Home Security System – Luxury or Necessity?

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Open front door of home, keys in keyhole

I always thought that having a home security system was for the wealthy and materialistic.  Although we lock our house when we leave, I never give a thought to leaving my possessions behind.  Things are things and can be replaced.  Last year, however, a piece of chilling local news caught my attention and suddenly I found myself seeing home security in a whole new light.

When my parents separated, my father felt that my mother should have a security system installed because he would no longer be there.  I thought it was a silly idea, do home security systems really protect people?  They had a system installed and my mother still uses it occasionally.  There are tons of motion sensors that are covered up because her cats set them off.  And she only uses it when she leaves, not when she was home at night  because it makes her nervous.  But she still keeps the service because it provides a discount on home insurance.

Last November, in the sleepy town of Mont Vernon, NH, a story broke that shook our local area.  Kimberly Cates, a 42-year-old mother, and her 11-year-old daughter Jaime were sleeping in the master bedroom while Kimberly’s husband was away on a business trip.  Four teenagers allegedly came into their house in the middle of the night with a knife and machete and killed Kimberly while her daughter looked on and then severely maimed her daughter.  According to the Boston Globe, "They picked the house at random because it was in an isolated area… Before they entered the home, all four defendants were aware that the intent was to kill the occupants."  It was a gruesome and senseless crime.

This story not only shocked me because it occurred in a town that is close by, but because more details brought it closer to home.  One of my co-workers had his house burglarized several weeks before this crime and it was mostly likely the same set of teenagers according to the police.  In fact, one of the accused teenagers lives next door to my friend.  He had all sorts of anxious feelings after crime.  What if my wife and children were home when the house was broken into?  It could have easily been them.

At the time of the crime, I was exactly the same age as Kimberly Cates.  She was a nurse and a mother, in the prime of her life.  It is unthinkable how such evil could come to her and her family.  The crime also eerily resembles the 2001 murders of Dartmouth College professors, Half and Susanne Zantop, who were fatally stabbed in their New Hampshire home by two small-town teenagers they did not know.

After the killing, my husband suggested that we get a home security system.  I wasn’t convinced that it would help matters.  However, in a subsequent Boston Globe article, I learned that the teenagers “had chosen the Cates house because it had no security [system].”  That finally sealed it in my mind.  If this is the thought that goes through a psychopath’s mind, then it is a no-brainer.  If something as simple as having a security system could thwart an attack on my family, then no price is too high.  I still don’t care about the stuff in my house.  Only the people.

We’ll have to get used to the new routines with alarming the house while we sleep and while we’re away. The system will be a constant reminder that evil truly does exist in this world.  It would be nice to put your head in the sand and say that people are inherent good, but time and again, we are proven wrong.  It’s unlikely that the home security system would ever be used, but it will definitely provide some peace of mind.

Contributing editor blogs about her family at mommy bytes.

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