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Our house that we'll be moving into has the Brinks security system already installed and I'm thinking about getting it activated when we move in.

Only thing is you have to sign up for three year contract and pay about $28 a month. Is it worth it? Has anyone used it?

MM
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my neighbor had his front door rammed in,thieves raised garage door, pulled a van into his garage,trashed house ,stole all their jewelry,stole their new dell
all this in a "no" crime area and during the day

want me to ask him if it would be worth it?
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Your homeowners insurance may give you a discount if you activate your alarm.
I have ADT and feel more secure at night knowing it is on. It will keep out most amateur thieves who tend to skip houses with alarms. Of course if someone wants to get in, they can bypass the alarm if they are smart enough.
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Of course if someone wants to get in, they can bypass the alarm if they are smart enough.

Or they can simply ram down the front door; raise the garage door; pull a van into your garage; steal all your jewelry, your new dell, and anything else quick and easy to grab — and drive off. It'll take a while for the alarm company to call to verify it isn't a false alarm, and for them to call the police, and for the police to actually respond.

Phil
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Or they can simply ram down the front door; raise the garage door; pull a van into your garage; steal all your jewelry, your new dell, and anything else quick and easy to grab — and drive off. It'll take a while for the alarm company to call to verify it isn't a false alarm, and for them to call the police, and for the police to actually respond.

Actually, we had an alarm system at our house in Pittsburgh. We walked through the door "incorrectly" a couple of times until we got used to it, and they were on the phone, calling the house by the time we could get to the kitchen. If the phone wasn't answered in 5 rings, they called the police.

If the phone was answered, we had a "code" word which we gave them to tell them everything was OK. To make it interesting, they accepted any word you gave them, but if it was not the correct word, they would call the police, assuming you were under duress and were being forced to answer the phone. Likewise, there was a "duress" code for the keypad, in case someone jumped you at the front door and made you disable the alarm; then you would put in the "duress code" (just one digit off from the regular code) and they would automatically call the police.

I have no idea what the going rate is, but we paid about $20 a month for the service. Since I travelled a great deal back then, it gave Mrs. Goofy peace of mind to "close up" the house at night when I wasn't there. There was also a "panic alarm", very much like a TV clicker, which she kept near the bed.
 
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Yes, that's true too. But unless they know exactly where they are going and what they want in the house, it's not so easy. Plus some alarms have external speakers, and while most people ignore alarms, they usually look in the direction it is coming from.
I dispatch for the police department and most thieves run when the alarm goes off without taking anything. A few, who know what they want and where it is, do the smash and grab.
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The guy who sold me my alarm basically told me it was a good thing to have if your neighbors have one. He said a thief who's looking for a random "easy" house will be more likely to skip one that's labelled for being alarmed. (I live in a pretty dense neighborhood.)

He was also quite clear that if someone wants in your house in particular, an alarm system isn't going to stop them.

If I'm to believe him, they can, under some circumstances, be a deterrent. They don't guarantee you protection against anything, though.

-lizmonster
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Is it worth it? Has anyone used it?

We have ADT, pay about the same.

It depends on what you get for your $28.00 dollars I guess.

I get a discount on my Homeowner's policy because I manintain the monitoring.

If I am away from the home, and the smoke alarms go off, and there is nobody around to answer the phone when the alarm company calls, they call the fire department.

If the house is broken into, and there is nobody to answer the phone with the alarm company calls, they call the police department.

The thief could cut the phone line, preventing the police from being notified, but it would take hime 20 minutes to find the circuitry that is pumping 120 dB of gawdawful noise outside, and my neigbors are a nosy bunch...

Then their is the emergency medical option, where I have two transmitters, one upstairs, one downstairs, that when activated will summon an ambulance.

Is the peace of mind I have knowing all those people are looking out for me worth it?

It is for me. The only person that can decide the answer for you is you.

JMHO, of course.

v/r

Michael


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Only thing is you have to sign up for three year contract and pay about $28 a month. Is it worth it? Has anyone used it?

The reduction in your insurance will almost pay for the monitoring. My system, which is probably similar to yours, has worked flawlessly for four years (not a Brinks system though) and knowing that all the smoke alarms are connected to it with a battery backup system means never having a smoke alarm fail you when you need it most.
- Frank
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The reduction in your insurance will almost pay for the monitoring.

Not correct, but a good thought.

Having had to claim over $4,000 lost in a burglary and having experienced pistol whipping and being shot at in an armed robbery, I prefer a monitored alarm system with a panic button/switch - and only wish to rely on Sig Sauer and Colt's Python, if all else fails.
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The reduction in your insurance will almost pay for the monitoring.

Not correct, but a good thought.

This discussion has intrigued me and I'm now thinking about getting a system. NoIDAtAll - is there a general percentage savings you could ballpark for us? I could call my insurance company and ask, but it's just not something I feel like doing tonight.

Thanks,
Erin
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is there a general percentage savings you could ballpark

around 5%, on average - 15%, at most.

If you have it, it's worth getting the discount.

It's worth a lot more in peace of mind and avoiding having to turn in a claim.
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The reduction in your insurance will almost pay for the monitoring.

Not correct, but a good thought.

This discussion has intrigued me and I'm now thinking about getting a system. NoIDAtAll - is there a general percentage savings you could ballpark for us? I could call my insurance company and ask, but it's just not something I feel like doing tonight.


I saved $237 on my insurance (for intrusion and smoke alarms; save about 5% for each) and I pay about $290 for a years monitoring. Your results may vary.
- Frank

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The reduction in your insurance will almost pay for the monitoring.

Not correct, but a good thought.

Your results may vary.


True. You need to check before assuming anything.

I have asked twice now about what it would save me on my HOI if I hooked up to a monitoring service. Wouldn't even pay half of what the monitoring cost - and I have a $230,000.00 house in an area where that's a substantial amount to pay for a house.

*sigh*

I wish that wasn't the case. Hope you have better luck.
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I saved $237 on my insurance (for intrusion and smoke alarms; save about 5% for each) and I pay about $290 for a years monitoring. Your results may vary.
- Frank


There ya' go - If I were to tell someone (most people) that their Homeowners Insurance, here, will run over $2,000/year, most would spit at me and kick me in the groin. ;-)
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We don't have an alarm system, but perhaps we should consider one.

Our house is in a small, quiet town, on a small, quiet street, with severl retired neighbors that are out and about during the day. Oh, and my neighbor across the street works for the sherrif's department. So I have felt save. (But interesting, that neighbor has an alarm on their house!)

Oprah had a show on burglary and it made a good point -- an alarm system is only good if you USE IT. And, for maximum safety, you should use it WHEN YOU'RE AT HOME as well as when you're away.

She interviewed a retired burglar who said that most people with alarm systems don't bother to have them on when they're at home -- and that a burglar could easily slip in undetected when the owners are there. (In a two-story house.)

I honestly believe that the McMansion subdivisions may be higher targets for crime than our sleepy little village. I have heard of rapes in the summer in some of the newer subdivisions. Now that's scary.

Now thinking about an alarm system --- but personally, I don't like them, and thankfully, have never been a crime victim.

FYI,
KBecks
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The guy who sold me my alarm basically told me it was a good thing to have if your neighbors have one. He said a thief who's looking for a random "easy" house will be more likely to skip one that's labelled for being alarmed. (I live in a pretty dense neighborhood.)

I'm thinking it might be sufficient to just buy the labels! :-)

dt
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...security system already installed and I'm thinking about getting it activated when we move in.

It is likely that the security system is still working but if you don't pay for the monitoring it will just sound the alarm but not call anyone. If all you are concerned about is scaring off the burglars when you are not at home this may be enough. The house will likely have a brinks sticker on it that will also dissuade burglars.

If you have pets check to see if the sensors are set up to not have the pets trigger false alarms.

Greg
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If I were to tell someone (most people) that their Homeowners Insurance, here, will run over $2,000/year, most would spit at me and kick me in the groin.

BTW: I do need to find a market for a guy with a $700,000 farm and 6 property claims in the last 5 years - some heavy, others not so. The Illinois FAIR Plan Association will take the house and garage - but won't touch farm buildings and the Excess and Surplus lines markets I've tried, so far, don't want it because of the claims. His prior carrier non-renewed, even though he says he asked if they would take it with a $10,000 Deductible. Anybody got any ideas?
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Security systems may provide peace of mind, but are often not effective deterrant or detection systems. Most thieves know how to bypass or work around most commercial systems. Personally, I would not spend the money. If I really thought I had to have a security system, I would put together my own, so it wouldn't be obvious to the thieves how to disable it.

An interesting side note - studies have shown that the alarm system stickers are about as effective as the actual security system. Think about it - the thief doesn't know if your system is active or not. If she or he is willing to break in anyway, they probably know how to disable the system or plan to be gone before there is a response to the alarm.
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But unless they know exactly where they are going and what they want in the house, it's not so easy.

According to my local police department, most burglars are in the house less than a minute. People tend to put their valuables in expected places. For example, a quick run to the master bedroom will almost certainly yield some jewelry, silver in the dining room, etc.
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The thief could cut the phone line, preventing the police from being notified, but it would take hime 20 minutes to find the circuitry that is pumping 120 dB of gawdawful noise outside, and my neigbors are a nosy bunch...

Probably more like 10 to 30 seconds for a pro - who is likely to identify the horn location before entering the home.

Another burglar trick - intentionally trip the alarm. Go away. Come back an hour later, after it has been reset, and trip it again. Go away. Come back an hour later. Now that the alarm has been turned off for falsing, enter the home.
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According to my local police department, most burglars are in the house less than a minute..

Not taking into account the added benefits of Alarm monitoring like medical emergencies, and fire, I'd still pay.

And incidentally; about robbing a house in under a minute....

I just ran from my front door, up the stairs, into the master suite, directly to my wife's jewelry (which is NOT where someone would normally look) back down the stairs and to the front door.

35 Seconds.

Unless you know EXACTLY where what you are looking for is, and skip the rest of the house, you ain't getting squat off me.

Nope...sorry...but for the peace of mind, safety of my family, and the insurance discount, I will continue to pay for my monitoring.

v/r

Michael

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Probably more like 10 to 30 seconds for a pro - who is likely to identify the horn location before entering the home.

That would be strike two...the horn is completely hidden, and it takes me 5 minutes to get to it...and I know where it is.

Folks; one size does NOT fit all.

The OP asked for opinions.

Give your opionion, and press on; but trying to dismiss another's personal experience with "facts" you are making up as you go along does nothing but detract from your credibility.

v/r

Michael
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I just ran from my front door, up the stairs, into the master suite, directly to my wife's jewelry (which is NOT where someone would normally look) back down the stairs and to the front door.

35 Seconds.

Unless you know EXACTLY where what you are looking for is, and skip the rest of the house, you ain't getting squat off me.


That's true - like you, I'm not an experienced burglar ;-)

But then, an experienced burglar probably wouldn't take 35 seconds to travel that route.

But you raise a great point - put your valuables in unusual places. If the burglar can't find them quickly, they likely won't take them.
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Probably more like 10 to 30 seconds for a pro - who is likely to identify the horn location before entering the home.

That would be strike two...the horn is completely hidden, and it takes me 5 minutes to get to it...and I know where it is.


Is it battery backed up? Will it operate from the battery when the burglar kills the main power shutoff to the house?

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a criminal ;-)
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Is it battery backed up? Will it operate from the battery when the burglar kills the main power shutoff to the house?

Why yes, in fact it is...someone told me I was foolish for adding that option too.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a criminal ;-)

Actually, I usually attribute more intelligence to anybody I may come in contact with; you tend not be so surprised that way.

And being a pessimist, I expect the worst out of people, and when someone proves unworthy of my lofty expectation of them, I'm gratified to know that once again, I was right.

v/r

Michael

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Is it battery backed up? Will it operate from the battery when the burglar kills the main power shutoff to the house?

Why yes, in fact it is...someone told me I was foolish for adding that option too.


I think you were wise for adding that option. If you are going to go to the expense of something like an alarm system, why skimp on the features? Adding battery backup, in particular, would seem to make the system much more secure.
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the horn is completely hidden, and it takes me 5 minutes to get to it

Mine is not hidden, but I'll be damned if you can get to it - above the second floor where you need a really long ladder - 20'

This is another heat pump tirade.
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Is it battery backed up?

Of course it is - even cheap systems have battery backups.
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Is it battery backed up? Will it operate from the battery when the burglar kills the main power shutoff to the house?

Ummm... I've never seen a professional alarm panel (Caddx, Napco, etc) that wasn't designed for battery backup. In fact, I think they automatically trip if you DON'T have a good battery on them.

joe
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How about going in through the garage? Isn't that a vulnerable point in the house? I was thinking about getting Brinks just so I'd have the added comfort of knowing someone wouldn't attack me when I'm going to my car in the morning.

But maybe I'm being paranoid.
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But you raise a great point - put your valuables in unusual places. If the burglar can't find them quickly, they likely won't take them.

A good friend experienced a house burglary some time ago in which, after the perpetrators got their jewelry, coin collection, elaborate 35 MM camera, etc., they broke a couple of doors on a teakwood piece of furniture, apparently climbing to see what might be in the vases on top of it, they pulled the cushions off of the couch, they went through the freezer, they pulled pictures off the wall, opened the oven door, overturned tables and chairs - all common uncommon hiding places. They stuck with small, high value items - left the TV and VCR. Apparently, they had watched some of the same TV shows many have.
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But then, an experienced burglar probably wouldn't take 35 seconds to travel that route.

Yep....Carl Lewis just broke into your house.

IF
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A good friend experienced a house burglary some time ago in which, after the perpetrators got their jewelry, coin collection, elaborate 35 MM camera, etc., they broke a couple of doors on a teakwood piece of furniture, apparently climbing to see what might be in the vases on top of it, they pulled the cushions off of the couch, they went through the freezer, they pulled pictures off the wall, opened the oven door, overturned tables and chairs - all common uncommon hiding places. They stuck with small, high value items - left the TV and VCR. Apparently, they had watched some of the same TV shows many have.


I assume they didn't have an alarm sounding.

Had there been some loud alarm going off, they never would have taken all that time.
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Is it battery backed up?

Of course it is - even cheap systems have battery backups.


A lot of systems don't have battery backups, or have ineffective backups. It's a tradeoff, a result of differing philosophies. For example, IMHO an effective backup would trigger the alarm if the power were cut - but in an area with frequent power outages, that would result in a lot of false alarms.
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A good friend experienced a house burglary some time ago in which, after the perpetrators got their jewelry, coin collection, elaborate 35 MM camera, etc., they broke a couple of doors on a teakwood piece of furniture, apparently climbing to see what might be in the vases on top of it, they pulled the cushions off of the couch, they went through the freezer, they pulled pictures off the wall, opened the oven door, overturned tables and chairs - all common uncommon hiding places. They stuck with small, high value items - left the TV and VCR. Apparently, they had watched some of the same TV shows many have.


I assume they didn't have an alarm sounding.

Had there been some loud alarm going off, they never would have taken all that time.



That would be true - They had a monitored alarm system installed after the burglary - Kindof like locking the barn door after the horse has left.
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Two words: big dog.

A fire alarm, a burglar alarm, a bodyguard, and a friend all in one package. :)
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Two words: big dog.

A fire alarm, a burglar alarm, a bodyguard, and a friend all in one package. :)


An alarm system is less troublesome. You don't have to feed it, walk it, pick up its poop, or take it to the vet. It doesn't chew up your favorite shoes or barf on the family room carpet.

IF
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You don't have to feed it, walk it, pick up its poop, or take it to the vet. It doesn't chew up your favorite shoes or barf on the family room carpet.

Diana?

Is that you?

Sorry, but those were my ex-wive's exact words when she kicked me out...

I was rather put out about the poop thing...granted, the toilet seat issue still eludes me, but I'm at least potty trained.

;)

v/r

Michael

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An alarm system is less troublesome.

Won't love you back though. All relationships are troublesome.

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Won't love you back though.

That's okay. My leg could use a rest.

IF
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Two words: big dog.

According to the Superthief book, a big dog dish (ie like the size of a childs wading pool) with an appropriate name on the side (eg killer) can be a good deterent. He mentions a variety of techniques for bypassing dogs - drugged steaks, a rabbit (distracts them), quiet means of killing them, etc. Mostly he said that the dogs didn't bother him - a kind word and a dog biscuit dealt with most of them.

If you want a dog without the hassle of a dog, x10.com sells the robodog - a device that can be triggered by a motion sensor or any other x10 device and sounds like a viscious barking dog. BTW, they also make a pretty decent alarm system for about $100. It's available with a dialer (so it can call out itself) or in a monitored version.
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Two words: big dog.

My father's Belgian Shepherd (like a German Shepherd, only blonde) was killed in a B&E. The thief picked up a big decorative vase in the hallway and smashed it over the dog's back, breaking it, then took what he wanted.


scary
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Two words: big dog.


Agreed - Dogs can provide good security. Security companies and police use them, in part, for that purpose and reason.

They are also regarded by the insurance industry as an added and, perhaps especially in homeowners insurance, an unacceptable additional liability exposure. Presence of Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Chows, Dobermans and, to a lesser extend, depending on training and/or temperament, German Shepherds, and dogs with a bight history results in rejection of applications by many Homeowners Insurance companies under their underwriting guidelines, with rare, if any, exceptions made. Some insurers will accept policies, if the specified dogs are caged within a double-row fence separated by 3' to 4' between the rows of fencing - but their effectiveness as a guard dog is considerably diminished thereby, and some companies will accept policies with a dog bight exclusion signed by the Insured... but the market you can purchase insurance through is considerably reduced and you will likely jump through a hoop or 2.


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The thief picked up a big decorative vase in the hallway and smashed it over the dog's back...

That's very sad. Such criminals should be executed, IMO (I draw the line at violence of any sort).

However, if the dog was a good guard dog the thief never would have made it to the vase. That said, he could just as easily have shot the dog. So dogs are not fool-proof. However, everything I've ever read indicates that most thieves will skip a house with a dog, even if it's just a little yippie chihuahua.

1poorguy (prefers Danes)
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This may have been posted already, haven't followed the whole thread, but here it is.

<snip>Fifteen minutes after bedtime, the alarm went off. Three minutes after the alarm was triggered, the alarm company alerted the police to the situation and 10 minutes later the first police car pulled up to my home, but only after another call was made to 911, by a trembling, half-naked father. I suppose some would have grabbed their children and cowered in their bedroom for 13 minutes, praying that the police would get there in time to stop the criminal from climbing the stairs and confronting the family in their bedroom, dreading the sound of a bedroom door being kicked in.</snip>


http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-letter22.html

The link may only be good for a few days.

cl
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meowmixx,

You wrote, Our house that we'll be moving into has the Brinks security system already installed and I'm thinking about getting it activated when we move in.

Only thing is you have to sign up for three year contract and pay about $28 a month. Is it worth it? Has anyone used it?


Congrats on the Hot Topic.

I think an alarm system is certainly a worthwhile investment. Monitoring maybe marginal depending on where you live. I think it's worthwhile where I live.

I was paying ADT about $28/m until recently. I also own my own system. ADT decided to raise the rate to $32/m, so I shopped the service around and got a rate of $20/m plus tax. ADT offered to match it; but I declined because I figured they would just raise the rate back in 6 months. You know, I would pre-pay the entire 3 year contract, if they would give me a nice, deep discount. Maybe I should ask them.

- Joel
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Little comfort, since the invader now had keys to our home and our automobiles.

So, if the guy knew that the thief had his house keys why didn't he get the locks changed? Insanity I tell you.

Erin
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FWIW, it is certainly true that a truly professional burglar can bypass the type of security system that most of us would likely be able to afford for our homes. However, the overwhelming majority of burglars are not professionals in the sense that they are knowledgeable and experienced about such things. Burglars who are that professional are breaking into the homes of multi-millionaires known to have large sums of money, jewelry, furs or artwork (or else they're working for some government agency).

Most burglars will only approach a residence that they believe to be unoccupied in the hope that they can break in unseen, quickly grab whatever easily portable valuables they can find by searching VERY QUICKLY and then get out without being noticed.

I think that security systems can be very valuable (my wife and I just had one installed in her mother's house), especially if they are VERY LOUD when set off. Burglars hate noise. If you decide to get one, make sure you put the stickers on all the doors and ground floor windows to warn any potential burglar that you have an alarm. Why? Because if a burglar has a choice between breaking into a house with an alarm system or a house without an alarm system, he's going to choose the house without the alarm system. He's looking for the easy target, not the hard one.

Whether or not you decide to get an alarm system, things you can do to deter a burglar (besides getting a big dog) are:

1. Have several lights on timers that go on and off randomly (i.e, varying within an hour or so of a set time) to give the appearance that someone is home.

2. Have an outside light on that illuminates the back door and the front door. Also, have any particularly vulnerable outside area covered by a sonar (motion detector) spotlight. Aside from noise, burglars also hate bright lights. The cost of the electricity is cheap compared to the security it provides.

3. Pay the extra money to have decent locks installed on all doors and window locks (the kind that only let the window open a few inches) installed on all first floor or easily accessible windows. Some types of window locks are very easy to release from the inside (hence, no fire hazard), but impossible to reach from the outside without breaking the glass. Can the burglar break the glass?? Sure, but since he'd rather not, don't make it easy for him.

The bottom line is that you are trying to "target harden" your residence to make it harder to rob than someone else's in hopes that the burglar will move on to easier pickings. Nothing will absolutely protect you from being robbed, but all of the above will help to prevent it as much as one can reasonably expect.

– Jay
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I just came over here from Hot Topics -- it's an interesting discussion, to be sure, but a lot of it to me seems to be about psychology. Does it offer you peace of mind? For me, it doesn't.

I worked fire/rescue in a major metropolitan area [a decade ago], and from the perspective of seeing the response to these alarms, I almost certainly wouldn't pay for the monitoring. They were responded to differently -- not in a less timely manner, but with fewer people, because it was assumed to start with that it would end up being a false alarm. If an automatic home fire alarm went off, two firefighters would show up at the house. A home alarm for an in-progress burglary would bring one cop [I think]. It wasn't until someone got there and confirmed that it was real that they'd send out the response level that the first telephone call from a human being would bring. (I never experienced the mention someone had of an "under duress" response from the alarm company -- almost always, no one was home.)

False alarms were such a problem that they started fining offenders, after you got the first one or two for free.

I can't recall a single fire or injury during my days there where we were notified via alarm system.

To whether they deter theives? That wouldn't require paying the monthly monitoring cost.

-- Laura

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A home alarm for an in-progress burglary would bring one cop [I think]. It wasn't until someone got there and confirmed that it was real that they'd send out the response level that the first telephone call from a human being would bring

And since most people use the alarms when they are not home, how would you say they are going to make that call?

And if it is the neighbor who is going to make that call, why would the neighbor not make that call anyway?

I guess I would rather have one cop show up than none, and two firefighters than zero.
 
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I'm with Jay. We have the battery backed security system, stickers on windows and doors, alarm co. signs on both sides of the driveway so they won't miss it - and one at the top. Motion lights all around the house, high up on the peaks front and back,and a big dog, a golden retriever that is gentle but doesn't like people approaching the house - even barks at our neighbor if he doesn't show his face often enough! That's another thing....we have perimeter dog containment and have the sign right next to our security company sign at the end of the driveway, so they KNOW we have a dog before they ever drive up. Since our walkout basement is under the deck on the side of the house, in addition to a motion light on the peak, we've added a motion light on the wall, and security film on the doors. And while we're on the subject of doors....sliders, no matter how sturdy, can be lifted out of the track. Simple pins that go through both doors will prevent both opening and lifting them out. One thing that I didn't think of was our garage. When we moved here, we had no shades on the door or the window. It was a routine call by a repairman, saying that he looked in the window to see if our car was there that sent me to Home Depot to purchase simple shades. Our garage door also has a sliding lock on either side which makes it impossible to lift with our without power. We use those when we travel since, as mentioned before our security co. told us most burglars enter from the garage, fill the truck and then drive away. Hope this helps everyone think safety! Buffie100
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Most burglars will only approach a residence that they believe to be unoccupied

That certainly used to be the case, but my understanding is that breakins of occupied dwellings are becoming much more common. Seems to be all we hear on the local news.
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I said: A home alarm for an in-progress burglary would bring one cop [I think]. It wasn't until someone got there and confirmed that it was real that they'd send out the response level that the first telephone call from a human being would bring.

And Goofyhoofy replied: And since most people use the alarms when they are not home, how would you say they are going to make that call?

And if it is the neighbor who is going to make that call, why would the neighbor not make that call anyway?

I guess I would rather have one cop show up than none, and two firefighters than zero.


You do have a point here, which is that with an alarm system, at least someone finds out that something is going on, and will call for the people they need. The fire alarm would, indeed, probably vastly reduce the amount of damage to your house if you weren't home at the time, because it could be caught before there were flames going out the windows or the acrid fumes of house-fire in the air. It just seems that, if the police saw evidence of a break-in and called for backup, they'd be entering the house just in time to dust for prints.

-- Laura
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rsp wrote:

That certainly used to be the case, but my understanding is that breakins of occupied dwellings are becoming much more common.

I'm here to tell you thats true. Lost about $500.00 and my favorite 2 D cell mag light. Fortunately no one hurt.

I've found since that time that S&W makes a good burglar deterrent tool which carries no recurrent monthly costs. It's easy to use, has very little lag time and is extremely effective in a home environment. I highly recommend it to any one living in an urban or suburban environment located near a high population center.

cl
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If I'm to believe him, they can, under some circumstances, be a deterrent. They don't guarantee you protection against anything, though.

I work in law enforcement, and part of my job is to do security audits of buildings. As far as crime prevention goes, having a security alarm is never a bad thing.

Most of the time thefts are crimes of opportunity, the thief is looking for the easiest target available. I work at a University, we have plenty of bookbags stolen out of our libraries because people simply leave them unattended while they go to look for a book, run to the restroom, or (and I swear this is true) leave for a few hours to go to class and eat lunch, which gives thieves more than ample opportunity to steal the bookbag. Most thefts are preventable if you eliminate the opportunity, and a security alarm will remove the opportunity for most thieves.

However simply buying an alarm and turning it on isn't enough. You also have to take other precautions, such as making sure mail/newspapers don't pile up while you're on vacation, having your lawn mowed or snow plowed if you will be gone for awhile, changing locks when you first buy a house, taking care about whom you give access codes and keys to, own a dog, etc. The object isn't to make your house a fortress, nobody wants to live in a prison, but you do want to make it as uninviting for theives as possible.

Frankly if you have an alarm and they can't tell if someone is home or not, a thief will most likely look for an easier target. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so do all you can to prevent thieves from having any opportunity to victimize you.

Mike
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which carries no recurrent monthly costs.

I often read in the newspaper about a homeowner who was convicted of shooting a burglar and sentenced to many years in jail. Worse, I often read that the gun was stolen in a burglary, or used against the homeowner. Even worse, I read about homeowners that shot the neighbor or their own child, thinking it was a burglar.

Sadly, there don't seem to be any easy or clear answers on this subject.
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I often read in the newspaper about a homeowner who was convicted of shooting a burglar and sentenced to many years in jail.

Colorado has a "make my day" law - you can kill people who break into your house and not get into any legal trouble. I believe you have to prove that you felt your life was in danger (so you can't kill your spouse you just locked out if they break a window to get back in). Even if the burglar doesn't have a gun, you can shoot them dead.
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I believe you have to prove that you felt your life was in danger

That's the usual criteria-you can shoot someone to protect life, but not property,in general. Problem is, courts and juries may reach a different conclusion than you did on whether your life was truly endangered. Something to thing about - it seems that almost every time the police shoot someone, they are accused of shooting them improperly. Some of those shootings surely are justified and necessary,it would seem to me.
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LLRinCO,

Colorado has a "make my day" law - you can kill people who break into your house and not get into any legal trouble. I believe you have to prove that you felt your life was in danger (so you can't kill your spouse you just locked out if they break a window to get back in). Even if the burglar doesn't have a gun, you can shoot them dead.

Under the old law, you had to feel you were in danger AND you had to be cornered (that is, you had to have no reasonable way to flee) before you could use deadly force. Also, you had to use the least practical force. People who defended themselves and then chose the wrong words to say were getting in trouble, so lawmakers decided to change things.

Under the new law (often called "make my day") you don't have to be cornered, and you don't have to show that you felt you were in danger. If there's an intruder inside your house, you can use whatever force you feel is necessary to protect yourself or others. You are presumed to be justified in your actions.

Phil
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1. I have two dogs. I didn't get them for security, I got them 'cuz I wanted pets. They have the playful bark they use with me, but when the doorbell rings or they see someone "suspicious," the bark is very different, and more than a little scary. If someone were intent on breaking into my middle class home, I'm sure they could circumvent the dogs just like they could an alarm, but the two dogs put my house in, like, the 95th percentile of hassle to rob.

2. If just the doors and windows are wired for alarm if opened, think of this:
-Most homes have walls with siding, 1/2" of plywood, insulation, and 1/2" of drywall between outside and inside. If you can squeeze through the 14.5" space between wall studs, you can get through a wall.
-Most homes have roofs with shingles, tar paper, 1/2" of plywood, insulation, and 1/2" of drywall between outside and inside the living space. If you can fit through the 14.5" or 22.5" space between rafters, you can get through a roof.

3. An alarm would frighten off a rational thief, but maybe not one who was high. A gun or dog would be of use against either. Since I don't care to have a loaded gun around my small children (and an unloaded one isn't much use), we're back to the dog discussion.
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