Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Burglary Plague Transforms Home Security Industry into a $5 Billion-a-Year Business

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Burglary Plague Transforms Home Security Industry into a $5 Billion-a-Year Business

Article excerpt

Burglary, unfortunately, is ``in'' in our modern society. An estimated one of every 14 U.S. households will suffer a break-in of some kind this year.

Such worrisome statistics have rapidly transformed the home security industry into a $5 billion-a-year business, with homeowners typically spending $1,000 and up for each home system.

Because more than 12,000 security companies are competing in this industry that's expanding at a 15-percent annual clip, it's hardly surprising that some are less than reputable.

``The alarm industry still doesn't have a lot of hard-and-fast standards, so be aware that you'll run into some undesirable participants with no ethics,'' warned Lee Jones, president of Support Services Group of San Marcos, Calif., a security consulting firm.

He recommends checking first with your local police department to find out if the security company you're considering for a home system has a good track record in your community for installing quality systems.

``Ask the alarm company for a customer list and select out of that list five of its customers to ask how well their system operates,'' advised Robert A. Bonifas, president of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, a national trade group. ``Be warned that some companies come on with an advertising splash, make big money and then disappear to another area within five years.''

The basic installation is a closed-circuit loop system consisting of magnetic contacts on doors and windows. An intrusion sets off an alarm or bell heard inside and outside the home. There's also a choice of added interior protection special screens; pressure mats; photoelectric beams; and ultrasonic, infrared and microwave systems.

There are also more elaborate - and more expensive - central reporting alarms that send a signal either to an alarm company central station or the local police department. Many companies will install a combination of the buzzer system and the central alarm. In addition, a fire alarm system is often installed along with the burglar alarm.

``The most modern security systems that use microcomputers are more geared to the resident than in the past, when you could only turn systems on or off,'' said Steven I. …

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