Many homeowners wonder if installing fake burglar alarms can help deter break-ins just as well as real security systems. While fake alarms cost much less than full-blown monitored systems, how effective are they really at preventing crime? There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether mock burglar alarms provide adequate protection.
On the plus side, fake security signs and dummy alarm boxes certainly give the appearance that a home is protected. From the outside, a fake system looks nearly identical to a real one, with warning stickers placed around windows and doors. The average thief casing houses for an easy target cannot immediately tell if an alarm system is real or a decoy. If they see alarm warning signs, they often decide not to take the chance and move on to an easier, less risky home. The illusion of security posed by a mock system can convince opportunistic burglars to go elsewhere.
Fake home security devices are also very affordable compared to full alarm monitoring services and equipment. Property owners can purchase mock alarm boxes, warning stickers, and security signs for twenty pounds or less. Real burglar alarm systems carry steep upfront equipment and installation costs, often between one thousand to two thousand pounds or more. Then, there are pricey monthly monitoring fees on top of the initial expenses. For homeowners on a tight budget, mock alarms seem like an effective crime protection solution at a fraction of the cost.
However, fake home security devices also have some significant disadvantages. Most criminologists say that experienced burglars can detect the visual difference between DIY imitation alarms and sophisticated real home security products. While fake alarm boxes may fool amateurs, career criminals know what to look for to determine if a system is real. They notice clues like the lack of alarm wiring, no shine from motion sensor lenses, older alarm boxes in disrepair, etc. Savvy thieves easily recognise when alarm warnings are counterfeit and proceed with intruding into the property.
Another downside with mock home security is that there is no real monitoring, deterrent, or proof of a break-in like genuine alarm systems provide. While the fake equipment may initially dissuade some burglars, if thieves do decide to target the home, no working alarm will sound to scare them off. There will be no sound, lights, or police response triggered. Also, without video footage or recorded alerts from an actual security system, homeowners have no documented evidence to provide police with the crime.
While imitation burglar alarms advertise warnings meant to prevent intrusions, they lack the sophisticated technology and response capabilities of monitored home security systems. Unmonitored equipment leaves homes more susceptible to experienced burglars who can detect fakes. Real alarm systems with cameras, motion sensors, and round-the-clock professional monitoring services offer far better crime protection. Though more costly, genuine home security deters a much wider range of burglars and provides evidence if a break-in does occur. Still, for homeowners unwilling or unable to pay for a full security package, fake warning stickers and alarm boxes offer a modicum of deterrence on the cheap.
In the end, mock or “dummy” burglar alarms likely discourage some opportunistic thieves just looking for an easy home to target. Visible security warnings make amateur burglars reluctant to take a gamble on breaking into a seemingly protected property. However, hobbyist alarm equipment lacks the response potency and perceptive detail of genuine monitored home security systems. While fake alarms have limited effectiveness, for budget-conscious homeowners, they may pose enough of an intrusion risk to make inexperienced criminals think twice. In more safety-conscious households, genuine, professionally installed and monitored home security systems are worth the significant extra investment. Real burglar alarms better secure homes with live video feeds and alerts to detect and drive off a wider range of criminals.