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High-tech devices take home security to a new level

High-technology home protection tools are evolving. Instead of door alarms, many gadgets offer discreet security features with the ability to control them from an application on a smartphone, giving users instant knowledge about what is happening inside and outside their home at all times, and with good reason, too.

About every 15 seconds, homeowners become the victims of burglary, resulting in a loss of roughly $2,000 in stolen goods or property damage each time, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Burglaries are very frequent in the Las Vegas area,” said Larry Hadfield, spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department. “This year, as of April 2, we’ve had 3,632 burglaries. What a burglar doesn’t want is attention. …”

Various products are on the market to help keep homeowners and renters safe.

Motion-sensing and Wireless Security Lights

A poorly lit property allows burglars to go unseen, and motion-sensing or automatic lights are meant to combat that. The lights become activated when motion is detected, which not only provides a visual alert but also scares burglars away.

— Cue the Philips Hue wireless LED light bulbs, which range from $14.95 to $200 for a package that comes with an LED bulb, a wireless dimming kit and a Wi-Fi bridge that connects to the Philips Hue mobile app and allows homeowners to turn on their home’s lights via their smartphone or tablet. Homeowners can also turn lights on or off remotely or create a schedule. Visit meethue.com.

—Another option is BeON Home protection system, which retails for $199 and provides smart modules with rechargeable batteries hidden inside LED light bulbs. The lights can be used during a power outage and are automatically activated in a sequence when someone rings the doorbell. The lights are also instantly turned on if there is a smoke alarm to help homeowners exit the property. In addition, users are able to download the BeON Home protection app and turn on all of the lights with a single tap. Visit beonhome.com.

— For outdoor lighting with added security, meet Kuna, a smart Wi-Fi camera and intercom built into an outdoor light fixture. The company-proclaimed “digital doorman” detects people at the door and immediately alerts users so they can see and interact with the visitor. The light fixtures can also sound an alarm, and users can control the light with a set schedule or off-and-on switch from a smartphone app. The product costs $199. Visit getkuna.com.

Wireless Security Cameras

— Ring Video Doorbell connects to a home’s Wi-Fi network and sends real-time notifications to the homeowner’s smartphone or tablet when someone is at the door. After purchasing Ring and downloading the free app, which is available for Apple, Android and Windows 10 devices, homeowners are able to see a high-definition video stream of the person at the door and speak to them using two-way audio communication. Ring also sends an alert when motion is detected. The doorbell operates on battery or can be hooked up to home doorbell wiring. The Ring Video Doorbell costs $199, and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro costs $249. The company also sells the Stick Up Cam, a weather-resistant and wire-free mounted device that can be placed anywhere to see, hear and speak to visitors. Visit ring.com.

— Like most smart security cameras, the Netatmo Welcome camera can stream high-definition video to a phone or tablet. What sets it apart is its ability to tell who is in the frame. After a few days of training, the camera will alert the homeowner if a stranger tries to enter the home, and it can also be used to send personalized notifications, such as when children are home. It also allows an SD card to capture video. The Netatmo costs $199. Visit netatmo.com.

— Another smartphone camera option is the Y-Cam, an indoor wireless security camera that offers free cloud recording. The system allows homeowners to watch a live recording anytime and anywhere from their computer, tablet or smartphone. Users can record video clips and get email notifications sent to their device when movement is detected. Its infrared night vision lets one see up to 15 meters, even in complete darkness. Cameras range from $129.99 to $219.99. Visit y-cam.com.

Home Protection Alarms and Security Systems

A 2013 study funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that nearly 60 percent of burglars said they would consider the presence of cameras or other surveillance equipment when selecting a target, and more than 40 percent said that would be a factor in prompting them to choose another target.

— The iSmartAlarm ($199 for the starter kit) includes motion sensors, cameras and alarms. Users are able to download the free iPhone and Android app and control their system from anywhere. The app sends push notifications, emails, texts and phone calls in case of an emergency. Users are also able to arm and disarm their homes via the app. Visit ismartalarm.com.

— Piper offers customizable security modes, motion and sound detection and an intruder-deterrent siren. The 105-decibel siren is almost equivalent to the sound of a motorcycle, and the motion and sound detection includes a motion sensor and microphone. It also comes with a camera to watch live or recorded video from a smartphone or tablet, hear two-way audio, and pan, tilt, zoom and split the screen. The Piper Classic starts at $199, and the Piper NV starts at $279. Visit getpiper.com.

— Canary is an all-in-one security system. The canister-shaped product provides real-time video and motion sensors to see when someone is home, as well as audio, night vision and the ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. If an intruder breaks in, the security system enables users to sound a 90-plus-decibel siren or connect with local police from the Canary app. The all-in-one security system is $199, and the Canary two-pack is $379. Visit canary.is.

Other Smart Products

— Lockitron ($99) transforms a smartphone into a key to allow users to control and monitor doors from anywhere. Users can also grant access to friends and family members. Visit lockitron.com.

— Ninja Sphere ($249) is both a hardware and software platform designed to bridge smart devices together. For example, if a user is away from home, the Sphere app can notify him or her if it sees a problem. If the heater was left on, users can turn it off with the help of the app. Visit ninjablocks.com.

“Homeowners need to be conscious of the appearance of their home,” said Greg Simmons, president of the Nevada Security Association, a state trade association comprising licensed security industry professionals. “The beauty of the market now is that it has shifted toward offering security systems that can be integrated with other systems. When you put it all together, you can remotely view and control the system and have a lot of neat safety features. Consumers can start with basic systems that fit their budgets and build as they go.”

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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