Can a Burglar Alarm Protect My Home?

House AlarmHi folks,
with the CSO publishing Recorded Crime Quarter 4 2012 this week there is likely to be another rise in crimes recorded in Ireland because of the recession and particularly in relation to house burglaries.   In previous articles we have looked at different ways to protect our home and one way is to install a burglar alarm.  But is a burglar alarm enough?  Can a burglar alarm actually protect my home or does it just give me a false sense of security?   We’ve covered a lot of this stuff before but let’s take another look.  First we will have a look at 3 different types of security alarms and see can they provide the level of protection we need:-
1) Dummy alarms- A Dummy alarm is one that looks like an alarm but it doesn’t actually do anything.  What good is that?  Well the hope is that the appearance of the alarm on the gable end of your home will put off burglars from attempting a break in.  What good is it?  Not much good if someone breaks in but if you have little or no money to spend on your home security it’s certainly probably better than nothing, what do you think?
2) Bells only systems–  This is probably the most common type of alarm in Ireland. This system, when triggered, rings an alarm internally and externally, warning off possible intruders.  Sounds good, what’s the catch? Well it is quite a good deterent but its only drawback is that it is unable to alert the local authorities.  Also, if the alarm goes off are there any neighbours nearby and will anyone actually bother to see what’s going on?
3) Monitored alarm system- This type of alarm is by far the most expensive, as maintenance and monitoring increase the costs.  However, in the event of a burglary, the Gardai are automatically informed and will immediately respond.  Some of these systems will require a minimum of two appointed keyholders who must know how to operate the alarm, be able to attend an activation within 20 minutes, be contacted by telephone/mobile and have their own transport.  It’s your – the owner’s – responsibility to inform your alarm company if your keyholder is on holiday and provide them with suitable alternatives.
Ok we have some good solutions there but even with the last option does it actually go far enough or is there anything else we should look out for?  Let’s have a look at some things that can go wrong and see do we still think an alarm can protect our home?
  1. Many homes are broken into because the owner forgets to set the alarm.  Make sure to set the alarm when you are not in the house or when you are going to bed.
  2. Many alarms have not been serviced in a long time.  An alarm system is not much good unless it is actually working and there’s no point in finding out that it’s not working after the burglars have broken in.  Make sure to have your alarm serviced regularly to make sure it is working correctly.
  3. There have been cases recently of burglars ripping the alarm box off of the wall and throwing it in a bucket of water to disable it.  If you can get a fitter/welder to fix a steel bracket around the alarm box it will help to prevent this from happening.  Consider putting extra protection around the alarm box that is attached to the outside of your home.
  4. Always remember that nomatter how good your alarm system is, it is no substitute for good locks so make sure to have all doors and windows securely locked with high standard locks as a first level of defense against burglars.  Poor security on your doors and windows will mean that a burglar can get in and out quickly and be gone before anyone comes to the rescue.  Ask a locksmith to do a security audit of your home if you are unsure.
  5. It’s no good having an alarm if nobody takes any notice of it when it goes off.  Develop a good relationship with your neighbours, ask them to look out for any suspicious activity in or around your home when you are not there.  Ask them to feel free to check it out if the alarm goes off and to call the Gardai if necessary.  Be sure to offer the same support for your neighbour in return.  If your neighbour does alert you of any suspicious activity or even a false alarm, get them a gift to say thanks because it is important to express your gratitude and encourage them to continue to keep an eye out for you in the future!:)

On a related note, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if they require a certain standard of alarm system to cover your home for theft (fire also!).  Insurance companies are very quick to accept your money when you are paying for your home insurance but they often neglect to point out that certain restrictions apply which might mean you are not covered at all because of inadequate security alarm or locks.

Ensure all alarm installers are PSA licensed in order to carry out alarm installation and maintenance.  See further information at .

The usual rules apply with selecting an alarm installer for the job, make sure to get references, insurance details and any other information that you need to make sure that you are totally happy with the alarm installer that you choose.  And yes make sure they are PSA licensed installers.  Getting advice and quotes from a number of alarm installers ensures that you get the most information to make an informed choice. Always check whether the prices are inclusive or exclusive of VAT.  If you decide to go ahead with updating your alarms you can get a number of and get up to 4 quotes fast from rated tradesmen!

Oliver Dempsey
23 March 2013

So what do you think, can a burglar alarm protect my home?  Well I think that it can’t provide 100% protection on it’s own but if we back it up with other policies and safeguards like we have mentioned above we will have a better chance of keeping those burglars away.  What do you think?  If you can think of any other ways to improve your alarm’s effectiveness or to provide further protection of your home let us know by putting a comment below..

Here are more security related articles below:-

About Oliver Dempsey

Owner and Managing Director at and contributor to the Blog DISCLAIMER: All content provided in my articles is for informational purposes only. The information contained in these articles has been obtained from research carried out by myself through online and offline sources and through other writers and contributors who provide me with content. While I am responsible for the final editing of each article and I do my best to verify the information, I do not make representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information. Therefore you must not rely on the information contained in any of these articles and always make sure to seek the advice of a suitably qualified expert before embarking on any project.
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  • lindam57

    good advice guys, I wish I had read that before our laptop was stollen when our house was broke into while we were in bed and no alarm on:(

  • tradesmen1

    Hi Linda,
    sorry to hear about your laptop, yes seemingly it’s one of the most common ways that houses get broke into. By the way I forgot to mention to back up your laptops to an external harddrive and keep it in a seperate location or else backup your data to the cloud as often times the information on the laptop is more valuable and may have more sentimental value than the cost of the laptop itself


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