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Is it time to upgrade your home's security?

Published On: Nov 09 2011 10:24:31 AM CST
Updated On: Apr 15 2013 11:02:12 AM CDT
welcome doormat at front door of house

iStock / akurtz

(NewsUSA) - As Americans work in their yards and start DIY home projects, it might be appropriate for them to think about improving outdoor security.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. households experienced about 16.3 million property crimes, including burglary and robbery, in 2008. Many people feel that a home security system automatically makes their home safe, but outdated technologies may leave a home vulnerable.

Take outdoor motion sensor lighting. Burglars want to avoid detection, so they are often deterred by well-lit yards and driveways, making motion sensor lighting a wise investment. But for the past two decades, motion sensor lights have used Passive Infrared technology (PIR), which detects heat from moving objects. The problem? PIR technology can be easily fooled.

PIR sensors can be triggered by wind or temperature changes. For example, they might turn on by wind-blown leaves, but fail to detect a burglar on a cold night. In addition, PIR motion sensor lights can only detect lateral, or side to side, movement. If a burglar moves towards a PIR light in a straight line, he can approach the house without triggering the light.

But one new motion sensor light combines Doppler Radar with PIR to create more reliable home security. Precision Plus Doppler Radar, by Cooper Lighting, uses Doppler Radar to cover those areas where PIR motion sensors fail. Doppler Radar allows the motion sensor light to cover a larger range. Doppler Radar does not sense temperature, so weather changes don't affect its ability to sense somebody approaching the home. In addition, Doppler Radar can detect a person moving in a straight line towards or away from the home.

Upgrading a motion sensor light is just one way to protect your home. Some low-tech, DIY solutions include installing heavier doors and deadlocks, and removing large hedges, which burglars can use to hide.