on the carpet. Still others magnetic detectors, also knows as contacts, can be used to determine when a door or window has been opened.
Motion detectors may use passive infrared technology, which is very reliable in predicting an increase in human body temperature, or microwave motion sensors, which are more limited because they cannot penetrate metal. On the other hand, microwave motion sensors can detect motion behind walls, which makes them very sensitive. These sensors work well to control the opening and closing of automatic doors in stores. Ultrasonic motion detectors, the most sensitive of all, emit or listen for signals beyond the frequency of the human ear. Their comprehensive nature makes them the most expensive among the sensors.
Sound detectors pick up common noises related to break-ins by using acoustic signatures to recognize patterns. One such pattern is breaking glass, which makes glass-break detectors a highly reliable way to protect against window entry by a burglar in the city environment. Door and window contacts rely on a switch that alerts the control panel when a door or window opens. Magnetic detectors are very basic, but their reliability makes them a popular option for home alarm systems especially, and they are affordable.
The information generated by sensors is only useful if read and interpreted properly. This is where the second important part of the alarm, called the control, enters the picture. Sensors connect to a control unit via hardwire or wireless link, and the controls takes the information and processes it into a code that tells a central monitoring station about the intrusion. A control may connect to the central monitoring in a number of ways, depending on the sophistication of the alarm system. Complex systems like those used in government buildings and schools rely on direct phone wires that are tamper-resistant, or, increasingly, depend on a digital telephone dialer unit to connect with a Public Switched Telephone Network via a synthesized voice or encoded messages. The upside is that the call supersedes any other calls from the location. It is a smart idea to equip the alarm system with a backup dialer in the event the PSTN circuit malfunctions.
Highly effective and popular, alarm systems alert home and business owners to the presence of intruders who can cause harm on the premises. In order to deter this threat, use the right alarm system, a decision that depends largely on the area to be protected and the available budget. Pay special attention to the key alarm components of sensors and the controls, and enjoy the peace of mind brought by this security solution.