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Ask Casa: A Home Security System For My Rental? (Part 1)

Arielb38 wrote to me asking,

I am about to move into a new rental in a new neighborhood, very different from where I have been living for the last 15 months. I was wondering if you are aware of any places that do a comprehensive review of home security systems. My roommate wants one, and I've never had one and don't really think that it's necessary. Looking at some of the consumer complaints about both ADT and Brinks makes me cringe, and I would rather not be stuck in an expensive, manipulative contract. I know it's not really your thing, but if you have any tips, or feel inclined to pose the question to your readers, I would be grateful.

To offer some advice for Arielb38, and to hear my response, just

Even though I've lived in some really rough neighborhoods in the past, I've had the good fortune to never have had my home broken into (though I have been held up at gunpoint). Two of my rental homes had functioning security systems (which the landlords paid for). Our house currently has no security system besides our dog. I also know of families who don't have security systems installed, but have placed signs in their windows advertising that they have an alarm. This may work, to a degree: The Greenwich Study of Residential Security found that homes without alarms were 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to be burglarized, and that the most effective deterrent was the alarm monitoring company’s yard sign. For more tips on home security systems, go here.

My first word of advice is to find out the crime statistics in your new neighborhood. You can easily access this information through your city's police department website. After that, if you still think you need a security system, talk to your landlord about having him or her install a system and possibly increasing your rent slightly to offset the cost. Your landlord can reset the code for new tenants after you move out.

To see more tips, tune in later today for the rest of my home security advice.

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