But do you really need a burglar alarm? And where can you get the best deal? Checkbook.org has done the research.
"There are a lot of things you can do yourself that will probably be more important than any system that you install," explains Robert Krughoff, President of the non-profit Checkbook.org, which publishes the Delaware Valley Consumers Checkbook.
Before you spend money on a security system, he suggests installing deadbolt locks on your doors and window locks on any accessible windows. Consider motion detectors on outdoor lights. Trim back shrubs so that your home is clearly visible. And if you're going away, arrange to have your mail and newspapers held until you get back.
All those are deterrents to would-be thieves.
However, if you do decide to put in a burglar alarm, it definitely pays to shop around for system installation.
Krughoff explains, "We did a lot of undercover price shopping of these alarm installation systems. And found dramatic differences in price. For one particular home, exactly the same capabilities, we found prices ranging from less than $1500 to almost $5000, for exactly the same system."
And the same holds true for monitoring.
"The pricing on the monitoring can vary a lot also." Krughoff says. "For central station monitoring we found prices ranging from about $700 to about $1200."
If you have a system, Krughoff says you might find you can save by switching your monitoring provider. And ask if you can get a credit or discount on your homeowner's insurance for having a burglar alarm.
For more information about Checkbook.org article on home security systems, click here.