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Tips on How to Secure Your Chicago Home or Property

Last Updated on 23 November 2023

Chicago is a great place to live, and not just because of the world’s best pizza. With magnificent parks, sports and entertainment, and yes, incredible foods, Chicagoland has grown to one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country. However, wherever populations rise, so do security concerns. 

Averaging over 23 property crimes per 1,000 residents, Chicago experienced more than 64,000 burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, acts of arson or vandalism, thefts and other private property crimes in 2021. Things haven’t gotten much better since. There were 6,168 burglaries that occurred in 2022, a nearly 20% increase from 2021.

So, what can you do to protect your property from crime? Let’s go over how to secure your Chicago-area home, minimizing the risk of property crime while sticking to your preferred budget.

Assessing Your Current Security Situation

There are several different home security measures available to you. From extensive DVR or NVR systems to simple standalone Wi-Fi cameras and video doorbells, there are many great solutions to help you secure your home — no matter how big or small your ambitions are.

Where to Start

To assess your security needs, start by identifying the vulnerable areas of your home and any property you’d like to surveil. Typically, this includes all ground-level doors and windows. Since burglars tend to choose the path of least resistance, they usually favor ground-level entry points, especially ones that are hidden from street view. 

Depending on your property, you may want to also secure garages, driveways, sheds, or other areas of interest. Take a walk around your home, thinking about where burglars might try to enter, and how you can best monitor those areas.

The Anatomy of a Robust Home Security System

Ideal for Chicago, home security systems that include both cameras and recording devices can help protect the life you’ve built for yourself — making sure your home, property and family are safe. Security systems usually include a set of cameras and a special recorder that stores video footage. There are two types of security systems available, DVR and NVR systems.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder) security systems have been around for decades. They’re reliable and relatively inexpensive, but they do have certain limitations. DVR systems use traditional analog cameras that must be connected to the recorder through coaxial cables. This means that DVR systems must be wired through the home, creating a more challenging installation. 

It certainly is possible to have a trusted installer set up your DVR security system for you, but this convenience comes at a cost. And, since coaxial cables are rather rigid, there are limitations on where you can install your analog cameras.

NVR (Network Video Recorder) security systems are newer and have more capabilities. Because NVR systems use advanced IP (Internet Protocol) cameras, they’re more of an investment  than DVR systems. However, they also have improved smart functionality and video analytics, and can wirelessly transmit video signals to the recorder. Using wireless transmission, you can set up an ulta-flexible wireless surveillance system.

The IP cameras can also be connected to the recorder through Ethernet cables, creating a wired system. Ethernet cables are less rigid than coaxial cables, however, so even a wired NVR system will have greater flexibility than a DVR system.

In addition to entire security systems, there are other products that offer more modest surveillance coverage — or that can be incorporated into existing security systems, such as video doorbells.

Stand-alone cameras work well to monitor just a few areas, offering a simple, affordable way to keep an eye on areas of concern. They work by saving footage directly to the cloud, or in some cases a MicroSD card, eliminating the need for a recorder. 

There are powered Wi-Fi stand-alone cameras that transmit footage through Wi-Fi, but still need to be plugged into a nearby power source to operate — such as an outlet or one of our specially-designed solar panels. There are also wireless stand-alone cameras, which are battery-powered and don’t need any physical connections, allowing for even more versatility.

Video doorbells replace conventional doorbells, giving you not only surveillance footage of your front porch, but also real-time activity alerts and the ability to communicate with visitors. With enough clarity, video doorbells can help reveal faces, license plates and other important details. 

Door and window alarms signal when an entry point to your home has been opened. These sensor units divide in half, with one half fixed to a door or window and the other half attached to the frame. These halves are positioned together, only separating when the door or window is opened. This triggers an alert or alarm, making it obvious when somebody enters the home.

These alarms can be activated and deactivated to offer convenient and reliable alerts.

What Every Chicago Home Security System Should Include

If you’re interested in DVR or NVR systems, standalone cameras, video doorbells, or door and window alarms, there are many options available to you. It’s important to choose products that offer the smartest, most user-friendly features, helping you stay connected to your home for the ultimate peace of mind.

So, what sort of features and capabilities should you look for? When it comes to security cameras, you’ll want something that provides reliable alerts and high-resolution footage. That way, you’ll only be notified during moments of interest — not a tree brand blowing in the wind — and you’ll be able to identify important details such as faces and license plates. Swann’s SWNVK-88680W4FB NVR system features True Detect™ heat & motion-sensing for reliable alerts and stunning 4K video.

If you’re interested in not only capturing footage, but scaring away unwanted guests, you can opt for a camera with lights and sirens. The Swann SWNHD-900PT Pan & Tilt Security Camera features bright spotlights, red and blue flashing lights, two-way audio and a loud siren, scaring away unwanted activity.
It’s also important to get security products that can be incorporated together. This way, you can expand your system over time and control everything from one simple interface — such as the Swann Security App, which can be used to view live footage, speak through two-way audio, set off alarms and more. If you’d like to start with one big kit instead of piecing products together over time, explore Swann’s SODVK-446804SLWDB DVR system with four 1080p cameras, two door or window alarms, and a video doorbell.

Commercial Property Security in Chicago

When thinking about Chicago’s commercial and residential security concerns, there are some key differences to consider. Generally, it’s a good idea for businesses to opt for reliable wired systems, which are better suited for permanent and continuous surveillance coverage. 

Wired systems are great for avoiding some of the concerns associated with Wi-Fi, such as a bad connection, Wi-Fi outages, or even tampering. And, with so much activity captured in and outside of the business, you won’t have to worry about recharging frequently-triggered cameras.
It’s also a good idea to consider professional monitoring services, such as Swann Secure+ Pro Monitoring, which utilizes a team of monitoring professionals to access and take action over security threats.

Making the Right Choice: Selecting a Security System and Provider

Now that you’ve come to understand the security options available to you, you’re ready to start deciding on what works best for you. Whether you’re interested in a robust security system or just a few cameras or alarms, taking steps to protect your household is a great choice.

Choosing a Security Provider

Make sure you find a security company that offers a wide array of products to fit your needs. With rapidly evolving technology, it’s important that your security provider offers the latest and most advanced features, allowing you to get the most effective coverage possible. At the same time, it’s crucial to have access to more basic and budget-friendly products, as well.

Swann offers anything from a highly affordable two camera DVR system to a state-of-the-art 16 camera NVR system with 6K Mega HD resolution, ensuring that everyone has access to the best security solutions.

Another important consideration? Subscription costs. Some home security providers charge ongoing subscription fees, requiring the continuous use of monitoring services with their products. This can be a major commitment, and offers no flexibility should you ever decide that professional monitoring isn’t for you — or isn’t in your budget. 

Swann doesn’t require any subscriptions or ongoing fees, but does offer monitoring services for those who are interested. That way, you can avoid paying for unwanted services, or explore professional monitoring without fully committing to it.

Installation and Maintenance – Professional vs. DIY

Depending on the security system you choose — and your handyman abilities — you may want to opt for professional installation. Professional installation ensures optimal performance while saving you time and effort. 

However, it is an additional cost that you’ll have to factor into your budget. So, at the end of the day, it’s your decision whether you want to install your security system yourself or hire professionals.

You’re Ready to Secure Your Chicago Property

Protecting yourself, your family and your Chicago property has never been more important — or easier to do. By addressing your security needs — taking special note of ground-level entry points — you can start thinking about what sort of security issues you’d like to address. 

Whether opting for an entire DVR or NVR security system, or smaller measures like a video doorbell, it’s important to get the best features that your budget can accommodate. And, above all else, choose a security company that you can trust.

Ready to start shopping around? Check out Swann’s Security today, the global leader in DIY security. 
For more information on our products and services, visit our website and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.