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When it comes to choosing the right security system for your Chicago home, you want a company that will keep your family safe without charging you a fortune. Luckily, Chicago residents have plenty of options to choose from. We looked at the most popular home security cameras on the market and narrowed it down based on a few key factors, including price and equipment.
Arlo doesn't have many add-ons when it comes to sensors or smart home devices. Still, because it excels in focusing on doorbell cameras and general interior/exterior camera security, it's one of our top picks for Chicago home security systems.
4K quality cameras
Lowest-cost monitoring plans
No equipment other than cameras
Expensive camera options
Indoor and outdoor cameras
Plans and pricing:
Premier: $2.99/month for one camera or $9.99 for up to five cameras.
Elite: $4.99/month for one camera or $14.99 for up to five cameras.
Chicago's crime rate has ebbed and flowed over the years, and if you're planning on moving to the windy city, it's important to know the latest statistics.
According to Neighborhood Scout, the violent crime rate in Chicago is 9.48 per 1000 residents, and the property crime rate is 30.28 per 1000 residents.
Residents of Chicago generally have a greater chance than residents of other cities across the state or country to become victims of a crime.
While the past year has seen an increase in violent crime, there's actually been a decrease in burglaries.
Based on this data, it might be even more important for Chicago residents to invest in a home security system.
Research your neighborhood
It's not just your city's crime rate overall that you should research. It's also important to understand your specific neighborhood, especially if you're new to the area. The city is made up of 77 community areas, including Lake View, Near North Side and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
When choosing a Chicago neighborhood to call your home, consider these tips:
General crime rates are slightly higher around the university area, according to the city's crime map.
In the past year, there have been more reported cases of burglaries in residences and apartments in Chicago's Austin, Lake View and Near North Side neighborhoods than in other areas.
In general, Chicago apartments and residences are equally at risk for robberies and burglaries, with 2,362 and 1,986 cases reported, respectively, in the past year.
There are interactive crime maps residents can use to identify how their neighborhood compares to the city as a whole.
This type of information can give you important information about what type of security system to buy. For example, if you find that your particular neighborhood has a higher rate of forced entry, you might want to invest in window and door sensors.
Register your home security system in Chicago
Many cities require homeowners to register their home security systems with the local government. In fact, you may even need a paid permit to install an alarm system. This makes it easier for policy to respond in an emergency. It also helps to reduce the number of false alarms. Luckily for Chicago residents, the city doesn't have such a requirement.
Chicago does have what is called a false alarm fee, which is $100 per incident. Many of these false alarms come as the result of overly sensitive home security systems, while others may actually be malicious. In either case, they take away from the city's resources to respond to actual emergencies.
How to choose your Chicago home security system
There are many home security companies to choose from, and it can easily feel overwhelming trying to choose the right one. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right home security system for you:
Interior/exterior cameras: Do you want both interior and exterior security cameras for your home, or just one or the other? Depending on the type of home you have, certain cameras may be more flexible. Consider the outdoor space available to you and find a company whose cameras fit your space. The other consideration is temperature. Chicago winters can be quite cold, and it's important to find an outdoor camera with the appropriate weather ratings.
Control panel: Each home security system will be controlled by a control panel. Some security cameras use a more traditional keypad, while others rely simply on a mobile app. Others land somewhere in between with a touchscreen control panel set somewhere in your home. It's important to consider whether one of these is more or less important to you and narrow your search to the companies that fit your preferences.
Compatibility: In the digital age we live in, many of the devices in your home connect to one another. Many home security companies have designed their equipment to be compatible with other tools you may have in your home, such as your smartphone or Alexa device. Most security systems come with an app where you can control your device, and others have even more compatibility features and smart home options.
Storage: If your security system includes cameras, it's important to consider where your video storage will go. Don't assume your videos will be saved somewhere. For example, without the paid Ring subscription, your videos aren't saved. You can only see the live stream. In other cases, a company might only save your videos for up to a few days unless you subscribe to a premium plan. Decide how long you want to keep the videos and plan accordingly.
Window/door sensors: First things first, decide whether window and door sensors are important to you. While most of the security companies we've shared do offer them, Arlo currently doesn't (although they've previously announced a plan to release one). If you definitely want a company that offers window and door sensors, start researching their specific features. Some companies offer a security system that's made for easy DIY installation, while others require (or strongly lean toward) professional installation. Finally, consider other features such as how motion sensor radius, what happens when the alarm is triggered, etc.
Local vs. national companies
One of the decisions you'll have to make when choosing a home security company is whether to choose a local or national company. While the national companies may have more name recognition, local firms may also have plenty to offer.
Ultimately, you'll have to identify your priorities. Are you more concerned with having the latest technology and a functioning app, or would you prefer a company that offers a personal touch and keeps your dollars local?
Pros of local security company
Unique understanding of local needs Investment in your community Face-to-face interaction
Cons of local security company
Lower-level technology Fewer financial resources
Pros of national security company
More financial resources Greater variety of tools and features More customer service representatives
Cons of national security company
No community investment Less face-to-face interaction
Chicago home security systems FAQ
How much does home security cost a month?
Home security systems can range from anywhere from $0 per month for self-monitoring to more than $50 per month for a premium service. The average rate falls somewhere in between.
Is there a monthly charge for SimpliSafe?
SimpliSafe allows customers to use self-monitoring at no monthly cost. You can also upgrade to professional monitoring for anywhere from $14.99 to $24.99 per month.
Does Ring work without Wi-Fi?
No, Ring devices require a wireless internet connection to work properly.
We evaluated home security companies based on equipment cost, monthly costs, contract options, installation and customer satisfaction to determine our scores and create our best home security reviews. To compare home security companies with other providers across the board, we calculate each score based on the following:
Monthly price: The lower the cost of a home security company's monthly contract, the higher the score. Inversely, the higher the cost of the monthly contract, the lower the score in this metric.
Equipment cost: Affordability is important with home security, so we awarded higher scores to home security companies with lower equipment prices.
Contracts: We reviewed the flexibility in contracts of the home security companies. The more flexibility, like having no contracts to bind customers for long periods, the higher the score.