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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is not my story but happened 1 street west and 5 houses south and the homeowner as well as the neighbors that called the police are friends. Perhaps you read the paper or saw it on the news. 5 armed men kicked in the backdoor (with deadbolt) and proceeded to assault the 2 members of the family, ransacked the home while seaching for money and drugs. And basically, traumatized the family for sometime to come. Tragic story but here is what I am interested in getting your input on...Since the breakin/invasion, the neighbor hood has been flooded with Alarm salesmen. What are your opinions on this type of "home defense" and what sort of pricing have you experienced. (side note, when the last one came to the door.. I answered it with my "gun control means using 2 hands " t-shirt and my 1911 cocked and locked on my side, not being a smart alec I like to wear it on casual Friday) Told them I have my own system but to come back in a day or two after my wife and I did some research
 

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I don't have any specific knowledge, but here are my thoughts on alarm systems.

An alarm system can only do one thing: notify people of a break-in. Some systems only notify you, others also call the alarm company who may call the police. The top-of-the-line systems include microphones in your house so that the alarm company can more easily make a decision about whether or not they should call the cops, and what they should tell them.

So, how useful is that?

Well, if you are armed and capable of responding to the intrusion, an alarm that notifies you may give you a few seconds of additional response time, in some cases. In the example from your neighborhood, it's unlikely that the alarm system would have provided any useful notification to the occupants that wasn't given by the sound of the door being kicked in. A good dog would probably give you more notification, and might deter or delay the intruders as well.

There's also the consideration that an alarm that sounds to notify you will also be heard by the intruders. With some intruders, that may make them turn around. With others it won't. If it's loud enough that your neighbors might hear, it's a bigger deterrent to sticking around, because the neighbors might call the cops. You can get the same effect by buying a few inexpensive sirens which you can activate yourself.

The alarms that result in a call to the cops are of varying value. Police get lots of false alarms from these things, which often makes them ignore the calls, or at least de-prioritize them. The alarm systems that enable the alarm company to listen in (I guess some may have cameras as well) allow the alarm company to provide the dispatcher with a better idea of the nature of the situation.

In the example in your neighborhood, an alarm system with microphones/cameras probably could have gotten the police there within minutes. Even better, I think they have speakers which would allow the alarm company to tell the bad guys that the police are en route, which might get them to leave more quickly -- which is a good thing.

An alarm notification without active monitoring, though, might not get a high priority, so the police may have arrived quickly or they may have gotten there an hour later. If the system played a recording that told the BGs the police had been called, or if the occupants told the BGs, then it might encourage them to leave. Of course, you could tell the BGs the police have been called, and if you have already triggered a siren they'll probably believe you.

Unless the BGs manage to get inside and overpower you before you're even aware they're there, you can call 911 and get the police en route yourself. Even if you don't have time to talk, a dispatcher who hears screaming will get the police there ASAP. If you use a cellphone, you can defeat attackers who are smart enough to cut your phone lines before entering. It's worth pointing out that an attacker who cut the phone lines would stop your alarm system from calling -- and you might not even realize that the call didn't go out so the alarm system might actually work against you in that case, making you think you don't need to call 911 yourself.

Bottom line: In the event of a fast, violent entry an alarm system isn't going to give you much notice. A dog will probably give you a little more warning. The alarm system might call the cops, or alert your neighbors to call the cops but unless the intruders are on you really fast, you can call the cops, too.

In the case of a slow, cautious intrusion, sneaking in through an unlocked window or such, the alarm system will be useful, but a dog would do a good job as well. If it's the right kind of dog, it can be an active defense in addition to a warning system.

IMO, unless you have money to burn: get a good dog, heavy interior doors in good frames which you lock at night, have a phone in pretty much every room and/or keep a cellphone on you, deploy plenty of motion-activated lights all around your property -- I think you can get some that also have a remote control so you can switch them all on -- and maybe think about putting a loud siren in each bedroom. Also, keep your windows and doors locked pretty much at all times.

If you do have money to burn, do all of the above and then get an alarm system. Whether or not it has active monitoring depends on how much it bothers you that the alarm company employees can listen in on you (Hmmm... bribing an active-monitoring company employee to tell you when a rich house is empty might be very useful if you're a burglar) and on how much money you want to spend. Active monitoring has a monthly fee, plus a greater up-front cost.

Oh, and obviously be prepared to defend yourself, because even if you or your alarm system call the cops, they'll still be minutes away.

Just my two cents.
 

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I like having an alarm system because it makes it terribly uncomfortable for the goof to remain in the house, what with all the noise and flashing lights (the goofs just hate to be noticed).

If I am in the home when the lights and sirens are going, then I figure the goof will have some distractions to deal with, and hopefully won't go futher into the house where I would be holed up with my family and at least one reliable firearm.
 

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UtahCFP said:
I like having an alarm system because it makes it terribly uncomfortable for the goof to remain in the house, what with all the noise and flashing lights (the goofs just hate to be noticed).

If I am in the home when the lights and sirens are going, then I figure the goof will have some distractions to deal with, and hopefully won't go futher into the house where I would be holed up with my family and at least one reliable firearm.
+1

Also... in my family, we are all sound sleepers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
GeneticsDave said:
Sorry, not to hijack the thread, but could you post a link to that news story? I am interested in reading it.
There was an alert neighbor that saw the BG's enter and called the police. We shudder to think what might have happened if someone chose not to get involved

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=2774088
 

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I work for one of the many Provo alarm companies so if anyone has any specific questions I'm more than happy to give my unbiased opinion about the specifics of a monitored system.

If I did feel the need for a security system, I would buy a cheap-o simple setup from radio shack that just made a lot of noise, and purchase a yard sign off ebay or from one of the local companies.

For now I feel my dog is pretty on top of things when it comes to noises around the house. Oh, and FWIW my dog is more expensive than the monthly cost of an alarm system.
 

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benjy said:
I work for one of the many Provo alarm companies so if anyone has any specific questions I'm more than happy to give my unbiased opinion about the specifics of a monitored system.
I'd like to hear your opinions. In particular, any rebuttals to my previous (lengthy) post.
 

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I installed my burglar alarm and over-engineered it a bit. Not only does each window and door get it's own zone, there is also a zone for each deadbolt for the doors. This way, the system can't be armed unless the doors and windows are closed AND the deadbolts are engaged.

This came about from a little ritual my wife had of asking me (when I'm in a half-sleep) if the doors are locked as we went to bed for the night. If I couldn't say "yes" then one of us needed to trod about the house checking doors. With my alarm system, the question doesn't have to be asked 'cause the little green light says all is secured.

I wired the system (no wireless) using the DSC Power832 unit. Seems like my total cost was in the $600 range.
 

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UtahCFP,

How extensive was the wiring work??? I've done a little wiring for cable TV or LAN cabling but nothing as extensive as door and window locks... is it just as extensive and time-consuming as I'm thinking it is???
 

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It isn't as picky for Cable TV or LAN since the security wiring basically doesn't care about interference. I wired the house I am in when it was being built, so that was a piece of cake. I have wired an existing house and the tough part was getting the wires to the windows. For the doors, I just yanked off the trim and ran the wires behind it.

If you have an unfinished basement, it isn't too bad. If everything is finished, then I'd probably have a lot of wireless in the house.

Note -- you can wire your own house for security stuff, but you need a license to do anybody elses house (as I understand the laws).
 

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I had a friend that worked for ADT and he told me that if you get alot of false alarms they start charging you to send the cops.

In San Antonio one of my friends was going to school with a cop and he said the average response time for a house alarm is 2 1/2 HOURS! In that amount of time everyone in the house could be dead and the house totally cleaned out.

My supervisor's wife called him at work one night because she heard gun shots in the neighborhood so she called the cops and they never even showed up.
 

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My alarm is a 75# Pit bull. When she starts barking I know somebody is messing around. She only barks when someone is messing around. A big give away is when the fur on her back stands up. When she starts in I grab the shotgun and the wife is on the phone. So far no false alarms.
 

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rdoggsilva said:
My alarm is a 75# Pit bull. When she starts barking I know somebody is messing around. She only barks when someone is messing around. A big give away is when the fur on her back stands up. When she starts in I grab the shotgun and the wife is on the phone. So far no false alarms.
Maybe my 6# ankle biter is part Pit lol Or she thinks she is (I think they call it Napoleon Syndrome) When she gets upset at someone coming around that shouldn't be there her hair stands up and if it's real bad it goes from head to tail. She is a good alarm especially in the middle of the night!!
 

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I've got a cat -- which means my only hope is that the bad guy will trip over the lump of fur plopped in the middle of the hallway.
 

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tylernye said:
I had a friend that worked for ADT and he told me that if you get alot of false alarms they start charging you to send the cops.
True! It really depends on the city though. I know most cities give one or 2 false alarms before they charge. Just don't get a system if you live in WA. There are PDs there that charge $250 false alarm fees :shock:

tylernye said:
In San Antonio one of my friends was going to school with a cop and he said the average response time for a house alarm is 2 1/2 HOURS! In that amount of time everyone in the house could be dead and the house totally cleaned out.
Everyone in the house could be dead A LOT quicker than that...

tylernye said:
My supervisor's wife called him at work one night because she heard gun shots in the neighborhood so she called the cops and they never even showed up.
That really is a PD issue, not a security system issue, right?
 

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We have a dog that goes completely insane over the slightest noises. She would definitely let us know if something was wrong.
 

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Maybe we're reduntant here but we have a full home security system, a dog that barks and will bite any stranger in the house (if we don't physically approve in front of him, of the person in the home, it's game on), and of course my wife and I with our handguns.

The home security sign in front of the house is a deterrent... Most criminals will pass your residence up because why add more risk into their equation. Burglars, as dumb as some of them are, still weigh the risk vs. the reward.

That being said, a security system is not fool proof. A lot of the home burglaries seen these days are snatch a grab heists... kick the door in, grab what you can in 2 minutes and then get out. We've had a couple of false alarms with ours... One time, our feisty dog tripped the motion sensor. The other time, I gave my sister the key and forgot to give her the code. In both occassions we got the phone call from the alarm company to confirm that it wasn't us. All in all, it would probably take 5 to 10 minutes before a dispatch call was even made... That's plenty of time for someone to run out with your flat screen TV (happened to a friend of mine in Memphis, who had the full security system installed).

The way I see it is, I keep my handgun on me to protect me and my family when I am at home. At night, the alarm is going to go off and whoever is in the house is going to have to fight through a quick and very loud dog to get to us. By that time we'll probably be awake and barracaded upstairs with our son to stop any further threat, and police will eventually be on their way. Now when nobody is home, I guess I'm losing a TV set and a bunch of DVDs... but they still have to get past the dog without getting mauled.

Moral of the story, there's no foolproof way of doing it, but just stack the risk factors up against the criminals and your chances of being the victim decrease.

Hopefully the sign works.
 

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I'm in the low-voltage profession, including alarm systems. Here is my thoughts on the matter:

An alarm system is a great way to notify you if someone has broken into your home. For me personally, I use an alarm for added protection to my family when we are home. As has been said, smash and grab while you are gone can be done before any responders can arrive to your home. I firmly believe in alarms for protecting your home and family while you are home.

The problem with the alarm systems that most door-to-door salesmen sell is that they don't provide complete coverage. For example, they may sell you a system that protects your front and back door, and provides 1 or 2 motion detectors. That isn't going to protect you much while you are at home. The reason is that the motion detectors will be off when you are at home. (Otherwise you would be setting them off all the time while you are at home...)

To really protect your family while remaining in the home, you need to have a contact on every door and window in the house. The idea is to protect the PERIMETER. You want to know if someone has breached the perimeter of your home, so you have added time to grab your gun and family and prepar.

(The other nice thing is that if they breach the perimeter and enter your home, and you can't contact 911, you can know that help will be on the way...)

So to have an alarm help you, make sure each door and window is protected, and then add some glass break detectors as well. There are really good glass break detectors that recognize the sound of breaking glass, so one detector can protect a room with multiple windows. That sure beats the old days when each window had to be covered in foil tape, or even the not so old days of putting a vibration sensor on each window.

Anyway, that's my .02
 

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swillden said:
I'd like to hear your opinions. In particular, any rebuttals to my previous (lengthy) post.
I think you post nailed the hammer on the head.

I am in the process of installing outside motion sensors and some entry point (door and window) contacts to a unmonitored alarm system. I basically just want something to beep at me at night if someone is on the property or in the house.

Most alarm systems are not armed during the day. It seems that many robberies have been happening in daytime when someone answered the door etc. Any alarm system will not help much when the kid pulling the weeds decided he wants a old lady's tv.

#1 Buy a Handgun that you Carry with you all the time (except shower)
#2 Keep the handgun quickly accessible at night. (maybe keep it on, jammy holster)
#3 Make sure your loved ones also have protection during daytime, a gun near the front door works well. (Several safe methods to deploy this method)
#4 Lock yer doors even in the daytime.
#5 Have a alarm that will get you out of bed and armed. Alarm system that works is a 2.5 pound annoying dog, pit bull, or electronic alarm.


I would personally rather invest in a $500 gun and a monthly box of ammo than a $500 alarm and a monthly "monitoring fee".
 
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