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Home security devices

A masked burgler in the cloak of darkness using a crowbar on a window

Home owners should consider protecting themselves with an alarm system or motion detector to help protect their homes from burglaries.

Alarm systems range in sophistication and price. Choose from do-it-yourself kits that set off a siren or lights, or professionally installed systems that hook directly to the police station or a monitoring service. A basic alarm system is composed of sensors to detect an intruder, a control panel that receives messages from the sensor and an alarm that sounds off when activated by the control unit. Don't expect any single alarm system to do the job alone. A good mechanical system is only effective when it's used in conjunction with other security-minded habits.

Motion detectors can also be an effective weapon against burglars. An intruder's movement or body heat triggers the alarm. Technological advances have made motion detectors less expensive and easier to install. Most motion detectors incorporate infrared, microwave or ultrasonic technology. Typically, the movement of an intruder, or merely the person's body heat, breaks a photoelectric beam and triggers the alarm. One or two well-placed motion detectors can usually do the work of several individual door and window alarms.

Finally, you might consider walking around your home and evaluating it as a burglar might. Even try gaining access without a key. If you find any flaws in your anti-burglary precautions, correct them immediately. Remember, no home is totally safe from a determined, experienced burglar. However, if you make it difficult for someone to break in to your home, it's likely the burglar will select an easier target.

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