7 Common Myths About Home Security: Debunked

by Carina Jenkins
Locking smartlock on the entrance door using a smart phone remotely. Concept of using smart electronic locks with keyless access

When you think about home security, do you picture little Kevin in "Home Alone" rigging up complex traps for burglars? Maybe you've assumed home security devices are for people with valuable collections and secret safes, or perhaps you think of a creepy news story about someone being watched by their own home cameras.

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There are many myths surrounding home security, but these systems have changed drastically in recent years. Some of the rumors are no longer true.

Myth 1: Home Security Systems and Security Monitoring Are an Invasion of Privacy

The thought of cameras in your home watching your private moments is creepy and can be even scarier if you have children. You may have concerns about a stranger hacking the system or security employees having access to every detail of your life. While these problems occasionally occur, there are ways to protect yourself and nearly eliminate privacy issues.

The FTC offers several tips on protecting your privacy when using a home security system:

  • Choose equipment with robust privacy protections, such as encryption.
  • Ensure your home network is secure.
  • Use strong and unique passwords.
  • Keep your software up to date.

You should also research any home security company and only work with reputable and trustworthy companies.

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Myth 2: Only Wealthy People Need Home Security

Do you associate home security systems with sprawling estates or thriller movie mansions? Home security isn't just for the uber-rich or those who live in bad neighborhoods.

Research shows that many burglars select targets based on geographic proximity and ease of access. That means a reliable home security system offers benefits no matter where you live.

Additionally, home security goes beyond protecting against burglars. Home security devices, such as doorbell cameras and lighting, can protect against porch pirates, and smoke alarms and smart devices can help protect you from fires and other problems. In fact, many home insurance companies offer policy discounts if you have certain types of security systems and devices installed.

Myth 3: A Security System Won't Deter Burglars

One study found that over 80% of burglars try to determine whether a security system is present before breaking into a home. Criminals like easy targets. Cameras, motion lights and alarms can be a powerful deterrent against those looking for an easy mark.

Myth 4: You Have to Hire a Pro to Install a Home Security System

There was a time when security systems often required professional installation. Depending on your needs, professional installation can still be a good option, especially if you have a large home or want the system hardwired. However, wireless internet and other modern technologies have made many systems easy to install. Cameras, motion sensor lights, door alarms and other security devices connect to Wi-Fi and are easy to set up.

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Myth 5: Home Security Systems Require Contracts

Another myth based on outdated information is that home security systems require contracts. Complex security monitoring often involves a contract, but many home security cameras and other devices require only a month-to-month subscription. Other cameras and devices may not require any subscription at all.

You may want a contract or subscription service if you need to check your home remotely or require a third party to monitor the house.

Myth 6: You Can't Have a Home Security System in an Apartment or Rental

When most home security required hardwiring, installation in apartments or rentals could present problems. Many leases don't allow tenants to drill holes or install permanent hardware.

Luckily, numerous modern options don't require any alterations to your rental. A Wi-Fi security camera on your desk or kitchen counter can alert you if maintenance is coming in without permission. Some window and door alarms have sensors that attach with gentle adhesive you can easily remove when you move.

Myth 7: Burglar Alarms and Cameras Are the Only Types of Home Security You Need

Alarms and cameras are common elements of home security systems, but there are many other important types of home security:

  • Lighting systems 
  • Home automation 
  • Doorbell cameras 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 
  • Smart locks 

Motion-activated lights can help keep you safe outside the home, and they deter criminals and mischievous wild animals. Lights and window coverings that operate on timers are a simple and valuable home security tool, particularly around the holidays, when failing to turn on Christmas lights can be a dead giveaway that you aren't home. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can alert you or a security contractor to danger in the house.

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