8 security systems to keep your home safe

The economy may be on its knees, but there's one sector of British society that's doing very well - and that's down to a huge rise in property crime some of the tabloids are calling a credit crunch crimewave.

Certainly the number of burglaries rose by four per cent to 69,000 between July and September last year, so now's the time to review your home security measures and install or beef up an alarm system that can help to protect your home, family and belongings.

One of the biggest growth areas has been in the use of IP security cameras - video cameras that can be connected wired or wirelessly to a home network. These often contain their own web servers, enabling you to dial into them using a PC or mobile phone while you're out of the house.

There are also a growing number of low-cost alarm systems that do something similar, although if you're really concerned about crime, some kind of monitored security system is best.

Here are eight great examples of some of the best systems around and remember - don't have nightmares - your chances of falling victim are still relatively rare.

1. D-Link DSC-2121


This discreet IP camera comes with its own Wi-Fi connection and a built-in webserver, enabling you to access it remotely using a PC or any device that has an internet browser. Its capable of shooting JPEG stills and 30fps MPEG motion video simultaneously, even in low light down to 0.5 lux.

The D-Link DSC-2121 can even be set to alert you by email whenever it detects motion. We particularly like the fact that you can network 32 cameras together using D-Link's own D-ViewCam software, enabling you to keep a watchful eye on every room in your home.

2. Yale Standalone Alarms

£9.99 to £24.99

If you're on a tight budget or just want something very simple, then something from Yale's range of standalone alarms could be ideal. They're essentially one-box systems that combine a sensor, controller and siren all-in-one - so they're if you live in a bedsit or student accommodation. for example.

There are nine different alarms to choose from ranging from the SAA5060 door alarm with keypad to the SAA5000 - a motion sensor alarm that has the ability to call up to three different numbers when it's triggered, while also firing up a 125db siren.

All of Yale's standalone alarms are battery-powered so setup is a breeze.

3. AlertMe Security Standard Kit

£249 + £9.99 per month subscription

Designed for small to medium size homes, this DIY wireless kit comes with everything you need to make your house secure. That includes motion, door and window sensors, plus an alarm detector - a gizmo that trigger's the system's brain if other unconnected alarms go off like those for fire and carbon monoxide.

When AlertMe detects an alarm it automatically contacts you via email and / or text message. It also enables you to monitor your home remotely via broadband.

One of the best things about the AlertMe setup is that it's extensible - you can easily add extra sensors and even use it to trigger items like lights or your TV to make it seem as if someone's home even when they're not.

4. BT Home Monitor Complete Kit VP1000

£176.16 + £5 per month subscription

Like the AlertMe, this highly affordable BT kit comprises a range of wireless components that you can easily install and set up yourself - there's no need for a professional installer to call. As well as the central alarm box, it also includes a keyfob (so you can enable / disable the alarm remotely), a magnetic door detector and two movement sensors. The VP1000 can also be extended, enabling you to dot up to 28 different sensors around the house. To gain access remotely you'll have to pay a £5 per month subscription charge (the first three months are free).