Australians are tightening their home security, but one in five still don’t lock the doors

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New technology has increased home security options, made it more accessible and given homeowners the ability to lower their insurance premiums, Martin said. However, he warned that by failing to take simple steps like locking doors, homeowners could void their home and contents insurance cover, which almost 50% of survey respondents had.

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He also warned consumers to do their research when it came to installing home security technology or buying insurance, and recommended comparing at least three options because the products offered different levels of protection.

Adrian Hawkins, owner and operator of AJH Safety Solutions on Sydney’s northern beaches, has received many more requests for CCTV during the pandemic. This is despite the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a 23% drop in illegal entries with intent and other thefts in 2020.

Safety was on the minds of more Australians as they spent more time at home, he said, but safety concerns were not necessarily the only driver.

“I would say four out of six of my jobs are for CCTV, and with those three out of six they have a neighbor who annoys them [who they want to keep an eye on],” he said.

Video doorbells were used by 15% of survey respondents.Credit:PA

“CCTV is definitely the most important thing [right now]but that underpins the return to basic surveillance,” he added, noting that he was generally sought after by those who traveled a lot, had had their property broken into before, or had a lot of possessions in their home.

Although return-to-base monitoring has an added cost, it served an important purpose and could often help homeowners lower their insurance premiums, he said.

Mr. Hawkins said basic security systems could be installed for around $1,500, but his clients have spent around $2,500 to $3,000 on average, which would cover a few cameras around the property, a security system standard alarm and sensors inside the house. He warned that while homeowners could make a DIY system cheaply, buying the growing number of products available in retail stores, cheaper products were usually of lower quality.

While homeowners still make up the bulk of those installing security systems, there has been an increase in the number of renters choosing to monitor their homes as new features make installation easier, said Alison Kingdon, director of security. ADT Security client solutions.

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Recent years have seen a move towards smart homes with security systems accessible via smart phones, Ms Kingdon said, with features such as keyless and wireless locking mechanisms, cameras and video analytics becoming more common.

“People are ditching a static alarm system for one that supports smart remote control and full monitoring,” she said.

“Technology that enables remote access to homes or management of multiple sites is rapidly evolving, including smart alarm devices, smart door locks, cameras with video analytics, cameras with better night vision, apps for security with integration capabilities that also control lighting, electronics, etc.”

James Kirkland, director of sales at Upside Realty, said these features were once unique selling points largely limited to wealthier areas, but are now appearing on the wish lists of house hunters across the market, as well as other smart technologies, such as improved affordability and accessibility.

Smart door locks, built-in alarm and camera technology that connects to smartphone apps, and doorbells with cameras were among the features that appealed to more buyers.

“It’s the kind of stuff that we’re starting to get more and more questions about as it goes through the properties,” he said.

The appeal went beyond home security and convenience, with shoppers interested in technology that allowed them to let in friends, family and remote business owners, keep an eye on pets company and telling couriers where to leave packages when they ring the doorbell, Kirkland added.

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