In Atlanta, deciding to invest in a home security system is a no brainer. What takes a lot more thought is what system you actually go with. To help, we’ve done some of the hard work for you. Our top three picks for Atlanta Home Security systems are Frontpoint, ADT, and Vivint.
- ADT: ADT offers unbeatable brand recognition in the home security market. They bring 140 years of experience to the table but that doesn’t mean they’re stuck in the past. ADT Security offers both wired and wireless systems, giving customers the most options when it comes to cost and equipment. ADT’s upper tier plans offer competitive smart home automation equipment too. Monitoring plans range from $27.99 to $52.99 per month
- Vivint: Innovative and forward thinking, Vivint excels when it comes to integrating home security with smart home automation. All of their products work with Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Nest devices, which is a great advantage if you have any of those already. Vivint’s high-quality products do come at a high cost, but their quality is unbeatable. Monitoring plans range from $39.99 to $49.99 per month, and you can choose between equipment financing or buying equipment outright for $700 to $1800.
- Frontpoint: Frontpoint’s home security bundles won’t damage your walls or your budget. What really sets them apart is their DIY installation. Their customer service also department excels, which explains their A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Frontpoint only sells two smart appliances–a smart lock and smart light bulbs. You’ll need to purchase third-party Z-Wave products like those made by Philips, Nest, or Honeywell if you want to expand. This gives you some flexibility with your budget. Equipment packages start at around $100 and monthly monitoring ranges from $34.99 to $49.99.
Choosing a Home Security System in Atlanta, Georgia
Crime in Atlanta
Protect your home and family from Atlanta’s high crime rates. This southern city is only safer than 2% of all other U.S. Cities. The city’s violent crime rate nearly triples the national median while the property crime rate more than doubles the national median. You have a 1 in 88 chance of becoming a victim to a violent crime and a 1 in 18 chance of being a victim to a property crime in Atlanta. Property crimes include motor vehicle theft, burglary, and theft.
Of Atlanta’s 242 neighborhoods, crime concentrates in those southwest of the I-20 and I-85 interchange. U-Rescue Villa, Old Fourth, Ward, Kirkwood, Castleberry Hill, and Washington Park are just a few of the specific areas with a high overall crime density. Police also attribute a lot of property crime in Atlanta to gang activity. If there are known gangs in your neighborhood, you really need to protect your property.
ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint all sell window sensors and door sensors. If someone tries to open your window, break your window, or open your door while your system is armed, your alarm company receives an alert. ADT’s upper tier plans, all of Frontpoint’s plans, and all of Vivint’s plans will also send an alert to your phone. Frontpoint’s door/window sensors cost just $32.99, making them the most affordable option if you want to arm every entry point.
Can’t afford to put a window or door sensor on all entry points? Motion detectors have you covered. When armed, they’ll detect movement in your home and activate the alarm. If you have pets, we recommend Frontpoint’s motion sensors. They use infrared sensors that won’t detect pets weighing up to 40 pounds. This is great if you let your dog(s) roam free during the day.
While it might seem tacky, displaying your home security system logo on your home in some way will also help protect your home against crime. A research team from UNC Charlotte surveyed convicted burglars to see how they choose what homes to target. The study revealed that 83% of burglars would look for signs of an alarm system before going through with the burglary. Sixty percent also responded that would choose not to target homes that had visible signs of a home security system. Stick your security company’s logo on your window or front door and make sure any foliage doesn’t cover it. Given their long-standing nationwide reputation, ADT offers the best brand recognition. Odds are that a criminal is more likely to recognize their logo than anyone else’s.
Do you park on the street in front of your home or on a street-facing driveway? Take that into consideration as you choose what company to go with. Motor vehicle theft is the most common crime in Atlanta. It can happen right outside your home as you sleep or while you’re away. Car break-ins are quite common too. If you live in or around Midtown, you should be especially concerned. Car break-ins are the most common crime in this otherwise safe area.
A home security system can scare off potential thieves or at least catch them if they try to get away with something. While outdoor security cameras are ideal for preventing car theft, they can get a little pricy. ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint sell sleek, weather-ready cameras starting at $199. They connect to Wi-Fi, meaning you can get live video feed updates right on your phone. You need to select Frontpoint’s upper-tier $49.99/month Ultimate monitoring plan, ADT’s highest-tier $58.99/month ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video, or Vivint’s $49.99/month Smart Complete monitoring to use video.
Atlanta’s Variable Weather
Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate but still experiences about 48 freezing days per year. On those days, it’s possible for your pipes to freeze, especially those in your basement or garage. Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes, which is a costly repair. Frontpoint, Vivint, and ADT all sell temperature sensors or freeze/flood sensors. Be proactive when it comes to Atlanta’s coldest days by installing one of these sensors in your home’s coldest area. The smart sensor sends out an alert when the temperature drops below or rises above the range you set. This alert will pop up on your phone, so you can quickly remedy the situation.
During the summer months, Atlanta experiences extreme heat. About 44 days per year exceed 90 °F. Full-blast AC is the way to beat that summer heat. Unfortunately, mismanaging your AC use can cost you a lot of money. Smart thermostats make you smart about how you use your air conditioning. You can set your thermostat to decrease the temperature automatically during late night hours, saving you money as you sleep. Leave your dog at home on a hot, humid day? Use your phone to crank up the AC while you’re at work so he or she doesn’t overheat.
If you’d like to add a smart thermostat to your home, Vivint and ADT both offer their own model. Frontpoint doesn’t. You’d need to purchase a third party Z-Wave compatible smart thermostat like Honeywell’s. This does give you a lot of flexibility in what brand and model you go with, but you’ll need to install it yourself. For ADT’s smart thermostat to work with the app, you’ll need their upper tier monitoring plan.
Atlanta holds the nickname, “the city in a forest.” It’s an accurate nickname considering a 2014 study revealed that Atlanta has 47.9% tree coverage. The thought of a city lush with trees may sound dreamy, but yes, trees actually pose a threat to your home’s security.
To start, trees can give burglars coverage as they case and/or break into your home. If you’re choosing to install outdoor cameras, you need to think carefully about where you place them. Make sure the cameras have an unobstructed view from as many angles as possible. You don’t want to make it easy for an experienced theft to evade the camera’s sight. It’s also important that your logo stickers and lawn signs are clearly visible. Putting them on multiple windows is your best bet if you have a lot of trees.
Along with offering coverage, trees close to a home can also provide burglars with easy access to your home’s second floor. Don’t fall under the assumption that you only need window sensors or motion detectors on your home’s first floor. You need to account for your house’s landscaping when choosing a system and when choosing where to install each piece of equipment. ADT and Vivint’s professional installation comes in handy here. Both companies send out a certified technician to evaluate your home and install the equipment in the best places. Frontpoint doesn’t offer the same service.
Given Atlanta’s weather, trees could also fall on your home. In 2017, Hurricane Irma swept through Atlanta, causing more than 90 trees to fall in the city and widespread power outages. Home security system features like back-up batteries and cell-link technology can help should harsh winds, tornadoes, or a hurricane pass through Atlanta again.
If you experience a lot of power outages, whether caused by trees or otherwise, Frontpoint and Vivint offer a distinct advantage. Their back-up batteries last for 24-hours and alert you when power goes out. Frontpoint will even send out a second alert when power returns, so you know when to return home. Plus, all of Frontpoint and Vivint’s plans rely on cell towers, so a phone outage or loss of Wi-Fi won’t interfere with their control panels’ or sensors’ function. ADT offers distinct disadvantages when there’s’ a blackout. Their lower tier plans rely on landlines, so if a phone line goes out, you’re out of luck. Their upper tier plans rely on cellular signals, but the back-up battery only lasts for a few hours. To make it through a longer outage, you’d need to purchase multiple back-up batteries and make replacements.
Registering Your Home Security System in Atlanta
As soon as you choose a security system, you need to start complying with Atlanta law. The City of Atlanta requires all burglar alarm users to obtain a permit. Thankfully, you can get one for free. Register online for your alarm permit or by calling 1-855-725-7102. The few minutes it will take are certainly worth it because failing to register your alarm will land you a $150 fine. You need to renew each year or else you’ll face a $50 charge. As part of the registration process, you will receive an alarm permit number. You must supply that number to your monitoring company.
Atlanta law also includes penalties for false alarms. A false alarm happens when your alarm system notifies the police or fire department of an emergency and there isn’t one. Simple things like your dog tripping the motion detector sensor or you forgetting to disarm your system can trigger a false alarm. It’s important for you to fully understand your system and address any concerns with the alarm company. Your 1st and 2nd false alarms come with a warning, the 3rd costs $50 (you can attend an alarm user awareness class to waive the fee), the 4th costs $100, the 5th and 6th cost $200, and any additional cost $500 each. Read more about Atlanta’s law regarding false alarms and permits here.
Installing Your Home Security System
Once you’ve chosen your system and have your alarm permit, you should plan for installation. Your installation experience will vary depending on which home security system you go with and what equipment you purchase.
ADT – If you go with ADT, the ADT Security Services office in Atlanta offers professional installation and a six-month money-back guarantee. Installation time varies and the cost ranges from $99 to $199. When the technician comes to your home, they’ll bring additional devices along and make recommendations to you based on your home’s layout.
Vivint – Vivint also requires professional installation for most of its equipment. Costs start at $49.99. Although Vivint’s Atlanta store no longer exists, they’ll still send out a certified technician to install your system. Like ADT’s, Vivint’s technicians bring along extra equipment. Installation takes two to three hours and there are drills involved. This is a big downside if you rent.
Frontpoint – Frontpoint doesn’t offer professional installation, but you don’t really need it. Their renter-friendly equipment sticks to your walls with adhesive backing, which you can get replaced for free if you move. No nails or screws required. Take advantage of Frontpoint’s stellar customer service during installation. They offer online and over-the-phone assistance. Set-up time averages out to just 30 minutes. If you’re busy and need security fast, go with Frontpoint.
Who Responds When My Alarm System Goes Off?
The Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department have your back. 9-1-1 dispatch workers intake all home security calls and send out help based on the situation at hand.
Atlanta Police Department
More than 2,000 sworn police officers work to keep Atlanta safe. They operate out of six zones, which allows for an efficient use of resources. As a way of keeping response times down, the APD directs some calls right to a local hospital. The hospital then takes care of dispatching the call and assisting you during a medical emergency. If you’re worried about medical emergencies taking place in your home, consider ADT’s medical alert device for your older or ill loved one. It comes with 24/7/365 assistance, fall detection, and GPS location services.
Despite the new intake system, the APD still takes 9 minutes and 35 seconds on average to respond to a call. This isn’t the worst of the major U.S. cities, but it’s still not great. To help speed things up, Atlanta has teamed up with Smart911. Smart911 lets users enter critical information like medical conditions, special needs information, their home address or anything else they want a 9-1-1 operator to know in advance. When you call in, the information will pop up for the Atlanta dispatcher. This speeds up the call time and allows for a more accurate response from police, fire fighters, and EMS.
The APD uses a community-oriented approach to policing. It heavily relies on community input and problem solving. Atlanta firmly believes that this approach will reduce crime behind closed doors and on the streets. The Crime Prevention Unit oversees the force’s Crime Prevention Training, Neighborhood Watch Training and Development, Safety and Awareness Workshops, and Senior Citizen’s Activities. You can join these programs by contacting your local CPU office.
Another part of their community-oriented approach involves bringing neighbors together. Neighborhood Watch groups and the Nextdoor app make this possible. Neighborhood Watch groups hold regular meetings to discuss crime in the neighborhood. They might team up to patrol the area or come together to clean up the local park. These groups work directly with a Crime Prevention Officer and block leaders undergo training.
A social media network called Nextdoor also brings neighbors together. The app allows neighbors to share information about natural disasters, recommend babysitters, spread the word about a local break-in, or send out invites for Neighborhood Watch meetings. Best of all, it’s 100% free to use.
Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
The AFRD responds to fire and medical emergencies. Roughly 134 full-time firefighters and EMS personnel provide services to Atlanta residents. They’re spread across 35 stations and operate 35 fire engines, 17 fire trucks, 3 rescue squads, 2 urban search and rescue units, 10 airport crash tenders, and 4 rescue boats. They’re one of just 19 departments in the nation to have a Center for Public Safety Excellence accreditation. You’re in good hands if you ever need their help.
Firefighters aren’t the only ones that can help put out fires in Atlanta. The AFRD sponsors an ACERT program for community members. Standing for Atlanta Community Emergency Response Team, ACERT trains individuals to respond to neighborhood emergencies. After going through a once-per-week six-week training class, ACERT members can help neighbors reduce fire hazards in their home, put out small fires, use CPR, and offer basic medical treatment. Get to know ACERT members in your neighborhood. They’re a valuable resource when it comes to keeping your home and family safe.
Detecting a fire as soon as possible reduces property damage and personal safety threats. That’s why the AFRD started the ASAP program. Thanks to the Atlanta Smoke Alarm Program, all Atlanta residents can receive a smoke alarm for free. A volunteer will even come to your home to install the system. Call or email the AFRD at (404) 538-7112 or email@example.com.
While the ASAP program is invaluable, it might not be right for you. You might want a smart thermostat that links to your home security system. ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint all sell state-of-the-art smoke alarms that link to your home security system. Your monitoring company can call in a home fire and dispatch the AFRD even if you’re away.
How Else Can I Keep My Family and Home Safe in Atlanta?
Along with installing a home security system, you can take other measures to keep your home, neighborhood, and family safe. The easiest thing you can do is sign up for NotifyATL. This emergency alert system sends out alerts about emergencies, road closures, crime, and community news. It can send texts, leave voicemails, or send emails. Sign-up is free, so be sure to sign up your whole family.
If you have the time, you can also team up with Keep Atlanta Beautiful. This non-profit wants to beautify Atlanta, which can actually help reduce crime. They organize efforts to paint over graffiti, pick up trash, install trashcans, and improve local parks and other public spaces. Neighborhoods can purchase trashcans with grant money or private funding and request litter cleanup supplies from the organization. These simple efforts will make your neighborhood look nicer and improve the quality of life there.
Joining an Atlanta neighborhood association will also help you connect with neighbors and make your neighborhood a safer place to live. Find your neighborhood’s association here. Activities include paying off-duty officers to patrol the neighborhood and check up on your house if you go on vacation, cleaning up and improving local parks, hosting monthly meetings and holiday celebrations, and releasing local crime reports.