Best Home Security Systems in Dallas
Home security companies are aplenty in Dallas, from big-name providers like Frontpoint all the way down to the downtown corner store. But which one is going to give you the most for your dollar?
We reviewed seven of the city’s biggest providers on pricing, contract length, and home automation. ProTECHt Home Security and Frontpoint blew us away with their crazy low setup costs ($70 and $100 respectively for a standard setup) and home automation features, while Smith Thompson earned a mention because it’s the only company in the area that charges $300 upfront for equipment and doesn’t require a contract.
The Best Home Security Systems in Dallas
ProTECHt Home Security
ProTECHt Home Security's monthly monitoring service is $35, regardless of whether you have cellular or landline service, and requires a 36-month contract (like Frontpoint). But its extremely low setup costs make up for the long commitment — we were quoted just $70 for a full the “traditional” home security package, including professional installation and activation. That’s $30 cheaper than Frontpoint, and either way you’d have to sign a contract.
As far as equipment goes, the traditional package includes: one motion detector, three door sensors, a key fob, a CO2 detector, and a touchscreen control panel. (A CO2 detector doesn’t come standard in Frontpoint’s most basic “Secure” package.) The only catch is that remote access on your smartphone isn’t available unless you upgrade to the next tier, the cost of which requires a quote.
ProTECHt has left a great impression on its customers, and boasts an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and an A on Angie’s List. Everyone we spoke with was friendly, eager to help, and straightforward. On top of that, the company boats a lifetime warranty on its security systems. If anything goes wrong with your equipment, just give ProTECHt a call and it will be taken care of it. Forever. That’s a tough deal to beat.
Frontpoint makes it incredibly easy to get a system up and running. No quote required; no professional installation necessary. The pricing for all three of its basic packages (Protection, Interactive, and Ultimate) is clearly defined and all three can be customized to your desire — extra equipment can be purchased a-la-carte. Its most basic plan, called Protection, runs $100 upfront and requires $34 per month for monitoring.
The one downside, which ProTECHt shares, is that its plans generally require a 36-month service agreement. You can shorten it up to one year if you’d like, but it’ll cost several hundred more from the start. (Remember: Frontpoint only leases its equipment, so you’ll need to return your devices if you don’t renew your contract.)
Home automation is a huge part of security, and Frontpoint has the smoothest technology in the business. The app is incredibly smooth, and its systems can incorporate a large variety of third-party, Z-Wave-supported devices, like extra lighting controls or Wi-Fi appliance switches. You’ll need to pay $45-per-month monitoring to take advantage of home automation features, though, and online video surveillance doesn’t kick in unless you upgrade to the Ultimate plan (which runs about $300 upfront).
Smith Thompson is ridiculously cheap. No matter the size of your house, scope of your equipment, or type of phone line, monthly pricing is a shockingly low $17. We’re tempted to say “you get what you pay for,” but in this case, we think you get a bit more than what you pay for. The company doesn’t offer home automation, and you’ll add an extra $7 to your bill if you want to be able to control your alarm on a smartphone app, but you also have the convenience of not being tied to an annual contract. That’s right — Smith Thompson is month-to-month from the very beginning.
So where’s the catch? It’s in your upfront costs. To install a new system in your home costs $300. Add another $90 to that if you don’t have a landline. That includes professional installation and activation, but it’s still higher than most. If you’re looking for a short-term security system, or think you might want to add on automation down the road, Smith Thompson probably won’t be a good deal for you. But if you know your security needs will stay basic, and you’ll stay put, for the foreseeable future, pony up the cash upfront and take advantage of a super low monthly payment for years to come. The company’s prices have been the same since 1978, and it doesn’t have plans to change them anytime soon.
Keep in mind that lower prices mean less personalized service. While everyone we spoke to was friendly and helpful, we had to wait an awfully long time on hold just to get a sales representative on the line.
Crime Rates and Trends
Crime in Dallas is well above the national median. While part of that is just the nature of living in a big city, Dallas still ranks in the bottom ten percent of safe cities across the United States.
While the national average for property crimes is 26 per 1,000 people, Dallas clocks in at 36 for every 1,000 residents. That means your chances of a burglary or home invasion are considerably higher than most areas of the country.
Consider this tip from the Dallas Police Department for keeping your property safe:
“Watch what your throw out with the trash. If you’ve purchased a new TV, computer, or other expensive item, consider another way to dispose of the box.” – Dallas Police Department
A home security system is a great investment for almost everyone, no matter where they live. But it’s particularly important in cities with high crime rates, like Dallas. Even the sight of a security sign in your yard acts as a deterrent to criminals, and an alarm system can mean the difference between being a victim and staying safe.
Dallas City Policies
The Dallas Police Department is required to respond to all alarm calls, and the vast majority of them turn out to be false alarms. That means that every time an alarm rings unnecessarily, valuable resources are diverted, and taxpayer money is wasted. To cut down on these incidents, the city of Dallas has enacted a false alarm ordinance.
If you have an audible alarm or one that is professionally monitored (this is the vast majority of security systems), you need to file a permit with the city every year. The fee is $50 annually, and you can get a permit by calling 214-670-3438 or visiting dallascityhall.com.
Once you’ve completed your permit application, you can mail it to:
City of Dallas
P.O. Box 139076
Dallas, Texas 75313-9076
Unfortunately, there’s no way to file your permit online.
Once you have a permit, the false alarm policy is pretty forgiving. You get three free false alarms every year. After that, fees range from $50-$100 per incident. If you maintain your burglar alarm and know how to use it, there’s no reason you should experience false alarms with any regularity.
The Bottom Line
Both ProTECHt Home Security and Frontpoint have smartphone-friendly home automation, require a 36-month contract, and have the most affordable startup costs in Dallas: $70 and $100, respectively, for a standard setup (one motion detector, three door sensors, and a touchscreen control panel). The difference is that Frontpoint’s systems can be self installed, while ProTECHt requires an in-home visit and professional installation.