How Do You Handle Prowler Panic?

(SWNS)–American homeowners experience the heart-pumping fear that someone might be breaking into their home four times a year, according to a new study.

The survey examined the home security routines and worries of 10,000 U.S. homeowners and found that — despite experiencing an average of 4.6 “prowler panics” annually — respondents frequently fail to take basic security precautions.

Nearly half fail to check that doors and windows are locked before going to bed, while a quarter have left their garage open accidentally in the last 12 months.

Parents with children living at home are most affected by “bumps in the night,” the study revealed, experiencing an average of six prowler panics per year. By contrast, older Americans sleep more easily: homeowners aged 61 and over report just 1.3 events annually.

How do we react when bumps in the night occur? A brave 41 percent of homeowners have grabbed an object and leapt out of bed to confront any possible intruders. Forty-four percent have quietly snuck out of bed to investigate, while 33 percent have made a noise to scare off anyone who may be there.

Nearly a quarter (23 percent) have sent their partner to investigate — including a less than chivalrous 20 percent of men.

The study, conducted by OnePoll for Alarm.com, revealed that home security worries can be deep-rooted. Eighteen percent of respondents admit that they still check under the bed every night as part of their security routine, while 24 percent check inside the closet.

As many as 13 percent leave a TV on through the night to ward off any potential intruders, while four in 10 homeowners (39 percent) keep a “weapon or item” near their bed to feel more secure.

Overall, two-thirds (68 percent) of homeowners feel worried or concerned about their home security at least once a month — with 42 percent experiencing worries once a week or more.

“Protecting our homes and families is a task that we never fully switch off from,” said Anne Ferguson, vice-president of marketing at Alarm.com. “From bumps in the night to the nagging concern that you forgot to lock up when you left home, worries about safety and security are a fact of modern life, especially for constantly on-the-go families. The good news is that new technology makes home security worries easy to mitigate and manage, and can alert us when we forget to take preventative actions.”

Smart home security technology is overtaking traditional measures and increasing Americans’ peace of mind, the study revealed. The homeowners most likely to feel “very confident” about security are the 26 percent of respondents who reported owning a security system with a mobile app.

Twenty-six percent of homeowners surveyed report owning a security camera or doorbell camera, making these hi-tech deterrents more popular than either dogs (25 percent) or firearms (21 percent) kept for security.

Outside the home (where 7 percent of homeowners admit to displaying a “Beware of Dog” sign despite not owning a dog), connectedness with neighbors is Americans’ top security measure.

More than half (56 percent) of respondents watch their neighbors’ homes when they travel, while 53 percent keep their neighbors informed about suspicious activity. Just over 52 percent of homeowners say that they feel safer thanks to their neighbors, while just 17 percent say the opposite.

Overall, 90 percent of respondents feel that their neighborhood is safe — although a quarter (25 percent) worry more about crime in their area than they did a year ago.

“Technology makes it easier than ever for neighbors to help keep each other’s homes safe and secure,” said Alarm.com’s Anne Ferguson. “A modern security system can alert your neighbors to unexpected activity on your property when you’re away. Smart locks make it easy to give neighbors access for housesitting. The deterrence of a smart security camera can extend to neighboring homes as well. Installed as part of a professionally monitored security system, these measures are effective and quick to implement, and offer an easy way to worry less.”