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GIZMOS TURN HOME PROTECTION INTO A BOOM RISING FEARS OF CRIME MOVE CONSUMERS TO MAKE FORTRESS OUT OF HOME

By Published on .

Before moving into their new home in a sparsely populated corner of Oregon, one family is installing a high-tech electronic security system. Down the road, their neighbors are doing the same.

Such attention to security would have been uncommon just a year ago in rural communities, but a rising fear of crime across the U.S. is moving consumers to invest in new security products for the home.

The desire to make home and hearth safer is a boon to the estimated $5 billion residential security market, with sales in certain sectors expected to grow as much as 30% to 50% through the 1990s, say security industry executives.

Sales of new electronic home security systems are already strong-they leaped 30% last year, system marketers claim. New technology developed for commercial business is helping the trend, making more effective systems increasingly affordable for consumers.

The Justice Department reported 1,932,000 violent crimes in the U.S. in 1992, with the total cost of all crime exceeding $400 billion annually.

"Crime statistics vary, but the definite perception among consumers is that crime is worse than ever, and more people are taking matters into their own hands with a variety of methods," says Bill Zalud, editor of Security, which tracks trends in the home security market.

ADT Security Systems and Honeywell, major installers of electronic security systems, report soaring sales of home systems featuring high-tech motion detectors and hidden sensors that automatically alert police if tripped by intruders, fire or other forces.

Costing from $200 to more than $10,000, depending on the size and extent of the system, such electronic security units are increasingly being included in newly constructed homes as well as upgrading in older homes.

But sales of low-end personal and home security devices also are growing, through a variety of vendors, including cable TV, hardware stores and mass-merchandise outlets. Sales of cellular telephones also grew 25% last year, largely due to consumers' desire for mobile security.

New alarms for medical and panic alert situations, plus specially designed security systems for older and handicapped people are growing, too, as security companies increase their customized offerings for consumers.

Tandy Corp.'s Radio Shack, catering to the do-it-yourself customer, says security products are one of its fastest-growing categories, from installable electronic systems to $9.95 personal alarms that can be carried anywhere.

"People want a lot of different security options, sometimes on top of installed electronic systems," says Rick Borinstein, VP-merchandise marketing for Radio Shack.

Among the hottest new-product areas for home security: hand-held personal alarms and Mace or pepper-based defense devices; video cameras for homeowner surveillance of entry areas and integrated systems bringing security together with home temperature control and entertainment units.

"People want security to be simple and streamlined, and preferably controlled from a single button," says Rick Bodge, director of marketing communications for No. 1 installed home security system marketer ADT.

Honeywell, No. 2 in the field, introduced its TotalHome system in 1992. It's probably the most elaborately integrated-and costly-system on the market, offering 15 daily security modes, including temperature control, home entertainment and energy-saving options.

The starting price is $4,000, says Ann Drake, PR director for Honeywell's building & home division. She says demand has been strong since its debut.

"Ideally, you arrive at your house to find everything secure, your entry lights on, classical music playing, your coffee pot brewing or whatever appliances you want on, running your entire house from the temperature to the appliances and the music from your security system," she says.

ADT advertises its services on cable TV, radio and through direct mail via BBDO Worldwide and Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, sister Omnicom Group shops. Ms. Drake says demand for her company's TotalHome is so robust there has been no need to advertise it.

Not to be outdone, Radio Shack this fall introduced a $69.99 personal computer software pro-(Continued on Page S-8)

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(Continued from Page S-1)

gram allowing do-it-yourselfers to install their own integrated electronic home security system.

In certain communities, police forces are stretched thin and budgets are so strapped that homeowners are joining forces to hire armed security patrols-an area that has become the fastest-growing category of business for Westec Security.

There are even retail stores devoted solely to the pursuit of security. At Spy Shop, a chain of stores based in Panama City, Fla., small video cameras hidden to monitor doorways are a fast-growing and increasingly affordable, with camera-and-monitor setups available for as little as $400.

Also selling briskly at Spy Shop: hand-held Mace and personal alarms, small video cameras and wireless home security systems that don't require extensive installation, says President Randy Dvoran.

One of the hottest items is the $179 Electronic Watchdog that growls, barks and snarls like a real German Shepherd when intruders approach, he says.

Some security products have found success through direct response TV.

Winner International's Door Club, a $59.95 device that reinforces locked doors against break-in, is racking up strong direct-response sales.

Introduced last year, the Door Club comes from the marketer of The Club, the steering wheel-lock vehicle theft deterrent that has scored runaway sales since its 1990 introduction.

"Crime isn't going away, but people can take action with anti-theft devices and other safety and security products," says Tom McCartney, director of public relations for Winner. "We see a lot of excitement and growth ahead."M

(Continued from Page S-1)

gram allowing do-it-yourselfers to install their own integrated electronic home security system.

In certain communities, police forces are stretched thin and budgets are so strapped that homeowners are joining forces to hire armed security patrols-an area that has become the fastest-growing category of business for Westec Security.

There are even retail stores devoted solely to the pursuit of security. At Spy Shop, a chain of stores based in Panama City, Fla., small video cameras hidden to monitor doorways are a fast-growing and increasingly affordable, with camera-and-monitor setups available for as little as $400.

Also selling briskly at Spy Shop: hand-held Mace and personal alarms, small video cameras and wireless home security systems that don't require extensive installation, says President Randy Dvoran.

One of the hottest items is the $179 Electronic Watchdog that growls, barks and snarls like a real German Shepherd when intruders approach, he says.

Some security products have found success through direct response TV.

Winner International's Door Club, a $59.95 device that reinforces locked doors against break-in, is racking up strong direct-response sales.

Introduced last year, the Door Club comes from the marketer of The Club, the steering wheel-lock vehicle theft deterrent that has scored runaway sales since its 1990 introduction.

"Crime isn't going away, but people can take action with anti-theft devices and other safety and security products," says Tom McCartney, director of public relations for Winner. "We see a lot of excitement and growth ahead."M

Knock before entering: The Door Club (above) from Winner International is a hot seller on direct-response TV. Sales are booming for ADT Security System's installed electronic home-security systems (top right) and Honeywell's TotalHome integrated home security system.

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