Although my own home has never been vandalized, my neighbor Linda recently had her alarm wake most of the neighborhood at about 3:00 am on a wintry morning.
Although the would-be cat burglar got away, Linda's alarm system did the job it was intended to do, scaring away the culprit and alerting the police to a crime in progress.
As it turns out, Linda and I both have the same brand of home security system and we both enjoy the same rewards that come with having one.
Besides protecting our homes, the systems also entitle us to a pretty big discount on our homeowner's insurance policy.
My carrier discounts my policy, for example, by twenty percent because a nationally certified company monitors my system.
If you don't already have a security system in your own home, you'll need to know a few basic facts as you shop around for the right system and provider.
Most home security systems can detect several different kinds of events, including forced entry, smoke, fire and even high levels of dangerous carbon monoxide.
Systems include a keypad for inputting security codes and arming the system, motion detectors that sense the presence of an unwanted intruder, and a secure link to a company that monitors your system and informs the police of anything suspicious.
Expect to pay about a hundred dollars to install a basic home security package and then a monthly fee ranging between about thirty and forty dollars to have it monitored by a reputable company.
If you're not sure what company to choose, ask friends, neighbors or relatives about their own personal experience and recommendations.
You can also get more information about home security systems and a list of recommended companies close to your location at the website of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA).
Ultimately, your choice will probably come down to one or more nationally known companies like ADT or Broadview Security (formerly Brink's Home Security), plus a selection of local providers.
Price isn't necessarily the most important factor in choosing the right company.
Ask how long the company has been in business, if they monitor your system 24/7/365, and if they have a backup power supply that will allow them to continue to monitor your home's status even if the lights go out.
Membership in the NBFAA also makes for a good recommendation.
Given the insurance rebates and peace of mind a home security system can provide, most homeowners view a system as a good investment in the value of their home.
While it's probably true that you'll never really need that home security system, you'll probably sleep better once it's installed, just like my neighbor Linda and me!