Do Security Systems Make Your Home Safer?

This newfound verve for home security comes at a time when crime is actually falling. The number of burglaries in the United States dropped by 28 percent between 2006 and 2015, according to the F.B.I. But that’s not stopping us from fortifying our homes.

We live in about the safest time in history, as far as we know, but people are more fearful,” said Barry Glassner, a sociologist and the author of “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things.”

Hear one story about a loved one’s house getting ransacked and panic sets in. That is how I ended up giving smart security a try, sampling a $299 starter kit from Abode. As the box sat unopened for a good two weeks, staring me down in its sleek packaging, I learned the first downside to D.I.Y. You have to actually do it yourself.

Once I got around to opening the box, I found the system surprisingly easy to use, with simple instructions, stick-on equipment and a nifty app. The kit includes a siren, a camera with a motion sensor, two door sensors and a key fob.

But those items only get you so far. Scroll through the Abode website, and your shopping cart can fill up quickly with more gadgets. Need more than two door or window sensors? Extras cost $25 a piece. A keypad costs $79. And it’s $19 for that yard sign that lets the neighbors (and maybe anyone with less than honorable intentions) know you’ve gone to the trouble of doing all this. Professional monitoring costs $30 a month. Add it all up, and you’ve shelled out a lot of money.

Then I started to wonder if I was the best person to gauge my home’s weak points. Did I angle the camera appropriately? What is that $59 acoustic glass-break sensor? And do I need it? Of course, there’s always YouTube for guidance. And you don’t need to buy everything at once.

“People actually do this over time,” said Christopher Carney, the chief executive of Abode Systems. The starter kit “gets them in the door and they can slowly build a…

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