Author Topic: Your thoughts on monitored security systems  (Read 19421 times)

Offline dheisner

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Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« on: December 22, 2009, 07:50:50 AM »
I couldn't find any other place to put this on the forum, so I figured I would post it here.

I just got a visit from ADT telling me that they will be happy to monitor my home for so much a month and by the way, they busted a crack house on such and such street (not too far away) and crime is on the rise in our neighborhood.

While I think that they are using fear as a sales tactic, I'd like to know your thoughts on monitored security systems. 

We have guns and a dog.  I'm not sure we need more than that. 

Your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!

Offline OC Celtic Lass

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2009, 09:28:03 AM »
dheisner, new member welcome here! Boy, are you going to learn much here! And the crowd is great!

Everyone pretty much believe they live in a quite neighborhood and a safe environment. We did. We live in such a neighborhood condo in southern Orange, CA. Till I got on the community board of 151 units. Oh my goodness! We have many neighbors, who we find out after they move there is a whole production of drugs in their condos. And much, much more things as we see a break down of society.

Monitored systems are great if you have a home that is too big to hear the other end of the house or if you are gone alot. Yet, I believe a gun and a big dog that will growl when you are gone is a great security system in it self. Burglars have stated that they will go to another house if the one house they chose has a dog that growls. Hey, that is good advise from a burglar! Of course they run to another house if an alarm goes off too. So, if your dog is small and does not growl, all you need to do is set up your own system of a simple alarm, just to make noise. Some people have simply put a security sign in their yard to detour burglars. (I don't know about that one.) We do not have a dog yet. We have a two story home and cannot hear if someone breaks in down stairs. That is BAD! We either need a big growling dog or an alarm system that makes noise. We need it now too! Good luck.


Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2009, 09:33:17 AM »
I would get an alarm system, but I wouldn't pay to have it monitored. My system is not monitored and I still get a break on my homeowners ins. A loud audible will scare them off and a big dog inside too.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2009, 10:49:16 AM »
Oh heck.  I thought it said "Your thoughts monitored on security systems" and I was expecting to read about new brain-scanning technology at security checkpoints!  I guess that's not until next year.  8)

I've never had one of these systems.  Two thoughts...

  • How does the system connect to the central office?  Can your Bad Guy disable it by just cutting the phone line?  Is your phone connection exposed in one of those boxes on the side of your house?
  • What will they actually do when they receive an alert?  Will they phone the police every time?  Do your local police bill you for false alarms?  If they don't phone the police every time, how do they decide that?

Offline kiteflyer

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2009, 10:58:11 AM »

 You can buy a cheap 30.00 dollar silent phone line alarm to your cell phone on the cheap and can even hook up a horn.Try e-bay.

                                 kiteflyer

Offline dheisner

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2009, 01:27:14 PM »
I forgot to tell you that there is an old ADT system already installed, so we already have motion detectors and a few other odds and ends.  We also still have the ADT stickers on the windows.  I'm wondering if they don't even have an alarm in the attic somewhere.  Guess it's time to climb up through the hole and find out.

BTW, the dog does growl.  She is a pussycat, but I would bet money that she would take out an intruder if she thought we were threatened.  We think she is some kind of lab/retriever mix.  Very smart dog!

Thanks for all the great feedback.  I look forward to hearing more from you guys. 

I'm loving the podcasts, by the way.  We are quite fortunate to be relatively prepared compared to most.

Offline Serellan

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2009, 01:49:32 PM »
I have an ADT system.  When I was looking at upgrading my gunsafes to better models, I decided to take the $$ and instead install a security system, including a motion detector in my gun area.  With my insurance savings, the monotoring only comes out to $7 a month (also get a USAA discount), and for me the thing I like about the monitoring is that it includes fire monitoring, increasing the department response time from i fire alarm if I'm not home.

I also like the "distress code" that you can put in in case you are being coerced to turn off the alarm, which will issue a silent alarm and immediately call the police.

Offline Gadget

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2009, 02:32:51 PM »
One thing to be aware of with monitored systems, the lag time between activation and the police getting a call can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. I have been on alarm calls before when the alarm reset and we tripped it again while checking the property and the alarm company finally calls dispatch up to 30 minutes later to notify us of the activation. I have little faith in the alarm companies.

Offline OC Celtic Lass

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2009, 02:41:34 PM »
One thing to be aware of with monitored systems, the lag time between activation and the police getting a call can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. I have been on alarm calls before when the alarm reset and we tripped it again while checking the property and the alarm company finally calls dispatch up to 30 minutes later to notify us of the activation. I have little faith in the alarm companies.
gadget, interesting. Reminds me of the commercials. Oh yeah, break in happens, alarm is going off and service calls you, "Is everything all right, Mrs. __________?" Yeah, we could have called 911 and talked to the dispatcher our selves. Unless we weren't home?

Offline survivininct

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2009, 08:20:23 PM »
Monitoring is good if you have a good security monitoring company.  The one I use calls back in like 30 seconds.  ADT is a huge company, has many many accounts, and is a rip off.  Shop for a local company that does their own monitoring or even the internet for some do it yourself places.  I have even heard of some TCPIP monitoring over the internet. Monitoring can be as low as 100 bucks a year - ADT will cost you that much for 3 months or less.  If your system is ADT now, they may have it locked with a code that will make it impossible to move to someone else without changing the panel.  Not a huge expense, but a PIA..

Yes, monitoring is done over the phone lines, so cut lines equals cut monitoring.  Some systems monitor the line and sound something (alarm or trouble) if the line goes down, but that is somewhat useful only if you are home.  Radio and cellular type backups are available as well.

Alarm monitoring companies will do what you tell them to do.  Usually a fire or burglary alarm prompts them to call the house or other contact numbers.  IF no one answers or knows the magic code, they call the authorities immediately.  

Monitoring can save your house in the event of a fire, and that makes it worth while in itself, IMO.

I did a series of podcasts on security systems if you want more info.  www.hofpodcast.com  #40

« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 08:22:29 PM by survivininct »

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 10:51:18 PM »
The company makes all the difference.  We have a monitored security solution with a local provider.  I've tested it many times (as well as our Line Crew running out the doors during outages and not disabling the system).  The average call back time to me (We have it set to call me since I have remote camera access) is 45 seconds (I view the cameras and verify if anyone is on site, then notify them to dispatch police or not).  If they do not reach me or get voice mail on my phone, they roll the call the the General Manager (this takes an additional 45 seconds after the ringout which could be 15 seconds or so).  If they fail to reach him they dispatch the police.  Total time from alarm to police call is around 3 minutes.  Then the police typically arrive in another 3 1/2 to 4 minutes (We are only a 1/2 mile (2 stoplights and one turn) from the police station and that helps.

We had ADT before we switched and they were much slower.  7 to 10 minutes on initial alarm call and up to 25 minutes before we had cops on site.  Twice the ADT operator failed to dispatch at all when the didn't reach me or the GM.   

Best bet it to talk to some of the local businesses who have signs in their windows (Protected by ADT, PERMAR, etc) and see what their experiences are. 

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2010, 03:08:38 PM »
Police response greatly depends on where you live.  I'm involved in the security business and can tell you with certainty that MANY police departments refuse to respond to residential alarms.  The amount of false alarms dwarfs actual break-ins.

Those that do respond to residential alarm prioritize them to low.  Typically, a car blocking your driveway is more hastily dealt with than your house alarm.

Offline fndrbndr

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2010, 03:27:18 PM »
I have some experience with ADT. One of my friends got robbed, and they put in ADT, and kindly referred them to us. We did the paid monitoring for the term of our contract and then dropped the monitoring. They kept offering to cut the monitoring rate to ridiculously low levels to try and keep our business ($15, then $13, then finally down to like $8 a month, if I remember right).

We never had a break in, but had a few false positives. ADT seemed to always be slow to respond to those.

We still have the ADT sign in the front yard, and that seems to be as big of a deterrent as anything. Sure, a crook could call our bluff, but my guess is that they will just try to find an easier place to rob where they don't have to take the chance.

Having NRA stickers on your vehicles is also a deterrent...no thief wants to get shot/killed. My belief is that, like the mountain lions, they will search out easier prey.

We still use the un-monitored alarm system...it's still a deterrent and no one else knows it isn't monitored (except for you guys now!). Can you keep a secret? :)

Offline 96Charlie

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2010, 04:15:24 PM »
You can reduce the possibility of cut telephone lines the hard way (which I did, then undid) or the easy way (which I ultimately did).  The hard way is to spend $200+ dollars for a vault and tube which covers the wires and the "connection box".  After blasting some huge holes in my siding and making myself crazy trying to align and mount the stupid vault it occurred to me that I could do much the same with a good padlock (for the box) and 3" aluminum conduit (base buried).  The result isn't bulletproof but the bad guys would spend so much time and make so much noise getting to the wires that I think they'd move on.

Offline Serellan

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2010, 11:55:49 PM »


Having NRA stickers on your vehicles is also a deterrent...no thief wants to get shot/killed. My belief is that, like the mountain lions, they will search out easier prey.

Or they will know you have guns in your house and wait until you leave to break in and steal them.

Quote

We still use the un-monitored alarm system...it's still a deterrent and no one else knows it isn't monitored (except for you guys now!). Can you keep a secret? :)

This I agree with.  In fact, in my last house, I couldn't afford a security system, so I just bought signs.


Offline Stein

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2010, 12:39:43 AM »
I have a house alarm with obnoxiously loud hailers on the inside and outside - plus three neighbors on three sides that know to call the cops if it goes off for more than 10 seconds or immediately if I am gone.  In my book that is the best method as I don't have to worry about the phone lines or what guy making minimum wage is taking a leak when it goes off.

I look at security in layers, that is the second to last layer.  The last layer goes BANG.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2010, 06:21:00 AM »
Yeah that to good or at least nosy neighbors.  I have neighbors on 3 sides that call the police if anyone in the neighborhood even blinks wrong let alone someone strange is in the area.  They are great, door to door salesmen get razzed within minutes. 

Also a great guard dog, not much to look at (little Jack Russel puddin mix) but she has the most viscous evil sounding growl you'll ever hear and if you come within a 50 feet of the house she knows it and goes off like a death siren (Funny to hear that big scary noise coming out of such a friendly little 15lb dog).  I'd take 1 of those over a dozen rotts for a guard dog.  (Hell of a lot cheaper to feed too :) ).

When we put PerMar in at work for the alarm system they gave us a bunch of stickers for windows and such.  I brought a couple home but never got around to putting them on.  I'll have to dig em up and put them on soon. 


Offline fndrbndr

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2010, 08:06:51 AM »
Or they will know you have guns in your house and wait until you leave to break in and steal them.

Agreed! Definitely a possibility...

Offline JGreene

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2010, 07:41:34 AM »
Woof... ;)  My little girl has a 'guard dog bark' that would increase the pucker factor about 10X  I do believe she's smart enough to know when somebody is univited.

Offline survivininct

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2010, 03:33:35 PM »
Woof... ;)  My little girl has a 'guard dog bark' that would increase the pucker factor about 10X  I do believe she's smart enough to know when somebody is univited.


+1 on the girl - she looks like she can be both the meanest thing - but also a real sweetheart! I had a friend with a Lab and he would bark like mad till he figured out it was me, then he would lick myself and my old dog to death! 

Offline 19114life

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2010, 03:58:59 PM »
I put the system in my house and its not monitored.  In my 10 years expirence of installing security systems, I have found that the police wont make it to your house in time to catch somebody.  I have my system set up with (3) 120 DB sirens and 6 of the interior lights turn on when it goes into alarm.  You can be very creative with the new alarm systems.

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2010, 04:24:24 PM »
ADT is a rip off, the subcontract to other facilities that monitor. Most do a good job, but you can find the facility and get the service for half the price.

Offline 19114life

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2010, 04:57:02 PM »
On that note if you do want your system monitored, you can have http://www.watchdogsuperstore.com/   monitor it for 8.95 a month thats alot cheaper then any security company around.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2010, 05:14:42 PM »

I would get an alarm system, but I wouldn't pay to have it monitored. My system is not monitored and I still get a break on my homeowners ins. A loud audible will scare them off and a big dog inside too.


This is what I plan on doing at my BOL.  It would take the police 15 minutes or more to get out there if the place were monitored.  Monitoring adds several hundred in installation costs.  Then there is the monthly monitoring fees, which would be $45 a month since I don't have a phone line at my BOL and they would need to install a cellular monitoring system.

I will probably have a loud audible system without monitoring.  I have a full-time neighbor and the alarm is pointed at his place. 

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2010, 11:42:57 PM »
I have my alarm here in Dallas monitored, with a cellular connection for 16.95 / month

Offline Dawgus

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2010, 05:08:44 AM »
 I've dealt with ADT at work for many years, and they are the biggest PITA of all the other companies I have worked with. (fire not always burglar) I've called them to put systems on test mode, and still get the FD called. When the local inspector wants it left on and the alarms tested, I've seen it take TEN MINUTES to get a call into the fire station. They have monitering centers all over the US, and even some OVERSEAS. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want someone from Turkey or from another state trying to call my local PD or FD. No thanks.

 I've had better luck and service with smaller, more local companies. They're better to get service, and easier to get to answer any questions I have had. In one instance, a small company went so far as to locate the person who actually installed the system, and had him come help me with a problem. THATS service!

 I don't have a system in my home, but when the time comes to move I will have burglar and fire installed when I also install a home fire sprinkler system. I never thought I would even think about one. I've always had the same "I have 5 dogs, a 12guage and a 45" attitude, but times are a changin' and things just arent the same. We not always home, the wife is sometimes alone, and 3 of the 5 dogs will do nothing but lick ya to death. I'd rather feel a bit safer than worry about the house.


 Keep in mind that home security is a big business. The big boys give away free full systems then charge for monitering. The actual material and parts to install are fairly cheap, but the money they make in monitering is astounding.  A place I worked for had a fire sprinkler and an alarm division. At the time, they charged $20 a month for monitering and the actual cost to them was $5. They had over 1200 local contracts. Thats 1200 x $15 profit=$18,000 each month! The monitering center was local, but I imagine if it wasn't, the price may have been even cheaper. And here I am cranking pipe wrenches....I'm in the wrong business!!

Offline JGreene

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2010, 08:07:08 AM »
I could see the burglery is kinda pointless, it would depend on response times.  Fire though, could be worthwile.  Unless you where self monitored via cell and web cam or something like that.

Offline survivininct

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2010, 07:50:32 PM »
What - ADT is a great deal!  Just got a flyer from them.   For only $100 installation fee - you get a FREE alarm consisting of a cheap panel ($100. max), two door contacts ($3 each), a  motion detector (2/$39 with a free screwdriver), a smoke detector ($49), a couple stickers and a basic keypad.  Of course, you have to sign a multi-year contract at $35 a month, but that is nothing.  Just a grand or so - for your free alarm!!   :D


Offline chrisdfw

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2010, 10:54:20 PM »
What - ADT is a great deal!  Just got a flyer from them.   For only $100 installation fee - you get a FREE alarm consisting of a cheap panel ($100. max), two door contacts ($3 each), a  motion detector (2/$39 with a free screwdriver), a smoke detector ($49), a couple stickers and a basic keypad.  Of course, you have to sign a multi-year contract at $35 a month, but that is nothing.  Just a grand or so - for your free alarm!!   :D


I would never have an alarm that depended on a motion sensor. I have the alarm to give me warning for when I am home as much as to help when I am not home. My system has contacts on every entry point (100% brick exterior) and glass break sensors for the windows, much better than motion because it is always armed. I might add a motion sensor too, if it can be separately armed or disarmed so everything else can stay armed.

Offline JGreene

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Re: Your thoughts on monitored security systems
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2010, 07:18:30 AM »
I would never have an alarm that depended on a motion sensor. I have the alarm to give me warning for when I am home as much as to help when I am not home. My system has contacts on every entry point (100% brick exterior) and glass break sensors for the windows, much better than motion because it is always armed. I might add a motion sensor too, if it can be separately armed or disarmed so everything else can stay armed.
Not sure I understand your logic here.  I understand having each access monitored, but what's wrong with a motion sensor instead?  It could still be used when you're home (alarm downstairs motion when we're in bed upstairs).   For me, I have several dogs, so I'm not to fancy on a motion sensor.