What Are Home Security Zones?

A quick guide to the security zones of your home.


September 21, 2020

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According to FBI statistics, the odds that your house will be broken into are one in thirty-six. And if you are that one, you can expect the burglar to get out with about $2,230 worth of your possessions. Data also shows that homes without security systems are 2.7 times as likely to be broken into as those that are alarmed. While it’s not difficult to install the system yourself, especially with the guidance of a home security professional, it does require some forethought.

How burglars think

While it’s impossible to determine what each burglar will do, you might want to take into account what burglars say. According to a study undertaken by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a majority of the convicted criminals who responded to an in-depth survey said they considered the presence of deterrents such as alarms, outdoor cameras, and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential residential or commercial target. Approximately 83% of the offenders said they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60% said they would seek an alternative target. This was particularly true among the subset of burglars who were more likely to spend time deliberately and carefully planning a burglary.

Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31% said they would sometimes retreat. Only 13% said they would always continue the attempt even after an alarm had been discovered.

And what of those homes that weren’t protected by home security systems? And what of those homes that weren’t protected by home security systems?

  • 34% of burglars enter through the front door.

  • The first place they hit is the master bedroom since most people keep jewelry, cash, and collectibles here.

  • Next in order are the home office, living room, and dining room; rooms that usually have china, flat screen TVs, and gaming consoles.

  • Most burglaries take place between 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. when people are likely to be at work.

All these findings, as well as a wealth of statistics, points out the importance of having a reliable electronic security system guarding the perimeter of your home with each access point secured by its own intrusion detection sensor. This is where security zones come in.

Home security zones

A home security zone is defined as a specific area of the house as seen on the alarm system’s panel device. Each zone corresponds to the sensor or alarm component securing it and is identified by an assigned number so that the security monitoring company and homeowner will know which sensor has been triggered. For example, if the front door is designated as zone one on your panel system, the zone one light on the panel would light up if the door is opened.

Most home security systems can maintain up to eight zones, but there are some that are wired to accommodate zones made up of multiple devices. For example, a second-floor bedroom might be labeled zone two but be protected by both a window and a motion detector. Security zones are assigned at the time of installation and should be clearly outlined on the system’s control panel. Security systems terms and definitions can be confusing so If you’re not sure how you should designate zones, your monitored alarm company can offer guidance as to what would work best for you and your family.

Multiple sensor zones – who gets along with whom

When designating multiple sensor zones, care needs to be given to type and location. Most households keep their intrusion sensors activated on their doors and windows at night but disable the motion sensors so they can walk around the house without setting off the alarm. In this case of different types, intrusion sensors should not be combined with motion detection sensors within the same zone.

At other times, location comes into play. Some people like to sleep with their bedroom windows open but wouldn’t want to disarm the downstairs windows. These homes need upstairs and downstairs to be designated as different zones.

Smoke and carbon dioxide sensors

Smoke detectors can be tied into home security systems, as can heat detectors to add protection in areas that are sometimes smoky or dusty like kitchens, garages, and basements. Carbon monoxide and gas detectors are also options. Since these sensors should always be on duty, they need to be assigned to a zone that always remains active, even when the system has been disarmed.

Monitored home security vs. smartphone home security

Recently, homeowners have had the option of installing apps on their smartphones that allow them to stream video from their home security systems and receive push alerts if an intrusion or motion sensor has detected a breach of security. However, these can go unnoticed if the homeowner is in a situation where he or she does not have his phone with them, or they have set it to airplane mode. Likewise, wireless solutions that involve monitoring via a PC can go unnoticed if internet service is interrupted.

On the other hand, with a monitored home security system, trained personal are always present at the security company’s central monitoring station. Should an intruder enter the home, the system sends them a signal, at which point the security professional will immediately contact the homeowner to make sure the alarm wasn’t set off accidentally by someone authorized to be in the house. If he can’t reach the homeowner or the homeowner confirms no one should be there, he will immediately dispatch the police to investigate.

Most monitored systems run on landlines or cellular radios and have battery backups, so they are always on the job. If you’d like to learn more about monitored security systems, call Brinks Home™ and get a free quote. Our systems also include a mobile app, so you can have the best of both worlds.

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor.

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