Who Invented The Home Security System? (Complete History)

As security technology moves forwards we see improvements in security and how secure we feel when deploying the various systems. 

When it comes to home security systems, the concept, like many other inventions, came from an everyday person’s problem and not from a security company or multinational organisation.

Home security systems, regardless of how complex they are, operate on the same basic concept and that is to keep potential points of entry secure whilst simultaneously protecting the valuables within the house too.

Who Invented Home Security System

In this article, we are going to briefly looking into home security systems, who invented them, the reasons behind their creation, and how the home security market is adapting and moving towards the future.

In sum, we’ll cover:

  • Home Security Systems Background
  • Who Was the Inventor of Home Security Systems?
  • Why Home Security Systems Were Invented?
  • Home Security Systems Moving into the Future

What is a Home Security System? 

A home security system is a broad term for a network of interconnected devices and components that keep a private property secure. A home security system can encompass a lot of different parts and they have diversified a lot since the first patented version in 1969.

When it was created in the 1960s, the home security system had a form of CCTV cameras with an early working of an access control system, allowing for remote viewing and the ability to grant access from a terminal. 

Home security is defined as the actual hardware that a resident deploys on their property but also can be their behaviours and security practises. 

A home security system will no doubt keep your home much more secure than a home without one, but if the people who live at the home are careless and leave windows open, doors unlocked or have extra keys outside, then you are much more likely to be burgled. 

There are a lot of different elements to a home security system, and as we have further developed security technology, what is encompassed by a home security system has evolved. 

The Modern Home Security System

Some examples of features of a modern home security system could be:

Alarm Panel

This is where you can activate, control and deactivate your home’s security system with ease. Most people will have these in a central room or even right next to the front door so they can set it or disable it upon entry or exit. Most of the time a multiple digit passcode is required to interact with the alarm system.

Loud Alarm

Although the alarm may sound way too loud if you ever hear it in your own home, it is exactly the volume it needs to be to attract outside attention such as your neighbours or passers by. High-decibel alarms are a core part of a home security system and will often deter the burglar before, or during the attempted break in.

Decals, Stickers or Warning Signs

Often seen on car windows, front windows in a home or even planted in the garden, this signage is not only a smart marketing tool used by the security companies but also a way to warn would-be criminals that your home (or vehicle) is secure. In fact, even fake signs can be a deterrent to burglars, similar to dummy camera’s effects.

Door and Windsor Sensors

This is often accomplished by having two parts of the point of entry sensor on the frame and the window/door. This means that when the window or door is closed the two sensor parts create a full circuit, if the circuit is broken when the alarm is active, it will be triggered.

Motion Sensor

Depending on your home security system, you may also have a motion sensor that is linked to your security setup. A lot of people think of these as the red lasers you see in spy movies, but it is often just an invisible perimeter that if breached will trigger an alarm.

CCTV Cameras

Surveillance cameras are often paired with, or even a core part of a home security system. These are often the more advanced ones and it is not considered a standard element of a home security system. CCTV cameras are known to be a huge deterrent when criminals are looking to break into a property or home.

Key Fob

Some home security systems have remote ways to deactivate your system, which allows you to be able to shut off your alarm or even activate it when you are elsewhere in the house and not next to the security control panel. Key fobs are often used for access control, but have a wide range of usages in the security industry. 

Panic Sensor

Having a way to quickly alert the authorities in the event of an emergency or a break in is a feature of some modern home security systems. This can even be part of the key fob, and a button that if pressed will send out a distress signal to the local emergency services.

Bonus Home Security Features: 

Doorbell Camera

In a more recent update to home security, a lot of people have installed a front door camera that will activate when someone rings the bell. This not only great for home security, but also allows for easier package drop off and interacting with guests at your home. 

With the rise of Airbnbs and similar companies, the need for security cameras or doorbell cameras has increased significantly.

Smart Home Technology

As with the massive increase in the amount of homes having some form of smart home technology, their usage in home security has become huge.

The huge number of homes who have either Alexa or Google Home in some form is staggering, and they can both be used for forms of home security, access control, and even switching on and or lights remotely.

Introducing Marie Van Brittan Brown – The Inventor of The Home Security System

In this section, we will be looking into Marie Van Brittan Brown, who she was, and how she impacted the security industry and specifically home security in an unprecedented way. 

It would probably not shock you to know that for a long time the security industry was very male dominated, and in fact still is fairly male heavy, but there has been much bigger shifts towards equal gender representation in the industry as of late.

Anyway, we digress, the reason we are focusing on the topic is that it was a female nurse named Marie Van Brittan Brown who invented the home security system.

Who Was Marie Van Britten Brown?

Marie was born in Queens, the largest and most densely populated borough in New York City, in the early 20s. She would go on to be incredibly studious and train to be a nurse in the city.

While she was working as a nurse, she often felt very uncomfortable coming home at irregular hours from her shifts. Her husband, Albert, also had non-traditional hours, so she was often alone at home late at night and in the early hours of the morning. 

Marie was a highly renowned inventor and was responsible for a massive shift towards home security and the importance of feeling secure at home. 

She gained a lot of coverage at the time because she was not only a female inventor, but also a black woman, which may not sound that radical now, but in 1960s America it was a huge talking point.

Marie is still celebrated to this day in the security industry and beyond, especially when it comes to February (Black History Month). Marie’s base patent would go on to be cited in over 30 patent applications, continuing her legacy way past her death in the late 90s.

Why Were Home Security Systems Invented?

The area Marie and Albert lived in, a neighbourhood called Jamaica, had a very high crime rate at the time which led Marie to think of a solution to her problem of being home alone and scared to answer the door if it ever knocked.

Marie knew she was not the only person who felt like this, although her idea originally stemmed to be used for shift workers and other people with infrequent working hours, she knew if she could design a solution, it would be viable for any household.

Along with some technical help from her husband, an electronics technician, Marie came up with the first prototype of a home security system.

Marie’s invention of home security systems is still used in adapted forms today in all sorts of places outside of the home, from retail stores, offices, banks and other businesses.

The Future of Home Security Systems 

The last decade or so has seen a dramatic increase in the home security market and is only set to continue increasing. With more people looking into home security solutions and systems, it is unsurprising that there are more options than ever and a wider variety of suppliers who can help you install your home security systems.

As technology evolves and we adapt the ways we utilise security and surveillance within our homes, it is important to do your research and understand all of the elements of your home security system. 

With the monumental rise of smart technology and various devices becoming part of our everyday lives at home, homeowners need to find solutions that work for them and their home. 

Whether it is installing CCTV, looking into advanced home security systems, or just being more aware of their security behaviours and limiting risks, there is something every homeowner can do to lower their chances of being burgled. 

Every person and every home is different, so it is vital to have a basic understanding of where the market is and where it is heading when selecting your home security system. 

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Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.
Picture of Steve White

Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.

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