More than 1.6 million people call Phoenix, Arizona their home, making Phoenix the fifth most populous city in the US. Life here is full of sunshine, mild weather, and plenty to do, which is why more than 13 million visitors come here each year. Given all these people, it’s no wonder that you’re concerned with your family’s safety. Installing a system in your Phoenix home can keep your family and belongings safe and protected.
Below, we’ll break down out top three picks for home security and explain how they fare against Phoenix weather, crime, and more.
Top Three Picks for Home Security in Phoenix
Love having the latest and greatest? Have a relatively high budget? Vivint is for you. This home security system delivers more than just basic intruder protection. The company seamlessly integrates home security and smart home automation, bringing you sleek equipment that makes life more convenient. With Vivint in your home, you’re not just protected from intruders or fire. You can also control your thermostat, front door, lights, and more using your voice or mobile device. Their equipment even works with Alexa and Google Home devices.
Compared to our other two picks, Vivint is a lot pricier, which is why it’s not for families who just want a basic system. Monitoring services cost $39.99 to $49.99 per month and equipment packages run from $700 to $1800 per month. Have stellar credit? You might qualify for Vivint’s equipment financing plan, which would spread out your equipment payment over the five-year contract.
All Vivint packages come with a touch screen panel, two Google Home Minis, and six smart sensors. Sensor options include door/window, motion detectors, flood/freeze sensors, glass break detectors, and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. We recommend adding on outdoor cameras too given the high rate of auto theft in Phoenix.
Frontpoint may be the newest arrival to the home security market but don’t let that fool you. In fact, we think they’re the best overall home security system out there. From their A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau to their affordable smart home compatible equipment, Frontpoint knows what customers need in a wireless home security system.
This company is especially great for the 36.33% of Phoenix households that rent – whether that be single family homes or apartments. Installation is 100% DIY and doesn’t require you to drill any holes in the walls. Simply stick each piece up using its wall-friendly adhesive backing. You’ll get reliable home security without upsetting your landlord or risking your security deposit.
Frontpoint Security also has an excellent 24/7 customer service team. Their agents can guide you through installation, answer any questions you may have before making a purchase, and assist you with any problems that come up. During the day time, there are both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking representatives available.
Basic Frontpoint equipment includes one hub and keypad, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one yard sign, five window decals, and one door sticker. Since Frontpoint lets you build your own custom package, you have a lot of flexibility with how small or large your system gets. Plus, all their equipment is Z-wave compatible, which is the most commonly used frequency in the smart home industry. This means that you can add third-party equipment to your Frontpoint system.
ADT has been around for a long while and boasts an impressive six million customers. This company can help you and your family navigate any security concern that arises. Unlike Vivint and Frontpoint, ADT sells both wired and wireless systems, giving customers more options. If you live in a more rural area outside of Phoenix, ADT’s landline-based wired system is a great choice. Not only is it more affordable, but it’s also more reliable if your home has poor cell reception.
ADT’s wireless system more directly competes with our other two picks. It costs more than the wired systems but includes more features like access to the ADT Pulse app, smart home compatibility, and optional video surveillance. Compared to Frontpoint and Vivint, ADT’s upper-tier plans cost more each month, but they do include the cost of some of the equipment.
Basic ADT equipment includes a control panel, a keychain remote, three entry sensors, an infrared motion sensor, a high-decibel siren, a back-up battery, a yard sign, and window decals. No matter what ADT package you choose, you’ll need to have your equipment professionally installed. Thankfully, you can find several ADT authorized dealers in Phoenix. These professionals know your neighborhood and know the ADT equipment. Look through reviews before committing to a specific dealer as service greatly varies in Phoenix.
Crime in The City of Phoenix
Given its size, Phoenix does okay in terms of crime. According to Neighborhood Scout, the city is only safer than 7% of U.S. cities. Its property and violent crime rates far exceed the national median. That’s not too surprising though given the city’s large population. Your chances of falling victim to a property crime in Phoenix are 1 in 27 with theft being the most common property crime in the city. Burglary rates are high too at nearly twice the national median rate.
It’s worth noting that not every neighborhood in Phoenix suffers from the same types of crimes or the same high crime rates. To help you discover what crime is truly like in your neighborhood, the Phoenix Police Department makes crime data available to the public using the Community Crime Map website. On the website, you can look at crime in Phoenix in general, or you can type in your address to see the types of crime that occur in your neighborhood.
Look at the map and make note of the crime type, address, date, and time. That’s the easiest way to identify trends in your neighborhood. This information can help you make decisions about what home security system equipment to invest in. For example, if there a lot of auto theft incidents in your neighborhood, you should focus on exterior home security devices. This includes garage door controllers and outdoor security cameras. Frontpoint sells the most affordable outdoor security cameras of our three top picks. Plus, their monthly fee for video surveillance is much cheaper than ADT’s. By the way, if fees are on your mind, we’ve put together a list of the best security systems with no monthly fee for you.
Environmental Concerns in Phoenix, Arizona
Our top three picks do more than just safeguard your home against intruders. These companies also sell environmental protection equipment that makes your Phoenix home safer and more convenient.
Phoenix has a hot desert climate with long hot summers and short winters. It’s perhaps the sunniest place on the planet, so days are hot. In fact, this city’s average summer temperature is higher than any other U.S. city. Roughly 107 days each year exceed 100°F. Talk about hot.
Vivint’s smart home technology can help you and your family beat the heat, live comfortably, and reduce your energy usage. Vivint’s Element Thermostat isn’t your ordinary thermostat. This smart thermostat has a built-in smart assistant that learns your schedule and adjusts your home’s temperature accordingly. It even uses geolocation to gather information about Phoenix’s climate.
You can also control the Vivint Element with your voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Home or with the highly rated Vivint mobile app. Before driving home from the office, simply open the app and turn up your home’s air conditioning. You’ll arrive home to a cool house, which will make unwinding after a long day’s work much more comfortable in the summer. Have a dog? Use the app to check on your home’s temperature from anywhere. Adjust it accordingly to keep your fur baby comfortable.
The Vivint app will send you notifications when the thermostat is adjusted too. This is great if you hire a house hitter, rent out a summer property, or have kids who enjoy cranking up the AC. You’ll receive a notification if someone turns up the AC or heat. Just adjust it from your phone to prevent a huge electric bill.
Other Home Security System Options
In Phoenix, Arizona, nation-wide home security companies aren’t your only option. The city is home to several local home security companies. Here are some of the best out there based on user reviews.
- JPG Home Security Consulting
- AZ Alarm Company
- Smart Security Systems
- Black Hat Security
- Knox Security Services
Having your system installed and monitored by a local company has its upsides and downsides. For one, local home security companies probably know your neighborhood better than you do. They’re familiar with crime trends and can make super specific recommendations based on where you live. On the downside, you can’t bring your system with you if you move outside of the service area. Frontpoint, ADT, and Vivint work across America and into Canada.
Owning a Home Security System in Phoenix, Arizona
Choosing a security system is only the first step if you live in Phoenix, Arizona. Next, you need to follow and understand city regulations regarding residential alarm systems.
Once you have your system picked out, you need to make things official with the City of Phoenix. You must let the local government know that you’re adding a burglar and/or smoke alarm to your property. The city has a fillable PDF of the Burglar and Fire Alarm Subscriber/Proprietor Permit Application on its website. Fill it out and pay the $17 permit fee as soon as you choose your alarm company. The permit is renewable each year for an additional fee.
All households with a burglar and/or fire alarm system must apply for an alarm permit. It doesn’t matter if you’re self-monitoring or choosing professional monitoring. Failure to purchase an alarm permit may result in a $96 fee for every burglar alarm activation and a $105 fee for every fire alarm activation.
On the permit application form, you will need to list at least two representatives other than yourself who could contact police in case of an alarm representative. These could be individuals living inside your home, your tenants, or even a neighbor. You and the representatives listed are responsible for communicating with police or the fire department within 30 minutes of an alarm going off. That conversation will help authorities determine whether a response is needed.
False Alarms in Phoenix
A false burglar alarm occurs when your alarm system activates due to human error or equipment problems but there is no emergency. Each year, false alarms cost the City of Phoenix millions of dollars and cost the police force thousands of wasted man hours. Not only are false alarms a nuisance to the city, but they’re also a hassle for you. They can be scary and will also cost you money.
Phoenix charges false alarm fees if your system causes multiple false alarms each year. Your first false burglar alarm and first false fire alarm within a 365-day period are free. Any subsequent false burglar alarms cost $96 and any subsequent false fire alarms can cost you $105.
Avoiding False Alarms in Phoenix
Most false alarms occur within the first few months of owning your alarm system. To help prevent these, the Phoenix Police and Fire Departments host a False Alarm Prevention Program. This free program will give you a lot of great information that you can use at home. By attending, you’ll also receive a waiver for a $96 false burglar alarm or a $105 false fire alarm fee. Contact the Phoenix Police Department Code Enforcement Unit at (602) 534-0322 or the Phoenix Fire Department at (602) 262-6771 to RSVP for a class.
False alarm prevention education is highly beneficial, but it’s not the only thing you can do to prevent false alarms in your home. You can also start out strong by choosing a home security system designed to minimize false alarms. Vivint, Frontpoint, and ADT offer advantages when it comes to false alarm reduction. Since pets commonly cause false alarms, all three companies sell find pet-friendly infrared motion detectors. Plus, with ADT’s, the professional installer can adjust the sensitivity based on the size of your pet.
ADT offers a unique Alarm Response Program that you won’t find with Vivint or Frontpoint. For an added monthly fee and two-year contract, you can have an Alarm Response Officer come to your home whenever your alarm activates. They can visually verify the activated alarm and determine whether police presence is necessary. If police presence is deemed necessary before they arrive, they’ll come to your house and wait with you until the police arrive. This personalized service helps reduce false alarms and improve your peace of mind.
Phoenix First Responders
Phoenix Police Department
The Phoenix Police Department work tirelessly to prevent crime, catch criminals, and keep the streets safe. Officers work across six divisions which include Patrol, Management Services, Support Services, Investigations, Strategic Services, and Reserve. Patrol officers most commonly respond when your alarm activates, but the Property Crimes Bureau or Violent Crimes Bureau under the Investigations division may also get involved.
The Patrol Division is further divided into seven precincts: Desert Horizon, Black Mountain, Cactus Park, Mountain View, Central City, Maryvale Estrella Mountain, and South Mountain. You can view precinct boundaries here.
Police Responses Times
Response times in Phoenix aren’t great. In 2009, the Phoenix Police Department instituted a hiring freeze that lasted until 2015. The number of officers dropped from 3,375 officers to 2,688 during this time. Unfortunately, the department has yet to fully recover from the hiring freeze, and it could take several more years until they’re able to do so. Fewer police officers means slower response times, especially in cases where the chance of catching the criminal at the scene are lower.
In 2017, priority one calls had a median response time of six minutes 27 seconds. Priority one calls typically include situations where someone’s life is in danger. For priority three calls, like burglary, expect to wait much longer. Response for these calls is about 45 minutes. Keep in mind, this is in cases where the intruder has already fled the scene, and no one is in immediate danger.
You can’t control police response times, but you do have some control over how quickly a 9-1-1 call is placed. Of our top three picks for Phoenix, Frontpoint has the fastest response times time and time again. Their Rapid Response Monitoring Service centers certainly live up to their name, so you know that your home invasion or security concern is being reported as quickly as possible.
Vacation Security Services
If you’re going on vacation, a home security system goes a long way. Smart lights can make it look like your home is occupied. Outdoor security cameras can scare off potential intruders. Plus, in most cases, you can remotely access your home security system to check in on things like the temperature and camera footage. In Phoenix, you can have the added peace of mind of an officer checking your home while you’re away. Just tell your local police station that you’re going away so that an officer can check your home while your gone. This service does depend on officer availability.
The Phoenix PD’s Block Watch & Operation Identification program brings neighbors together to make their neighborhood a safer place to live. Neighbors join, get to know one another, and agree to look out for each other. They also make it a point to contact police if they notice any suspicious activity.
Anyone can form a Block Watch group in their neighborhood so long as people agree to participate. The first step is contacting your neighbors to gauge their interest and then hosting a Block Watch kickoff meeting. Coordinate the meeting with your local precinct so that a Community Action Officer (COA) can make a presentation. Call 602-495-0597 to get started.
Virtual Block Watch
Along with traditional Block Watch, the Phoenix PD has a Virtual Block Watch program where residents and businesses can register their outdoor security cameras. This way, the police know where they can look for footage of a suspect. Registering is 100% optional and in no way gives police control of your video camera. It’s just a step you can take to help make Phoenix a safer place to live.
Phoenix Fire Department
Approximately 493 full-time firefighters and EMS personnel work for the Phoenix Police Department. The PFD operates out of 58 stations spread throughout the city for more accurate and timely responses. Their equipment includes 65 fire engines, 14 fire trucks, 14 ladder trucks, 3 squads, 36 ambulances, 6 water tenders, 5 airport crash vehicles, and 15 wildland fire engines.
In 2015, the department responded to more than 186,000 calls with the majority being for EMS. Despite the high call volume, EMS response times are impressive. Ambulances consistently arrive on scene within 10 minutes 92% of the time. In most cases, ambulances arrive on scene in less than 5 minutes. The city’s regional dispatch center aids in prompt response times for fire and EMS. Its Computer Aided Dispatch system always contacts the closest appropriate emergency response vehicle to you, the caller, even if you aren’t in that vehicle’s jurisdiction. That means you get the fastest response possible.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Phoenix Fire Code requires that all homes with attached garages or fuel-burning appliances install CO Detectors. While any working CO monitor will do, one from a monitored home security company will work even better. Frontpoint, Vivint, and ADT all sell integrated CO detectors. The detectors are always monitored just like the rest of your home, so you’ll know if one goes off even if you’re miles away at work or on vacation. This monitoring can make all the difference, especially if you have pets at home during the day.