The Best Home Security Systems in Minnesota
In stark contrast to the endless lakes and dazzling skies of Minnesota, you would think the state’s notoriously brutal winters would put a damper on the region’s health and happiness. But snow – even 70 inches of it a year – can’t keep a good state down. Minnesota has been awarded second place in US News & World Report’s 2018 State Rankings. The state boasts top scores for Quality of Life, Opportunity, Infrastructure, Health Care — but falls behind in Crime and Corrections.
The majority of Minnesota property crimes take place in urban centers, but factors associated with property crime – economic disparity, hardship, insufficient education – appear in all areas of the state, and particularly in those rural zones where the loss of legacy industries (e.g., Minnesota’s once-prosperous iron mining) are most strongly felt.
Whether you live in the capital or a lakeside cabin, equipping your home with a security system will help ensure you’d continue to rank your particular Minnesota quality of life high. To that end, we’ve scouted four excellent home security providers with the technology and customer resources to keep your most valuable assets safe, no matter what part of the state you call home.
The Best Home Security Systems in Minnesota: Summed Up
How We Found the Best Home Security Systems in Minnesota
Home security is a priority for homeowners across America. We started by looking at nationwide home security providers – top names that boast best-in-class tech, high customer satisfaction, and impressively broad networks. We narrowed it down to a list of eight, then ordered the lot.
We purchased and installed eight security systems in eight homes, and lived with them for eight months. We explored their perks, educated ourselves with their functionality, tested features standout and exceptional, and contacted service reps via chat, phone, and email to figure out whose customer experience was the best.
Our top picks for the nation are our top picks for Minnesota, too. But here we look specifically at the home security needs of the state, as well its false alarm policy and local competitors.
The 4 Best Home Security Systems in Minnesota
Minnesota Home Security Reviews
Intuitive controls and an array of smart devices make it like you’re home even when you’re far away. This means you’ll be able to monitor the front door, dismantle false alarms, and the like, but also adjust thermostat settings and lights remotely. If you’re just working late, these features help you get the house perfect for your return. If you’re on vacation, these features help your home look occupied.
You can get most of these services with most home automation providers, but only Vivint lets you pick and choose the tools you want, and get started on automating your home for less. À la carte selections let you choose and purchase just the home automation features that you need or want, while skipping those you don’t predict using or that you already have covered. You can also dip a toe into automation with a package that’s less thorough than that of ADT’s but also costs ten to twenty bucks less a month.
We were impressed with the sleek usability of all Vivint’s equipment, and particularly found the app so functional that it made the (equally sleek) base station almost unnecessary. We never felt like we had to be at home to effect any changes or troubleshoot problems — change the temperature, adjust lights, communicate face-to-face via security cameras — and that’s really the whole point of automation.
For customizable home security with a heavy dose of home automation, you can’t do better than Vivint. ADT’s automation is on par, but doesn’t offer you the same flexibility in what you get or how much it’ll cost. That said, if you are looking for the total package, ADT is our top pick. If you’re looking for even more customization, and the ability to DIY, read on for Frontpoint, which also blew us away with exceptional customer service.
Everything you want out of your home security system isn’t necessarily everything you want out of your home security provider. From the system, we’re looking for incredible automation — functionality without feedback. From the provider, most of us appreciate having things not quite so automated, and a little more personalized instead. Frontpoint delivers on both counts.
While not quite as high-tech or sophisticated as the equipment offered by Vivint, Frontpoint’s lineup serves all the security needs of your home with live video streaming, motion-triggered photos, and night vision. Even better than its product, however, is its service. The customer experience with Frontpoint was the best we had with any of the home security providers we tested.
The human element we loved about Frontpoint came as a surprise, since it’s a top pick that doesn’t require professional installation. While Frontpoint technicians can’t show up at your door, they are always just a phone call away. They help you chat through your security concerns, walking through every room of your house to identify trouble zones and the best equipment to respond to them.
After ordering your personally recommended equipment, you can look forward to a customized starter box and website. The DIY installation process is incredibly easy, but if you get stuck at any point, jump back on the phone to get troubleshooting assistance. When out tester hit a snag getting the control panel to connect, she got Frontpoint on the phone and had a new panel in the mail that day.
If you’d rather not have to call for every question, you can also refer to the website’s plush online resources, including equipment guides, video tutorials, and an FAQ section that answers common issues.
The exceptional customer service of Frontpoint can supplant the need for professional installation, so long as you don’t mind carving out a little time to set it up and get your questions answered. If you’d feel more comfortable leaving it to the pros, consider ADT or Vivint. But if you’re happy to DIY, knowing that a friendly and knowledgeable rep is always at hand, Frontpoint delivers stellar service and reliable security.
If any company can claim to protect your home with a small plastic sign, it’s ADT. But the strength of the name goes beyond the shield. The company has built its reputation by staying on the cutting edge of home security technology and expanding its service network, all without losing touch with the customer experience. It’s the largest provider in the space by millions of subscribers.
The technology offered by ADT is among the best — plush with video cameras, remote control features, and sophisticated device compatibility. Stream live feed on your phone to monitor the comings and goings in your house, and decide for yourself whether alarms are false or merit calling in aid. We loved home security systems that let us make educated decisions ourselves.
Home automation is the modern outgrowth of pure and simple home security, and ADT is hitting it hard. If you choose to automate with ADT, it’s good to know that they expect you to go all the way. Smart thermostats, smart, garage doors, and smart so forth are available only with the two top-tier packages. You’ll pay $50 plus a month and get the full spectrum of home automation features.
A corollary of ADT’s thorough equipment spread: professional installation. ADT won’t leave you to put all the wires in place yourself. Calling in the pros makes for an upcharge, but because ADT’s system is so thorough, we don’t think DIY would be as practical with them as with other providers that allow you to take a more piecemeal approach to security.
If you’re interested in home security that takes the next step up to home automation, ADT is an excellent choice. But if you would like more customization in the type of devices you opt into, and get them for less, we’d point you to Vivint. If you’d like pure security, and are comfortable installing yourself, check out Frontpoint.
The only limitations you may encounter have to do with paying equipment costs upfront (an implementation that makes up for their no-contract feature), limited security camera offerings compared toelsewhere in the industry, and limited third-party compatibility. Like most home security providers, SimpliSafe can’t guarantee against break-ins or theft, however SimpliSafe gives you the ability to create a fully operational DIY system with their equipment, minimizing the chances of home breaches occurring.
Guide to Home Security Systems in Minnesota
Understanding Minnesota’s False Alarm Policy
To be effective, your home security system has to be sensitive. But a finely tuned system has a downside — it will likely get set off on accident. The wind blows open an upstairs window, the kids come bursting in after school without remembering to dismantle the code, or the babysitter forgets how to use the control panel — all manner of situations can lead to a false alarm and, in most parts of the country, a false alarm fee.
No one likes a letter from the city that ends in dollar signs, but the toll on municipal response teams is steep. According to Urban Institute, “90-99 percent of all calls received by police as a result of alarms from security systems or panic alarms are false.”
In an attempt to control this high toll, lots of cities and counties in Minnesota institute a false alarm tax that gets pricier the more times your system cries wolf in a calendar year. The specifics vary between cities and counties, but Minneapolis imposes a false alarm policy typical of the state. Chapter 176 of the municipal code requires security system owners to do due diligence to avoid false alarms altogether — things like ensuring you and everyone in your family knows how to work your system.
At your first false alarm, you’ll be required to register your system for $30. A second offense, you’re charged $100. With every subsequent offense, the fee increases another hundred bucks. This is nearly identical to the legislature in place in St. Paul. Check with your local government to make sure you’re toeing the line and avoiding big bills.
Minnesota’s local crime rates
Nationally, property crime rates are on the decline. And while assaults to property are much more common than violent crime throughout the country, Minnesota boasts lower property crime rates than the national average. Per 1,000 residents, 24 Americans experience property crime, but only 22 Minnesotans do. Even more impressively, while the Midwest has experienced a small increase in property crimes, Minnesota is enjoying a substantial decrease — down 9% year over year. Minnesota has also shown a decline in robberies in 2017— down 3% since 2016.
Certain parts of Minnesota boast greater safety than others. Given the classic urban/rural divide, It’s no surprise that the safest towns in the state are on the smaller side. But pursuing safety shouldn’t mean packing up and heading for the hills. No matter where you live, your home is an investment and a haven worth protecting.
Consider a local company
We were impressed with the power of the national home security providers on many levels: customer support, technology, response time, extra perks. But there’s another huge factor in finding your right system – price. Since the price you pay for home security depends on a lot of variables, like where you live and the value of your home, the only way to find your most affordable provider is to shop around.
Compare quotes between our favorite four, but it may be worthwhile to see what Minnesota’s local home security companies have on offer. We plumbed the customer reviews of Angie’s List and Yelp to find four great home security companies doing business in the state.
Minnesota Home Security Systems FAQ
Where is the best place to put my security camera?
The best place for your home security camera will usually be at the main entryway of your home. Other great options include additional common entryways, such as side doors, back doors, or windows. The best spot to put your outdoor security camera will depend on your preferences and the overall layout of your home. Indoor security cameras are best situated in foyers, entryways, hallways and near the master bedroom of your home (this is where most burglars will target for valuables).
How long does it take for a security system to notify police?
Your local Minnesotan authorities will be contacted after your monitoring center reaches you. Here’s how it works – your alarm is triggered and the monitoring center is notified within seconds. Then, the monitoring center will attempt to make contact with you by calling you. If you don’t answer, they will call your secondary contact. If no contact can be made, the police will be notified and sent to your address.
What happens if you do answer? You’ll have to decide if you need the police or if it was simply a false alarm. See above for our info on the consequences for false alarms (sending the police when there is no real emergency).
Which is safer – DIY or professional security systems?
This depends on how much you want to manage to your home security threats. For example, you will be fully responsible for deciding if an alarm needs the police involved if you go the DIY route. On the other hand, a professionally-monitored system will make that decision for you if you don’t answer the call to confirm the validity of the alarm.
Both have their downsides and both have their perks. Fortunately, both options are a safe way to protect your family and belongings. At the end of the day, any home security system is better than no security system. It’s up to you to decide which monitoring system best fits your lifestyle.