There are too many really basic areas of our life that we leave dependent on technology that we never give a thought to until something goes wrong. Take what happens with your ability to stay in touch by telephone during an emergency. People mostly have cordless phones these days; if the base unit isn’t plugged into a working power outlet and the handset isn’t charged up, you can forget your ability to call for help. Storms can frequently knock out power lines, can’t they? Things didn’t use to be this way when people just had simple wired phones. Or take what happens to the complicated home security system that you install with high-tech computerized electronic locks, motion detectors and so on. When the power gets knocked out, the system functions on battery backup; but if it happens to be an extended power outage as it can be when a storm disrupts utility services, the security system just gives up. It can’t work without power. Should you leave something as basic as home security dependent on power?
America is a country that is obsessed with home and property security. There are about 40 million security systems with electronic locks and other paraphernalia installed in homes and offices all across. These people pay about $25 billion for their systems all put together, and they go to bed at night peaceful in the notion that the big bucks they spent, are doing everything possible to keep intruders away. Is that really true though?
Security systems don’t actually keep burglars out; those electronic locks and security cameras can only deter them because they will know that any funny business, and an automatic call will be put through to the police. But why should they care? Police response times are a bit slow when a call comes in from a security company. Typically, it can take up to half an hour. The burglar could be done and on his way in that time, easily. In smaller towns though, police response times are reasonably good at about 10 minutes (after you add the couple of minutes that the security system takes to place that call). But even there, 10 minutes are often enough for an experienced burglar to rummage through a house and take what he needs.
So why does it take the police this long to get to the scene of a crime? To begin with, burglaries aren’t high on their list of priority calls to take; and when they do come, almost all the time, the police find that it was a false alarm triggered by an overzealous alarm system. In fact, the police are so fed up with this that they will often attend to two false alarms for free, and then begin to charge you about $100 for each call. So for someone who puts down a monthly subscription to a security company, what is the useful service that they actually get? It could all be just part of an elaborate charade to lower your insurance costs. Put down money for electronic locks, and your home insurance rates go down.
They go down for a reason; they found that while security systems or electronic locks don’t actually deter thieves in any particular case, having a neighborhood full of them will certainly deter them. For thieves of opportunity you don’t plan a major heist of any kind, having a street full of protected homes. It will often unnerve them, and send them scampering elsewhere.