If you haven’t kept up with the home security market over the past 10 years, you should be in for a pleasant surprise. No longer are home security systems the single-service, outdated technology that they used to be. Today your options are nearly limitless — as are the multitasking features available.
Our Picks for Best Home
Total home control is at your fingertips; home security has become so much more than just a tool for protecting your valuables and loved ones. It means total peace of mind whether away on vacation, down the road at the grocery store, or curled up in bed. Your thermostat, lights, entertainment system — nearly everything electronic in your home can connect through modern day home security systems. Couple that with today’s modern security devices like barely noticeable door- and glass-break sensors, pet-smart motion detectors that allow the cat to roam without setting off the alarm, even tilt sensors small enough to monitor the opening and closing of your mailbox, and you’re talking about a state-of-the-art system.
Because your options have expanded so rapidly and widely, we at Freshome have compiled a list specifically designed with you in mind. Whether you looking for the best home security company in Omaha, the easiest DIY security system, or just need a stepping stone to start your research, we’ve got you covered.
The Basics of Home Security
Your security system will be a conglomeration of devices, sensors, detectors, even cameras fed through a single control panel mounted in the home. This control panel will transmit signals it receives, such as a door opening when it should be locked, to a monitoring station. It can send these messages through either the internet or phone line, or wirelessly. Once received, a monitoring company will alert the authorities to the possible emergency happening at your home. If your system is using the wireless technology to transmit signals, this will also open up the opportunity to use home automation through your cell phone.
Having a system that is professionally monitored will incur a monthly fee. These fees can range anywhere from $15 to $50 depending on the provider, the equipment you’re using, how many devices you have connected and whether or not you want to include home automation services. If you are not interested in another monthly bill, you might be the perfect candidate for a DIY system.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) systems are usually totally self-contained as far as their alarms go. Instead of notifying a professional monitoring company it will send notifications to your phone — as well as produce a head-splitting siren to chase away the most committed of robbers.
Some of the DIY systems are compatible with monitoring providers. So if you’re just not sold on the big install of a traditional system, and want to give it a try first, solutions like SimpliSafe and Canary could be a great place to start.
Shopping for a system
When shopping the gigantic home security market, you’ll find offers in one of two ways: custom security or bundled packages.
Custom security is the main way most systems are sold and installed. This means you piece together all the parts you need based on your home’s specific needs. The only drawback may be the time you will need to obtain quotes. This is done by scheduling a meeting with a home security specialist from the company that you are looking at. They will most likely meet you at your home and discuss your needs and wants, and then present you with an individual package designed around you. Prices will vary with custom packages based on how much equipment you’ll need, what brands of system you’ll use, and the time and effort it takes to install.
The most straightforward way of buying and selling home security is through bundled packages. Bundles make it easy to know exactly what you’re getting, and for how much. This time-saving way of pricing home security comes with its drawback too. Depending on your budget and specific concerns you may not be able to find a package that fits your needs specifically. And compromising on your peace of mind isn’t worth saving a few dollars a month.
DIY systems come in the same forms, some sold specifically in packages, and others use the a la carte approach. With DIY, it’s best to map out exactly what you’re looking for in a home security system and decide whether or not any of the systems will meet your needs. If you are building from scratch, this option can be an incredible money-saver when buying each sensor individually and providing your own install.
What to ask yourself
Knowing what’s out there and how to purchase it is only half the battle. Before making any decisions you should understand yourself and the unique needs every lifestyle presents.
If you are a renter, student, or have aspirations of moving from where you are within the foreseeable future, then DIY might be the choice you need to consider. Most leases won’t let you do heavy installs on a house, not to mention it stays when you leave. Using a DIY system works around this problem as they usually only require sticky strips to install devices, and when you leave the system packs up and follows you wherever you go!
If you’re an animal lover and keep pets in and around the house, you should think about the kinds of equipment you install. Motion detectors have come along way in being able to tell the difference between pets and people, but usually anything over 40 pounds will end up tripping the alarm. Mid-sized dogs or bigger animals should come into consideration when evaluating your needs.
Knowing yourself is an important aspect to choosing home security as well. If a slew of cameras throughout the house will have you checking the live feed every five minutes, and essentially making you more paranoid, perhaps it’s a feature worth skipping.
Freshome’s Top Picks for the Best Home Security System in Omaha
Our Freshome team researched five of the top home security companies in the Omaha area. We looked at factors like reputation based on customer service scores from Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. We evaluated their accessibility and ease of interaction through phone calls and emails. And we took into account their costs for professional monitoring. After running through our gauntlet, we compared them to the Freshome’s top home security recommendations. We found that three of the local home security companies rose to the challenge and stood out from the competition.
In general, most people are better off using big names like Frontpoint and Protect America. But in Omaha you’ve got at least two local companies that offer the very wide range of services that are available from the big guys. SEi Security and American Electronics have extensive home automation options as well as reputable security equipment. And if you’re a renter or a student with an off-campus living situation, DIY security like Lowe’s Iris and Piper NV is the route for you.
Best Bundled Options
- Frontpoint: Cellular monitoring comes as a default feature on all three package options, and that’s nearly unmatched in the home security market. Install is quick, easy, and done by you. Professional monitoring is a standard across all of its packages. Its motto, “Something Safer Is Just A Phone Call Away.”
- Protect America: Protect America requires a 36-month contract, but all of your Protect America equipment is free up-front. Install is as easy as hanging a picture or a poster. Home automation options begin with the second tier of packages. Call for a quote.
- SimpliSafe: This is a great option for those stuck between having a professionally installed system or a DIY setup. With no contracts, you can have monitoring at only $15 per month or simply run it as a self-contained system. Perfect for those who want to give the home security experience a test run before diving in head first.
Omaha’s Best Local Home Security Companies
After 45 years in this industry, it is safe to say that SEi Security staff knows a thing or two about protecting assets. As of today, SEi systems protect more than 16,000 businesses and residential properties across the Des Moines, Kansas City, Lincoln, and Omaha areas.
Once your system is installed, you can rest easy knowing that every aspect of your home or business can be monitored — including water detection, temperature conditions, medical alerts, and emergency medical situations. Additionally, because the customer care center here has Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approval, individuals and businesses can receive the maximum insurance credits on certain installations.
Just a few of the central station services you can use through SEi Security: fire alarm monitoring, intrusion monitoring, system trouble/supervisory monitoring, panic/holdup alarm monitoring, and carbon monoxide detection.
Looking for one package that will cover all your needs? Consider the secure home package — it comes with three door contacts, one motion detector, a keypad/siren, keyfob, cellular communicator, inTouch mobile management, and professional installation for $45 a month, plus installation fees. You always have the option to customize your package, too, depending on your exact needs. Schedule your free consultation to learn more by calling today.
This locally-owned and operated business serves in both Omaha and Lincoln and everywhere in-between. Your technician will happily design and service your new system when you need it, so you will always have comprehensive 24-hour monitoring and technical support. American Electronics counts on Honeywell Security Systems as one of the most state-of-the-art and reliable security systems. Additionally, the keypads that come with the security systems are simple enough for every member of the family to use. Whether you need remote locking, remote lighting, or thermostat control, you can save time and energy by installing a number of systems to make your life that much easier.
Need to keep an eye on the kids playing in the front yard, see who is at the front door, or check on your home while you’re vacationing? There’s a security system solution available for you. Not only does American Electronics install security systems, you can also check out other options like home theater installation, central vacuum options, and home automation services. If you’re a busy working professional and need an extra set of eyes on your business, Total Connect is a remote service you could benefit from. Do everything from your mobile, tablet, or computer when you’re not around to check in physically.
Since 1892, this security company has served the Omaha area by providing full service locksmith, gunsmith, and security services. If you want the utmost protection for your home, consider contacting Carl Jarl to consult with on which services may work best for you.
The team here isn’t impressed with a system that simply turns on a loud siren to scare away intruders. If you go with The Carl Jarl Group, expect around-the-clock monitoring, so when the burglars think to strike your home or business, they’ll be surprised by a quick response. According to the company’s website, monitoring does actually deter criminal activity. A statistic pulled from the FBI website reports that a property with a monitored security system is 4.5 times less likely to be broken into.
One popular service offered by Carl Jarl is the access control system — you have the option to reduce or even eliminate the need for live security if you have one of these systems installed. Within your home or business, you can restrict access to sensitive areas, audit employees and/or monitor family or other workers. It offers a way to track, record, and deter access throughout the property, while eliminating the need for heavy and cumbersome sets of traditional keys. There’s also the ability to integrate with intrusion alarms, making security even tighter.
Want to learn more? Call today for a quote on how to make your property a safer place.
Best DIY Security Systems
- Lowe’s Iris: The most customizable system you can install yourself. With unique package options like “Guest Room Perfection” or “No More Smelly Cat” you can choose pre-made packages to do exactly the task you want. Sensors and equipment are also sold a la carte, so you can build you own solutions from scratch with as much creativity as you can muster.
- Piper NV: A sleek security tower with night vision, motion sensors, and a host of other options. Piper NV can even connect with Z-Wave Technology. It starts at $279 with no monthly fees.
Local companies that didn’t make the cut
We were unable to recommend these local providers because of the lack of information surrounding their customer service (i.e. no BBB or Angie’s List ratings). One also had a website that wouldn’t work on a consistent basis, therefore they did not make the cut.
- Fortress Home Technology
- Hyperion Security
Preventing False Alarms
The Lincoln Journal Star reported some 2,400 false alarm calls in 2013, down almost 50 percent from just over 10 years prior. In comparison with some other cities whose false alarm rates can top 100 calls per day, Omaha is doing pretty well. But any false alarm is one too many, as it puts officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel at risk every time.
In response to false alarms, the City of Omaha introduces the False Alarm Reduction Program. A false alarm is classified as a signal sending the police and other emergency services to the scene of a non-active or non-recently committed crime or emergency.
Your first false alarm will be dismissed and no fees will be exacted, but if you have more than one within a year, fines start at $100. Subsequent false alarms after your second will total over $250. That’s a heavy penalty to pay, so it’s best to be proactive in preventing false alarms.
The majority of false calls are products of user error. If you have a new system or are a bit unsure of how to truly control it, take some time to read the manual or call the alarm company. They will gladly walk you through the system over the phone or send a representative to teach you the ins and outs.
The second major cause of false alarms is service or installation failures. That means selecting your alarm company carefully, and making sure that they are going to do a quality job. Any of Freshome’s local recommendations would be a great place to start.
The third major cause is due to equipment failure — most likely due to dead batteries. Make sure that you have your system regularly checked by the company who installed it to make sure everything is in working order. If you do a DIY security system, make sure all your batteries are refreshed bi-yearly.
How to Register Your Alarm System in Omaha
The City of Omaha requires an annual application fee to maintain a working, monitored home security system. The fee is $25 per year and must be paid to the False Alarm Reduction Program via online portal or by sending a physical copy with a check to: Omaha False Alarm Reduction Program, P.O. Box 958932, St Louis, MO 63195-8932.
Is home security really worth it?
Home security systems are counted as the number one deterrent to a break-in by a study of over 350 incarcerated burglars. If that’s not enough to sway you in favor, think about what your needs are. What would bring you peace of mind? Being able to check on the kids anytime? Knowing who’s on your porch before they even know you’re home? Or, maybe being able to have total control of your home’s systems from anywhere in the world is at the top of your list. Whatever your goals and expectations are, there is a home security system to meet them.
Are there other ways to enhance your home’s safety?
Absolutely. There are multiple actions you can take outside of installing a home security system to protect your home.
First, you should keep your property well lit. Making sure that you’re safe starts with making sure you can see what’s coming. It also says to a would-be burglar that your property is under watch, possibly with security cameras.
Second, think about getting a pet. This is probably the most exciting option, especially if you are an animal lover. Having a dog inside or around the house ranked as a deterrent extremely close to having people inside the house. That means rescuing one of the many shelter pets in Omaha could save more than one life in the long run.
Third, and possibly the most out-of-the-box solution, is security landscaping. That’s right, a rose bush under the window or a strategically placed row of bushes can make your home less of a target for burglary. Other protections include using rock or gravel in your driveway and flower beds so that it’s nearly impossible to walk through without creating sound. And in conjunction with the first suggestion, landscape lighting can deter crime by making the exterior of your home very visible.
The Bottom Line
After careful consideration of your circumstances and needs we hope you’ll choose to take the next step in protection and convenience for yourself and your family. Whether that simply means a few glass-break and door sensors, or a full fledged home automation experience, your peace of mind is at the center of home security. Make sure you never compromise on that. We hope Freshome’s recommendations for the best home security systems and companies will start you off on the right foot.