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Security system - Unmonitored or Monitored?
Old 09-01-2016, 04:10 PM   #1
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Security system - Unmonitored or Monitored?

There have been some recent breakins in the neighbourhood so have given some thought to getting a security system of some type. The current organic one is probably the most effective but if we travel with the dog she won't be able to fulfill her duties.

I'm not sure if paying for a monitored system makes a lot of sense since the bad guys are probably gone long before the cops would show up. A simple alarm system would seem to be an effective deterrent since the crooks don't want any attention and would likely leave sooner if an alarm is sounding than if one is not. But I'm looking for more empirical data and also suggestion on what makes the most sense since nowadays we have wireless cameras etc that can be used. So I hope that there are some good opinions out there.

We do have the basic security, good deadbolts, window locks etc but they can be defeated by pros pretty easily I know.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:42 PM   #2
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Consider a security company sign, perhaps? I've heard that can be a deterrent, as many will just move on to what looks like easier pickings.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:45 PM   #3
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I'm a retired police officer. Alarm calls are viewed as a PITA call because 99.9999% of the time it is a false alarm. In 18 years on the street I remember two that were not, and we ran at least two or three a day, often more. In only one instance was the burglar, a stupid teenager, still there in the store.

Some police departments do not respond to alarm calls at all any more because of the false alarm rates. Others have instituted fines for too many false alarms. Rest assured that if the police where you live still respond to alarms, they're not going to be in a hurry.

If you pick up that I hate alarms and the alarm companies you're right. I don't have one, and wouldn't give those scumbags a nickle of my money. But I do have good locks and lighting, and no issues yet. The idea is to make your house a harder target and look more unattractive to break into so they'll go to a neighbor's instead.

Sort of like when two guys hiking encounter a grizzly bear and one starts running. The other says "What are you running for? You're not going to outrun a bear." The first one says "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you!"
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
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If you have a smartphone and wifi at home, an option is to install a couple of cameras, like the Nest, that will give you an alert when detecting motion.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:55 PM   #5
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We have an alarm. I like it mostly for sleeping so I know I'll be awakened if someone did come in. I like having the alarm sign too. I have thought about putting up some cameras or maybe even dummy cameras. Good lighting seems important. Plus just keep your doors and windows locked. It seems that so often the crooks go through unlocked doors.

We have had ADT for 20 years through USAA. It was $22.99 for 15 years and been $25 for the last 5. Not too bad for basic "protection."
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I'm a retired police officer. Alarm calls are viewed as a PITA call because 99.9999% of the time it is a false alarm. In 18 years on the street I remember two that were not, and we ran at least two or three a day, often more. In only one instance was the burglar, a stupid teenager, still there in the store.

Some police departments do not respond to alarm calls at all any more because of the false alarm rates. Others have instituted fines for too many false alarms. Rest assured that if the police where you live still respond to alarms, they're not going to be in a hurry.

If you pick up that I hate alarms and the alarm companies you're right. I don't have one, and wouldn't give those scumbags a nickle of my money. But I do have good locks and lighting, and no issues yet. The idea is to make your house a harder target and look more unattractive to break into so they'll go to a neighbor's instead.

Sort of like when two guys hiking encounter a grizzly bear and one starts running. The other says "What are you running for? You're not going to outrun a bear." The first one says "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you!"
I'm sure you have a point about the burglar alarms, but I'll stick with mine because it also provides 24/7 monitoring of fire alarms, as well as CO alarms. As it turns out, this likely saved our necks about a year ago, when our gas furnace had a crack and delivered carbon monoxide into our home.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:00 PM   #7
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Put a security sign out front in the yard and forget having a company monitor the system.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:19 PM   #8
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Agree with Walt34. Had a monitored system once and the false alarms were a pita for US, and the pd finally started charging. Have known police who confirm the low priority of alarm calls. By the time it goes off they can run in and grab some goodies and be gone. I've never been broken into but the the sense of violation is what everyone speaks of.

We have a lot of signs in the hood but no system.

What I'd like to do is devote my old but still good iMac and some cameras. Three cameras strategically located outside on my house, with motion sensor and light coming on at night, seems to me to be the best way to deter even an attempt at break in. I just haven't gotten around to it. I know one technique is to knock on front door to see if anyone home before breaking it; if they see the camera I'd bet they'd move on. Anyone deploy anything like this and have any product recommendation for cameras?
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:25 PM   #9
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Little off topic but....

If you need a locksmith be sure to get a local legit locksmith. Long story but I needed to let my son in our house and he had no key. Googled for locksmith, got a couple of dudes he said looked sketchy. Turns out they just put a hydraulic jack between door and jam and spread it far enough to get door open. Did some damage I was not happy about. Son said he later saw an article in NYT warning about 1-800 numbers for such service.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:27 PM   #10
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No security system. Please help yourself to any of my junk. If I'm home you will be shot.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
Put a security sign out front in the yard and forget having a company monitor the system.

I agree this is a good start. You can buy signs and stickers on Ebay for $20.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:09 PM   #12
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Look at Fortress Security systems. You can either have them monitored or not. Like mine that's not monitored.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:11 PM   #13
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I would not pay for monitoring. A system from this company (or someone similar) can be bougt for a couple of hundred dollars, you can install it yourself (wireless sensors, etc), and you can even have a camera in the system to take pix/videos of what is going on (and for use by the cops later). It will call your phone if there is a breakin. Yes, you can even get CO detectors, fire alarms, water detectors (probably useful for an unattened vacation home). Easy on-off with a key fob.
If I'm at home during a breakin, the siren and lights will get me out of bed and into action. If I'm away and get the call, I can call the police myself, maybe give them some context. I don't see the advantage of monitoring (though, you can get it with this same company if you want). Doing things this way is much cheaper and more portable than ADT, etc.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:43 PM   #14
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In the past forum threads some folks have recommended Simpli Safe
Home Security Systems from SimpliSafe

You can install it, and turn on monitoring when you are away, and when you are home you can turn off monitoring as there is no contract.

What I would like, is some tiny cameras, sort of like trail camera's that I could hide and would take photos of the bad guys, because the police won't ever catch the person since they don't dust for prints.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:38 AM   #15
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We have a monitored system and a camera system that I installed that emails me upon motion. Not sure which one is best. I'm pretty sure that the monitoring co signs and my exterior cameras are a detterent. Anything that deters a would be thief is a good system. The key is to make your place more difficult to rob than someone else's.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:37 AM   #16
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We have a monitored system in Arizona, Safeguard. Gives us a sense of security especially at night. Although, it probably works best during the day as most burglaries happen then. If the alarm goes off burglars know they only have a few minutes to get away. This would greatly reduce any loss or damage,probably. Really need something like this as we are away for long periods of time.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:56 AM   #17
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As said above: install Simpli Safe or Fortress. Both will scare off 98% of the druggies that bust in your door, and:

DON"T LEAVE VALUABLE STUFF IN YOUR HOUSE (Coin collections, large amounts of cash, expensive jewelry, art work, etc).

Let them have your TV's and other cheap electronics like computers/printers. You probably need new ones anyway! This is why you have insurance.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:22 AM   #18
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If you have a smartphone and wifi at home, an option is to install a couple of cameras, like the Nest, that will give you an alert when detecting motion.


Am interested in this option. Is nest a good choice or are there others to consider instead?
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:44 AM   #19
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Am interested in this option. Is nest a good choice or are there others to consider instead?
There are always options.

I started with a Nest thermostat and then moved on to the cameras. I plan on more home automation, but am approaching it carefully. Here are a couple of threads you might find useful.
Streaming security cameras
Home security system?
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:39 AM   #20
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We had a system that called 3 neighbors. And it was a reciprocal relationship so reliable.

If we triggered it by mistake, we would call the first responder to inform them. I had 2 callouts. One was triggered by a failed sump pump. It had tripped a breaker. I reset the breaker and observed it pumping for 10 minutes successfully. When my neighbor returned I suggested that it might be time for a new pump.

The other callout was triggered by someone trying their patio door. I found a present has been left inside the nearby BBQ. And when he got back we tightened up the patio door so it would not trigger an alarm while locked.

We did have our garages burgled. Nothing expensive lost but after that we always locked our cars. A neighbor lost his brief case with cell phone and papers.
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