The Pros and Cons of Professional Security Monitoring vs. Neighbor Surveillance

Maintaining the security of our homes and businesses is paramount in today's world. To achieve this, many people opt for security systems to protect their properties. When it comes to monitoring these systems during an alarm event, two common options arise: professional security monitoring by a specialized company or relying on neighbors to keep an eye on things. In this post, we will explore the pros and cons of each approach, helping you make an informed decision about which one is best for you.
Professional Security Monitoring:
Professional security monitoring involves outsourcing the task of watching over your property to a dedicated company of professionals trained to respond in minutes to your alarm being triggered either by the panel, a leak sensor or a smoke detector. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this option:
1. Expertise and round-the-clock monitoring: Security monitoring companies employ trained professionals who specialize in monitoring alarm systems. They are well-equipped to handle emergencies, responding promptly to alerts, and contacting the appropriate authorities when necessary. This ensures a quick and efficient response in case of a security breach. Often it can prevent further damage or harm to the property, contents or occupants.
2. Multiple layers of protection: Monitoring companies offer comprehensive security solutions, including surveillance cameras, motion sensors, and access control systems. These layers of protection minimize the risk of unauthorized access, burglaries, and other security threats.
3. Remote monitoring and management: With professional monitoring, you can access your security system remotely through mobile apps or web portals. This allows you to keep an eye on your property and manage your security settings from anywhere, providing peace of mind and convenience.
1. Cost: Professional security monitoring services typically involve monthly fees or contracts. While this expense ensures expert monitoring, it might not be feasible for everyone's budget.
2. False alarms: Occasionally, security systems can trigger false alarms due to various reasons such as technical glitches or user errors. While monitoring companies strive to filter out false alarms, they can still occur. This may result in potential fines or fees for repeated false alarms.
Neighbor Surveillance:
In contrast to professional monitoring, relying on neighbors to watch over your property when an alarm goes off is a more community-oriented approach. Here are some of its pros and cons:
1. Cost-effective: Relying on neighbors can be an economical alternative to professional monitoring. Neighbors can support one another and collectively keep an eye on each other's properties, without the need for additional fees.
2. Immediate local response: Neighbors who live nearby can provide a faster response time compared to professional monitoring. They can quickly investigate an alarm activation and take appropriate action, such as calling the authorities or providing assistance.
1. Limited expertise: While your neighbors may be well-intentioned, they might lack the professional training and expertise that a monitoring company can offer. This could potentially result in delayed or ineffective responses to security incidents.
2. Inconsistency and reliability: Depending on neighbors for surveillance can be unpredictable, as they may not always be available or willing to assist. Additionally, the level of vigilance and commitment may vary among neighbors, which could undermine the overall security of your property.
3. Privacy concerns: Relying on neighbors for security may require sharing sensitive information about your alarm system or entry codes, which raises privacy concerns. There is also the risk of false alarms causing unnecessary disturbances within the community.
Choosing between professional security monitoring and relying on neighbors for surveillance depends on various factors, including your budget, location, and personal preferences. Professional monitoring provides expertise, reliability, and comprehensive security features but comes at a cost. On the other hand, neighbor surveillance can be cost-effective and foster a sense of community, but may lack consistency and professional expertise.
Ultimately, the decision should be based on your specific needs and circumstances. It may also be worthwhile to explore hybrid options, such as self-monitoring with the ability to alert neighbors in case of emergencies.
With 33 years experience in the industry in one of the most active cities in the US, we have learned you just can't beat the effectiveness of having your system monitored professionally.