There’s no place like home, especially when watching the nightly news. Local TV coverage peeks around the neighborhood corner to show shootings, lootings, robberies, law enforcement/civilian showdowns and home invasions.

Consider that property crime makes up 83 percent of all crime committed in the United States, with the South outpacing the rest of the country with 41.4 percent of the total. One incident occurred every 4.9 seconds in 2020, according to $17.5 billion worth of property was reported stolen in 2020.

Fortunately, property crime in Beaufort County is low by any standard, especially in the Hilton Head and Bluffton areas. But CrimeGrade reports that your home is 300 percent more likely to be robbed without a home security system.

It’s no wonder that home security is on the Lowcountry homeowners’ radar for peace and assurance.

“The biggest thing for our clients is being able to keep an eye on their property when they’re not in town down here,” said Sean Stewart, sales and marketing manager for Custom Audio Video in Bluffton. “There’s a demand for surveillance to have an eye on everything, particularly 24-hour surveillance. It brings a sense of ease knowing what’s going on in your property.”

Security and home monitoring systems go hand in hand with today’s smart home technology with internet-connected devices like cameras with motion detection, smart locks and video doorbells.

“Typically, homeowners want a home monitoring system, such as an alarm system,” said Anna Shields, operations manager at Hot Wired Audio Video in Hilton Head. “And a lot of times in conjunction with that are cameras, often exterior and interior.”

She said she feels entry and exit doors and windows are the most vulnerable to tampering. Cameras that are active 24/7 provide homeowners with visual security for monitoring movement.

Hot Wired predominantly uses the Honeywell alarm home monitoring system that includes an alarm panel and sensors. Cameras are separate.

Custom Audio Visual positions its cameras “mostly where people come in and out.”

“Surveillance cameras watch and give feedback to a network video recorder which records the footage so you can watch it back,” Stewart said, “If something were to happen, you can export that footage to law enforcement.”

Cameras have different ways of monitoring movement, and Hot Wired contracts with a monitoring company. Most of Shields’ clients install eight cameras, depending on the size and design of the house.

“As soon as there’s a breach in the security, it’s the same thing as an ADT or CPI,” she said. “An appropriate chain of reaction is initiated as soon as the alarm panel receives a fault. The homeowner decides whether they want police dispatched or they want to call first.”

“Security nowadays goes beyond just putting up cameras and monitoring,” said Krystle Shutter, vice president of Hot Wired Audio Video. “Homeowners are looking for creative ways to deter crime and prevent it altogether. It’s often hard to even capture an offender after the crime. Smart home systems offered by Hot Wired allow for programmed outdoor and indoor lighting scenes that help homes seem occupied when they may not be. Well-lit areas have always been one of the best deterrents and even aid those security cameras in use. Add a little noise like TV and/or audio and it’s hard for someone up-to-something to actually tell.”

Here’s a sampling of popular product lines:


  • Luma. Both local retailers utilize Luma high-definition cameras; digital surveillance recorders are also available. Luma, which comes in a variety of colors and style, uses Sense-Up technology for nighttime video in full color. A Luma camera costs about $300.
  • Arlo Pro 3. Consumer Reports gave its highest rating to this product, which starts at about $200. It features color night vision, a wider than normal field of view and higher resolution video. It comes with or without a subscription.

Home Monitoring Systems

  • Honeywell. Price begins at $500. This product line furnishes home security cameras, smart alarm systems, wireless doorbells and more as protection from external and internal threats.
  • SimpliSafe. The options are endless, and the price tag climbs. The basic base station, motion sensor, entry sensor, key fob and key pad start at $250, according to U.S. News. Monthly fees reach $25, and monitoring and police dispatch are extra.
  • Vivint Smart Home. The base price of this system is $600, and monthly fees begin at $30, reports U.S. News. Outdoor cameras, smart locks, security sensors and doorbell Camera Pro are included.

The best advice for considering purchasing and installing a home security system, which can cost anywhere from around $200 for a basic set of equipment to thousands of dollars, is to visit your local retailer.