The Best Security Systems in Houston
Houston suffers from more property crime than most American cities. While the national average for break-ins and burglaries per square mile hovers around 30, in Houston, the count crests 200. Now, safety fluctuates dramatically between neighborhoods, but most Houstonians will benefit from a home security system. The upfront costs for equipment and monthly fees for monitoring are ultimately cheaper than paying the deductible on a homeowners insurance claim, and then shelling out for increased premiums after your insurance provider re-assesses your risk.
We found four exceptional home security providers with the technology and monitoring options to keep Houstonians safe and sound.
The 4 Best Security Systems in Houston
|Cameras||Indoor Outdoor Doorbell||Indoor Outdoor Doorbell||Indoor Outdoor Doorbell||Indoor Doorbell|
|Sensors||Intrusion Smoke/ CO2 Flood Panic button||Intrusion Smoke/ CO2 Flood Panic button||Intrusion Smoke/ CO2 Flood Panic button||Freeze Smoke/ CO2 Flood Panic button|
|Control panel||Touch screen Mobile app||Touch screen Mobile app||Touch screen Mobile app Keypad||Base station Mobile app Keypad|
|View plans||View plans||View plans||View plans|
Why Trust This Review?
Reviews.com focuses on the services that make your life better. We know that few services stand to impact your quality of life more than home security. A great security system provides peace of mind day and night, whether you’re home or away.
We closely follow the developing home technologies space, surfacing standout new competitors and analyzing larger trends in tech design and ethics. To find the best home security providers, we leverage industry experts, market data, and user generated reviews — then test the functionality of the stand-out options ourselves.
User-friendly home automation
The intuitive, highly rated Vivint app provides convenient controls for your security system, and all other smart home gadgets you choose to integrate. Sophisticated technology puts Vivint on top, as does the freedom of its month-to-month payment plan. But this second boon comes with a caveat: You’ll have to pay for all your equipment upfront. Paying for your devices over time means committing some time, 42 months to 60 months — longer than the typical 36-month contract. For this reason, Vivint may best suit those who are ready to commit to a security company (and an address) for the next five years. Barring that, you’ll have to be prepared to shoulder the upfront costs.
It’s worth noting that while Vivint currently holds 4/5 Power Circles for 2018 J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction, the security company just had to settle a $1.4 million lawsuit with the state of California in February 2019 for deceptive sales practices.
Easy to understand package tiers
We had great customer service experiences with Frontpoint, and that can’t be said for all home security companies. This is an especially valuable trait with Frontpoint, since it takes the DIY installation route. You pick from three package tiers, then receive your equipment in a tidily organized box for you to set up in your home. If you get stuck, Frontpoint offers multiple channels for helpful assistance. While simple set-up and friendly customer representatives make Frontpoint stand out, we weren’t as impressed with the app, which doesn’t boast the same seamless smart home control of Vivint’s.
Over 60% of potential home intruders are deterred by a visible security logo — and if we had to pick one company with enough name recognition to serve as a consistent burglar deterrent, it would be ADT. ADT’s stature is backed by solid security plans that have kept pace with technology throughout the company’s 100-plus years of existence. ADT is a traditionalist when it comes to hands-on customer assistance. You’ll also experience hands-on customization of your home’s security kit by consulting with a representative and then getting it installed by a professional. But while we had good experiences with ADT’s customer reps, its customer service reputation isn’t as strong as the competition.
Limited third-party integration
SimpliSafe makes installing and paying for a home security system easy. Choose from a menu of pre-made kits or customize your own box. When it arrives, no need to haul out any tools — the devices are mounted with sticky pads. (If you’d rather get pro installation, SimpliSafe will send a technician out to help.) SimpliSafe doesn’t do contracts, and you can get professional monitoring starting at incredibly low rates — $15 per month. The only real limitations stem from the smart home features as the system only works with a small number of brands and devices. It’s a growing number — SimpliSafe is compatible with Google or Amazon smart home controls — but SimpliSafe still doesn’t work with Z-Wave, Zigbee, or IFTTT.
How We Chose the Best Security Systems in Houston
In our hunt for the deterred by a visible security logo, we examined eight highly-rated companies: ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, GetSafe, SimpliSafe, Link Interactive, Protect America, and LiveWatch. To make it onto our initial list of contenders, their security systems had to include the following points of protection:
- Intrusion — door, window, and glass-break detectors
- Surveillance — indoor and outdoor cameras
- Environmental — fire, carbon monoxide, and flood detectors
- Life safety — panic and life alert buttons
Because real-life use of a home security system will tell you a lot more than just the back-of-the-box specs, we brought in all eight systems to test in our homes. Our researchers lived with them for eight months, noting negative incidents like false alarms and system glitches alongside the positives — seamless integration with existing smart home tech, usability, and customizability. (Note: Some of the systems we tested have since gone through upgrades. We have updated our review to reflect current packages.)
Guide to Home Security in Houston
Research your neighborhood
There’s an abundance of online resources to help you understand your area’s safety concerns. NeighborhoodScout is a great place to start. Compare city-wide crime trends to those in your neighborhood to get a sense of what your house is up against. While the stats can feel alarming, they’re also very useful. Lots of crimes relating to vehicles? Time to clean out the garage to make room to park.
Another great site is Nextdoor. Join or establish a neighborhood group to share not only safety concerns, but also all bulletin info — garage sales, missing pets, recommendations. Knowing that someone suspicious was seen prowling around two streets over is a great reminder to check the locks and turn on security lights. But fostering a sense of community is a great crime deterrent itself.
Identify your top security and automation priorities
Different deterred by a visible security logo excel in different areas of technology and monitoring. Consider how your ideal system would function. Does it need to sync with your existing home devices? Would you rather pay more upfront than be tied into a long-term contract? Do you need a company who can install the system for you? Make a list of your wants in order of priority. Then focus on the companies that answer to your top three.
Consider local home security companies
Our top picks for home security in Houston are nationally recognized and offer a comprehensive range of services. But don’t discount local providers: We recommend comparing them as well to see which prices and protection features best suit your needs. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 local home security providers in Houston based on consumer reviews from Angie’s List and Yelp:
Home Security in Houston FAQ
What can cause a false alarm?
False alarms can happen when you forget your security code, a pet triggers a sensor that isn’t pet-friendly or when the batteries are old. They’re a major headache across the country and Houston is no exception. In 2014, the Houston Police Department responded to 77,000 alarm calls. Of those, 74,000 — 96 percent — were false alarms. Those calls waste valuable public resources and cost taxpayers a lot of money. In 2014, the city spent an estimated $10 million responding to them.
What is Houston’s false alarm policy?
You are required to register your alarm system annually with the city — permits cost $50. You can fill out the yearly application here. Compared to other major cities, Houston is still pretty lenient. For your first three false alarm occurrences, you’ll just receive a warning — but after that, you’ll be fined $50-$100 for each subsequent false alarm. You, not your security company, is responsible for registering your security system. Most companies will inform you of the need to register, but if they don’t, you can still be held liable.
What is Houston’s crime rate?
As one of the largest cities in the country, it’s no surprise that Houston has a relatively higher crime rate: Neighborhood Scout ranks it as safer than only 4% of all U.S. cities. And while the national average is roughly 31.9 crimes per square mile, Houston comes in at 203 crimes per square mile.
Property crime — which includes break-ins, burglary, theft, or vandalism — is much more common in Houston than violent crime. But that doesn’t mean you should stay up every night worrying. Crime rates in Houston vary widely between neighborhoods — you’re much less likely to experience property crime in a suburb like the Woodlands than you are in the Houston Heights or other downtown neighborhoods.
It’s always a good idea to get familiar with your area to learn what you should expect, and how to stay safe — you can do so by checking the Houston Police Department’s crime stats, or exploring the Houston crime map on Neighborhood Scout.