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HOUSTON – What makes you feel safe in your home? Whether you live behind security gates, or if your street is patrolled, crime is always as close as your back door. How prepared are you when it shows up unannounced?

No matter how safe you think your home is, it’s not off-limits to criminals.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported 2,735 breaking and entering crimes between July 30th and December 31st 2017. 2018 has already started off with a home invasion near Spring that turned deadly.

Police made three arrests in connection to the murder of Bao and Jenny Lam.

“We are relieved to have these three men off the streets, no longer able to hurt anybody else,” said the couple’s son, Richard Lam.

Thanks to surveillance video outside the victims’ gated community, police had a better description of who they were looking for.

“I don’t think it really matters if you’re in a gated neighborhood or if you have your own police force, I think it’s really important to be up to speed on the latest technology and the safety of your home and your pets and your family,” says homeowner and ADT customer, Lindsay Edmiston.

Some residents take bare minimum security measures, like securing doors with extra locks, bars on windows, or even a dog and a gun.

Whether you go with a pro alarm system company, or install one yourself, ask yourself, is it worth the money?

Home security experts with ADT Security Services say technology puts the power of protection in the homeowner’s hands.

“Ninety percent of every alarm system we install now allows our customer to interact on their iPhone or Android,” Josh Perez with ADT Security Services said.

Edmiston says, “If I’m away from the home, and I have the ability to look at that, it definitely gives me a peace of mind being able to utilize that app and that tool.”

Peace of mind is priceless, but the cost of convenience may not be so easy on your wallet. ADT’s basic system costs $27.99 per month, plus a one-time $99 installation charge.

This puts customers paying a little more than $430 for their first year. ADT also requires a 3-year monitoring agreement, not to mention early cancellation fees. The plus side is they offer a money back guarantee.

However, if you don’t want to deal with all of that, more affordable do-it-yourself options are becoming available for homeowners; from locks to video doorbells.

The Vivint allows you to use your SmartLock to be able to lock your home from anywhere off site. One popular DIY home security monitoring system is the video doorbell by Ring.

Jason Longworth with Smart Home Pro at Best Buy says, “Any censor goes off it’s going to send a notification to your mobile phone app and allow you to have two way audio to talk and record.”

The built-in camera records high-def video and audio, works off Wi-Fi and rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for hard wiring.

For less than $200, homeowners may find this to be cheaper and just as effective as paying a monitoring company; but there may also be fees to store your video on a cloud-type server.

When it comes first responders being dispatched after an alarm goes off, a city permit is important element often overlooked that could make or break homeowners if they really need police.

Many alarms that trigger without permits will not call 911. However, if authorities do show up, you can be fined.

“If an alarm is triggered, whether its a panic or burglar alarm, you will be assessed a non-permitted penalty,” says Toya Ramirez, with the City of Houston’s permitting office and burglar administration.

Penalty fees increase with the number of false alarms.

Ramirez states permit holders are allowed three free burglar alarms within a 12-month period and one free panic alarm. If permit holders have eight false burglar alarms within one year, their permit is revoked.

In 2017, Houston Police responded to 77,000 total alarm calls, and 74,000 of those were false. Word to the wise, being proactive costs a lot less than being reactive; a system that will make just about all of us feel secure.