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Thought on alarm systems

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Jon_Snow, Jun 11, 2010.

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  1. Jon_Snow

    Jon_Snow Member

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    This may be a little OT for this forum, but we'll see.

    One of the most common phrases that seems to pop up when discussing our reactions to home-invasions is "...and I'll call 911, if I have time." There's even been some debates about whether tying up a hand with a cell-phone is a good idea or not (repeating those debates is not what this thread is about). At the same time, when recommending alarm systems, most people agree that it is the noise itself that is the best deterent and that one should avoid a monitored system because of the increased cost.

    I will admit that I don't know much about alarm systems since I'm an apartment dweller, but it seems to me that a monitored system would basically call 911 for you, hands and hassle free. I know it's not a foolproof system and I know that they wouldn't be able to supply LE with information like what you are wearing/doing to help them distinguish you from the BG, but I'd like to get some of your thoughts on this. In my mind, if someone is in my home I'd rather have LE deal with them and the ensuing criminal/legal/ethical/emotional headache that follows; so anything that gets cops to my door faster is a good thing.
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    For my $0.02 worth ...

    I have a little experience with monitored fire/security systems as we use one at work. They are prone to false alarms for various reasons and the monitoring service does not notify LEO/EMS right away. They call the alarm location and ask for passwords, etc. from whomever answers the phone. If they don't get an answer, or the RIGHT answer, they then notify the authorities.

    I've been around for maybe a 1/2 dozen false alarms in the last 10 years at a couple of different locations. I've never gotten that call back in less than 3-5 minutes. The one time I did set off a burglar alarm and hadn't been given the pass code to turn it off or the password to pacify the monitoring service, the responding officers arrived a leisurely 20 minutes later -- after a neighbor had woken up, walked down the street in their p.j.s, and shut the system off for me. :eek: :banghead: :rolleyes:

    I can't imagine a home invasion or robbery situation wherein I'd be counting on the police to do more than take a statement some time after the excitement has died down, but if I DID, I sure wouldn't want to add a few more minutes for the monitoring company to go through their routine before notifying them.

    Most likely there are better systems and worse ones, and a panic button set-up might, maybe, circumvent some of the call-and-response dance, but my experiences so far have not been confidence-inspiring.
     
  3. Jay Kominek

    Jay Kominek Member

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    I'd put some effort into finding out what the relevant law enforcement agency will even do in response to the alarm company's call. We've had them drive by our business when the alarm is going off, take a look and say, hey, no broken windows on that side, and then leave.

    If that is all my monthly alarm fee would get me at home, I don't see much point.
     
  4. menacingsquirrel

    menacingsquirrel Member

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    I've had good luck with mine (Brinks, now Broadview, soon to be ADT!). They call almost immediately. Police in 5 minutes if I don't answer (gf set off once).
     
  5. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    When we lived in Detriot for a while--I had a monitored system---the cops came within
    5 min. After 3 false alarms you got a $50 fine. Five min. was just enuf time to pick up the bodies. Most people had just a noise maker--drove me nuts.
    Forget the alarm--keep your weapon handy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. easyg

    easyg Member

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    My current alarm system....


    Roxie013.gif


    She alerts me when folks are in the yard, long before any door or window is broken.
     
  7. wishin

    wishin Member

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    Now, to teach her how to dial 911 to protect the BG.:D

    Seriously, I'm a fan of monitored alarm systems, having had one for years after the horse got out of the barn. Make sure it's set for an immediate response call and not a delayed xx seconds. Your mileage may vary with LEO's.
     
  8. mothermopar

    mothermopar Member

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    I have a monitored system for the house. I also have two Dobermans... and guns... and I live in a new, nicer neighborhood.

    Some simple 'alarms' and deterrants: even if you don't have an alarm or dog, get yourself a sign from an alarm company that you put outside your home... include in the order window stickers... get yourself a BIG dog dish and leave it out back filled with semi-dirty water (to make it looked used)... you can even use permanent marker to stencil in the name of a viscious dog... "Killer", "100 lb. sissy", etc. Go get some warning signs "Warning Guard Dog" or what have you. My dog sign is of a Doberman that reads: "I Don't Dial 911"

    There's also store-purchased self-contained (non-monitored) alarms out there.

    Crooks tend to 'case' a target before breaking in. They're looking for the easiest target with the best reward. If a turd looks and sees these signs, etc. they're less likely to 'test' your house and will likely move on to someone else.

    Other tips: lights on at night may signal you're not home. Most folks don't leave outdoor lights on at night when they are home. I leave the front light on to illuminate the cul de sac... but its up to you.

    Motion detection outdoor lights... these work fairly well to deter crooks.

    Trim shrubbery to prevent a crook from hiding behind/near them.

    Don't throw out new high-end merchandise boxes whole.. cut them up and put into sealed bags with dog crap or kitchen trash. Big boxes that say "Sony 50" LCD" on it are invitations to crooks.

    Change your routine. If someone is casing your house, they're trying to learn your habits and schedules.

    Best alarm system: a territorial dog (of any size) and alert owners.
     
  9. seldomseensmith

    seldomseensmith Member

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    "Don't throw out new high-end merchandise boxes whole.. cut them up and put into sealed bags with dog crap or kitchen trash. Big boxes that say "Sony 50" LCD" on it are invitations to crooks."

    Very, very good advice. Many thanks.
     
  10. wulfhart

    wulfhart Member

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    My experience with my company. They call the phone, if you can't answer (don't know the password) then they send the cops. Takes some time before police arrive. Then again it took 5-10 minute for the police to show up when a drunken brawl happened outside my work. Basically, you can't count on police getting there before the intruder harms you.

    The nice thing, is if for some reason you can't call the police (ie knocked unconscious) they may still show up and potentially get you to a hospital before you croak.

    I am considering an alarm, not for LEO notification, but for waking me when I am asleep. I would hate for the intruder to completely loot the house, cook a nice meal, watch TV with the volume cranked, all while I am sleeping soundly oblivious to his doings.
     
  11. wulfhart

    wulfhart Member

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    "Don't throw out new high-end merchandise boxes whole.. cut them up and put into sealed bags with dog crap or kitchen trash. Big boxes that say "Sony 50" LCD" on it are invitations to crooks."

    I totally took this the wrong way. I thought the first few times I read it that you were saying to keep your old TV boxes, but fill them with dog crap. That would be a fun little surprise for any thieves. :neener:
     
  12. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Contributing Member

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    Most alarm systems offer a door chime feature, which provides a distinctive audible BEEP pattern when a monitored door/window is opened. The door chime usually works even if the alarm isn't armed.

    I like that feature a lot...
     
  13. mothermopar

    mothermopar Member

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    Door chime is good... most systems have that as a standard, AFAIK.

    Police response differs per jurisdiction and your house locale. Residential burglaries are usually taken pretty seriously by your local PD... unless your house is the one with 1000 false alarms. Cops have 'castles' too, and don't like the intrusion anymore than you do.

    Other advice:

    Windows. Most crooks won't SMASH a window on a 'routine' job. They'll pry it open or go through an open door/window. LOCK YOUR HOUSE DOWN. I have sliding windows and a sliding patio door. I went to Lowes, got some 2nd grade 2x2 pieces of wood, measured my window/door tracks and cut to size; then place the stick in the track. So, if/when some idiot picks a lock, now he'll have to break the glass to remove the stick or muster-up a wire coat hanger jimmy to knock it out of place. *I cut mine so that I could leave a window open a few inches, and the sliding door one just enough so my Dobermans can squeeze through (more for pooping and peeing than anything else).

    Don't discount those ball and hinge locks (kind of like sturdy chain locks). You'll usually see these in hotel rooms. Just use good, sturdy, long screws into your studs.

    If you're gone for awhile, have someone get your mail/newspapers/door advertisements and check your house exterior for signs of tampering.

    Camera systems. These can be had relatively cheap and some you can view over the web, remotely. A sign reading: 'your on camera' can give some crooks the hersey squirts.

    Don't flaunt what you got. Related to the TV box idea. If you have nice stuff, make sure it isn't EASILY viewed from outside. Example: your new 1297" LCD... if its visible from outside, its an advertisement. Draw your shades.

    Cars: keep your stuff hidden. Valuables secured in a locked compartment/vehicle safe. Most vehicle burglaries are the result of a turd simply passing by and noticing a 'goodie"... target of opportunity. Sure some turds patrol parking lots (especially during Christmas), but hiding your stuff is a big step in the right direction.

    If some idiot gets into your house and effectively defeats the road blocks you've put up to keep them out, make it as hard as possible for them to get what they came for. Safes: bolt them down WELL. TV's... secure them if possible using sturdy fasteners. Make these scumbags work for what they're trying to steal. The more time they're in there, the more likely someone will notice something is wrong, and the more time for the blue cavalry to arrive.

    The tips I've been providing is a strategy known as "Target Hardening"... make your stuff and your family as tough of a target to victimize as possible.

    Thing is, most of it is 'common sense' stuff that we neglect or forget to do!
     
  14. Jon_Snow

    Jon_Snow Member

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    I guess what I'm really interested in is just a way to quickly contact 911 without too much hassle. I hadn't thougth about panic-buttons before but I like the idea and think that's probably the route I'll take when I have a house.

    Just to be clear; I wasn't advocating using the alarm in place of adequate self-defense and I know that you can't rely on the cops arriving before you need to defend yourself or your family. I would simply rather call the cops before having to use force than after. I figure the first one to call 911 and play the victim is a step ahead.

    Thanks to mothermopar for some great ideas, some of which I've already implemented and some I had never thought of before.
     
  15. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    re monitored systems: My annual service/support contract WITH monitoring is $255. I get an insurance discount off my homeowner's for a net cost of about $50. Well worth it in my opinion. and remember, its not just burglary or security but also fire, CO detection, medical emergency, and a bunch of other options I can add for a small install cost and no additional cost for the monitoring.
    I have the same type of system on a commercial property I own and the response time on the last burglary was 2.5 minutes and the perp was arrested and successfully charged and removed from the streets, atleast for a little while.
     
  16. Sir Aardvark

    Sir Aardvark Member

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    Where a monitored alarm system really shines is that it can notify the authorities of either theft or fire when you are not home.
     
  17. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    I don't know exactly how it was done, but had a customer tell me he was going to hook up the handgun safe he purchased from us and mounted next to his bed to his alarm system similar to a panic button. If the safe was opened when the alarm was on, meant he needed 911 to respond. Sounds like it could be a good idea. Not sure if it activated the alarm or just sent a signal to the monitoring company. Seems like all it would take is a switch mounted on the inside door. Could be a good backup in case you are not able to make the 911 call if needed.
     
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