Published on April 24th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


A Private Eye’s Tips For Choosing A Home Security System

No one knows security like a private investigator, someone who is a seasoned professional and experienced in all things security. Although there are many DIY home security systems available on the market, which ones are the best investment? Which systems protect your home the most thoroughly?

New York city private investigator Darrin Giglio thinks that home security systems are a good first step, but you need to be more specific about your needs other than wishing for a fancy doorbell camera.

Some homeowners still use full-service security companies such as ADT or Vivint for the value added from having actual people monitoring their property. These monitored options can be expensive once you factor in equipment, installation and monitoring, but they are better than doing nothing to protect your family.

Many homeowners opt to install doorbell cameras such as Nest or Ring themselves because they are economical and a great DIY product. They are also popular because the homeowner can answer the door through an app on their cell phones. When someone rings your doorbell while you are away from home, you can answer it or see who is on your doorstep through the app.

“Doorbell cameras are hot right now,” Giglio said, “but what if the thief comes through the back door? What if they break a window to gain access? A complete security system with multiple cameras is always better.” He continued, “And what if you watch them break in despite your doorbell camera? What are your options then? They can still break in whether or not you are watching them.”

Wi-Fi security cameras positioned strategically around your property are another popular option. These DIY systems can come with cloud storage, motion tracking, wireless varieties, local storage options, motion and sound alerts, infrared night vision, and time-lapse recording.

Giglio doesn’t recommend these Wi-Fi cameras because, while they include a motion sensor that triggers recording, the camera still takes time to connect to your Wi-Fi and start recording. That delay is just a few seconds, but it can important. “Often you end up recording an empty frame,” he said.

They are also susceptible to power outages as well in spite of them being wireless. These kinds of security systems will most likely have a backup battery that will work in the case of a power failure, but if the outage lasts several hours, then the battery will eventually die and all of the equipment ceases to work. So wireless sounds like a good idea, but the most reliable security cameras are wired and always recording.

Let’s talk about smart home options as well. Smart home gadgets make it possible to automate everything, including turning your lights on or off or locking your doors through an app on your phone. You can remotely turn porch lights on or off as well as look around your property while not at home – technology at its finest. There are even security cameras now that include support for voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, another amazing advance. Do your research when buying gadgets such as security cameras, smart locks, and even light bulbs that will illuminate the dark corners of your property – you want to get the best your money can buy so that the smart home gadgets are really helping you protect your home.

The most reliable and security-minded systems that Giglio recommends are wired, use a reliable power source, a dependable method to obtain connectivity, and also a SIM card if possible. “You really want a SIM card available for cellular communication,” Giglio said, “or else the thieves can just cut your phone lines.” Contrary to popular opinion, hard-wired alarm systems cannot be disabled by cutting wires. Another feature that Giglio highly recommends is a system that contains glass break sensors, not just door or window sensors that detect when something is pried open. Glass break sensors alert to any of your windows, glass doors, or sliding glass patio doors breaking – a definite advantage in Giglio’s opinion.

Do not forget to look for these other important characteristics when selecting an outdoor security system:

  • A camera that is waterproof
  • A camera that can withstand the elements such as rain, snow, and sun
  • A camera that can endure the highs and lows of summer and winter months
  • A camera that is able to tilt, zoom, and pan over the property to see specific areas if necessary
  • A camera that has good enough resolution to actually see the images it records
  • A camera that comes with an appropriate amount of video surveillance storage
  • A camera that records in color instead of just black and white
  • A camera that has low-lighting imaging technology if you place them in dimly lit areas.

The bottom line from an actual PI is that any system is better than no system when it comes to home security systems. If there are criminals casing your neighborhood or who have broken into houses or cars around you already, it might be best to go ahead and contact the authorities or hire a private investigator to get to the bottom of the mischief before you become a victim.

As Giglio says, “Don’t let the technology do your job as a property owner – be proactive about watching your neighborhood as well as your own home.”

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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