Are St Albans homes ready for Absolutely Fabulous thinking?

Is it time to install a panic room in our homes yet?

Is it time to install a panic room in our homes yet? - Credit: Archant

Last week I wrote about the findings of a report, released via the Telegraph, prophesysing what we’ll all be doing in 2025 when we want to go house hunting. The predictions were a heady mix of technologic advancements that are pretty likely to become the norm over the next decade, with a sprinkling of utopian mod-cons, probably only accessible to the super-rich.

Security cameras on the corner of every home in street? Really?

Security cameras on the corner of every home in street? Really? - Credit: Archant

This week, I’ve been treated to some more Mystic Megisms – this time foretelling the direction home security will take by the year 2025.

Should you choose to burgle my home in ten years time, you are likely to be assaulted by my burglar alarm.

First of all, you’ll be sprayed by a permanent chemical marker (presumably like one marks a tree that is to be felled?) before being personally addressed by the alarm system. In the case of the latter, the system will be able to identify an intruder’s name.

So, I’m guessing that if I break into someone’s house in 2025, I’ll get a good telling off in either the nasal tone of a Dalek or the creamy-smooth voice of the BT woman who tells you how many new voicemails you’ve got. Or perhaps it will be so advanced that they’ll be able recognize the criminal and address them with the vocals of his/her mother. So in my case, I’d hear my Mum’s disappointed voice over the tannoy, probably saying something like “Andrew, darling, why have you had to go and do something so silly,” – in only the way a crestfallen mother can.

If all this doesn’t stop the thief and they still manage to steal M’Lady’s best silver, drones will appear from your roof to chase the culprit until the police are able to take over.

The company behind this glimpse into the Shangri-la is Futurizon, whose report was commissioned by ADT, the home security firm. Other findings include the fact that “tiny, hidden cameras are soon to be commonplace around homes and residential streets, and could even stop burglaries before they happen, by using face recognition software to spot known criminals and sound the alarm.”

Do YOU feel safe at home, alone?

Do YOU feel safe at home, alone? - Credit: Archant

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But what if old Mr. Catchpole from number 32 happens to be a doppelganger for some convicted felon who’s just escaped from Broadmoor and is “recognised” by these cameras upon innocently entering his house after a casual trip to Morrison’s? Will some sort of laser start shooting up the street, while a flare is sent into the air to alert Interpol? I see a flaw in this system.

Apparently we’re about to enter the age of an “automated Neighbourhood Watch”, where the new generation of intelligent alarm systems installed in homes will communicate with each other (presumably a bit like when the velociraptors learn how to do that in Jurassic Park).

In other similar news, a new survey of homeowners has found that only 42.1 per cent of people actually feel safe being home alone, while 10.3 per cent believe that their home is at greater risk today than it was only five years ago.

There’s an episode of Absolutely Fabulous, filmed in 2003, where Eddy installs a panic room off her kitchen, and gets trapped inside it while Minnie Driver steals a load of free clothes from her house. Saffy tells her mother that she’s being ridiculous submitting to panic culture and that the world is safer than it’s ever been. And this was post 9/11. In all seriousness, I feel that this just isn’t true in current times, and these statistics don’t surprise me at all. I don’t think the average homeowner has the need to own a panic room, nor do I suspect that people sat in their living rooms on a Sunday night watching Antiques Roadshow are at heightened risk of suburban terrorism. But, in light of recent events, I don’t know that I feel as safe as I might have done five years ago – and I’m someone who wouldn’t think twice about walloping someone with a plant pot if they climbed into my living room and tried to take off with my Macbook Pro.

So I suppose this is precisely where the robots, surveillance cameras and techo-bodyguards will come in. The knowledge that your property is surrounded by some kind of safe barrier is likely enough on its own to make a considerable percentage of people feel that little bit safer in their own home.