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Burglar alarms?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Petebass, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Someone broke into our house while we were at work yesterday. Needless to say we're not happy, but it could have been much worse so we're trying to be philosophical about it.

    The gut reaction from myself and all my friends and family is to get a burglar alarm. I have some questions though.......

    Who here has one?

    Has it even done its intended job and actually stopped an attempted burglary in its tracks?

    What sort of things do I NEED and what can I do without?

    Is "Back to base" monitoring a waste of money? Is an alarm that can dial my number good enough?

    Feel free to share any knowledge or experiences which may help us make an informed decision.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Robbiethebassis


    Mar 29, 2006
    You could just get one of those signs to put in your yard that says "Brinks Security" or whatever....and theres no way for an intruder to know whether you have one or not. Might save you some money.
  3. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    Leave the TV or radio on.
  4. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Get a dog.

    Or do what my family does: have absolutely nothing worth stealing in the house. Living room TV? 21" non-wide, non-flat screen. DVD Player? Costed us like $60 a few years back. You could take our VCR, though.

    Stereo system? 7 years old.

    Computer? Maybe. But it looks like junk, so they might leave it.
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    C'mon guys, can we please talk alarms.
  6. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    What kind of alarm do you want? If it makes noises and notifies the police, that's good, but the guy will likely run off by then. If it only makes noises, there's no reason to run (he won't know that, but he definately won't get caught, either). If it only notifies the police (silent alarm), then you might get shot in the middle of the night. So those probably don't exist.
  7. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I have an ADT system. The system was installed for free but I had to do a 24 month contract with them. All of my doors and windows are triggered. I did not want nor am I a fan of motion detectors. I think they are a waste. They cause false alarms and if you have cats or dogs that roam the house you will be in for grief.

    Ours is the type that gives off a loud high pitch steady ring in the house and it notifies the call center. They call the police if you don't respond to the call.

    The system works, it's not that expensive. Do I think it's worth it? Absolutely.

    I have tested it by setting the alarm and opening a door 20 minutes later and I got a call within 30 seconds from the alarm company.

    I also have a big dog. He is also a nice deterent.

    I also got a 20% discount on my home owners insurance policy by having the alarm installed.
  8. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    Well I think the noise alarm would work best along with motion sensor lights outside. Alarms that notify the police are too costly.
  9. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I work for an alarm company as my day gig for the past ten years. I have had two attempted breakins at my house in the past 8 or so months. Actually once they got the door kicked in. In both cases the siren scared the intruder off. In both cases I had signs/stickers prominently displayed. Unless the intruder was illiterate, they knew that i probably had an alarm before they tried their luck. I honestly don't think that just signs/stickers are as an effective deterent as they once were. Too many people just won't use their alarms on a regular basis and burglars have figured that out.

    A few of rules of thumb. Wireless systems suck. Avoid like the plague. ADT also really sucks. Avoid like a 300 lb. hooker with the plague and syphillis. ADT lies, will raise their rates constantly and behave in an unscrupulous manner. If you get motion sensors, don't skimp. Get the nicer ones with a large pet immunity. 90% of false alarms come from motion sensors picking up small movements that are not people. Drapes blowing when the air comes on, ceiling fans, even large moths/spiders moving around. Seriously. The extra $40 or $50 bucks for a nicer motion sensor is completely worth it. Glass breakage sensors can cover pretty large areas. Instead of a bazillion window contact or shock sensors a single glass breakage sensor in a central location can sometimes cover a couple rooms if the layout of your house is open enough. If someone cuts your phoneline your alarm won't transmit a signal to the monitoring station unless you have a cell back up unit. A cell back up involves not only an actual unit, but also a recurring monthly fee for a stripped down cell number. A cheaper alternative to the cell back up system is a phone line tamper sensor. If someone cuts your phone line, that sensor sends an alarm to the monitoring station notifying them that the alarm has been cut. This is the only signal it will send, but they should dispatch on that anyway. That being said, I don't have either on my own alarm and have no plans on adding one.

    Monitoring is worth it IMHO. You can usually get monitored for $20 or less a month. If you notify your insurance agent that you are monitored they will usually discount your homeowners at least $10 to $15 a month. Do NOT go for a monitoring station unless it is owned/operated by the company who is installing the alarm. Many companies will pay another company to monitor their accounts for them. This just in general is an added level of headache/compexity that is best to avoid. You also want to make sure that the monitoring station is local. If the alarm company is giving you a 1-800 number then it is a good bet that the alarm company is a couple states over. Mega monitoring stations suck. They cover vast areas and are easily overwhelmed if many people trip their alarms at once or during storms. Alarms can sometimes be tripped by nearby lightning strikes.

    PM me any other questions that you think of. I'll be happy to answer whatever.

    PS: A dog is also a great idea. Preferably something at least 40 lbs or so.

    PPS: I can't emphasize the avoid ADT thing enough. Seriously, AVOID THEM!!!!
  10. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Just make your house smell REALLY bad. That way would-be burglers won't have the fortitude to stay there and rob you.
  11. Robert B

    Robert B Somewhere under the rainbow Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Rittman, OH, USA
    We have Monitronics with doors wired and motion sensors. Does it work? I don't know -- we haven't been burglarized but have no way of knowing if it has deterred a potential burglar. It definitely makes us feel more secure though and I consider it a necessity. We've had a couple of false alarms but not to the point that we'd consider getting rid of it. We have the talk back feature but after 4 years I don't really see that as a necessity. However, with home invasions more common it does provide a feature I like. If under duress you are forced to turn off the alarm, by deliberately hitting the wrong key on the last digit it will trigger a silent alarm and the monitoring company is able to get on the line and listen to what's going on in the house. So if you were saying things like "take whatever you want but please don't hurt us" it would trigger an immediate response without the bad guys knowing it.
  12. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    Avoid ADT, consider Brinks, Avoid ADT, get glass breaks, Avoid ADT, motion detectors can be sized to prevent false alarms,Avoid ADT, avoid wireless, Avoid ADT, get central monitoring, Avoid ADT

    For a few years as a consultant, I enjoyed being a thron to ADT, as they had caused me some pain for while on a cabin I sold.

  13. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    I think you can get DIY solutions using X-10 motion detectors, that can dial your number if there's a problem. That way you can avoid the monthly charge. Dogs are also great.
  14. I have had an alarm system for a little over ten years. It was installed for free. Suposably "I won it". :D I think just about anyone who filled out the entry card won a free alarm system. Basically they give you a basic alarm system with hopes to upgrade it, and then of course, they charge you for the monitoring.

    As far as it doing it's job, I would say yes even though I haven't had a break in. In the past ten years or so I have had only one false alarm with the motion detector. (no pets) and three squad cars were there lick-a-de-split. My upstairs tenet was there to witness it.

    Personally I think the monitoring is worth it. The cops will get there a lot quicker (IME) than if you only had a cell phone notification. Let's face it, if you get the call you still have to get through to the cops with hopes they will send a car right a way.
  15. TK007 bass

    TK007 bass Inactive

    Jun 20, 2007
    Czech Republic
    I no have money for good alarm. my dog stay my wife to protec her from dark ones who steal house
  16. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I have an alarm. When you sign up for the service they give you a yard sign and a bunch of window stickers. I feel the sign and the stickers probably are more of a deterrent than the system itself.
  17. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Some very good info here. Thanks guys. We've had 2 guys come out to give us quotes, and another one coming out tomorrow. Your help here has made it easier to know what they're talking about.

    Keal you're right about back to base monitoring. It's going to be $33 Australian per month (a dollar a day), but my insurance premium was reduced by $14 per month, so it's really only costing $19 per month extra. We can afford that. I haven't yet asked wether their monitoring is outsourced so I'll have to find out before we proceed.

    Either way the alarm we're leanign towards, as well as back to base, will send detailed SMS text messages to us. Apparently this is better than an ordinary dialer because the messages are more specific. For example, a dialer will call you and give you the same beeps and burps regardless of how the alarm was triggered. The SMs will text you with information about wether or not it was a panic alarm, a movement decector, a window reed switch, a door reed switch, whatever. It'll even tell you specifically WHICH sensor or reed switch was triggered. I like that idea.
  18. JNowiski


    Jan 16, 2006
    most alarms you can program to have audible alarms or silent, and most you can program in panic buttons. Meaning you hold the 1 + 3 button and it calls the police, and the 1 and 7 and it calls the fire, usually peopl only add the police and fire, but you can add ambulance (which is usually pretty rare to get) you can program these either audible or silent, you could set the police one for audible and the fire for silent if you wanted, there are so many options with security systems. I used to install them before i joined the army and loved every minute of it.

    I agree with Kael about ADT. Where i live they do Sh*tty jobs in the installation. They get paid in commision, so they usually just try to install as many a day as they can, which means shotty work. They don't hide the wires well (if at all) and i've even seen some where the keypads where sideways, and it wasn't because there wasn't enough rooom to put it in the right direction. I can't say all ADT installers are bad, because i only have experience here, but i don't like the two year contract. Where i worked you could either rent the system or buy it. And the basic system was around $600-$700, but its yours forever. If you move you can take it with you and use it at your new home. And after that all you had to worry about was monitoring, which you could pay monthly or bi-yearly, or yearly and you could cancel at anytime at no charge. Plus, think of this, ADT alot of times only has a few people working a certain location, and they get there calls from a headquarters in another town, i've heard stories from people saying it took the ADT guys 2-3 weeks to get out to there home to fix the problem. I'd look into some local alarm companies, they usually have 100% better service and take much better care of you. Thats just my take.

    Listen to kael, he's been at it for a while and i pretty much agree with everything he's said. So thats two people who are fairly knowledgeble (sp?) about alarms (him more than me! haha)
  19. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Oh and by the way, we DO have a dog, a Border Collie. We bought him when we first bought the house a year ago. We wanted something big enough to be a bit of a deterent, but small enough to be a family pet. We realise now we did the wrong thing. Keep your guard dogs and pets as seperate as possible. Why? Because when we first got home and realised something was wrong, I feared the worst for my little buddy. He's part of the family now. We are sssoooooo grateful that he wasn't hurt, or worse.

    The wall at the window where they broke in is covered with his paw marks, so it looks like he gave them hell. He did his best, but he wasn't enough.

    That said, the thieves would have been working under the duress of the dog's attacks. I believe he's the reason they couldn't stay longer and steal more stuff.
  20. JNowiski


    Jan 16, 2006
    what's the wieght of the dog? I ask because they have certain motion detectors that are "pet immune" to certain weights, i think they make one "up to 80lbs" or so, but i don't know if i trust it, you'd have to ask kael. I've installed alot of the 40lbs and less pet immune motions and they've worked pretty well.
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