Do Alarm Systems Really Work?

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  #1  
Old 12-06-09, 08:08 PM
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Do Alarm Systems Really Work?

If the activity of the Electronic Alarms and Home Security Devices forum is any indication a lot of people are spending a lot of effort, time, and money on them but do they really provide any security when you aren't homes. A quick check of the net tells you that up to 95% of the alarms are false and knowing that the police give very low priority to responding. Ex burglars interviewed on TV say the signs and alarms are no deterrent because they know they will be out before anyone responds. In fact I have heard some say they will choose the house with the alarm because it may mean there is something worth protecting and people with alarms tend to be more lax about things like locks.

Anyone have any personal experience with an alarm stopping a burglar when no one was home. When I was working nights and they started breaking in more then once a week I put in an alarm system and it was totally ignored.It wasn't till I put 1/2" plywood on the inside of the windows with wood cleats screwed at 90 to the plywood that the break-ins stopped.
 
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Old 12-07-09, 04:22 AM
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I've not had any personal experience with alarms. Mainly because of where I live, thankfully. I did have a friend who thought he had the state of the art system. He lived in a questionable part of town. After several "false" alarms, as you said, the cops were slow to respond. They broke in and stole stuff....even took the alarm system control box. What a hoot!
According to the Brinks/Broadman security ads on tv, they scare the heck out of bad guys. Those poor girls jump across their bed and reach for a phone instead of a .45 auto. It's just automated dial a prayer. It goes off and you pray someone responds before the bad guy can move across a 20' room to get to you.
 
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Old 12-07-09, 06:18 AM
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I think that alarms work very well...for the alarm monitoring companies!

When I moved into my present home, ten years ago this week, it had an ADT alarm system already installed. I never had the landline telephone connected and about three months after moving in I started to get trouble alarms. I could clear the alarms but they would come back within a few hours. I finally figured out that Verizon had completely disconnected my telephone (it had a dial tone but would only call Verizon when I moved in) and that the alarm panel was giving a trouble alarm because of no dial tone on the telephone line.

I have some ADT alarm decals on a few windows and had an ADT sign next to my driveway until someone broke it. I've never had a break-in.

I think some people have an alarm system because they get a discount on their homeowner's insurance. When I calculated the monthly monitoring fees and compared them to the insurance discount I quickly discovered that the discount didn't come close to the monitoring fees. I re-worked my alarm so that I could have a local only alarm and I get a small discount for that.

I really think that an alarm system is more of a "feel good" measure than anything. I think that even the best response by the local police would be four or five minutes and I think that most burglaries are of shorter duration, mostly break in and take the easiest high-value items that are readily available. I have no doubt that is what happened to me some twenty-plus years ago when my previous house was burglarized as they left the console television but took the easy stuff like stereo components and Christmas presents.

Television programs like It Takes A Thief (Discovery) like to show that alarms are the greatest thing but I think it is the upgraded locks, armor coat on the windows and such that really deters the burglars. I don't think that all that many of the thousands of burglaries each year are the planned and cased jobs but are more smash, grab and get away to sell the loot for drug money. I think that there is very little a person can do to keep out a determined professional burglar but just a slight impediment will cause the druggie to go to the next house.
 
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Old 12-07-09, 11:46 AM
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My expectation is that it won't prevent a break in when no ones home. I basically just set it at night for the personal safety of my family. At least I can be somewhat alerted if someone breaks in when we are home. Got a couple items to ward off bad guys. Expecting cops to arrive in time is naive.
 
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Old 12-07-09, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
When I was working nights and they started breaking in more then once a week I put in an alarm system and it was totally ignored.It wasn't till I put 1/2" plywood on the inside of the windows with wood cleats screwed at 90 to the plywood that the break-ins stopped.
Breaking in more than once a week - where? Your house? Plywooding up your windows? Are you serious? You mean you live in a house with plywooded over windows? All the time? If anything at all even close to this, it sounds like something straight out of a Chevy Chase vacation movie where as he is talking to these guys like in the hood, they are stripping his car clean right when he is talking to them out the window.

I can't imagine ever living in such a place. I suppose they also have people where women are walking down the street and someone just grabs the purse and runs? Or some kid has an expensive jacket and thugs come up to him and demand his jacket. I can't imagine ever living in any area like that.

That many breakins where alarm systems go off so frequently it is like crying wolf? That really must be some choice area to live. Gosh.
 
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Old 12-07-09, 05:57 PM
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ecman51, Houston actually. The irony goes much deeper. When I was looking for a house I had a choice between one for 14K and one for 12K further out that seemed to be in a nicer neighborhood. Of course I chose the cheaper one further out. Well the neighborhood of the 14K was taken over by Yuppies and that 14K house I passed on 35 years is now worth over 100k.
 
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