Sales of burglar alarm systems are setting records here as
homeowners scurry to protect their property and families from crime.
Rollins Protective Services has boosted service staff 30
percent to handle new business, said Dan Blake, who manages sales
for the company based in Berkeley.
Rollins officials have watched sales jump 135 percent this year
as homeowners across the area install and upgrade security systems,
"People's awareness of crime increased," he said. "Crime has
expanded from the inner city to surrounding counties. And people
are more aware of it because it is hitting closer to home. It is a
personal factor. They need peace of mind."
Blake said customers with modest systems wanted upgrades that
protect the whole perimeter of the house, not just doors. "The
needs of the family have changed," he said. "People are concerned
when the wife comes home from work or the kids get back from
Some customers tell sales people that they had procrastinated
about installing a system but that the recent abductions and
murders here and nationwide had prompted action.
"People are scared," said Robert W. Farb, who heads Westco
Security Systems Inc. in Chesterfield. "People want to do what they
can to know they are safer at home then they were."
Earlier this month, a woman from west St. Louis County told
Farb she moved here from New York convinced she was safer in a
smaller town. But the abduction and murder of two school-age girls
prompted her to buy an alarm.
"The crime wave is hitting here as well," said Farb. "It is not
like it used to be when you could leave your door open."
Interface Systems Inc., based in St. Charles, installs
state-of-the art alarm systems in homes of area executives.
Corporations sometimes pay the bill as a perk for executives and
their families who fear disgruntled employees represent a potential
The St. Louis area follows a national pattern as more
homeowners opt for security systems. In the last five years, homes
with security systems increased 40 percent, according to the
National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association. Today, one in six homes
has some electronic protection system, either professional or
"The residential market is the new frontier," said Lt. Jim
Westcott of the Belleville police.
Why? Burglars prompt big business. Nearly seven million homes a
year get burglarized, according to the federal government, which
totals losses from home burglary at $4.3 billion in 1990.
Police know burglars hit unprotected houses as many as six
times more often than those equipped with electronic security
systems that deter or detect thieves.
"They work," said Westcott, who supervisors communications and
computers for Belleville police. "Residential alarms are the best
defense to protect your property when you are away."
No wonder business booms for companies that install, upgrade,
service and monitor security systems. …