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Published: Jun 18, 2024 5 min read

Depending on where you live and what (or who) you’re protecting, locking the doors may not be enough to make you feel safe in your home. Luckily, as technology changes everything from how we manage our money to how we entertain ourselves, the tools we use to protect our homes are also getting more sophisticated.

If you’re shopping for a home security system, it’s important to find a product that aligns with your family’s needs. And where you live — whether that’s a city, a rural area or otherwise — plays a key role in sussing out what exactly those needs are.

In densely populated metros, where crime rates are usually higher compared to rural environments, residents tend to gravitate towards robust surveillance systems designed to prevent break-ins, vandalism and theft. People living in more remote locations, on the other hand, may need a system that covers a large amount of land or property, and that takes into account comparatively slow law enforcement response times.

Here’s what else to consider, based on where you live, before you buy a home security system.

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Choosing a security system

Home security should be approached holistically, with various tools integrated into a comprehensive system that will notify you ASAP — and contact authorities — when there’s a threat.

If you live in a rural area, look for a system that isn’t dependent on a Wi-Fi connection, says Rob Gabriele, editorial director at SafeHome.org. Wi-Fi-enabled security systems can work well for urban homes, but rural areas sometimes have connectivity issues, he says. Security systems that function via a cellular or solar-powered connection are typically more reliable for these households.

Rural households should also look for a security system that has battery-powered backup — a critical feature during power outages.

“In an urban environment if the power goes out, it might be for like six hours or 12 hours tops,” Gabriele says. “But when you live in a rural environment, it can last several days since there are a lot more logistics involved with getting everything back online.”

Some companies offer all-in-one security systems that come with a single camera, and add-on features like motion sensors and two-way talk. That might do the trick for people living in small city spaces, says Rebecca Edwards, an in-house expert for SafeWise.com. Rural homeowners, on the other hand, may be better off opting for a professionally monitored home security system so they can get help from emergency responders as soon as possible.

Sensors and security cameras

If you live in an apartment or condo, you’ve got fewer entrance points to worry about compared to folks in the suburbs (take THAT, people with a basement), so a simple doorbell camera may be all you need.

But if you live in the country, and you’ve got a yard, shed, RV or all of the above, that’s not going to cut it. Consider getting motion sensors for your driveway and gates, and for your doors and windows, Edwards says. If you have a pool, she says to consider setting up a motion sensor there, too, to keep pets and kids safe.

Outdoor cameras mounted strategically around your home can also help with protection in rural environments — not just to notify you of unwanted guests, but also to deter criminals. Gabriele points to studies that show would-be burglars are less likely to attempt a break-in on houses with visible outside security cameras.

Other ways to protect your home

No matter where you live, it’s important to never let your home appear unoccupied for an extended period. If you live in a rural environment, that means keeping your yard nice and your snow shoveled, Gabriele says. If you live in a city, that may look more like keeping a light on when you’re out of town and asking a neighbor to pick up your packages.

Finally, don’t underestimate furry friends, Gabriele says. Small, well-trained dogs do a good job of drawing attention to perceived threats to apartment dwellers. Large dogs that are properly trained (we can’t stress that enough) can do wonders for a rural homeowner’s peace of mind.

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