The Best Home Security Systems in New Jersey
According to the FBI’s annual crime report, New Jersey is one of the safest states in the country to call home. New Jersey’s property crime rate has been steadily declining since 2011, and this year, it ranked as the second safest state behind only New Hampshire for crimes like burglary, theft, and larceny. In addition to low property crime, it’s also one of the least violent states, recording the ninth-best violent crime rate in the country.
New Jersey homeowners should feel good about these statistics, but a good home security system can still help make peace of mind a “shore” thing. Our picks — ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint — offer 24/7 remote monitoring of entrances and rooms, easy-to-use equipment and the most helpful customer service around. It still pays to get quotes from a few companies to see what’s the best fit for your needs, but all three of these systems have their place in the Garden State.
The 3 Best Home Security Systems in New Jersey
New Jersey Home Security System Reviews
In our national home security system review, we spent eight months testing the eight best companies around. The right system depends on your specific situation, but ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint all stood out in a few key areas: meticulous attention to detail in their security features, intuitive controls, and empathetic customer service.
The eight companies we tested all covered the basics of home security pretty well; only ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint planned for every conceivable situation.
With sensors around doors and windows to alert you of any glass-breakage, extensive camera systems that monitor every corner of your home, and panic buttons to quickly alert police in case of an emergency, these companies had every security feature we were looking for (and plenty we’d never thought even thought of). They even provided some added protection outside of the home security realm, with extras like fire and carbon monoxide protection.
But high-tech features don’t mean a lot if they’re impossible to use. Our top picks impressed us a ton with their common-sense control panels and apps. They made things like remote monitoring incredibly simple, and the alarms don’t require an IT degree to turn off if you accidentally trigger them.
As a final step, we spent hours calling and emailing each company’s customer service department, ensuring that all of our picks would be a helpful and reassuring resource for any of our questions.
Home security is an industry where name recognition really does matter; according to a study from the University of North Carolina, over 60% of potential home intruders are deterred by a security sign or sticker. That’s good news for ADT customers, as its blue shield is by far the most well-known in the home security world. But there’s a reason the brand enjoys such instant recognition: It’s been defending homes since 1877, and it has the largest customer base of any company we saw, with over six million active subscribers.
While ADT’s logo is ideally the only deterrence you’ll need, it’s backed up by some of the most cutting-edge home security technology we saw. It has motion sensor video cameras, remote control options, and a command layout that was simple to use at every step. We loved how we could monitor all of our cameras remotely using their app. That way, if an alarm is triggered, we’d be able to tell which one specifically was set off, check the live feed, and begin taking next steps immediately.
We were also impressed by the level of customization that ADT boasts in both its plans and technology. If you only want basic home security features like 24/7 monitoring by ADT professionals, plans start at $37. You can go up from there, adding extras like smart thermostats and remote light controls in its most expensive plan.
That range of options carried over to your equipment, too — ADT lets you choose between a sleek touchscreen control panel or a classic keypad command center for your system’s primary hub. We also loved the attention to detail in things like vacation mode, which adjusts your room temperature and lights while you’re away for maximum protection. You can even program your system to react to specific situations, like having your doors unlock automatically if a fire is detected.
The main downside to ADT is that you’ll have to lock into a three year contract, and you’ll only get three days to try it out before making your decision. If you’re not comfortable making that kind of commitment, consider Frontpoint’s annual contract or Vivint’s month-to-month plan.
Vivint offers a robust line-up of automated home security, and the most flexible automation options out of our three favorite companies. Perfect if you want to bring home next-level automation and intuitive controls, but just in the combinations you choose.
One comment we heard over and over from our testers was that they loved Vivint’s mobile app. Like the ADT app, It lets you do things like lock and unlock doors, view smart cameras remotely, change the temperature in a specific room, or even arm and disarm your entire system.
With all those options, we expected it to be one of the more confusing systems to navigate. But our tester reported the opposite, saying the app was so intuitive that they found themselves using it even when they were inside the house, ignoring the sleek command center. And they aren’t the only one who loves it: Vivint has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating in the app store, compared with 2 and 2.5 stars from ADT and Frontpoint, respectively.
As much as we love Vivint’s high-tech equipment, it does come at a price. While ADT and Frontpoint rent their equipment out to you, Vivint pushes you to purchase your equipment outright. The advantage to going this route is that your contract is month-to-month, and your bill won’t be inflated by a rental fee. But it does require an initial investment that’s much higher than most home security companies. On the bright side, you only purchase the equipment you want, so you aren’t forced to pay for expensive gadgetry you’ll never use.
If you choose to rent the equipment, you’re locked into a five-year contract with a tiny three-day trial period. Vivint’s advanced technology also requires professional installation, unlike ADT and Frontpoint, which both offer DIY installation packages. If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, we recommend checking out Frontpoint.
If you’re not comfortable making the substantial financial commitments that ADT and Vivint both require, Frontpoint is a great way to test the home security waters without necessarily diving in headfirst.
Where ADT and Vivint only offered measly three day trial periods, Frontpoint went for a comparative eternity: 30 days to decide if you want to commit to a longer contract. It is the only company that doesn’t offer any professional installation — you’ll have to do it all yourself — but our testers generally found that this wasn’t too much of a hassle.
Its website is personalized to guide you through your specific package’s installation with thorough guides, video tutorials, and a detailed FAQ section that helps you quickly solve any problems that pop up along the way. If, for some reason, you’re still having issues, we’re confident that Frontpoint’s customer service will have your back.
From our first phone call, Frontpoint’s reps made us feel taken care of in a way that ADT and Vivint never did. They patiently answered all of our questions, and asked a lot of smart ones themselves, helping us to get the best security out for our home’s unique layout. We never felt like they were pushing us towards a specific package, either. Frontpoint’s reps were to be truly invested in helping us find what fit our needs the best.
Compare the Best Home Security Systems in New Jersey
Other New Jersey Home Security Companies to Consider
We focused our search on companies that operate nationwide, and we believe they’re the best choice for New Jersey homeowners, too. But we think it’s always a good idea to compare offers with local providers so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. We found five local companies in New Jersey that have high ratings across Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List:
- American Knight Integrated Systems
- True Value Security Systems
- Beacon Protection
- Expert Tech Inc.
- A.C. Daughtry Security Systems
New Jersey Home Security False Alarm Policy
False alarms are an inevitable byproduct of home security systems, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still a major problem for New Jersey’s police departments. In Bridgeport alone, officers respond to over 4,000 alarm calls per year, most of which are accidental or due to malfunctioning equipment.
New Jersey police are required to respond to these calls — lights and sirens ablaze — as if they’re a legitimate emergency every time. Which means false alarms are a significant drain on police resources. In addition to the cost, false alarms also desensitize residents, neighbors, and burglars to alarms, rendering them much less effective. They’re the boy who cries wolf 4,000 times in one town alone.
New Jersey doesn’t have any statewide laws dealing with false alarms. Instead, it leaves the issue up to local municipalities, many of which don’t have any formal policy at all. The ones that do generally require you to register your security system with the township. In some towns, fees could cost as much as $50; in others, it’s completely free.
After you register your device, you’re then fined for every false alarm the police have to respond to, with fees typically escalating for every occurrence. In Hampton Township, for example, the first false alarm is accompanied only by a warning, but the second one will set you back $50. If it happens a third time, the town can choose to issue a fine between $100 and $250 for every subsequent false alarm. You’ll also be required to have a licensed technician come by to make sure your system is functioning properly.
Since policies and fees differ so much depending on where you live in New Jersey, you’ll need to check your locality’s specific laws after you purchase a home security system.
New Jersey Crime Rates
By any measure, New Jersey is one of the safest states in the country: According to the FBI’s most recent crime statistics, only about 1 in 65 New Jersey residents were the victims of a property crime in 2016. New Jersey boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, too, at 1 in 408.
But New Jersey homeowners are particularly vulnerable in one area: vacation homes. The 2010 census estimates that New Jersey has 109,321 houses that are classified as “vacant for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use,” representing 3.3 percent of all homes in the state and the tenth-highest number in the country. Because New Jersey has an inordinate number of houses that are vacant for some portion of the year, its neighborhoods at particularly at risk for home invasion.