New report says smart home security systems shouldn't be too obvious to burglars – here's why we disagree

Smart home security systems should be subtly hidden says new report – but we say display them

Smart home security system: Netamo presence
(Image credit: Netamo)

Smart home security is a welcome boost for home owners worried about being burgled, so it's no surprise that we're beginning to embrace it – and install it – to protect our homes and make us feel safer. But, could displaying expensive security gadgets outside our homes, in fact have the reverse of the desired effect – keeping intruders away?

Some homeowners think so. A new survey of 1,002 homeowners carried out by Pirnar has revealed that 38 per cent of UK households have installed some form of smart home security system, with an estimated average value of £341, but that 42 per cent said that having too many smart security devices on show might actually encourage and entice burglars. A display of expensive gadgets, after all, must surely mean there’s lots more expensive gadgets inside, just waiting for the burglar? 

Among these gadgets, the most popular devices were smart surveillance cameras (38 per cent), followed by video door bells (33 per cent), and keyless entry, such as keypads, apps and fobs (15 per cent) – all devices that are out on show on the exterior of our homes. 

As for the reasons for these purchases, 74 per cent said it was to improve their home’s security, and 26 per cent said it was for convenience. Keypads, for example, allow multiple people, such as carers and child minders, to enter your home. And when you no longer need them, you simply change the code. 

The survey also found that 24 per cent intend to purchase more smart home security within the next year. And despite these purchases, 66 per cent said they would still fall back on traditional deadlocks. 

'You wouldn't ordinarily leave technology lying around obviously outside your front door. And so more subtle options – such as positioning security devices in less obvious places, or investing in doors which have this type of technology inbuilt in a more subtle design are a better option,' advises Andrew Osurkovas at Pirnar.

What do we think? Well, all evidence points to the opposite. A Which? investigation in May 2019 surveyed reformed burglars, who rated regularly-serviced, monitored alarms as the most off-putting, with motion sensor lights, a deadlock and smart security cameras that are installed high up where they can't be tampered with close behind. The investigation also advised against displaying the valuables you do have inside your home – so no new TV packaging left out by the bins, expensive laptops stored away from the downstairs windows, and valuable jewellery hidden effectively rather than left on dressing tables. And, of course, good locks on gates and no ladders left out or windows left open. 

In other words, if you've got good security, flaunt it. If you've got valuables indoors, don't flaunt them.