While home security systems can be expensive new wireless systems may offer an effective, lower cost alternative. Professional burglars say they stay away from homes that are protected by a system and move on to easier prey.

Many wireless systems are available. One example is GE Security’s Simon XT which costs about $200, more for the deluxe version, plus around $30 a month for monitoring.  The system can track activity in 40 zones of the house, such as windows or doors equipped with sensors. Like many systems, the sensors can be programmed to alert a homeowner by cell phone when one is triggered.  If you connect a digital video camera to the Simon XT, it can send images to you from the sensors. You could see who is by the front door or who is opening your liquor cabinet.

Any system should include sensors for all perimeter doors, doors leading to a garage or store room, and several motion detectors. The system should also include outside and inside alarms to scare off intruders. And it should have a silent alarm code in case someone forces the homeowners to shut down the alarm.

If a monitored system is not for you, consider Armor Concepts Door Jamb Armor. It reinforces all parts of the door that can break so it can’t be kicked down. A full set costs about $125.

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