Topic Author
Posts: 1259
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 7:31 pm

Home Security Systems Advice

Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:57 pm

Hi Everyone,
I'm wondering what you all think about Home Alarm systems and Home Security overall. I live in a typical surburban town but am starting to wonder whether I should upgrade our home security (Non existent at this time). Here is a basic overview of the situation:

Quiet town, but people do steal cars regularly. A lady was murdered in her home down the street from us 18 months ago. No sign of forced entry, and she was going through a bitter divorce at the time. They never found who did it.

Our house is surrounded by woods, which teenagers like to frequent to do drugs and drink. There is one access road to the place. My concern is where there are Drugs, Crime will follow. The police will take about 10 minutes to get here in event of an emergency.

The house is your basic American Split Entry albeit modified to look nicer to some extent. We completed renovating it last year, and my father insisted on putting this Glass front door in with a cheesy Baldwin lockset. Any idiot could smash this door and walk right in.

The garage side door is your typical Steel door. It has a basic lock on it. There are two other methods of access through our Andersen doors on the deck and below, but they have a nice 3 point locking system in them. The glass is double glazed in them.

No current alarm or security in place. Before our Security was Obscurity, but the renovation has changed that somewhat. Also my parents are elderly and not in the best of health, so they wouldn't put up much of a fight. I'll be traveling alot from the New Year and I'm concerned about leaving them at home alone.

I know how paranoid I sound, but my uncle's house in England (of all places!) was broken into twice fairly recently. All of my neighbors have home security systems. My neighbor across the street has a German Shepard which is even better. Another has this crazy alarm system that lights up the place like a Christmas tree anytime someone comes near the place. People do know I'm not home alot and that the house is occupied by an elderly couple.

So what do you think? At the minimum I was thinking of putting in an Alarm system plus passive locking devices on all four places of entry I mentioned. I know the best way to defend a home is through layered Security, but of course I'm not a professional.

Feel free to call me crazy or tell me to chill out. It's just one of those feelings I can't shake..

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RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:03 pm

I share your feelings 100%, you're not crazy (or at least we both are). I'm no security expert, therefore I'd suggest to call a security company. Get more than one opinion and get different quotes, I'm sure there are trained professionals out there who know what's the best thing to do in your area.

Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
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RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:04 pm

And add to that Brinks Home Security System. I know several folks with Brinks and they feel quite comfortable with it. I do not have an alarm on my condo . . . unless someone is going to scale a wall or gain entry into the security building by other means, I don't think it necessary.
Topic Author
Posts: 1259
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 7:31 pm

RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:26 pm

Thanks Everyone!

I doubt anyone would be crazy enough to rob your place. Talk about a bad idea! I've often thought about keeping a small pistol, but of course that would require training and a Gun license. Given I live in MA I don't know about hard that is to get.

Thanks again for your comments!
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RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:16 am

Plenty of burglaries are prevented just by having good lighting around a house.

Install halogen lamps with a PIR sensor which detect movement/heat and light up. Burglars don't like doing their trade under 500 watt floodlights. A serious robber won't go there as many houses with floodlighting also have a linked video capture system nowadays.

The lamps are cheap enough and shouldn't take long to wire up.
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RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:31 am

* We have an ADT system, which is OK and I think is one tool.

* We're replacing all the windows in our house this spring, primarily for energy efficiency purposes, but also it will improve the level of security insofar as unbreakable windows and hardened 4 point locks on the windows to prevent exterior unauthorized access. They're expensive, but will pay for themselves in terms of energy savings and peace of mind. Plus, our house has massive windows on both front and backside, so it's a good investment in the house.

* Firearm. Nuf said.

* Exterior lights. We have soft house-illumination that really brings out the look of the house, but they are augmented by motion-detector floods.

* Dog. Again, nuf said if you're a dog person. Built in security system and a buddy.

* If you have a garage, change the remote combination. Some news station here did a feature in which they took a half-dozen or so of remotes right off the rack and drove through neighborhoods clicking the remotes. They had a LOT of success in opening other people's garage doors!! Change it now and do it infrequently.

* Lastly, and this cannot be understated, get to know your neighbors and become close friends with them. Look over each other's yards, keep an eye open, etc. You know, kinda like back in the day when people were neighborly and stuff.  Smile
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RE: Home Security Systems Advice

Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:37 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 5):
* We have an ADT system, which is OK and I think is one tool.

Whatever you do, don't get ADT. We cancelled them after 20+ attempts(phone, letter, registered letter, letter from attorney, etc.) to get them to change our service address after a move. They did a great job of setting up the equipment in the new house, had no trouble changing the billing address(anybody surprised here), but were completely unable to change the service address.

After all of these attempts, I was 1000 miles away on business when we had a real prowler peeking in the window - My wife did the right thing and hit the panic button causing ADT to dispatch the police to our old residence several miles away. Obviously not particularly helpful.

OK, so I call ADT and ream out every manager I can find and am assured that the matter has been resolved. Next night(maybe two later, it's been about 8 years) same thing happens. At this point, I ream them out again, tell them in no uncertain terms that they can cancel the contract, I'm not paying them another cent, and that if they're smart they'll just let it go at this point. I follow this up with another letter from our lawyer and we all assumed that this was the end of it as they did not respond to us or to our attorney.

Next chapter, about a month ago we indirectly get a collection notice from the SOBs. It was addressed to our old house and somehow got delivered to my parents' house about two miles away. I call them up for another ass reaming session and the CSR cheerfully asks me "This is for the service at 3809 ..... right?" Yes, you guessed it, they still to this day have the service address wrong despite the fact that she found some of our letters and the letter from our lawyer in their file. I ask for their legal/risk management department and am told that they can't transfer calls there - convenient.

She promises to get me a call back the next day. I tell her I'll believe it when I get it but don't find it very likely - this offends her. Well, I was right - still have not received the call from them so we're going to have to sue the idiots to get this off our credit report.

So, if you do use ADT - never, repeat never, take the service with you. Better yet, get service with somebody else. Of course, if you do, they'll probably buy them within a year anyway.

As to what we did about security after cancelling them, wasn't much of an issue - I took a job out of state about a month later and we moved to a place where locks weren't needed, much less alarms and have stayed with this plan since.
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