Start protecting your home and family from the abundance of crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a home security system. Having a security system in your home provides peace of mind, makes life more convenient, and helps deter crime. It’s suggested that you’re three times less likely to experience a break-in if you install an alarm system. In Albuquerque, where burglary rates are three times the national median, installing a system certainly makes sense.
But, what company should you go with? What equipment should you install? After considering Albuquerque’s weather, crime data, and resources, we’ve narrowed our recommendations down to three companies: ADT Security, Vivint, and Frontpoint. Each system goes above and beyond to protect your home in its own way.
Go with Vivint if you have a high budget for home security. Their sophisticated smart home technology and wireless security equipment can turn any home or apartment into a tech fortress. Out of all of the companies we review, we think they have the best home automation security system. From doorbell cameras to smart keypad locks to automated lights, Vivint has it all. They offer the level of protection and innovation you want whether you live in a safe neighborhood like Sandia Heights or Modesto Ave NE/Eubank Blvd NE or in a dangerous area like Alta Monte.
- Vivint Sky App: Download the app on your phone and you essentially have a control panel with you wherever you go. You can use it to arm or disarm your system, change the thermostat, turn off lights, and watch live camera feed. It’s rated highly, so you don’t have to worry about glitches or poor functionality either.
- Wireless, Cell-Linked Equipment: Vivint only sells wireless equipment that communicates via cell towers. It’s more reliable and easier to install than a wired system. If a burglar enters your home, they can’t simply cut a wire to turn off the alarm. If the phone line or your power goes out, your system stays running.
- Vivint FlexPay: Not everyone can afford Vivint’s equipment upfront since packages range from $700 to $1800. But, if you have a good credit score, you might qualify for Vivint’s monthly financing plan. It lets you pay off the equipment monthly over 42 months or 60 months at 0% APR. You have to sign on for a contract though. Don’t want a contract? Buy your equipment outright and opt for their month-to-month monitoring option. Plans start at $39.99 per month.
- Military Policy: Are you a military family? If so, Vivint offers contract and moving fee exemptions. You can cancel a service agreement upon supplying proof of relocation or deployment orders. Military members who want to move their Vivint service when they relocate are exempt from Vivint’s $99 activation fee too.
- Professional Installation: Vivint requires professional installation. You’ll need a technician to come into your Albuquerque home and set up the equipment. This costs anywhere from $0 to $200 depending on available deals and what equipment needs installed. While it might seem like a hassle, it’s actually beneficial. The technician will spend one to two hours in your home, giving you plenty of time to ask questions and giving them plenty of time to make recommendations. They’ll bring extra equipment along too in case you want to add to your package. You won’t find this with companies like Frontpoint.
ADT gives Albuquerque families options. Their monthly monitoring costs and equipment choices offer you more variety than their competitors. They offer better brand recognition too. Just having an ADT security logo on your home can help deter criminals. Multiple ADT monitoring centers across the country serve more than 8 million homes in the U.S. and Canada. No other home security company has near this much reach or experience.
- Wired or Wireless Systems: ADT sells wired and wireless systems. While wireless systems that use cell-link technology are more reliable, they might not work in your home. ADT’s hardwired equipment and monitoring plans start at just $27.99 per month. The control panel connects to your landline, which is beneficial for homes on the city’s outskirts that may have poor cell service. Frontpoint and Vivint don’t offer this option.
- Home Automation: ADT has more than 140 years of experience in the home security industry. While they still sell their tried and true wired equipment, they’ve also entered the smart home automation market. Using the ADT Pulse app, you can stay connected with your home. Activate the alarm, turn on your lights, or change the thermostat with the app or your voice thanks to biometric voice recognition.
- BYO Equipment: Low-income residents of ABQ might find it hard to afford home security. With ADT, you can bring your own equipment with you. This puts you in control of equipment costs and leaves the monthly fee at just $19.99 for 24/7/365 monitoring. It’s a great option for families living in crime-dense, low-income areas like Alta Monte.
- Professional Installation: Like Vivint, ADT also requires professional installation. Albuquerque is home to a few ADT-authorized dealers who will send a technician to your home. Stores typically offer same-day or next-day installation, so you don’t have to prolong your family’s safety. Make note that service quality varies between locations. Check out online reviews before choosing a dealer.
Frontpoint is known for their outstanding customer service and innovative products. Their vast product line makes creating a custom security solution for your home easy and within budget. You can choose exactly how much or how little security you need.
- Wireless, Cell-Linked System: Frontpoint only sells wireless equipment. It’s more reliable and harder for intruders to tamper with because there aren’t any wires to cut. Even their outdoor cameras connect wirelessly, so you won’t have unsightly cords hanging off your house or apartment balcony.
- DIY Installation: Professional installation has its perks, but it’s not convenient. Even if a technician can come next-day, you’d still have to arrange to be at home. With Frontpoint, you can have equipment shipped overnight and installed within 30 minutes. Each piece features an adhesive backing that’s wall friendly. No screws or nails required. That’s a big reason why Frontpoint is our top pick for the 39.6% of households that rent in Albuquerque.
- Move-Friendly: Although not as large as ADT, Frontpoint does serve homes in all 50 states and most of Canada. This is great news should you ever need to move. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, you can take your Frontpoint system with you for free. Frontpoint will even send you packaging and new adhesive backing to make moving and reinstallation a breeze.
- Customer-Oriented: Frontpoint truly cares about you and your home. Their 24/7 help line is quick to answer, friendly, and helpful. You can speak to someone in English or Spanish no matter the time of day, which makes things more convenient for the 26% of Albuquerque residents that speak Spanish. Frontpoint also values transparency. You can clearly see equipment prices on their website, something that you won’t find with every home security company. You’ll know exactly what you have to pay and what’s included.
- Do I Need Environmental Protection in Albuquerque?
Yes! Your home needs more than just protection against criminals. Severe weather, low temperatures, and wildfires can cause a lot of trouble if your home isn’t prepared.
Flooding & Freezing
The city’s cold semi-arid climate features four distinct seasons with less than 9.5 inches of rain each year and a lot of sun. Despite having little rainfall, the Rio Grande River running through the city still causes flooding. Water or flood sensors will come in handy if your home sits in the flood plain. Below freezing nighttime temperatures in December, January, and February present problems too as does snow in Northeast Heights and Eastern Hills. In those conditions, pipes can freeze, causing leaks or bursts in different areas of your home.
Frontpoint, ADT, and Vivint all sell equipment that can help you monitor flood-prone areas and pipes. Vivint stands out though. Their freeze sensor doubles as a flood or water sensor. It sends out an alert when temperatures drop below 41°F and it detects moisture. Situate the sensor near basement pipes, window wells, or even your washing machine. The sensor monitors what’s going on so that you don’t have to continually check up on things.
Another growing concern is Albuquerque’s carbon monoxide index of 79. We definitely recommend adding a carbon monoxide sensor to your home here, especially if you have a gas or oil furnace. ADT’s carbon monoxide detector detects low levels of CO, can be mounted on the wall or ceiling, and is temper resistant. If the sensor detects CO in the air, the detector will beep and send an alert to your phone. You can then take appropriate measures like turning off your furnace, opening windows and doors, and exiting your home.
Pairing your carbon monoxide alarm a monitored smoke alarm from ADT, Vivint, or Frontpoint will maximize your home’s safety. It’s especially important in the Albuquerque foothills where the risk of wildfire is high due to extremely dry vegetation and little rain. Visit the city’s Wildfire Safety page for helpful tips on preventing wildfires and safeguarding your home.
In cases of a home fire or wildfire, the Albuquerque Fire Rescue has you covered. The department has 704 full-time firefighters and 27 civilian employees spread across 22 stations. The zone divisions allow the department to cut back response times and use resources more efficiently. EMS personnel and firefighters respond to more than 100,000 Fire and EMS calls each year.
To stay fire smart, visit the Albuquerque Fire Department website and view “Today’s Status.” You can see the day’s wildfire danger rating and any fire restrictions in place. Following the restrictions like no fireworks or open flames will keep you, your home, and your neighborhood safe.
Crime in Albuquerque
Crime is no joke here in Albuquerque. Albuquerque has a 1 on the crime index, meaning it’s safer than only 1% of all U.S. cities. Is the problem just in New Mexico? Nope. Ninety-eight percent of New Mexico towns have a lower crime rate. The city also holds spot No. 25 on Neighborhood Scout’s list of Most Dangerous Cities 2019. It’s a mix of property crime and violent crime rates that make Albuquerque such a dangerous place to live.
Here a few violent crime and property crime stats from Neighborhood Scout. Read through these and it’s easy to see just how valuable home security is in this crime-dense city:
Violent Crime in Albuquerque
Live here and you have a 1 in 72 chance of falling victim to a violent crime. These crimes include rape, murder, assault, and robbery, many of which take place within a residence. Compared to the national rate, ABQ’s murder rate and rate or rape is twice as high, the robbery rate is five times as high and the assault rate is three times as high. Security systems make it harder and less inviting for criminals to enter your home and try to harm your family.
Property Crime in Albuquerque
Your chance of becoming a victim of a property crime in Albuquerque is 1 in 13. This includes offenses like burglary, auto theft, theft, larceny over $50, and arson. Burglary and theft rates in the city are three times higher than the national rates.
Are you one of the 97.4% of households who owns a car in Albuquerque? Pay attention. Motor vehicle theft presents a huge problem here. There’s a 1 in 71 chance of getting your car stolen. Police data from 2014-2016 found even higher auto theft rates in the Alta Monte area. Car thieves steal cars from parking garages, parking lots, city streets, driveways, and even garages. Keeping your car safe requires some ingenuity or at least an outdoor security camera.
Frontpoint, Vivint, and ADT all sell outdoor security cameras. Frontpoint’s fall on the more affordable side when looking at both the monthly monitoring and equipment costs. Their outdoor camera looks sleek, so you don’t have to worry about it ruining your home’s aesthetic. Plus, it offers infrared night vision, motion detector sensitivity settings, and live streaming via the Frontpoint app. Install it above the garage for added protection or in the front of your house where it’s most visible. Visible signs of home security reduce your risk of becoming a target.
Crime isn’t evenly disbursed throughout the city. The majority of crime in Albuquerque, especially violent crime, happens in just five areas. Live in one of the following high crime areas? You need to take measures to protect yourself, your family, and your property.
- Southeast/Primary: Carlisle to Eubank, Lomas to Gibson
- Downtown: Lomas to Pacific, Eighth Street to Broadway
- Far Southeast: 1-40 south to Horseshoe, Juan Tabo to Tramway
- San Mateo: Triangular area from San Mateo and I-25 to Comanche and Alta Monte
- Southwest: Avalon south to Bridge, Old Coors to new Coors
The type of residence you live in affects the likelihood of a crime occurring too. More crime occurs at multi-family housing than at single-family housing; this is especially true when it comes to home invasions in the Southeast/Primary area. There, 79% of home invasions from 2014 to 2016 took place in multi-family residences. If that’s you, prioritize home security. Focus on visible signs like security stickers or outdoor cameras. These will scare away intruders before they even attempt a break-in.
To learn about crime specifics in your neighborhood, visit the Albuquerque’s Journal Crime Map. Search by crime type and date range. Then, zoom in on the map to see your neighborhood.
How Does the Albuquerque Police Department Respond to Crime?
The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) operates six area commands throughout Albuquerque and each has a substation. Dividing up the city makes policing more consistent. It also holds leadership accountable for crime rates in their particular area. The six area commands are Foothills Area, Northeast Area, Northwest Area, Southeast Area, Southwest Area, and Valley Area. Look at the map here to see the division lines and the substation addresses. Click on your division to see more details like crime data. At a substation, you can file a report, ask for a copy of a report, or make comments about police service in your area.
More than 800 sworn officers serve the city, but the city hopes to expand forces to more than 1,000 law enforcement officers. Officers work across four bureaus (Field Services, Investigative Bureau, Professional Accountability, and Special Services) and many specialized units. The department’s Property Crime Units include Burglary and Auto Theft. These investigators help recover stolen goods and track down criminals.
Unfortunately, the APD has a history of using excessive force and taking a while to respond to calls. While they are improving the quality of their responses, they are getting worse with how long it takes to respond. As of 2017, police response to priority 1 (aka life-threatening) calls takes an average of twelve minutes and 17 seconds. This is much slower than other U.S. cities. Some reasons for the slow response times are an increased call volume, fewer police officers, a disorganized dispatch center, and a longer amount of time spent on the scene. Fortunately, the city is well aware of the problem and is working toward resolving it.
If the thought of waiting around for police response seems daunting, you don’t have to do it alone. ADT offers Alarm Patrol Services. They dispatch Alarm Patrol Officers to your home to wait with you, patrol the grounds, and increase your peace of mind. Other services include vacation mail relocation and neighborhood patrolling. You’ll need to pay an additional monthly fee and sign on for a two-year contract for this service, but it’s well worth it if you’re one to worry.
For non-emergency calls, the police department and the city encourage residents to dial 311. Don’t feel like making a phone call? That’s okay. Albuquerque’s OneABQ app makes it easy for you to report issues to 311 (the non-emergent line). Once you submit a 311 request, you can check its status with the app too. The app also connects you with city-wide updates, community resources, and community apps. Easily find fun things to do over the weekend or read announcements about public safety.
How Does the City Handle False Alarms?
False alarms cost cities across the United States millions of dollars each year. In an effort to reduce false alarms and fund the city’s full-time False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU), Albuquerque requires false alarm permits and charges false alarm fees.
Alarm permits for residential alarm users cost $25 per year. Alarm companies must pay a separate yearly fee of $150. Talk with your alarm company to make sure the fee gets taken care of. Your alarm company must take the first step and provide your information to FARU. Then, you’ll get a permit application in the mail along with an invoice. If you fail to purchase an alarm permit, you’ll be charged with a petty misdemeanor. You could end up paying up to $500 in fines and spending 90 days in jail.
During a single permit year, your first three false alarms are free. Additional false alarms cost $150 each. Have more than ten false alarms in one permit year? You’ll have to shell out $500 per false alarm. To avoid false alarm fees, make sure everyone in your home knows how to use your alarm system. Keep it out of reach of small children and deactivate motion sensors when you leave pets home during the day. Simple steps like this can save you and the city a lot of money.