Special Correspondent

Door phones most common in apartments

Only simple modifications to install videophone at the door Price of the equipment starts at Rs. 12,000

Bangalore: Break-ins and burglaries are becoming common in the suburbs and apartments. Many wealthy households are now installing burglar alarms and sophisticated security devices. Some builders are offering them as optional fittings.

Door phones with video facility, through which one can both see and hear a visitor at the door, are among the more popular security gadgets. These cost around Rs. 12,000 upwards and can be fitted to most house or flat entrances with simple modifications, the manufacturers claim.

Many housewives in apartments, left alone through most of the day, feel secure with such videophones; some new apartments have them in every flat.

According to residents of suburbs such as Madiwala, J.P. Nagar and Bannerghatta Road, burglaries and unwanted intruders have become fewer, thanks to the videophones. Many households have gone in for burglar alarm systems that are activated by the owner from a central control panel before locking up and leaving.

If anyone tries to tamper with doors or windows, the alarm is activated and a loud siren alerts the security staff in the building. In the West, such burglar alarm systems can be connected to the nearest police station, but this option is not yet available here.

The burglar alarm system comes with the option of being linked to telephone lines; these can be the owner's office number, mobile number or the phone of a neighbour or friend. Up to five telephone numbers can be activated and a five or 10 second recorded message sent, alerting the receiver that an intruder has entered the premises or is trying to enter.

These alarm systems cost Rs. 14,000 upwards but are considered 100 per cent effective if the owners remember to activate them and then again deactivate them after returning home.

Wireless security alarms at a cost of Rs. 25,000 upwards and closed circuit television sets with cameras, which rotate to a predetermined range, are among the more expensive security systems.

Companies installing them report that businesses such as jewellery shops go for them. The closed circuit television sets are used in places like offices, banks, ATMs and even in educational institutions to keep track of people moving in and out . The recorded film can be examined at regular intervals and later replaced or even programmed to be erased.