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Home security system?
Old 06-15-2016, 10:22 PM   #1
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Home security system?

Well. We were burglarized today. Got home from my hour and a half walk up the hill, walked in, and there was a big blank spot where the TV used to be. They took other stuff too, the checkbook, some petty cash, and a few other things. Had to close the checking account, etc. DH is now talking about getting a home security system, but I don't know....we really don't have that much stuff worth stealing that's lying around, other than the computer and the TV. Insurance should cover some of it. I'm wondering if others have experience with home security systems, who you use, and do you consider it "worth it". If you don't, what are your top things you do to secure your house and belongings.
Feeling violated and all that, and just glad I didn't walk in on the person while they were at it. Thanks, and I hope everyone had a better day than we did.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:28 PM   #2
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I use Simplisafe. I set it when I go on my walks. I also have 10 cameras set up on the perimeter of the house.

Odds are, they were in and out, and a security system would not have done anything but ring the siren and hopefully they run away.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:57 AM   #3
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I'm sorry you were burgled. Thank goodness it wasn't a home invasion. Stuff is replaceable. But it will take some time to feel secure again.

When I bought my first home 25 years ago, my very first home improvement was installation of a monitored alarm system. The company told me that their biggest market was people who have recently been burglarized. During the 20 years I lived in the home, I never had a burglary. However, I believe my alarm system (and the stickers advertising its presence) likely prevented one. The burglars' footprints were clearly visible coming through the snow in my yard. When they spotted the alarm system, they changed their minds, climbed over the fence and cleaned out the house next door.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:25 AM   #4
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I am very sorry this happened to you...it can be a very traumatizing event. While no alarm can STOP a determined burglar, one *could* be a deterred. I too use Simplisafe and added an external siren and would recommend it. Many of my neighbors are retired or work from home and one of them is VERY NOSY, so I *know* she will look to see what's going on if it were to go off. I also have 8 external cameras and one interior...so you *might* break in my house, but I will have plenty of video footage for the police and/or news folks (who LOVE posting those videos).

As for a sign deterring a criminal, they might work, or you could be like the young couple who lived in this house...a home invader broke in, while they were home, and the man was shot in the leg during the robbery. So...the signs didn't deter that one.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:41 AM   #5
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..... I'm wondering if others have experience with home security systems, who you use, and do you consider it "worth it". If you don't, what are your top things you do to secure your house and belongings. .....
Protection of stuff....worthless to my DW and I. Warning us of intruders before we come face to face with them .... priceless.

1st house we lived in was in an ok neighborhood. Breakins then occurred in houses on either side of us and our dog went ballistic a couple times in the middle of the night. Wife couldn't sleep anymore so we installed an alarm system that covered all entry points, placed alarm system stickers on the likely entry points, placed cans of pepper spray in strategic locations, and had occasional drills on how to escape if someone entered and what to do if we couldn't escape. We slept much better.

2nd house was in a good neighborhood. Then we had a burglary of our car in our own driveway at night so ended up installing an alarm system and other protection similar to last house...all aimed at warning us of an intruder so we could escape or protecting ourselves if we couldn't...still don't care about protecting our "stuff".

At the very least, placing alarm system stickers around the windows may deter some kids from entering. But wireless alarm systems can now be very easily installed by owner in a couple hours for anywhere from a couple hundred dollars (base set and room motion sensors) on up (individual door / window sensors, cameras, etc...). The can really help one sleep at night.

For us it has been very well worth it.

BTW - barking dogs are great deterrents as well. Most thieves don't like to have a lot of racket going on when they are inside a home and will find a better target. We think that's what saved us from a break-in at our first house before alarm systems installed.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:59 AM   #6
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We rented out our primary residence for three years while overseas and our tenant had a couple of break-ins (well more likely walk-ins) while we were away so he had an alarm system installed. These were likely just local kids as nothing noteworthy was taken except a few items of clothes and alcohol. When we returned we carried it on for a year or so but finally cancelled it because it was a PIA with false activations. We also don't have much worth stealing and have been happier without the system. We also have a dog who has a good bark (no bite but the potential thieves don't know that). And of course we still have the alarm system stickers and I rigged the old security panel inside the door with a flashing red LED....
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:13 AM   #7
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Sorry to hear that you were burglarized.

This happened to us many years ago. I self-installed an alarm system for our house as a deterrent. I don't expect it to protect us from a burglary, but minimize the time and burglars will stay. I figure if they break-in and hear a noisy alarm, they're more apt to leave immediately. They might grab some stuff on the way out, but that's ok.

My only complaint with the system we have now is that I can't control it remotely. I also wish we had sensors on the windows such as korner. I've thought about replacing our current system and if I did, then I'd be tempted to go with Simplisafe. It costs $10/month, but it lets you monitor your system from anywhere and it's done over the cell network. I'd never pay extra for monitoring. Not worth it for us.
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
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Protection of stuff....worthless to my DW and I. Warning us of intruders before we come face to face with them .... priceless.
^This. The stuff around my house is replaced easily. However, knowing that someone is attempting to enter my house is VERY, VERY important to me. If someone tries to enter my home without my permission, he/she is in for a surprise...but the surprise will be pretty short since they will most likely be shot.

I also have a great dog that is nice as can be, but he gets VERY spun up when people are around the house and it sounds like he could chew your face off...so this is probably a better determent than the alarm. Incidentally, I have strict instructions for the alarm dispatch company to NOT dispatch police unless I specifically tell them or use my duress code. I don't need the cops shooting my barking dog if there is a false alarm.
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:30 AM   #9
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We live pretty far out in the country and so police would take a long time to get there. Right now our primary deterrent is a locked automatic gate with a keypad and 5 barky dogs. Neighbors are retired, and though not nosy, they'd probably notice if someone showed up during the day and started offloading stuff.

DH has been helping a friend set up a handful of Nest cameras at their little school and I think it would be nice to have something like that set up at our front door, and perhaps some kind of remotely activated alarm that we could set off to alert the intruder (and neighbors) that something is going on.

I would fear the police showing up without us there and shooting our dogs, too.

My parents had a break-in last month and the thieves took a tv, speakers, and medications. Seems like it was a quick grab, as they didn't go very far into the house. They are shaken, as you might imagine. We are giving them a new gate for Father's Day, and I hope they will keep it shut all the time. I considered a camera that could be accessed from their phones, but honestly they can barely answer the phones, let alone open up an app and access the camera.
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:36 AM   #10
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We live pretty far out in the country and so police would take a long time to get there. Right now our primary deterrent is a locked automatic gate with a keypad and 5 barky dogs. Neighbors are retired, and though not nosy, they'd probably notice if someone showed up during the day and started offloading stuff.

DH has been helping a friend set up a handful of Nest cameras at their little school and I think it would be nice to have something like that set up at our front door, and perhaps some kind of remotely activated alarm that we could set off to alert the intruder (and neighbors) that something is going on.

I would fear the police showing up without us there and shooting our dogs, too.

My parents had a break-in last month and the thieves took a tv, speakers, and medications. Seems like it was a quick grab, as they didn't go very far into the house. They are shaken, as you might imagine. We are giving them a new gate for Father's Day, and I hope they will keep it shut all the time. I considered a camera that could be accessed from their phones, but honestly they can barely answer the phones, let alone open up an app and access the camera.
My biggest concern with the alarm is the police shooting the dog part. It happens way too often and truth be told, often the police aren't fast enough to catch or stop the perps, anyway. Simplisafe was very accommodating in my request in NOT sending the police...apparently this is a fairly common request.

My DW (who is a property manager) has had two different tenants where robbers will kick in a door and watch from afar to see how long it takes for the police to arrive and then a couple of days later, they break in AGAIN and then steal stuff.
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:45 AM   #11
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Thank you for all your replies. We will look into Simplisafe, since several of you have mentioned that system. We have talked about getting a dog after the last cat dies-ha, he was pretty worthless yesterday-I told him we are going to get rid of him and get an obnoxious goose or three-he just looked at me and meowed.
Until yesterday, we had a false sense of security, living in a small town with not much crime. So we were lax. Now we'll replace doors with new dead bolted ones, always lock doors and windows even when away for short periods, and take other safeguards.
The stuff is no big deal, I agree. It's replaceable. Identity and credit card theft are the main worries. I may have had old cards in a drawer, and that kept me awake all last night. Why didn't I just cut them up? What a bonehead.
We have credit freezes at the bureaus, but I read that one should put a fraud alert as well. Lots to do today. Wish us luck!
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:54 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=FlyBoy5;1745279]My biggest concern with the alarm is the police shooting the dog part. It happens way too often and truth be told, often the police aren't fast enough to catch or stop the perps, anyway. Simplisafe was very accommodating in my request in NOT sending the police...apparently this is a fairly common request.

I can see how the shooting the dog is a concern, but if you tell the monitoring company NOT to alert the police, then what's the point of paying them 20-40 dollars a month to monitor? Or do they call YOU instead and you are usually nearby so that you can check it out yourself? Would you really WANT to check it out yourself? Seems like what you need is just the alarm system without the monitoring, so that hopefully, the thieves will bail out when the racket (siren) goes off?
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:14 AM   #13
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We had the door of the winter house broken in and tv etc. stolen. Repair of the glass french door from 1100 miles away was the bigger expense/hassle. Felt bad, and we went through all manner of planning and scheming on burglary defense.

Decided an alarm system wouldn't keep determined burglars out if we were gone or do us any good if we were in. Decided the attractive notion of policemen stopping a burglary in progress and saving us or our stuff was a fantasy. Decided we didn't care if we had a HD movie of our stuff being stolen - who needs that memento? After some days we figured out we just had to look like a less attractive target than our neighbors. To that end we went with some cheap ADT signs and a couple real obvious (but fake) cameras aimed at gate and walkway. Having had experience with some cranked up people before I know our security ruse will only deter the reasoning thieves, not the drugged up idiots, but it seemed like the best balanced response for us - we don't choose to live in fear.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:42 AM   #14
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I like the idea of motion-triggered lighting on "24 hour video surveillance" signs along all likely approaches to the house. That alone would turn back most thieves. If I was worried beyond that, I would install the actual cameras with motion-detection recording, which would also do something like turn on perimeter lights and or a trigger an audio alarm. I think waiting until they are kicking in a door is too late.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:54 AM   #15
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We live in a rural area making a monitored alarm impractical. I have a "video surveillance" sign posted at the property entrance and prominent (fake) cameras installed on the house. I also have one inconspicuous (real) game camera covering the driveway, the only approach to the house. Far from perfect but better than nothing.
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:02 AM   #16
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On another house I had an alarm system, while away the alarm went off, cops came and walked around the house. They say no evidence of a breakin.
Pretty lazy cops really.
So they fined me $150 for false alarm.
It was an animal that had fallen into the window well, and it broke though the basement window. Cops should have seen a broken window.
The groundhog had set off the alarm by ripping up the carpet at the back door as it tried and tried to get out.
I had someone trap and release the animal.
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:08 AM   #17
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Pretty scary to think you got broken into while on a walk. It seems like someone was watching your place.

One thing to be aware of is thieves often will rob you again after insurance replaces the tv with a brand new one, etc.

I like the idea of cameras otherwise a B&E is a risk free crime since cops would never take fingerprints.

We have alarm signs, I grabbed them out of the trash as someone threw them out. So they are "name brand"
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:12 AM   #18
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We use a local company (Smith Thompson) for monitoring at $16.95/mo. They are in several large cities in Texas. It's an old ADT system, which is mostly hard-wired to doors and some windows. We installed wireless sensors on all windows that weren't wired. We also have motion detectors, smoke detectors, and some glass-break sensors, but no cameras or remote/self monitoring. It uses wireless (cellular) communication, so we have no landline.

We like the monitoring service. We arm it every night when we go to bed and anytime we leave the house. We also have lots of signs, window stickers, flood lights with motion detectors, locked gates, and a loud dog. In 12 years, we've had maybe 2 or 3 false alarms. We pay a small annual fee (alarm permit) to the local police, which avoids any fine for false alarms. Also get a nice discount on the homeowner's policy, which is not available for un-monitored systems.

We had the alarm go off once while we were on a cruise ship and couldn't be reached by phone. Police were called by the monitoring people and met our daughter at the house. A rear sliding glass door had been opened with a pry bar. Evidently, the bad guys ran when the siren went off. Police and DD secured the house and that was that.

Far from perfect, but well worth the small cost and peace of mind, IMHO.
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:44 AM   #19
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Pretty scary to think you got broken into while on a walk. It seems like someone was watching your place.

One thing to be aware of is thieves often will rob you again after insurance replaces the tv with a brand new one, etc.

I like the idea of cameras otherwise a B&E is a risk free crime since cops would never take fingerprints.

We have alarm signs, I grabbed them out of the trash as someone threw them out. So they are "name brand"
A neighbor down the street said he saw a strange beat up station wagon turning around in our cul de sac with a not so attractive type person in the driver's seat. He could have been the guy. Drive around, see who's maybe not home, park, ring the doorbell, no answer, go around back and let yourself in. We think that's how it went down, but we'll probably never know. The deputy on our case said it's unlikely our things will be recovered. No biggy. Been calling on old credit cards not in use for awhile. The theme seems to be that companies close your account after a couple of years of inactivity. So I'm hoping if any were taken out of a drawer, they are not active, and can't be used by the perp.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:06 PM   #20
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I can see how the shooting the dog is a concern, but if you tell the monitoring company NOT to alert the police, then what's the point of paying them 20-40 dollars a month to monitor? Or do they call YOU instead and you are usually nearby so that you can check it out yourself? Would you really WANT to check it out yourself? Seems like what you need is just the alarm system without the monitoring, so that hopefully, the thieves will bail out when the racket (siren) goes off?
Well, the monitoring is $10 a month, not 20 or 40...and yes, they contact ME. Moreso, I know the activities of the alarm...specifically when I have a house sitter when we travel. I know when the sitter comes and goes, so if they are contracted to be AT THE HOUSE for a set amount of time, then I can verify this.

I only bring this up because we had a dog sitter who was specifically contracted to spend 2 hours a day AT THE HOUSE...and guess what? She spent about 2 minutes there each visit. With the monitored alarm, I was able to call her out and let her employer know what she WASN'T doing.

Also, as far as checking it "myself", I would certainly want to know if someone might BE IN MY house when I get home. Without an alarm (that is monitored) then I might just walk in on someone and well, that's not ideal.
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