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Talk to me about home security systems (I was robbed)

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Talk to me about home security systems (I was robbed)

Old 02-03-06, 01:20 AM
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Talk to me about home security systems (I was robbed)

I bought my first house back in August '05. I have done some work on it with upgrades and renovations. It is looking pretty nice and I like the home. With the home comes major purchases of course. I bought me a nice TV, furniture, surround sound, etc.

My work requires travel a good amount of time. My usual schedule is work at client site from Monday-Thursday and work from home on Friday. Well I come in today and notice that all my kitchen cabinets are open. I first think it is my roomate who was up to something. But then I second guess myself and go look in my living room. My tv, surround sound & ps2 are gone. The whole room is a mess. I then go to my room and everything has been tossed in all directions. Same thing goes on in all the other rooms. The house is trashed and I can not tell what is missing other than the major things. Of course the cops were called and took a report. He found the point of entry being through a bathroom window where the burglar(s) pried the window open and crawled through.

I never thought of my place being robbed since it was right next to a major road, but I was completely wrong. So now I come for advice of the otters. I want to know about security systems. What company is good? What kind of things should I look for when pricing things out? How about installation? I live in GA and I know there are some local security shops here, but don't know much about them. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks
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Old 02-03-06, 01:32 AM
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I don't even know if an alarm would do anything tbh, if the thief wants something bad enough they'll still come get it, although taking away a tv and stuff like that requires a sizeable vehicle.

It sucks, and I'd feel violated..

Hope you had insurance, as that's the most important thing more so than home sec system, others will have other opinions no doubt.
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Old 02-03-06, 01:47 AM
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Gun. Big Gun. Preferably with "Vaporize" mode.
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Old 02-03-06, 01:58 AM
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^but thats only if the owner is home....

We have one, but i don't remember the name. somehwat outdated. we had it installed on our house when i was 5 or something.
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Old 02-03-06, 02:00 AM
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I have mine on a simple, elegant string system. It's all automatic. I just hope the robbers don't carry scissors with them.
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Old 02-03-06, 03:21 AM
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I think ADT is still the biggest, but I have no personal experience at all. The main thing you need to look into is response time. Find out how long it takes for the monitoring company to call the cops, and how long it takes for the cops to get to your place. If you're on a main road it shouldn't be very long at all, and make sure the address is visible from the road.

Something you might think about is a lighting system. There are some really elaborate ones out now, you can set it to to off and on at random times all day.

I hope you had insurance, too!
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Old 02-03-06, 08:14 AM
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I have ADT
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Old 02-03-06, 08:23 AM
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whatever you do-
don`t get a big dog....no dog can stop a break-in from a pro
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Old 02-03-06, 08:23 AM
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I agree with BadlyBrokenBoy -- if somebody wants something, they're going to get it regardless.

Have other homes in your neighborhood been hit?
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Old 02-03-06, 08:40 AM
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While this is true the thing to do is to make your house more problematic to get into than the next one (sucks for your neighbor though ). I would look at replacing all the outside lights by the doors (and if you have any post lamps) w/ automated dusk-to-dawn versions. Additionally look at putting in floodlights w/ motion sensors on some of the corners/sides of the house that may be blind spots. I know a lot of people hate the ads/pop-ups/spam when you get involved w/ them but getting some of the x10 lamp modules and one of the timer/clocks (to switch lights off and on when your not there) might be helpful too (although w/ a roommate[1] maybe there is enough of a lived in look while you are gone). If you want to go w/ a full blown alarm system I would recommend ADT. I know a couple of people who have them, including myself, and so far I've heard no complaints from anyone.

If you are not there a lot I would probably not recommend a gun (unless you want to carry it w/ you for personal protection [like when you are in a hotel]) or a dog, the two usual recommendations when this thread/topic comes up.

[1] Where was he during the breakin?
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Old 02-03-06, 08:48 AM
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1st - you need to contact your insurance agent and ask for information about how to protect your home. They will have a ton of good ideas. Visit the web site of most major companies will also give you a ton of ideas.
2nd - ask your agent/company what discounts they offer for alarm systems and what is required to get the discount. Most insurance companies offer a discount if you have an alarm, but they my require things (like all doors/windows protected, centralized monitoring, etc).
3rd - contact your local police to report to crime,
4th - when you contact the police ask them if they have a program to assist you in protecting your home. Many (most) major cities have a program where a police or representative will actually come to your home go through a check list with you (cut bushes, lights, types of locks, etc). If you do everything on the list, they give you a certificate that may also get you a discount on your homeowners insurance.
5th - take a good inventory of your personal property including photos/video and give a copy to a family member or put in a deposit box
finally - count yourself lucky that you or your roomy were unharmed.
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Old 02-03-06, 08:49 AM
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I considered getting an alarm system for my home, but in Milwaukee the police no longer respond to alarm calls, so it would be next to useless. Well, I suppose the alarm company could call me to let me know someone was stealing all my belongings, but I'm not much of a crime-fighter.
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Old 02-03-06, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GoVegan
I considered getting an alarm system for my home, but in Milwaukee the police no longer respond to alarm calls, so it would be next to useless. Well, I suppose the alarm company could call me to let me know someone was stealing all my belongings, but I'm not much of a crime-fighter.

It'll obviously cost a little more but some companies should have a private response they can send out. Kind of odd they don't respond at all any more... that seems like a lawsuit in the making if someone is pressing the panic button because of an intruder and the police refuse to respond
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Old 02-03-06, 08:54 AM
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jadasion, sorry to hear what happened. It can happen anywhere. When I lived in Buckhead near Chastain Park a female roommate was mugged in the carport and then two months later someone ransacked our house (this was 10 years ago). It was a horrible feeling of being violated

Anyway, I probably live fairly close to you. Near 285 and Memorial Dr. This can be a yucky area and I'm glad I have an alarm on my house. Yeah, it's true that people will break in anyway if they have the desire, but I'm pretty sure with an alarm blaring they won't be taking their time to go through the whole house. I'm sure ADT and Brinks are good companies, but I would not hesitate looking for a cheaper alternative. Clark Howard hates those guys for their prices and contracts. I took his advice and went with a local company that only charges $12.50 a month for monitoring when paid a full year at a time. Just a little more if you want to pay monthy. The company is Security Center of Georgia.

http://www.securitycenterofgeorgia.com/

Not much of a website, but I am totally happy with their service. I think they contract out to another monitoring service (?). Every time our alarm has gone off for more than a few seconds we receive a phone call. One time we were out of town and I got a call because our front door opened (I didn't shut it completely... duh). Got a call from the monitoring company AND the police. ADT wouldn't have done any better than this.

One note, my house was brand new three years ago and was prewired. But the installation was basically free except for the equipment that I bought ($350) and own. I'm not renting it.

Whoever you decide to go with, definitely look for a lower price without any kind of contract.
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Old 02-03-06, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by nemein
It'll obviously cost a little more but some companies should have a private response they can send out. Kind of odd they don't respond at all any more... that seems like a lawsuit in the making if someone is pressing the panic button because of an intruder and the police refuse to respond
They started that in Dallas for businesses only I believe. They only respond if a crime has been "confirmed". I read where one alarm company may start installing cheap video cameras at homes (at a cost of course) so they can tell they police they could see someone.
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Old 02-03-06, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
They started that in Dallas for businesses only I believe. They only respond if a crime has been "confirmed". I read where one alarm company may start installing cheap video cameras at homes (at a cost of course) so they can tell they police they could see someone.
Yeah, that's exactly how it is in Milwaukee, but for everyone. If my alarm goes off AND a neighbor happens to see the burglar entering my home and call the police, then a squad car will be dispatched. I guess they claimed there were too many false alarms and it was costing the police department too much money.

The video camera thing isn't a bad idea for alarm companies, really. I'm sure their business was hurt quite a bit by the dropping of police support.

I guess I could look into a company which does private response. My girlfriend is really the one who's interested in an alarm system, though. I'm just not sure it would be worthwhile.
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Old 02-03-06, 09:38 AM
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Unless they have something personal against you or specifically know of something you have that they want, burglars are going to go for the easiest target. That's why things such as good locks, dogs, and alarm systems are usually good enough. While a dog may not stop a determined burglar, a barking dog or loud alarm will probably usually encourage one to move on to another target.
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Old 02-03-06, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by GoVegan
Yeah, that's exactly how it is in Milwaukee, but for everyone. If my alarm goes off AND a neighbor happens to see the burglar entering my home and call the police, then a squad car will be dispatched. I guess they claimed there were too many false alarms and it was costing the police department too much money.

The video camera thing isn't a bad idea for alarm companies, really. I'm sure their business was hurt quite a bit by the dropping of police support.

I guess I could look into a company which does private response. My girlfriend is really the one who's interested in an alarm system, though. I'm just not sure it would be worthwhile.
They still will send a patrol car but it's not priorty and if it's a false alarm they charge you I think it's 50 for your first time.
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Old 02-03-06, 10:37 AM
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Make your home as unappealing a target as you can. Put motion-sensor lights by the doors, install doubled-sided deadbolt locks (you need a key on both sides, there's no knob to turn -- check your local fire codes, though), and secure your windows. Your local police department or the company you carry homeowner's insurance with should have some resources you can investigate.

I live alone with my three cats (so am I alone?) and the guy who tries to break into my place will have a fight on his hands. I have a Fox police lock on the inside of my door to hold it shut. Of course, this only works when I'm home -- I can't deploy it while I'm out. But at least I won't be waking up to find a seven-foot-tall burglar standing over my bed some night. I hope.
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Old 02-03-06, 10:38 AM
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I have been looking at installing some sort of video camera system with DVR. If someone is going to take something - they have to come to the house with a car, truck, or van. An Alarm would do nothing except alert your neighbors to look out the window, but the DVR with video camera could capture the car with tags, and plate #.

I priced one out and 4 cameras with DVR is like $1,500.

google cctvdynamics
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Old 02-03-06, 10:45 AM
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I'm sorry to hear you got robbed. Once, I caught a robber who was trying to break in while I was still at home (he ran away when he saw me, he was getting in after breaking the kitchen window with a crow-bar) and it took me a while to feel safe again at home. Getting top-notch locks and a deadbolt helped.

Or you could go the "Home Alone" route and booby trap your house with marbles and miniature cars...
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Old 02-03-06, 11:12 AM
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I have ADT. Here in Madison, the police do respond. You get three free false alarms within any 12 month period and after that they start charging you. We have never come close to being charged.

As someone said, if someone wants something of yours bad enough they will probably find a way. The way I see it though is that most burglars are not the smartest people around and are just looking for something easy. An alarm system (that you put up signs for; some people just put up the signs without the system) is a deterrent that will usually work because there are easier places to rob without alarm systems. Plus it gives me some peace of mind. We also get a little off on our homeowner's insurance although it doesn't come close to covering the monitoring charges.

Last edited by movielib; 02-03-06 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 02-03-06, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ.
I have been looking at installing some sort of video camera system with DVR. If someone is going to take something - they have to come to the house with a car, truck, or van. An Alarm would do nothing except alert your neighbors to look out the window, but the DVR with video camera could capture the car with tags, and plate #.

I priced one out and 4 cameras with DVR is like $1,500.

google cctvdynamics
Unless of course they take the system too
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Old 02-03-06, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
Unless of course they take the system too
Na- they sell a lockbox that the DVR goes into - you bolt the lockbox to the floor (like you do a safe)

But I had to ask them if they sell a lock box. Most people don't buy it and just put the DVR in the bedroom or livingroom.

But I think that most robbers are not that smart and wouldn't know how to trace down where the cable is running to.

So I asked the sales guy "where do most people lock the DVR up?" he says "They are a little bit weighty, and look like an electronic component"

I thought to myself - This is exactly why you should lock it up!!! Most theives would think that a heavy peice of electronic equipment is worth some $$
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Old 02-03-06, 01:02 PM
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All of these companies still require a landline phone, correct?
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