Security Solutions

Do you need a security system?

To answer this question thoughtfully, you need to take a look at yourself and your living situation. To do that, I would ask these questions:
• Do you have a family living with you?
• Do you have any small children living with you?
• Do you have any valuable belongings?
• Most importantly, do you feel safe at night lying in bed?

Except for the last one, answering “yes” to any of those questions means you’ll most likely want to investigate owning some type of a security system.

Types of security systems

When considering a security system, there’s an important question you need to consider before proceeding. Do you want the intruder to be detected inside or outside your home? If you want the intruder detected while still outside your home, then you need to consider a perimeter security system. If you’d rather catch the burglar inside, then you’ll want to stick with an interior system. That seems like a no-brainer question, but there’s logic and reasoning between both choices.

Perimeter system

As noted above, this is a system that is alarmed before the intruder enters your home. This type of system relies heavily on the usage of door contacts, window contacts and glass break detectors. The moment somebody opens a door or window, or breaks glass, then the alarm is activated.

As you can probably guess, most burglars would rather stay on the run and live to burglarize another day (or night). The odds of that burglar returning again are between slim and none.

There are two main problems with using just a perimeter system: the cost and the size of the system.

1) Cost. The cost is a big factor with this system. Each door and window contact costs money. Each glass break detector also costs money. Start counting all of the outside windows and doors (second floor windows too!), and multiply that by about 70 riyals for every wired contacts, and 170 riyals for every glass break detector. That’ll give you a good ballpark to start thinking about a perimeter system.

2) Size. The size of the system is another factor. This will depend on your security system’s main control box, the control panel and your personal preference. If you want to know where the intruder is breaking into your home (either by the room or the actual doors/windows), then each set of windows needs to be in its own zone.
Zone 1 may be for the front door, Zone 2 for the living room windows, Zone 3 for the garage door, etc. A general rule of thumb is that most systems can handle between eight and ten zones. Otherwise, it’s going to need a zone expander or two to handle the size of your system. The system’s control panel needs to be advanced enough to be able to know about the zones and let you know exactly where the trouble is being reported. Again, not every system has this reporting options. The good thing is that if need be all of the windows and doors can be combined into the same zone. When the alarm goes off the system won’t tell you exactly where in the house it is, but it’ll still work. If your home is monitored it will still report the alarm to the monitoring agency. The only difference is that you have to guess which entry point the burglar used.

Interior system

This type of security system is designed to “trap” intruders on the inside of your home. As opposed to the perimeter system with all of its door and window contacts, the interior system mainly relies on the use of motion detectors. As the name implies, the intruder needs to be inside the building before any alarms are sounded.

Believe it or not, but there are two main reasons on why it’s an advantage using an interior security system: simplicity and cost.

1) Simplicity. A security system based on using motion detectors is usually fairly basic and simple to install. Using the detector’s wide field of view and ability to use line-of-sight, you can create “secure zones” such as hallways, garages and stairwells. The far range and wide field of view gives a large square footage area of protection.

2) Cost. Generally, a security system mainly composed of motion detectors is substantially cheaper than using contacts in every door and window. Most security motion detectors cost between 200 and 300 riyals for every motion detectors. A home that would need 15-20 contacts may only need two or three motion detectors to provide protection.

It’s important to note that there are three main disadvantages to using an interior system: inside only, modes of operations and pets.

1) Inside only. The intruder has to be inside the house before the alarm is sounded. Many people consider that idea revolting. They want that extra feeling of security by not allowing the intruder inside without being detected. This is especially true for families with small children or expensive possessions.

2) Modes of operation. The next problem is that the motion detectors are not to be used when you’re home and moving around the rooms. The best times to use the detectors are when you’re away or asleep. This may not be adequate protection if you’re living in a high crime area.

3) Pets. This is the main reason that animal owners stay away from using motion detectors. Different companies handle dogs with one of two different ways. First, they may use a special pet motion detector. These detectors need the animal to weigh at least 80 pounds before they’re detected. This allows most of the larger breeds of dogs to safely move around the home without setting off the alarms. The other method companies may use is to turn a regular motion detector upside down. This creates a small corridor near the floor so the pets can pass without detection. What if an intruder were to also stay low to the floor?
The other problem with pets and motion detectors involves ordinary house cats. It’s a well known fact that cats love to jump onto furniture, bookshelves and other higher places. The jumping is what is noticed by the detector, and it’s treated as if an intruder was in the room. Even people with pet motion detectors have reported false alarms because of their pets. The best way to use motion detectors while having a pet is to keep the animal contained in a different room while the detectors are active.

Which security system is best for me?

The answer to this question lies with you and your protection needs.

Generally, a perimeter system is better for those with:

• Small children
• Expensive merchandise
• High crime area
• Large budget
• Desire to keep the intruder on the outside of the home

An interior system is better for those:

• Constantly away out of the home
• Large, open rooms
• Older or no children
• Smaller budget

What about hybrids?

It’s common for many people to develop a combination of the two types of security systems. They may want the exterior protection for certain areas or doorways, but only want the interior protection for a few other areas of their home.

A classic example:
For a two-story home, the homeowner may want contacts on each exterior door, window glass break detector on the front windows, a smoke&heat detector in the kitchen, and motion detectors by the front stairs and in the garage. This way there’s a solid perimeter defense for the obvious entry points, and the other critical areas are protected by the motion detectors. Should a burglar still break into the home, they’re not going to make it up the stairs or into the garage without being detected.

What are the main components of a Security System?

basic components of home security systems

Control Panels are the "brains" of the security system. The control panel is located in a metal box to protect the electronics and is often hidden from sight (e.g. in the roof). The control panel is connected to every aspect of the alarm system and provides power and phone connections for monitoring. The control panel has a battery back-up attached to it in case of a power failure, this battery usually lasts about 9 days.

Security Keypads are usually placed near a door to let you operate your system. The keypad informs you of the status of the system (e.g. armed, disarmed, etc.).

Motion Detectors or Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor technology provides one of the most reliable and cost effective methods for protecting spaces in you home or office. PIR detectors trip an alarm by sensing changes in infrared energy levels caused when an intruder moves about the protected area.

Sirens (Interior and Exterior) alert you to emergency conditions by sounding an alarm. Exterior siren are normally mounted in a steel box and located under the eaves outside. A strobe light is attached to the steel box. During an alarm the pulsating light attracts attention to the alarm.

Magnetic contacts and glassbreak sensors protect doors and windows. A magnetic contact consists of two separate units: a magnetically actuated switch and a magnet. Typically, the magnet is attach to a door and the switch to the door frame. When the door opens, separating the two, the system is triggered. Glassbreak sensors hear acoustic shock wave of breaking glass, it then triggers the system.

A home security system is just one thing!

Other security accessories

Today’s society is proving that at times, just having a home security system isn’t enough to protect your home. It’s necessary to go further a few extra steps to help ensure that nobody messes with you or your family. One or several of these accessories can greatly reduce the chances of having an intruder.

Floodlights

The 2 elements that night intruders hate the most are light and noise!

This is one of the simplest yet most effective means of preventing a nighttime intruder. There are two elements that night intruders hate the most: light and noise. Lighting up darkened areas brings unwanted attention to them, and they’ll quickly retreat back to the shadows.

If possible, mount a floodlight on each side of your home. This will create a “barrier of light” and make it very difficult for somebody to approach your home unnoticed. If budget is an issue, focus on lighting the back of the house and the driveway / garage area. Neighborhood homes usually have streetlights and well lighted front lawns, whereas the back and garage areas are usually dark. Trees and bushes make it even darker.

80% of intruders break in through a door. Always make sure that each of your exterior doors is illuminated on the outside. If somebody wants to break into your home that way, make them stand in the light and be seen by your neighbors.

Deadbolts

A deadbolt is a necessity for every exterior door and a vital part of your security system.

A deadbolt is a necessity for every exterior door. Ordinary locking doorknobs can easily be defeated by carding, prying or lock picking, but an orginal deadbolt will add an extra element of security to your home. Each visible (important!) security device will convince more and more intruders to stay away from your home.

As mentioned above, each exterior door needs to have a deadbolt installed. Having a deadbolt only on your front door means that an intruder is going to walk around your home to a less secure side door. Remember that intruders commonly look for the easiest way into homes. If that means entering through an unsecured garage or kitchen door, then that’s the route they’ll most likely take.

Deadbolts that you can lock and unlock from the outside come in two styles – single and double cylinder. A single cylinder deadbolt uses a turnpiece on the inside, but needs a key on the outside. A double cylinder deadbolt requires the use of a key both inside and outside to lock/unlock the door. If you have windows on or next to the door, then do not use a single cylinder deadbolt! It’s too easy for a criminal to break the glass, reach inside and turn the turnpiece to unlock the door.

Some people are afraid of using a double cylinder deadbolt because of the fact that you need to use a key inside the house. If there was a fire or emergency, they don’t want to have to hunt for the key. An easy solution is to hang a spare key on a wall near the door, but well out of arm’s reach from the closest window. If your home has small children, then make sure the key is low enough for them to reach in an emergency. Practice using the key a few times and you’ll see just how easy and much more secure it is than with a single cylinder deadbolt.

NOTE – Having an outside accessible deadbolt does not guarantee that burglars cannot break into your home. Like most locks, they can be defeated with a little time and practice. What they do is buy you extra time should an intruder attempt to challenge your security devices. The longer it takes an intruder to defeat your locks, then the less likely it is that they’ll make it into your home without being noticed. Deadbolts also deter some intruders and keep the novice ones away from your home.

Another type of deadbolt is an interior accessible deadbolt. These are “one-sided” deadbolts that you can only access from the inside of your home. That type of lock is excellent for unused side doors, or for your main door once you’re home for the evening. With no part of the lock being outside your door, it’s extremely difficult for an intruder to break in through that door.

Cellular back-up

Most security systems we provide at Smart Security use the telephone lines to inform you when an alarm is triggered. Without those lines, you will not be able to receive any trouble codes from your alarm system. You alarm will still go off and the siren will sound during a break-in, but the you won’t know about it.

Take a look outside your home and see if your telephone line is exposed. It commonly runs down the side of the building before going underground to the nearest junction box. The problem is that it’s very easy for a criminal to cut that exposed part to disrupt the connection. Many criminals know about that flaw, and those daring enough to rob your home will take advantage of it.

Criminals aren’t the only element that can cut the phone wire. Ice storms, heavy wind and even construction crews can accidentally bring down the wires too. Would you still feel protected knowing that it could be a few days before the connection is restored again?

It’s available through smart security, if you want to invest in a cellular back-up system. This device simultaneously broadcasts your security information to the monitoring center through the cellular frequencies. Should the phone lines go down for any reason, you’ll still be monitored with the cellular back-up unit. As long as you live within range of a cell phone tower then you’ll be informed with any trouble code or alarm.

NOTE – There is a security flaw with the cellular back-up devices. There are hand held cellular blocking devices available in the market. Through the use of one of those devices it’s conceivable that an intruder can temporarily block the cellular signals around your home, and thus stop the connection between your security system and your mobile. The cellular blockers are illegal to sell and possess in Saudi Arbaia, and right now they’re still relatively unknown amongst criminals. The odds of a criminal using it are very low, but it is a very real threat to the system.

Final thoughts

Home security is now considered a critical part of today’s society. Whether you’re renting an apartment or you own your own home, intruders and burglars can strike where you live. Today’s society is more dangerous than ever, and it’s your responsibility to protect yourself and those you love.

It’s mind-boggling to analyze and prevent every single way an intruder can enter a building. As criminals become better educated through their peers, more and more of them will find ways around locked doors and motion detectors. This website is intended to give you a better idea of some of the more basic concepts in home security and ways to protect against more of the novice or simple-minded burglars. If somebody is desperate enough to break into your home, he will find a way to do so.

The best weapon in home security is willpower. From learning about current burglary tactics to doing a complete security review of your home to taking the necessary actions to prevent an intrusion, willpower is what will help you from becoming a crime statistic.

Do the right thing and take preventative actions today. Even something as simple as adding timers to your lights could prevent a burglar from selecting your home. Ignoring this problem does not make it go away!