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Reality Check: Technology makes it easier to safeguard your home

Keeping your house safe and secure is easier and more affordable than you may think. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The end of the year isn't just the holiday season, it's also become the season for home break-ins. Asheville police said there were 100 home break-ins in the city last November and December. That accounted for 18 percent of all home break-ins in the city last year.

Kendra Penland was a victim of a home break-in this summer. She said thieves broke into her home by cutting a window screen. They got away with thousands of dollars' worth of family heirlooms and personal items.

Thankfully, she and her two sons were not home at the time, but the incident left them feeling violated and vulnerable. Penland is now looking to take an extra step to protect her family with a home security system.

"Nobody expects or deserves that. It doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in. Everyone should be able to feel safe and comfortable in their home," Penland said.

For her, functionality and price are two big considerations.

Keeping your house safe and secure is easier and more affordable than you may think. The News 13 team scouted do-it-yourself and professionally installed systems.

Do it yourself

Francie Black, technology consultant with ipadwisdom.com, said she has tested quite a few systems and the one she prefers is called Blink. It's a camera synced with the free app that allows you to monitor what's going on at your home.

The company promises a two-year battery life with the wireless portable camera that costs about $100. You get mobility and motion-sensing technology with Blink, and you can also receive notifications if the camera detects motion in your home.

Black said there is also a free option, and all you need is an extra smart phone and the free Presence app.

"Basically, you install the app on two devices - an old smart phone and then on another phone," Black explained as she set up the home monitoring system. "Set it up as a camera. You want to plug it in, and you don't want it to go into sleep mode."

Professional systems

You can also leave it to the professionals. Security companies have systems that also allow you to have control.

"About 85 percent of our customers these days will ask for the Pulse System," said Randall Goodson, an installation service team manager for ADT.

ADT's Pulse System allows you to remotely watch multiple cameras at your home. The cameras are equipped with a motion-detection feature that triggers a 30-second recording and notifies you on your device.

Goodson said the price ranges from roughly $299 and up, depending on what you want in your home. There is also a monthly fee, which depends on your package, too.

For Penland, piece of mind is worth the price.

"They did their damage, and now we have our home back. And, you know, we're going to do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

You will need Wi-Fi to use the security systems mentioned.

Cameras for your system

Black said there are a lot of DIY home security cameras to choose from. She also recommends Simplicam and said it is a popular, inexpensive choice.

Black said in terms of apps for converting old smart phones into cameras, AtHome and Home Security Camera - Alfred are two other popular apps.

If you would like to get Francie Black's free weekly tech tips by email, you can send a message to info@ipadwisdom.com. Just put the word "subscribe" anywhere in the message.

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