Home safety and security is a concern for most consumers, so it’s no surprise the home security industry is booming in this time of economic uncertainty and rising crime statistics. Nevertheless while new technologies have made home security systems smarter and easier to use, how much protection do you really have?
Costs, services and benefits are as varied as the ways burglars try to break into a house. If you’re monitoring the home security market for the right system to protect your family and your property, here are answers to the big questions about home security alarm systems.

How much will a home security system cost?
The cost of alarm systems ranges from next to nothing for basic modules and a monthly monitoring contract priced between $30 and $50, to several thousand dollars for a more complex, advanced home security system. Different homes and homeowners have different requirements, and the cost of a security system ultimately depends on the features you include and the level of service you choose. Video surveillance, wireless motion sensors, smart-phone-based controls and carbon-monoxide detection are just a few of the elements that can increase costs along with security. Surprise setup and activation fees can also catch you off guard.

How does a home security alarm system work?
Security alarm systems vary, of course, but usually include a combination of motion sensors and door and window contacts that connect back to a home alarm device with at least one keypad control. When the system is armed and active, the sensors and contacts trigger the on-site alarm. If the alarm isn’t immediately disarmed by punching the correct code into the keypad, the security company’s monitoring center is notified, and they in turn will call you and the police.

Cheaper alternatives
While home security systems can offer a wide array of protection, you don’t need to invest in one to toughen up your home for intruders. A number of cheap home security tricks can enhance your home security, or build upon the effectiveness of any professionally installed system.
For example, a well-lit home is much less likely to be broken into, so illuminate your home’s exterior with motion-detector spotlights and other strategic fixtures, and put interior lights on timers when you’re away. Reinforce all entry doors with deadbolt locks, add security bars and pins to sliding and garage doors, and install a wide-angle peep hole in your front door so that you can easily see who’s come knocking.