Today's security systems can fit any home, budget

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New technology is helping you stop a break-in without breaking your budget.

“It’s providing layers of deterrent,” says Larry McKinnen, spokesperson for the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff’s Department.

“You really don't have to spend a million dollars to do it. You can spend a hundred on one simple camera,” says Joashua Samuels, owner of Mastervision Technologies.

For example, a simple doorbell camera caught clear images of a suspect in a chain of break-ins across South Tampa this past fall.

“I mean, it takes HD pictures and sends them right to your phone,” says Sameuls.

Systems are getting smaller, and smarter, with cameras you can monitor from your phone. And consumers are looking for control.

“They wanna be able to communicate with the system be able to disarm it from their phone if their kids get home from school they wanna be able to unlock the door,” says Samuels.

Law enforcement says the goal of a home security system is to:




What you spend depends on which of those criteria you want to hit.

McKinnen points out that dummy cameras only cost $15. He says he’s used them at his own home successfully, even other police officers fooled into thinking they’re real. So, no budget? Fake it with mock cameras and security system signs. You’ve seen them in people’s yards:

It’s a cheap deterrent.

If your budget is midrange, go wireless.

“This can be battery-powered or plugged in,“ Samuel said as he showed us a palm-sized camera. “You just take it. It’s magnetic, there you go. You have the camera.”

He easily mounts it to the wall. And with products like that, which don’t require professional installation, you’ll find that they run in just the low to mid hundreds.

“You put in your WiFi password and it goes right to your computer,” Samuels demonstrates.

Anything happening at your house you can check in on during the day in real time. The catch, though? While some will offer free cloud storage a week at a time, expect fees if you want to keep video beyond that.

“It can go from $24, to $44, to $64 a month depending how much storage you need,” Samuels says.

If you need a lot of storage, a hard-wired option might be for you, but now you’re in the $1,000-range.

“All this stuff goes back to a DVR hard drive and the images are stored on that DVR. It can get expensive,” Samuels explained.

But even inexpensive products are changing the way we watch over our homes.

“You may get an alert there is a break in on sensor one, and you can get live feed and you could communicate with the robber, 'Get out of my house! Stop right there!” says Samuels. ”Now, in the past five years, we've really progressed. It's not just a panel on the wall anymore, a key box you punch code in. They can really control the whole house.”

Because when it comes to security, it’s all about being smart.