The Worst Home Security Failures for 2012
When home owners purchase and install a home security system, they feel that their home is now secure from potential intruders, and other hazards from fire to carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, installation itself isn’t all that matters. Choosing the right security and the right monitoring service is also key. An excellent security system that no one is monitoring is no better than having none in the first place; or a system that can be easily hacked into or disabled is also a failure.
No security system is infallible – after all the technology involved in security systems can malfunction, and monitoring services are run by human beings who of course, are not perfect. But recent security failures have taken these standard risks to a whole new level of failure.
Whether its intruders depicted burglarizing a home on that homeowner’s security cameras – with no monitoring service or law enforcement response, and french doors so easy to break in they can use simple body weight to break and enter, or the trickery of an intruder calling a security monitoring company and assuring staff that the alarm went off by mistake, security failures seem to follow two distinct patterns: unresponsive monitoring personnel or the ability of intruders to scam monitoring personnel into believing that they are legitimate home or business owners.
Using verification keys when talking to your security company
To eliminate the possibility of being duped, a monitoring service should verify that the person making a call or responding to a call is the actual home owner. This should be done by verifying a password that is private to the homeowner. Lacking this verification, a monitoring service should react as if an intrusion has occurred – which it most likely has. If a caller has the legitimate right to be in the home or business, it is also unlikely that he or she would be unable to disarm an accidently triggered security alarm in the first place, as well.
Regardless of whether or not a security monitoring service believes the person they are speaking to is legitimate, if the alarm continues to signal, law enforcement should be called.
Are there enough eyes on your home?
Human error – not properly monitoring surveillance videos, accepting reassurances from an unverified “homeowner” as legitimate – are the main cause of security system failures. The more stringent the verification rules for identifying a home owner, the less likely that this type of access error can occur; the more individuals involved in monitoring security video feeds, the less likely that an intrusion in progress can go unnoticed.
Security companies should employ an adequate number of monitoring personnel at all times, and personnel who are trained to be aware of their clients video feeds.
Other security failures can occur when the security system itself is poorly installed, with the security keypad, control, and alarm all in the same location. This makes a security system easier to disarm. To prevent this type of system failure, a good tip it so locate your control panel in an area not obvious to intruders.
Malfunction or robbery?
Other security failures may combine technology errors with human errors. In the past few years, homeowners have been alerted by their security company that their siren malfunctioned, and a technician was being dispatched to his home to repair it. In fact his home was broken into; had law enforcement been called in, over eight thousand dollars of valuables would not have been stolen.
Some smoke detectors don’t detect heat!
Another homeowners security was recently threatened not by intrusion but by fire. While a smoke detector signaled her to get out of her home, the home was already engulfed in flames before it sounded. To prevent this type of failure, a smoke or fire detector needs to be equipped with heat sensors, which may not be included, or may only be included with a premium service. Using traditional land lines versus remote or cell phone security activation can exacerbate a problem such as this, with the fire itself stopping an alarm system from communicating with the monitoring service. Cellular back up monitoring is key to preventing this type of failure.
In short, no security system is completely infallible, but choosing a provider with adequate staff numbers and adequate staff training for monitoring, making certain monitoring services are stringent about the use of security passwords when conversing with the homeowner, and using a back up monitoring system instead of or as supplementary to a land line for monitoring access, will all go a long way toward preventing these types of home security failures.