Rating the Suburbs 2013: Safe House

BACK WHEN SUBURBANITES KNEW EVERYONE ON THE BLOCK — not just the people who throw the best barbecues — they still left their doors unlocked (only 3 percent of respondents do that now). Community was the best form of security. Times, like the crime rate, have changed. "Now security systems have become like any other appliance in the house," says Alan H. Gillmore III, president of Cleveland-based Gillmore Security. While it's hard to put a price on safety, you can deter break-ins without breaking the bank or splurge on one of these amped-up security options.


Arrow D60 Extra Heavy Duty Deadlock ($125). "On these big, heavy-duty ones, you can't put a vice grip on the door, it just spins around in a circle," says Danny Cheyfitz of Allen Lock & Key in Cleveland Heights. "With a cheaper one, you can wrench it back and forth, and snap the screws off."

Marks IQ2 I-QWIK Lite Digital Keypad Mortise Lock ($450). "If you have someone coming over, you could give them a code and delete it at night," says Cheyfitz of the keyless entry lock that can hold up to 160 codes. "It also locks automatically at midnight."

Honeywell Lynx Touch 5100 ($495, plus $35/per month for year-round monitoring). "This includes sensors on three doors, a motion sensor and keypad," Gillmore says. "There are a lot of quality systems, but it's the quality of the servicer that monitors the system that is most important."

Elk M1Gold (Starts at $2,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home). "One glass-break sensor could monitor an entire sunroom," says Gillmore, who cites that 46 percent of intruders enter through windows. "Now that doesn't help you if you leave the windows open. So you may also want to put motion sensors in high-traffic areas, like hallways leading to bedrooms."

Honeywell IPCAM Series ($199 each/$500 for starter kit). "They don't have the resolution to make out faces or license plates, but are more lifestyle cameras used to see what your dogs or kids are doing," Gillmore explains. "And with monitoring, you can see right from your iPhone."

VX45 Camera plus the Shadow DVR from Clinton Electronics ($2,150). "You pay more, but you really get something," says Gillmore. These vandal-resistant cameras could be the best tool to catch criminals on your property. "With high-resolution cameras, you can give images to the police, and they can perhaps identify the individual."

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