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How to secure your home like a pro: 20-plus expert tips and strategies for DIYers

Jake Widman | June 30, 2015
Feeling secure in your home is important, whether you're a homeowner or a renter. That's why security plays a central role in all the best connected-home systems. The easy way to secure your property is to call a professional service provider: ADT or Vivint, for instance, or a custom installer like Control4 if you want something fancier. Those firms will send someone out to look at your residence, assess your needs, and make equipment recommendations. Alternatively, you can do it yourself by acquiring the hardware from a DIY-friendly provider such as Frontpoint or Simplisafe. Those companies will provide some relatively generic advice, but they don't have agents in the field who can customize a package for your specific needs--that's why they cost less.

home security

Feeling secure in your home is important, whether you're a homeowner or a renter. That's why security plays a central role in all the best connected-home systems. The easy way to secure your property is to call a professional service provider: ADT or Vivint, for instance, or a custom installer like Control4 if you want something fancier. Those firms will send someone out to look at your residence, assess your needs, and make equipment recommendations. Alternatively, you can do it yourself by acquiring the hardware from a DIY-friendly provider such as Frontpoint or Simplisafe. Those companies will provide some relatively generic advice, but they don't have agents in the field who can customize a package for your specific needs--that's why they cost less.

We prepared this guide to help you buy the right types of security devices whichever path you decide to travel. If you hire a custom installer, we'll help you stop the contractor from sandbagging your installation with hardware you don't need. And if you're doing it yourself, we'll help you determine the right approach for your specific needs.

How'd we come up with this supremely useful information? We picked the brains of three experts in the field: Napco Security Technologies CEO Dick Soloway, Abode Cofounder (and former ADT executive) Chris Carney, and California Security Pro (an ADT dealer) Customer Care Officer Taniqua Johnson-Pino.

Before we get started, you probably won't be surprised to hear that two of our three experts don't recommend going it alone. Napco's Soloway was particularly adamant on this point.

"From our point of view as a professional business supplying the professional installation companies," Soloway said, "there are certain things you have to do to make a system function 24/7/365. We find that the consumer electronics products don't do that." Taniqua Johnson-Pino, the ADT distributor, said "our initial response is, don't."

But both Soloway and Johnson-Pino recognize that some of us prefer to do it ourselves anyway, so they joined Carney to share some of their expertise with us.

Protective layers

First of all, think of home security as though you're putting on layers of clothing to protect your body from harsh weather. Jordan Frankel, executive vice president of Global Security Experts and self-styled "Security Sensei," has written, "Protecting your home from burglary is all about the layers. Because burglars determine their targets through risk vs. reward scenarios, the more security measures you put in place to increase the risk and lessen the reward for would-be intruders, the less likely your home will be viewed as an easy target."

Johnson-Pino concurs: "We look at it from a burglar's perspective, so we start outside the home. Look at your house: would you want to break in?"

 

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