Dallas has one of the highest crime rates in the United States, but it’s lower than average when only compared to large cities. Even still, the likelihood that you’ll become a victim to crime in Dallas is about one-in-25. That includes both property and violent crimes, which more often than not occur inside the home. Violent crimes include rape, murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes include arson, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. Auto theft rates are especially high in Dallas.
A home security system can help protect you from becoming that “one in 25” in the following ways:
- Outdoor cameras and security company stickers help protect your car and can deter potential intruders from even attempting to enter your home
- Doorbell cameras let you see and potentially speak with whoever’s on your doorstep even if you’re not home, giving the illusion that your house is occupied
- An alarm sound upon entry can scare away burglars, especially alarms coming from wireless systems, which aren’t easy to deactivate
- Security alarm companies call the cops immediately, which comes in handy if you can’t get to the phone or aren’t home
Top Three Home Security System Picks for Dallas
Now that you know some of the reasons why you should have home security system, it’s time to consider your options. We recommend ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint. These national companies offer a little something for everyone. Before we dive in, here’s a little comparison chart of our top three picks for Dallas home security.
|Control Hub||Wired & Wireless Options||Wireless Only||Wireless Only|
|Home Automation||With Some Plans||Yes||Yes|
|Environmental Disaster Protection||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Phone App||With Some Plans||Yes||Yes|
|Contract||3 Years||1-3 Years||5 Years|
|Installation||Professional Only||DIY||Professional Only|
|Customer Service||Varies by Location; Good Options in Dallas||Top Notch||Poor, but Improving|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$27.99-$58.99||$34.99-$49.99||$39.99 to $49.99|
The 40.9% of households in Dallas that rent should consider Frontpoint. This home security company offers DIY installation that’s wall-friendly and drill-free. Installation takes just 30 minutes, which means you can have your system up and running in no time. This alone will save you $99 to $200 when compared to similar national companies. For example, ADT and Vivint both charge installation fees and drill holes into your walls. Your landlord probably won’t like that. Just follow Frontpoint’s simple instructions to adhere each component properly to your wall. Have questions? Frontpoint’s highly rated customer service team can guide you along the way.
When it comes to price, Frontpoint does get a little tricky for renters. Only homeowners with a 600+ credit score are eligible for their most competitive deals. While this is a wonderful perk for homeowners,–one you should take advantage of if you can–it leaves renters with less options. If you rent, you’ll be left paying somewhere between $34.99 and $49.99 per month depending on your desired plan.
Frontpoint lets you choose a prepackaged equipment bundle or create your own. They even have a pet-friendly Safe Home Plus package. This bundle includes a central hub and keypad, three door/window sensors, and two glass break sensors. It lacks motion control sensors because dogs can trigger those and cause false alarms. The Safe Home Plus bundle is great for the 44% of Texas households that have dogs, and you can always add on to it.
Other Frontpoint equipment options include smart locks, doorbell cameras, smoke and heat sensors, and indoor/outdoor cameras. If you park on the street by your house, having an outdoor camera is a must. It can help prevent auto theft, which is quite common in Dallas where about one car is stolen every 54 minutes.
The Bottom Line: For what they offer, Frontpoint is a great value. Their GE equipment is priced fairly and you can use it without their monitoring services if you prefer. DIY installation gives it a hefty advantage over Vivint and ADT’s professional install. Plus, their customer service can’t be beat.
Vivint is where home security meets home automation. Their innovative technology can transform your home into a safer and more convenient place to live. From smart keypad locks to automatic thermostat and light control, Vivint’s equipment helps you live comfortably and have control whether you’re home, on the run, or on vacation.
If this sounds too good to be true, it may be for some people. But, for the Dallas residents who can afford it–like many of those living in Highland Park or University Park– Vivint is a great option. Their equipment bundles start at $700 and go up to $1800. Qualify for their Monthly Flex Pay and you can pay back the equipment monthly over your five-year contract. Monitoring costs range from $39.99 to $49.99 per month and installation costs around $200, but they frequently run promotions for free installation.
A starter kit includes their sleek touchscreen panel, two Google Home Minis, and six smart sensors. Choose from door/window sensors, motion detectors, glass break detectors, flood/freeze detectors, and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Other add-ons include a doorbell camera, indoor/outdoor camera, and garage door controller. Vivint also works with the Nest Thermostat and Amazon Echo, so you can get those directly from Vivint too.
Vivint’s flood/temperature detectors come in handy in Dallas. On average, 23 nights per year drop below freezing and 17 days rise above 100°F. With Vivint’s smart sensor, you can set a temperature range for your home. The app will alert you when your home’s temperature drops below or rises above your set range. This way you’ll know if your pipes are at risk of freezing or if your house is too hot for the dog. You can then open your Vivint app and adjust the thermostat to fix the problem.
The Bottom Line: Not everyone can afford Vivint’s equipment and services. But, if you can, you should take advantage. Their innovative home automation equipment can’t be beat. If you only care about home security, Vivint’s added cost may not be worth it to you. Although it’s improving, this company has a track record of poor customer service so keep that in mind as you make your decision.
America’s most chosen home security network, ADT Security, offers 140 years of experience. Their unmistakable logo can go a long way toward preventing crime. Just having a visible recognized home security logo on your lawn or window can deter criminals. Convicted criminals have even admitted to this.
Although ADT is 140 years old, they’re still with it. They offer the widest range of services of any home security company. You can choose monitoring only, landline-based wired systems, wireless home automation systems, or a wireless home automation system plus video. Their price points give you flexibility too. Plans range from $28 to $59 per month and that includes equipment rental. You’d be hard pressed to find that much flexibility with another company.
Basic ADT equipment includes a control panel, a keychain remote, three entry sensors, one infrared motion sensor, a high-decibel siren, a backup battery, a yard sign, and window decals. Add in environmental protection features like smoke alarms, CO monitors, temperature sensors, and water sensors to safeguard your home against fires, flooding, or the 23 nights per year where Dallas temperatures drop below freezing.
You’ll find three ADT authorized dealers in Dallas. Reviews vary amongst the three, so do some research before choosing your dealer. Local dealers know Dallas’ unique characteristics, so you can trust their recommendations. You can also work directly with ADT to design a custom package for your home.
The Bottom Line: ADT’s equipment and price range offers versatility. If you’re satisfied with basic security and have a landline, you’ll have a hard time beating their basic $27.99 plan. Name recognition and a proven track record are a big reason why they’ve made our top three list too.
Other Costs Associated with Home Security Systems
Aside from the system itself and monthly monitoring expenses, home security in Dallas has a few other costs. These include alarm permits and false alarms.
Dallas takes false alarms seriously and that’s a good thing. It means that the department is trying to conserve their resources for real emergencies. Police still respond to all alarm calls but only if required residents secure a permit. Under Dallas City Code, Article 1, Section 15C-2(b), “the Chief shall refuse police response to any alarm notification from an alarm site that does not have a valid alarm permit.”
Once you choose your security company, you’ll likely need to register online for a permit. Anyone with an audible security alarm or one that is monitored and alerts the police must obtain a permit. Permits aren’t awarded immediately, so you should apply as soon as possible. Residential permits cost $50 and business permits cost $100. There’s a 72-hour delay between the time of your payment and the time of activation. You’ll need to renew it each year.
Along with the permit fee, Dallas also charges a false alarm fee. Thankfully, it’s pretty generous. The first three false alarms within a twelve-month time block are free and subsequent alarms aren’t nearly as costly as those in other major cities like Los Angeles.
Here’s how the fees for each additional false alarm play out:
|False Alarm Number||Fee For Each|
|All Residential Panic/Hold-Up False Alarms||$100|
Crime and Crime Prevention Efforts in Dallas
A city as large as Dallas faces its share of crime, but police, firefighters, and Dallas citizens work together to make every day a little safer. So far, these efforts have been successful, but some areas in Dallas are still more crime-dense than others. Learn more about these areas and ways that you can get involved below.
Dangerous Areas in Dallas
If you live in one of the following neighborhoods, you’re at an even higher risk of becoming a victim to crime. This should alarm you because Dallas already has a 47% higher crime rate than the rest of the US.
- Five Points
- Forest-Audalia Grid
- West Oak Cliff
- Dixon Circle
- Ross Bennett
- Oak Cliff
For these areas, getting a home security system is a no brainer. If you’re strapped for cash, consider going with ADT. They have a $20/month monitoring-only plan that you can use with your own equipment. This gives you a little more flexibility with how much you want to spend on the actual equipment.
Still unsure about whether a home security system is right for your home? Visit the Community Crime Map website. There, you can enter your address to bring up a map that shows what crimes happen in your neighborhood. Sort by date range and crime type. You can even sign up for crime alerts, so you know what’s happening near your home at all times. If it happens to your neighbors, it could happen to you too. Prepare your home so that it doesn’t.
Dallas Police Department (DPD)
Dallas cops make having a home security system worthwhile. When your monitoring company sends out an alert, the DPD responds. And, they do it quickly. 911 dispatchers help make this possible. For dispatchers, ten seconds is the target answering time for all calls, and Dallas does a solid job. In November 2018, eighty-eight percent of 911 calls were answered within 10 seconds. Dispatchers notify police and then DPD arrive on scene in an average of 5 minutes and 38 seconds. This more than exceeds the six-minute national standard.
Just under 3,000 police officers serve the city of Dallas and they’re supported by roughly 550 citizens. Due to budget shortages, this is roughly 600 fewer officers than in 2010. To help increase security in the city, the DPD started a LEAPS program. Under this program, 15,000 private security officers have received special police training. This means 15,000 additional trained security personnel watching out for homes and people in Dallas.
Although all types of crimes occur in Dallas, auto theft is a big problem that the DPD addresses. From 2017 to 2018, property crimes went down, but auto theft rates rose 18 percent. The DPD’s auto theft unit has 15 detectives investigating auto crimes. This unit recommends the Lock, Take, Hide method for auto theft prevention. You should always lock your car, take your keys with you, and hide your belongings inside your car. It may seem like common sense, but 4 in 10 stolen cars in Dallas have the keys inside. If you live in an apartment north of Bachman Lake, you should be especially careful. Investing in outdoor cameras can help scare off potential thieves and this goes for both homeowners and renters. Just talk to your landlord first.
Other DPD units include the canine squad, communications, computer crime squad, criminal investigations, criminal intelligence, domestic violence, field services, financial investigations, internal affairs, love field unit, mounted unit, narcotics, records section, traffic, underwater recovery, youth operations, and nuisance abatement. Community engagement officers also operate under the DPD. These men and women work directly with communities to help neighborhoods deal with crime in their area. A CEU officer could help you start a neighborhood watch group or give a crime prevention presentation. This is great for new families moving to the area who don’t know what to look out for.
Dallas Fire Department
Home fires threaten your family’s safety too. Dallas Fire-Rescue includes firefighters, a fire prevention division, EMS, emergency response, and special operations like urban search and rescue. The department reduces and fights residential and commercial fires, responds timely to medical emergencies, and provides rescue services. Dallas firefighters work out of 57 fire stations and operate the city’s 56 fire engines, 5 aircraft rescue firefighting apparatuses, 22 aerial ladder trucks, 9 Booster pumpers, 1 HazMat unit, 40 front line Rescues, and 3 Peak demand Rescues.
The benchmark for fire department response is eight minutes. In Dallas, firefighters respond in eight minutes or less 94% of the time. This is four-to-seven percent better than other large cities like San Antonio and Oklahoma City. But, before the department can arrive at your home, it needs to know that you need help. Smart fire detection systems, like those offered by Vivint, detect fire and alert you immediately through audible beeping and an app notification so that you can resolve the issue if possible. Vivint’s 24/7 monitoring experts also call the authorities when needed. ADT and Frontpoint offer similar systems too.
Crime Prevention Resources and Programs in Dallas
Crime Prevention Website
Visit the Dallas Police Department’s Crime Prevention Information website to learn how you can protect your property while you’re driving, on vacation, at home, or walking on the street. Helpful tips include planting thorny shrubs near low-level windows and being aware of what you throw away. If a burglar sees that empty TV box, they know you have something worth stealing.
Join other Texans in inventorying your property and marking items with an ID number. It could be something you make up, but it’s recommended to use your Driver’s License number. Operation Identification participants also get window decals that read, “All items of value on these premises have been marked for ready identification by Law Enforcement Agencies.” Not only does this help deter criminals from intruding, but it also makes it easier for police to recover any stolen property. Plus, burglars are less likely to fence something that’s been marked.
Register your car under the Help End Auto Theft program to give police permission to pull over your car between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. You’ll get a special decal that signifies to patrol officers that you don’t normally drive during those hours. They can rightfully pull over the car and request identification. Along with helping out Dallas cops, it also helps Mexican authorities. Border patrol officers will know to check the car before it crosses into Mexico. Go to your patrol substation to register your car.
Dallas also sponsors a number of volunteer programs targeted at reducing crime. They each approach things differently, but all require the support of dedicated community members.
The Volunteers in Patrol program empowers Dallas citizens to patrol their neighborhood. You need to be a member of a crime watch group and use your own vehicle. You’ll report suspicious activity like unfamiliar idling cars, valuable items being moved from homes, or strangers talking to children. Contact your local substation to start training. Joining a group like this is a great way to give back and learn more about crime in your neighborhood. The more you know, the better you can keep your home and family safe.
Join the Citizens Offering Police Support program if you want to work directly with officers to help reduce crime by improving community areas. COPS members might paint over graffiti, pick up trash at the park, or plant flowers in communal spaces.
Dallas’ Community Emergency Response team is made up of community volunteer teams. The teams educate and train their neighbors on a variety of emergency preparedness topics. They also work with public safety agencies to plan and execute public events and respond to local disasters. Although CERT members work beneath emergency personal during disasters, they have a lot of responsibility. Typically, they’ll manage volunteers brought onto disaster sites, making sure everyone is on the same page.