It’s often assumed that home security is a creation of the modern age but this is far from the truth! For as long as people have had possessions, people have needed security in some form or other. Protecting what is ‘ours’ is an innate characteristic, from basic territorial rights to the more material goods we buy today, and it’s likely we adopted security measures before we even had a language. Read on to learn more about the history of home security.
Home Security and Early Man
The modern day guard dog is an ancient creation. Under threat from a host of other species, early man gradually learned to harness the loyalty of wolves. One theory is that wolves would hang around human dwellings hoping for scraps of food, and when fed would return to the same dwelling in future, seeing it as a food source. Here the great relationship between humans and dogs began, with early man learning to use wolves to mutual advantage – feeding them in return for their presence, which offered security against threats from other animals or people.
Although centuries of evolution followed, security measures changed little for the average family. Whilst the very rich could afford barricade systems such as moats, high walls, gates and even protection in the form of other people, most people had to defend themselves in whatever way they could.
The First Alarm Systems
After centuries of self-defence or using animals as security, the first dedicated security devices appeared in America in the 19th century. A burglar alarm was patented in 1853 and went on general sale a few years later. A crude yet effective form of our current alarm systems, the first alarms worked by triggering a ringing bell when a homeowner’s lock was tampered with. Although only available for a select few – the wealthy – the home intruder alarm industry began to grow in line with electricity, and devices have become more sophisticated and affordable over time.
Video surveillance has evolved in line with the camera and television industry, with the first CCTV cameras first used in Europe in the 1940s. It’s only recently that images have improved to the point where individuals can be identified from CCTV alone, and modern day CCTV home security systems can even be transmitted to an external source such as a mobile phone.
Electronic card systems began in the 1960s as an alternative to a lock-and-key. Access control began in commercial properties, sometimes with a keypad requiring a passcode. Modern day systems are usually non-contact and more reliable than a lock – with an access control system the card generally operates several locks around a door at once.
Neighbourhood Watch schemes began in 1982, and were heavily influenced by similar schemes in the US. A great way of bringing communities together as well as forging good relations with the police force, Neighbourhood Watch has had a marked impact on reducing crime in many areas and through the likes of www.ourwatch.org.uk is still an important development in the history of home security.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog – it’s amazing how much security has evolved over the years! Look out for our piece on the future of security and find out what great inventions are in the offing to keep us safe.
24 February 2017
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