What do you do when you hear an alarm sounding?

Picture the scene… You’re relaxing after mowing the lawn on a Sunday afternoon. The smell of freshly cut grass mingles with the barbecue smoke drifting across the row of gardens and the distant sound of children playing and the chatter of people talking creates a peaceful atmosphere, in which to enjoy a cold beer and the papers. Suddenly, a shrill sound cuts through the afternoon, like an arrow piercing your tranquillity – it’s someone’s burglar alarm. What do you do?

Well, according to a survey carried out by insurers Direct Line, one in three of us won’t do anything to help. Half of non-interveners may look to see what is happening before ignoring it, while the other half are already back in their lawn chair reading the TV guide. Two thirds of people will take some action, including calling the police, the homeowner or investigating for themselves. It is comforting to know that some people will take it further than a quick glance down the street, but the 33% of your neighbours that take no action when yours goes off could be quite worrying, especially if the population of your street includes people who are frail or hard of hearing, who are much less likely to do anything.

Luckily, most burglars will flee the scene when an alarm sounds, which may prevent them from actually taking anything, but they will already have caused some damage to set the alarm off. Some burglars, especially those working in wealthy areas where the homes are spread out, will take the chance that help is a long way away and will set to work relieving you of your possessions, believing that they have plenty of time before a neighbour arrives, or the police are alerted.

Having an NSI approved alarm system which connects to our Alarm Receiving Centre means even if none of your neighbours pay any attention to the siren blaring from your house, at least the police could be on their way and may even possibly apprehend the culprits before they leave the area. If your alarm system also alerts you to a break in, and you have a system which shows you what’s happening through your smartphone then you can alert the police, or you can disarm the alarm if it has been tripped erroneously. Both these options remove the need for alert and helpful neighbours from the equation, so if you are unlucky enough to have terrible neighbours it doesn’t have to compromise your home security.

By the same token, if you do have good neighbours ensure that anyone looking after the property while you are on holiday has some proof that they are supposed to be there. If your friend accidentally trips the alarm when they enter, and they are confronted by neighbours, or worse, the police, they won’t get in any trouble. You should always tell your neighbours who is looking after the house in your absence, as long as you would trust them with the code for your alarm if they are the ones picking up the post.

Knowing that someone will respond to your alarm, even if that person is yourself, makes having an NSI approved alarm system much more worthwhile as a means of keeping your home secure, and this peace of mind doesn’t have to just be a holiday thing – if you are popping out to the shops you should still set your alarm, as a burglar may be watching to wait for you to leave. Even a five minute window of time is long enough for an experienced thief to enter, find your valuables and get back out again – so make sure you use your alarm every time you go out. It’s a great habit to get in to and means you’re less likely to spend time worrying that you haven’t set the alarm if it is an integral part of your routine.

Hopefully you won’t experience being the neighbour whose alarm is blaring and being ignored, while burglars ransack the place. However, if you are unfortunate enough to be targeted, then at least you have some warning if you use an app based system, and you will be covered by your home insurance policy by having your NSI approved alarm in use. So, how much do you trust your neighbours to intervene?