A home security system has never been a better investment. If this is news to you, then you may want to keep reading. It’s not easy to add another bill to the mix.
Our Picks for Best Home
But think about the options. You can wirelessly control just about anything in your home, whether you are personally home or not. Everything from door locks to light switches have now become fair game for the smart home. And, it’s not expensive to add a few WiFi enabled cameras to check in on your feed from your phone. The best part is, it’s very affordable, as there are many options to meet your particular needs. We did some investigating to find the best security systems in Indy — here’s what we found. (Spoiler: You can take your home to a whole new level of awesome.)
Home Security 101
Because there are so many options, it’s helpful to take a little micro-course on the basics of home security. Think of your home security system as the center of a web, with sensors, controllers, and cameras all connected via wires, Bluetooth or WiFi. When a sensor on your window is tripped, it sends a signal to your home security system that will notify you and/or the authorities (depending on whether your system is professionally monitored or not). The home automation aspect is accessed and controlled from a connected device (tablet, smartphone, etc.) that you can access anywhere.
There have been a ton of changes in the home security industry in the last few years. The biggest one: you have numerous decisions to make regarding contracts, purchasing your own hardware, and signing up for professional monitoring. Thankfully, they can be simplified down into a couple basic decisions.
Bundled or Customized?
You can choose a bundled option or have your system customized to your individual home. The bundled option is great if you want to compare apples to apples with different companies; you’ll see the price upfront on their websites. The customized option obviously gives you room to choose, for example, exactly how many door sensors or window sensors you want with your package. The customized route usually involves a representative coming out to your home (which may mean set-up fees) to guide you in this process and to install the hardware. The bundled systems can usually be shipped to your door and are simple enough to be installed by almost everyone.
Monitored or Unmonitored?
There are basically two types of security companies out there. The traditional, and most prevalent, is the company that makes money by selling you their service. They install and monitor their equipment in your home, and charge you a fee to do so. Most of the time, you will be renting their equipment, although there may be an option with some to buy the equipment up front and then just pay for the monthly monitoring costs. These companies include your big name, national companies and your “mom-and-pop” local security companies. Keep in mind that most of these companies will all be using equipment made by the same manufacturers with their label slapped on the front. So, there’s no need to compare the equipment — the quality of the service, the contract length, and the price of the subscription fee are more important.
The second type of company is a company that makes money when you buy their product. This is a much more cut and dry situation — you simply purchase the equipment and it is shipped to your door. There aren’t any contracts or monitoring fees. This tends to be a bundled option, but there are also systems that you can purchase that come with the bare bones, but allow you to add on a huge list of accessories to your heart’s content. These systems are typically ones that only alert you if something’s up, but some allow an option to add professional monitoring, so the authorities are alerted directly.
What’s best for me?
It’s best to ask yourself these two questions before you buy:
How much security do I need to feel safe? While there are some basic security precautions that everyone can benefit from, there are also potential drawbacks when you turn your home into a personal Fort Knox. Of course there is a cost associated with buying 12 night-vision, motion-activated cameras to cover every square inch of your home. You don’t want buyer’s remorse to set in when you realize that just one or two of the cameras, placed strategically, would have given you just as much peace of mind.
You also need to consider that having too many devices securing your home may actually take away from your sense of security. There’s a fine line in sleeping soundly knowing that if someone opens the kitchen window you will be alerted, and waking up every hour to check and make sure that the hallway camera is still shows no activity. Make sure you consider what will provide you with the most peace of mind, without causing paranoid checking and rechecking your security app.
Is there a chance that I will be moving in the next few years? If you are settled and can’t foresee yourself moving in the next few years, then there are some great ways you can invest in your home and wire it up with the latest and greatest technology that will serve you well for years to come. However, if you aren’t quite settled yet, then it would be wise to consider an option that you can easily take with you when you leave. Fortunately, there are great options for either situation.
Our Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Indianapolis
Our team took Indianapolis’ top six security companies and went to work to find out which were the overall best based on three main criteria: reputability, customer service and pricing. After a long week of research, we came up with three clear winners for home security in Indianapolis.
We finished the process by comparing them with our overall top home security recommendations nationwide. While nailing down a concrete price that would be guaranteed across the board turned out to be impossible, we found the saying “it pays to do your homework” to be very true for home security.
While local companies tend to offer great customer service and a few perks (some offer service with no contract), we have found that they generally can’t compete with the pricing and cutting edge technology offered by the top national companies like Frontpoint or Protect America. If you want to be able to walk into an office and deal with a human face to face, then consider Central Security & Communications or ProTECHt Home Security. Lowe’s Iris is and Piper NV both earned top marks if you are considering DIY.
Indianapolis’ Best Local Home Security Companies
Central Security & Communications
Work with a Central Security & Communications (CSC) technician to find out which design and installation will work best for your home, business, or new construction project. When selecting a local company like CSC, you’re guaranteed 24-hour professional monitoring services that are reliable and affordable.
While customers have options for fire and monitoring services, the main vein of CSC runs through its burglar alarm systems. Locally and privately owned, all installation and services are brought to you by other locals who understand the neighborhoods and what is needed to protect you. CSC can install systems at a number of locations, including retail centers, schools, hospitals, banks, data centers, and more. When you become a CSC customer, you can be assured that your system is part of the newest technologies of wireless and wired hybrid systems around.
If you prefer real-time help, consider CSC EmergenSee. You launch the app on your phone, providing the
professional monitoring center live video, audio, and your GPS location. CSC then dispatches the appropriate authorities to come to your rescue. Can’t talk? Communicate through text messages if you’re in a threatening situation where speaking may endanger you or others.
You’ll feel secure knowing that this company has been protecting homes and commercial properties since 1978 and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, for your convenience, you can update or complete your contact information at any time online.
Visit the website to request information on any number of systems you may be interested in. Pricing is competitive, and customers are encouraged to inquire regarding their specific needs for an appropriate quote.
ProTECHt Home Security
For around $1 per day, receive award-winning 24-hour monitoring. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau, ProTECHt Home Security offers services in Indiana, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This security company partners with Monitronics, a five-diamond certified company by the Central Station Alarm Association. Having this certification requires five points of excellence, including a commitment to reducing false dispatches. One of the unique offerings of the Monitronics security system is that even when your power goes out, your home is safe due to a backup monitoring system.
While many families want protection against intruders, ProTECHt Home Security customers may also receive help in the event of a medical situation, fire, and carbon monoxide detection. All packages have a keychain remote, door and window sensors, and the touch screen keypad with cellular communication. Choose between traditional, remote access, home automation, and interactive video packages. Call or email the company to specify your needs, and receive a free quote for what a system will cost. If you want more reasons to select ProTECHt Home Security, the company website has an entire page dedicated to recent awards bestowed upon the company.
Circle City Security Systems Inc.
Since 1976, Circle City Security Systems has serviced the Indianapolis area with high-quality home security options. This full-service alarm company monitors more than 10,000 systems, protecting what matters most to its customers.
Whether you need an impressive fire alarm system, a camera system, access control, or total smartphone remote access, Circle City Security Systems will find the system best for you.
If you travel away from home a lot, consider the Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services option for full protection. It gives you the power to control your home or business wherever you are in the world; receive crucial alerts and system status updates in real-time. By using your mobile device, you can easily control your thermostats, lighting, and door locks with the swipe of a button or two. Event notifications can keep you in the loop, too. Learn when your system has been armed or disarmed. Receive a notification if a safe, gun, or liquor cabinet has been opened. Discover if a valuable object has been moved indoors or outdoors. If you like to stay on top of what’s going on, then consider speaking with a representative about installing the interactive security measures.
Best Bundled Packages
Frontpoint: Such consistently high customer service ratings — and they make sense. Choose one of three upgradable bundles, get free shipping to your door and a 30-day “risk free” trial period. The only drawback is the required 36-month contract.
Protect America: With five different packages to choose from, no upfront fees, and the option to have a professional install your system if you choose not to do it yourself, Protect America gives its customers a nice range of options. The exception is, of course, when it comes to contracts: no option there. They enforce a mandatory 36-month service agreement.
SimpliSafe: The stand-out quality of SimpliSafe is their policy concerning contracts — you don’t have to sign one. They also happen to be among the most affordable companies with four different systems to choose from starting at only $230 (professional monitoring is an additional $15 a month).
Best DIY Security Systems
Lowe’s Iris: The epitome of a smart home, Iris wins our top recommendation for DIY systems. Almost anything that you can imagine in your home, can be controlled by Iris — everything from light switches to doggy doors. All controllable from your wifi connected device whether you are sitting on the couch or away on vacation. As a nice bonus, it’s compatible with many security companies that will professionally monitor the security side of your smart home.
Piper NV: An all-in-one security system the size of a large mason jar, Piper NV is a truly attractive option to secure a dorm room or small apartment while saving space and keeping maximum mobility. A streaming camera and wireless motion sensors in one simple device. Upgrading from a dorm room to a two-bedroom apartment? No need to buy a new system; Iris can be upgraded with plenty of accessories and gadgets thanks to it’s built-in Z-Wave compatibility.
Local Companies That Didn’t Make the Cut
We weren’t as impressed with these three companies, and recommend you skip them.
- Guardhouse Security Systems
- Nelson Alarm
- General Alarm
Preventing False Alarms
Installing a home security system means you’re also installing the potential for triggering a false alarm. The City of Indianapolis is no stranger to false alarms. In fact, in 2013 there were 13,599 false alarms reported. Nationally, 90 percent of alarm triggers aren’t actual emergencies.
To cut down on false alarms, many cities have a laws requiring monitored alarm owners pay a permit fee to register their alarm systems. Some cities even have courses for alarm owners to take. However, the City of Indianapolis takes a different tactic. Instead of requiring permits, they combat the cost of false alarms with harsher than average fees.
Here’s what the damage would be if police respond to your alarm and it turns out to be false:
- The first time in a calendar year is free. You are given a written warning outlining the penalties should it happen again.
- The second false alarm in that same year will cost you $50.
- The third offense increases to $75.
- The fourth false alarm is $100.
- The fifth false alarm is $125.
- The sixth and subsequent violations in a calendar year all cost $200. Alternatively, you may be taken to court by the city prosecutor.
As you can see The City of Indianapolis takes false alarms very seriously, and, by extension, so should you. Fortunately there are a few ways you can reduce their likelihood by regularly changing the batteries of your alarm equipment and making sure you don’t arm your alarm system before all the doors and windows are properly shut and secured. For a helpful list of other ways to make sure you don’t contribute to this year’s false alarm tally, refer to the handy list below.
Is a home security system a good investment?
In the past, security systems seemed like an overkill necessary only for the extremely paranoid or very wealthy. Thanks to a convergence of affordability and research showing the risk of burglary isn’t dependent on your income, we can now confidently assert that a security system is a good investment for you, no matter where you live.
Is there anything I can do to lower my home’s risk of being targeted?
A security system with an audible alarm is “definitely” a viable deterrent according to Sgt. Roger Suesz with Indianapolis Metro Police Department’s Metro Services.
When a burglar does break into a house with a security system a study done by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology shows that 50 percent of all criminals will leave immediately when an alarm goes off and 80 percent won’t even try to disable it. Sgt. Suesz confirms the huge benefit of having a home security system:
“When a burglar breaks in and hears the alarm beeping, before the siren even goes off or alarm company gets the signal, they know they better get out within a couple of minutes max. We very rarely, almost never, catch a burglar who just broke into a house with an alarm. Nine times out of ten they immediately leave when they realize there is an alarm. With no alarm, I’ve seen the results of burglaries showing the burglars were inside for 30 minutes or more.” — Sgt. Roger Suesz
A great place to start, according to the Sergeant, is with signage and stickers advising criminals that you have a security system (even if you really don’t)
The Bottom Line
Affordable home security systems truly have the potential to upgrade your quality of life — and there’s such a range to choose from. Consider our top picks to find the one that fits your needs.