Best Home Security Systems in San Antonio
There are plenty of home security companies vying for your business, but how do you choose the best home security company in San Antonio?
We thoroughly evaluated all the biggest local companies’ plans, pricing, and home automation features to see how they stacked up against each other. Frontpoint (which also happens to be our national recommendation) is the best option in the city thanks to its affordable cellular startup costs and self-installable systems — as long as you’re willing to sign a 36-month contract, that is.
If you prefer the touch of local customer service, True Protection and Central Security are the most affordable and reputable businesses around — the latter of which doesn’t require any sort of contract.
The Best Home Security Systems in San Antonio
Frontpoint and Central Secruity both offer similar basic setups for $100 upfront, but the difference is that Central Security charges $120 more if you want a cellular system — that makes Frontpoint the cheapest of our top picks to get started. You’ll have to subject to a 36-month contract, though. So if you’re not ready to make that kind of a commitment (lest you have to break contract and pay off the remainder), Central Security’s no-contract policy is a pretty attractive offer.
The $100 package, called “Protection,” includes three door/window sensors, a motion detector, and a control panel. If you want to expand on that — or any of Frontpoint’s packages — extra equipment can be purchased a-la-carte.
One of Frontpoint’s biggest advantages in San Antonio is home automation: It has the smoothest technology in the business, and you can integrate select third-party Z-Wave-powered devices into its control panel. It’s worth noting, though, that in order to use home automation features, you’ll need to upgrade to its $40-per-month monitoring plan.
Central Security serves the greater San Antonio area with its “DSC PC1616” alarm system that will set you back $100. This package includes window and door sensors, a pet-immune motion detection, a touchscreen control panel, and an additional hardware control pad. However, if you want cellular connectivity (which we recommend) expect to pay an additional cost of $120 for the cellular module.
In addition, Central also offers three different camera security packages that can be added to your alarm system. The camera surveillance packages are quite affordable, ranging in cost from $220 for a single high-definition camera to $500 for four cameras with night vision. For no additional monthly charge, you get cloud storage for seven days of surveillance footage, but you have the option to upgrade the cloud storage for an additional monthly fee.
Unfortunately, the Central Security website lacks a quote tool, so we had to leave a message with a representative to get a quote. We got a call back later that afternoon and got a quote for our hypothetical home (2,200 sq ft with two exits) in less than five minutes.
Many competitors outsource monitoring services. That’s not so with Central Security; it provides in-house monitoring via two extremely competitively-priced plans. The first option is $20 per month or $220 per year and requires a phone line installation for live monitoring, which the company can install if needed. The second plan, however, is cellular rather than through a landline; this plan costs $30 per month or $330 per year.
There are a couple of caveats to Central Security. First, it doesn’t offer anything in the way of home automation — something offered by all its competitors. Second, it is the only company that requires an activation fee. However, the activation fee consists of two months of service — the first month and your final month — which might be forgivable since Central Security doesn’t require you to sign a service agreement. This means that you’re safe from any cancellation fees in the event that you’d want to end your service. Overall, Central Security is the best option when it comes to bang for your buck and because of they offer flexible, month-to-month monitoring services.
The centerpiece of a True Protection home security system is a touchscreen, cellular-connected control panel with two-way voice, which means you can listen to what’s going on in your home if the alarm gets tripped when you’re not there.
The system can also incorporate Z-Wave-compatible home automation devices, giving you the option to control lighting, your thermostat, and any other connected devices from the control panel or from Alarm.com’s free smartphone app. (True Protection’s 24/7 monitoring service is powered by Alarm.com.) Another impressive feature is the optional medical pendant, which serves as a panic button that you can push in the event of an emergency; this is ideal for households in which there are senior citizens or individuals with disabilities.
Another thing to love about True Protection is its selection of all-in-one systems and monitoring plans:
- Basic: $35 per month
- HomeTouch Plan: $45 per month
- HomeTouch Premier: $55 per month
The Basic Plan costs $35 per month and consists of the touchscreen control panel, pet-sensitive motion detectors, door and window sensors, and a portable remote control that allows you to arm or disarm your system from anywhere in your home. In addition to these safety features, the Basic Plan includes carbon monoxide monitoring, smoke and fire monitoring, water detection, medical monitoring, and optional two-way voice.
The mid-tier HomeTouch Plan ($45 per month) includes everything offered in the Basic Plan plus the option of a single indoor surveillance camera, the ability to arm and disarm the system when you’re not at home, and alerts for weather and natural disasters.
Finally, the top-of-the-line package is called HomeTouch Premier ($55 per month); this includes everything offered in the HomeTouch Plan, but with the surveillance camera included by default and the inclusion of smart home technologies. Specifically, the package includes a smart thermostat, door locks, lights, appliances, garage door, and it upgrades the surveillance camera to offer both live and recorded video.
True Protection offers security services in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin. The up-front cost of an installation is $99 for the equipment, but the company frequently has promotions to make the cost less or that will give you additional features at no extra cost. Fortunately, there’s no activation fee or installation fee beyond the cost of the equipment, but True Protection does require that new clients sign a two-year agreement. This means that you’ll be subject to a termination fee if you were to cancel your service prior to the end of your contract. Despite the contract, we believe that True Protection is a close second to Central Security in terms of value; however, getting your quote may require a little patience.
We had to fill out a form on the company’s website in order to receive a call back for a quote. And once we got on the phone, some of the reps didn’t seem very knowledgeable or were uncertain about things like warranties and the cost of certain plans. However, when we were transferred to Brett, the sales manager, the quote process went much more smoothly.
San Antonio’s Crime Rates and Trends
San Antonio currently has a population of just over 1.4 million people, which is higher than both Dallas and Austin. What’s interesting is that while San Antonio has significantly lower rates of violent crimes (murder, rape, assault, etc.) than Dallas, it has higher rates of property crimes.
Let’s break down the property crimes into three groups: burglary, theft, and vehicle theft. Per 100,000 San Antonio residents, only theft is higher in San Antonio than Dallas while burglary and vehicle theft are much lower. It’s good that burglary rates are lower in San Antonio than in other major cities in Texas, but it’s important to be aware that it’s about 1.5 times the national burglary rate per 100,000 people. In terms of property crime, the biggest problem in San Antonio is theft, which is the unlawful taking of someone else’s property, but without breaking into the individual’s house. Moreover, the annual rate of property crimes in San Antonio has seen a 6 percent drop year over year, so even those crimes that are higher in San Antonio than other areas are on the decline.
These crime statistics speak to a couple of important conclusions. First, burglary isn’t a major problem for San Antonio residents. The main issue appears to be the theft of property that’s located outside of one’s home; fortunately, this is a mostly preventable crime. Additionally, a city-wide push for home security and safety has resulted in property crimes continuing to drop each year. Even rates of violent crimes have become much lower in San Antonio than in Dallas.
San Antonio City Policies
The City of San Antonio requires residents to notify the San Antonio Police Department Alarms Investigations Office within twelve hours of commencing operation on a newly-installed home security system. By providing notification within this window of time, a homeowner or resident is granted four days during which to obtain a permit for his or her alarm system; without notice, the permit must be obtained immediately and the resident is subject to penalties and fines.
The process of obtaining a permit for a home security system in San Antonio is very straightforward. All necessary forms can be downloaded directly from the City of San Antonio website where you’ll also find a chart outlining what costs you’ll be expected to pay to have your home security system permitted.
The cost of a new permit is $40 for residents, but can be reduced by as much as ten dollars for seniors aged 65 or older. Businesses and gated communities are provided separate rates for permits while government agencies aren’t required to pay for permits or renewals. For residents and seniors, the cost of permit renewal — which is required annually — is the same as the cost for the initial permit. As a courtesy, renewal notices are sent to residents thirty days before the date of expiration, ensuring that residents have plenty of time to get their alarm permits renewed.