Crime rates in the Queen City are about average for a city its size, and most property crimes here aren’t robbery-related. But home break-ins are a risk in any city. A Reviews.com survey found 22% of Americans own a home security system, while 59% have never owned one. If you fall into the latter, the market is ready for you, with more home security solutions than ever before. The right home security system will stay vigilant so you can sleep (and work, shop, travel, leave the kids with the sitter, run errands) in peace.
For this review, we took a deeper look at the four standout providers that won our praises in a nationwide review of home security providers. We consider them from a Charlottean’s perspective, with Charlotte’s unique property crime profile in mind. They’re all solid choices, but depending on your home security priorities, one will likely be best for you.
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Charlotte
We looked at eight of the biggest providers in the country for nationwide review of home security providers, all of which met key security requirements:
• Intrusion: Door, window, and glass-break sensors
• Environmental: Carbon monoxide, fire, and flood sensors
• Surveillance: Indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras
• Life safety: Life alert and panic buttons
The differences between services became clear after we ordered, installed, and tested each for eight months. In the end, we found four truly exceptional top picks. Vivint, Frontpoint, ADT, and SimpliSafe all went above and beyond by providing an exceptional user experience, consistently helpful customer service, and cutting-edge tech that made testers feel truly safe at home.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Charlotte
- Vivint – Best for Home Automation
- Frontpoint – Best Customer Support
- ADT – Most Popular Provider
- SimpliSafe – Most Flexible
Charlotte Home Security Reviews
Vivint’s customizability and easy-to-use tech make it the perfect system for anyone interested in automating their home. The mobile app makes functions such as arming and disarming the system, or turning your lights on or off, simple and intuitive to adjust from afar. In fact, our tester reported hardly even using the base system (a slick, modern wall-mounted tablet). The app’s mobile alerts came in handy too, reminding him to close his basement sliding door when he left it open by accident.
We like that Vivint lets customers pick and choose the gadgetry and features they want a la carte — flexibility most providers don’t offer. It’s no problem if you want to control your garage doors from afar, for instance, but don’t see the need to automate your light switches. A professional installs that equipment, and the person who installed our tester’s system got nothing but glowing compliments from our tester. He even reported that the tech felt more like a houseguest. Case in point: The pro dropped a charge from our tester’s bill after figuring out one camera wasn’t actually needed for full coverage.
With Vivint, the one downside we found was its rigidity when it comes to contracts. You can buy all your equipment up front and enter a month-to-month plan, but if you can’t foot that bill at the offset, you’re looking at a five-year contract with only three days to test the system. If you’re not totally sure you want to buy a security system yet, check out Frontpoint for maximum flexibility.
Frontpoint excels in an area that’s paramount in home security: customer service. We felt that Frontpoint really took care of us from start to finish. Its website offers a wealth of helpful resources, we never felt pressure to commit when we were on the phone with a rep, and our tester’s DIY system setup went smoothly and felt intuitive. Even its contracts are realistic and flexible.
If you go with Frontpoint, you’ll choose among three service tiers; your features and monthly fees will range from $35 to $50 accordingly. The lowest-level plan offers basic monitoring, while the middle tier adds on some home automation features. The only plan that offers video coverage — a must, according to our testers — is the highest-priced plan. So if you go with something more basic, we recommend purchasing a separate video camera.
What sealed the deal about Frontpoint’s exceptional customer experience was its long trial period (30 days!) and flexible contracts, which can either be one or three years long. If you’re in the decision-making process, it’s a great opportunity to test the waters without fully diving into home security.
ADT is a home security giant — its signs alone are a serious deterrent. But beyond the big name, we were impressed by ADT’s customizability and helpful customer service that make a heavy-hitting corporation (millions more people subscribe to ADT than any other provider) feel accessible and personal.
ADT’s tech is pretty much equal to our other two picks, offering different kinds of video cameras to choose from and remote control over police notification. Our tester was particularly pleased with how the representative helped him build his unique package of features and gear — you can expect to know exactly what each piece of your setup is for and why you need it. The most basic package will cost you $37 per month, but that’ll increase with high-end additions, like futuristic home automation features. (If home automation’s your top priority, we recommend you check out Vivint).
A professional will come to install your ADT package for you, and our experience there was somewhat lukewarm — though our tester appreciated the human touch, like a cheat sheet the technician wrote to help explain the system.
If you already know you want a home security system, ADT is a safe bet with a long history. But you’ll have to sign a three-year contract after just three days of trying it out.
No-contract options, updated hardware
Limited third-party integrations
SimpliSafe is the new kid on the block when it comes to home security. 13 years in the industry has given them a dynamic ability to create an affordable and easy to use security system for the masses. SimpliSafe wants to give you control of your home, its security, and your budget. Starting at just $15 dollars a month, SimpliSafe undercuts the competitors by offering the lowest rate seen yet. For nearly half the cost of competitors SimpliSafe gives you all the perks; 24/7 live alarm, environmental monitoring, and professional security monitoring.
The philosophy of SimpliSafe is creating a security system that is streamlined in nature, and isn’t anymore complicated than it needs to be. SimpliSafe’s equipment embodies this idea, offering a robust set of hardware that seemlessly becomes a part of the home. Speaking of the hardware, SimpliSafe has just recently released updated equipment with an extra layer of polish that make these devices not only look great, but perform much better.
All in all SimpliSafe makes home security easy not just for you, but also for your budget. With competitive rates, new hardware, and over a decade of experience, SimpliSafe offers a home security solution without the frills and complications.
If you’re a major DIY-er and are looking for a versatile home security system, Simiplisafe falls a little short in terms of integrations when compared to other names in the industry. But they do have a decent amount of interoperability.
Reviews.com Home Security Survey
With a booming security landscape, people have many options when it comes to home security, including an increasing number of DIY possibilities. Earlier this year, Reviews.com survey to capture the thoughts and concerns of security savvy Americans. The survey found was a focus on security as an integral part of the home. Burglary is an issue many Americans worry about, with 78% reporting they are “a little concerned” about burglary, whereas 23% and 14% said they were “somewhat concerned” and “very concerned” respectively. These feelings could be driven by a change in the way crimes are being committed. Many of us have heard of porch piracy, but a significant number of respondents have experienced it. We found that more than a third of U.S adults have had a package stolen, or known someone who has. When it comes to younger Americans, a notable 45% of respondents aged 18-34 said they were victims of package theft.
Guide to Charlotte Home Security Systems
Research your neighborhood’s crime profile
NeighborhoodScout’s data analysis – a good place to start researching your local crime profile – found that Charlotte’s crime rates are average for a city its size. While it’s rare on both the national and state scale to actually be a victim of a break-in, it’s good to know what to expect if you find yourself in that position. One crucial piece to that is police response time.
A February 2018 investigation by local NBC affiliate WCNC found that police response times differ in Charlotte depending on where you live in the city. If you live in the department’s North Division, where police response times are slowest, you might wait eight and a half minutes for a response to an urgent call. The fastest response times are in the Eastway Division, where emergency calls get a police response within five minutes. Police cited construction as a principal cause for the northward slowdown, according to the WCNC report.
The slowest response times have historically been to rural, unincorporated areas outside Charlotte, which the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) has served since 1996. Mecklenburg County and CMPD reached a deal in October 2017 to let Huntersville, Cornelius, and Pineville police serve areas just outside their limits, rather than paying to rely on CMPD’s force — hopefully those wait times will be shorter from here on out.
Register your security system
Ninety-eight percent of home alarm calls to the CMPD are due to false alarms. When the police respond to fake emergencies, it wastes time and money — many cities enforce fees to make up for it and encourage behaviors that reduce false alarms. In Charlotte, the Alarm Ordinance means you have to register your system with the city.
Anyone with an “electronic burglar alarm system” in Charlotte and the surrounding area has to register their system, then renew that registration yearly. Registration docs are available online, but your company may supply you with the paperwork when they install your system (at least one of our top picks, Frontpoint, does).
We looked into local alternatives to the nationwide providers we recommend, and cross-checked for high ratings across Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List. These five Charlotte home security providers got high reviews consistently:
Charlotte Home Security FAQ
How much does a false alarm cost in Charlotte?
After your first two false alarms, you’ll face fines. You get a free pass for the first two false alarms (per year), then you’ll pay $50 for the next three, $100 for the two after that, and $250 each time for the next two. Once you hit 10 false alarms, you’re looking at paying $500 each time
You can repeal those fines if you feel they’re unwarranted. If the police department determines there was no emergency, but you disagree, you can file an appeal within 30 days of receiving your fine notification.
What is Charlotte’s crime rate like?
Good news: Property crime in Charlotte is on the decline as a whole — it decreased by 5.3 percent last year. Putting that trend aside, though, property crime rates in Charlotte are higher than the national average, at roughly 39 per 1,000 residents (as opposed to the national median of 24). Just keep in mind that property crime encompasses a lot more than just home break-ins. In 2017, residential burglaries made up just 12 percent of Charlotte’s property crimes.
The Best Home Security Systems in Charlotte: Summed Up
Mobile and web app