Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

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tc101
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Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by tc101 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:02 pm

I got a SimpliSafe burglar alarm that I installed myself. I can get monitoring for $15/month, but is the monitoring worth while? If someone kicks down my door and sets off the alarm, it will be at least 10 minutes before the police get here. The burglar knows that. The burglar will either run away as soon as he hears the alarm go off, or he will run around the house for 5 minutes, looking for whatever he can grab, and then run away. The burglar does not know if I have monitoring or not. What good does it do me?

Most burglarys in my area happen during the day. They do not want to come into a house when anyone is home. They do not want to come at night when they might get shot by a sleepy home owner with a shot gun. They want to kick down the door when I am most likely to be away.

There are very rare cases of home invasions, but that is very rare. Even then, the invader would be pointing a gun at me when the alarm company calls to see if it was a false alarm before calling the police.

What good does monitoring do?
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:06 pm

Without monitoring, do you get notified if an alarm goes off?

I think you've described the pros and cons of monitoring. I use the ultimate deterrent at my house......nothing of any value inside. :D
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jehovasfitness
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by jehovasfitness » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:08 pm

We had ADT years ago. Lived about 5 miles from police station.

False alarm and I gave wrong code to ADT that called. 37 mins later the cops showed up.

From a cop I knew he said they don't do much, but having a dog will do more to deter.

At the least get some ADT yard signs or something.

Security cams are pretty cheap these days and having those visible will deter as well.

I have 6 Arlo security cams set up inside/outside our house, one with a 24/7 record mode for $10/month.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:31 pm

Some bozo on another discussion board decided to deliberately set off the alarm to see how long it took for the police to come. It was 30 minutes.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the police were getting too many alarms (and probably too many false alarms) to respond promptly.

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snackdog
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by snackdog » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:35 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:06 pm
I think you've described the pros and cons of monitoring. I use the ultimate deterrent at my house......nothing of any value inside. :D
Unfortunately, that is not a very good deterrent. As criminals get more stupid and drug-adled, their ability to discern which vehicles and homes contain valuables diminishes. Where I live, broken doors and windows on homes and cars is an epidemic. The only way to prevent it is to 1) always park in secured parking and 2) have a fence/dog sufficient to deter criminals from accessing your doors and windows. Alarms are not a great deterrent to break-ins nor even a good solution to preventing theft unless you are hit by the rare thief who wants to spent of a lot of time at the crime scene and is there long enough to get caught.

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pondering
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by pondering » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:37 pm

I hope that part of the monthly monitoring fee goes to the police to ofset the costs of false alarms.
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keepingitsimple
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by keepingitsimple » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:47 pm

Like most things, it's not worth it...until such time that having it would have made the difference. Then it's priceless. So I say it's worth it. Simplisafe also has smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and water leak detectors; all of which can connect to the monitoring service. And no, I'm not affiliated with Simplisafe. :happy

sport
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by sport » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:54 pm

Police response time will vary depending on jurisdiction and perhaps location within the jurisdiction. Some communities have diligent police presence, others not so much. So, any experiences you read about on the internet are merely anecdotal. It should also be noted that some communities will fine you for false alarms (perhaps the first one will be free).

ResearchMed
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:00 pm

tc101 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:02 pm
I got a SimpliSafe burglar alarm that I installed myself. I can get monitoring for $15/month, but is the monitoring worth while? If someone kicks down my door and sets off the alarm, it will be at least 10 minutes before the police get here. The burglar knows that. The burglar will either run away as soon as he hears the alarm go off, or he will run around the house for 5 minutes, looking for whatever he can grab, and then run away. The burglar does not know if I have monitoring or not. What good does it do me?

Most burglarys in my area happen during the day. They do not want to come into a house when anyone is home. They do not want to come at night when they might get shot by a sleepy home owner with a shot gun. They want to kick down the door when I am most likely to be away.

There are very rare cases of home invasions, but that is very rare. Even then, the invader would be pointing a gun at me when the alarm company calls to see if it was a false alarm before calling the police.

What good does monitoring do?
I'm sure that the response time depends in good part upon the town/etc., and also whether there are lots of other law enforcement action at the time.

But as for the "someone pointing a gun when alarm company calls", there are "duress codes". Those get entered into a keypad or stated on the phone as though it was the regular code. No special discussion/questions involved. But the monitoring company will alert law enforcement immediately that a duress code was used (rather than possibly first try backup contacts, etc.).

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daveydoo
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:20 pm

tc101 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:02 pm
...If someone kicks down my door and sets off the alarm, it will be at least 10 minutes before the police get here. The burglar knows that. The burglar will either run away as soon as he hears the alarm go off, or he will run around the house for 5 minutes, looking for whatever he can grab, and then run away. The burglar does not know if I have monitoring or not. What good does it do me?
Any attention is bad unless you are very isolated. A loud alarm will get neighbors' attention, etc., who will look for strange cars...

Our police department charges for false alarms.

I agree that a dog helps. Although a bunch of those hidden-video things suggest a lot of big, loud dogs just slink away...
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

RickBoglehead
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:48 pm

Call your insurance company. Central station monitoring for burglary gets a discount. Fire gets a discount (they may require both). Water leak and temperature get a discount.

Depending on your home's value, you may find that monitoring at $14.99 a month = $179.88 a year is basically free or in fact a profit-maker.

Monitoring yourself qualifies you for no discount.

Discussed in several recent threads.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:42 pm

Former emergency police/sheriff/fire/EMS/911 dispatcher in a past life. It's true that police response time varies based on their queue and nature of the emergency. Both commercial and residential security alarms (typically motion sensor or door/window entry sensor) are low priority in nature. Basically what happens is:
  1. Sensor trips.
  2. The monitoring center (ADT, Brinks, SimpliSafe, etc.) dispatcher first notifies the contact person (the homeowner if it's a private residence or the business owner/manager/designee if it's a business). This typically is a false alarm and it's cancelled from the get-go. If nobody is at the home/business, the security company then calls the non-emergency number of the dispatch center that serves that residence or business. (911 isn't used because a) it's long distance and thus wouldn't route correctly and b) it's a gross misuse of emergency resources and false alarms.)
  3. The police or fire dispatcher adds it to the queue and notifies the appropriate agency (police, sheriff, fire) that "ADT called and notified that the interior motion sensor alarm tripped at 123 Main Street." If the homeowner or business contact is on file, the emergency dispatcher also calls that person to try to make contact.
If it's a business at night, the emergency contact sometimes (but not always) drives in to investigate (and police are kept in the loop so the emergency contact isn't confused with a potential burglar -- ha!). If it's a residence, the emergency contact is called as an FYI.

In a nutshell, things are low priority because of very high rate of false positives. Police response can be anywhere from 5-10 minutes in an ideal scenario if they're not busy and/or bored to 45-60+ minutes. Priority is upgraded if 1) someone confirms that there is an intruder, in which case police respond faster or "hotter" Code 3 with lights and sirens, or 2) if the fire sensor is trustworthy and someone confirms that smoke/flames are visible.

In low priority cases, when police arrive on scene, they do a quick walkaround of the residence/business with flashlights and clear the area as needed. They confirm whether there's evidence of forced entry (broken window, broken in door) or an open window/door. They deal with the case as applicable and close the ticket if all things appear normal. Even if there really was a day-time burglar, most burglars are long gone within about 2-10 minutes.



In a nutshell: Low priority due to high false positives. Higher priority if a human being confirms that there is an intruder still present and life is in danger as well as fire/smoke confirmed.

As someone already said, paying for 3rd party monitoring (UL Listed preferably) qualifies for a homeowner's or renter's insurance discount, whereas do-it-yourself monitoring rarely does.

The financial decision on whether to pay for 24/7 monitoring is a personal preference. I think it's worth it, especially if you're away from home, ever, such as work or vacation. And in the rare event of home invasion, because everything is automated, it could potentially help save your life if you're unable to call 911 on your own. Same with fire -- could save lives and property by calling for help automatically.

The onus is to reduce false positives as much as possible. Motion sensors are notoriously bad at this. Same with smoke/fire sensors such as when cooking or microwaving. Or the wind blowing a door open causing the entry sensor to trip.

Since do-it-yourself IP cameras are becoming easier to set up, I think cameras are a great idea to capture evidence as well as be able to monitor your home remotely to see if there really is an intruder or not. If you are at work and can check your home camera from your phone or work computer, when either dispatcher calls you, you can go "Yep, my cameras confirm 2 males are inside my house wearing black shirt, green jacket, jeans, etc" and it'll give more confidence to responding police officers.
Last edited by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon on Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by AlohaJoe » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:53 pm

Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:42 pm
They confirm whether there's evidence of forced entry (broken window, broken in door) or an open window/door. They deal with the case as applicable and close the ticket if all things appear normal.
Quasi-related story. One time I was working at a small company (<10 people), couldn't sleep one night and decided to just go in to work at 4am. All the employees had keys (since it was a small office) but apparently there was also a silent alarm that none of us had ever been told about. I get to the office, put on headphones, and proceed to work for the next few hours. When the office manager got in around 8am, he told me that the alarm had been tripped at 4am, the police came out, they looked around (while I was in the office working obliviously), didn't see anything, and left.

So, clearly police are putting in little effort (understandably given the number of false alarms they have to deal with) if it is that easy to fool them. Ever since then my faith in alarm systems has gone down substantially.

HereToLearn
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by HereToLearn » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:08 pm

The annual cost of my monitored fire & burglary system from ADT is almost the same as my annual reduction on my homeowner's insurance.

Our police and fire both charge for false alarms.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:10 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:53 pm
Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:42 pm
They confirm whether there's evidence of forced entry (broken window, broken in door) or an open window/door. They deal with the case as applicable and close the ticket if all things appear normal.
Quasi-related story. One time I was working at a small company (<10 people), couldn't sleep one night and decided to just go in to work at 4am. All the employees had keys (since it was a small office) but apparently there was also a silent alarm that none of us had ever been told about. I get to the office, put on headphones, and proceed to work for the next few hours. When the office manager got in around 8am, he told me that the alarm had been tripped at 4am, the police came out, they looked around (while I was in the office working obliviously), didn't see anything, and left.

So, clearly police are putting in little effort (understandably given the number of false alarms they have to deal with) if it is that easy to fool them. Ever since then my faith in alarm systems has gone down substantially.
Ha, that doesn't surprise me that the police weren't thorough enough to go inside and clear the business. They can get quite cynical or apathetic with these calls, especially without a human being corroborating that there is in fact an intruder. I also wouldn't be surprised if you had told me they held you at gunpoint/flashlight and detained you, but that's more rare.

I think of "defense in depth" in layers of security: sensors and alarms have a purpose, as do cameras, as do other modalities. They all work together to enhance security. I generally respect police since they have a tough job -- and don't wish to get political per Bogleheads rules -- but I've even called 911 for a physical fight in progress (my drunk neighbors having a 4-5 person fight), and police took 45 minutes to respond, drove by, then drove away. I had to call 911 a second time since I watched the responding officer's apathy. Moral: Even if somebody sees something violent in progress with their own eyes and calls 911, police response can still be 45+ minutes. Goodness.

I'd say cameras are a great investment to collect your own evidence and be able to provide that to police and prosecutors after-the-fact. Nobody will care about your life and property more than you.

S&L1940
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:11 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:06 pm
Without monitoring, do you get notified if an alarm goes off?

I think you've described the pros and cons of monitoring. I use the ultimate deterrent at my house......nothing of any value inside. :D
Yeah, but, they do not know that your cash is buried in the garden and will rip up the place to at least take something
No monitoring, no police and of course no notification that your home has been entered.
In our area the builders always put in a system and half the owners (a guess) never renew the monitoring contract.
There are independent monitoring firms that will be less than the ADT's that work as efficiently.
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squirm
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by squirm » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm

Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign, put up a sign that says "Attention thieves, please carry ID so we can notify next of kin"...etc etc.

S&L1940
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 pm

squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm
Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign.
So they smash and grab the TV
Radio Shack used to sell more alarm system decals than alarm systems. Maybe that is why they closed up...
My MIL used to have a neighbor with a sensor that set off a recording of a dog barking every time someone passed her apartment
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

squirm
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by squirm » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 pm

S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 pm
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm
Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign.
So they smash and grab the TV
Radio Shack used to sell more alarm system decals than alarm systems. Maybe that is why they closed up...
My MIL used to have a neighbor with a sensor that set off a recording of a dog barking every time someone passed her apartment
I remember seeing somewhere a recording on a CD that you could play in your garage to make it sound like you were using power tools.

fareastwarriors
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by fareastwarriors » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:40 pm

Having the signs and decals can be good deterrent. You at least get to know the home was robbed even if the police arrives too late. I rather know right away then to find out when I get home...


I use Simplisafe. :)
Last edited by fareastwarriors on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am

squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 pm
S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 pm
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm
Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign.
So they smash and grab the TV
Radio Shack used to sell more alarm system decals than alarm systems. Maybe that is why they closed up...
My MIL used to have a neighbor with a sensor that set off a recording of a dog barking every time someone passed her apartment
I remember seeing somewhere a recording on a CD that you could play in your garage to make it sound like you were using power tools.
That's not a bad idea at all because anyone using power tools is already armed.

So I've never had a monitoring system. Thinking about it some

1. No need for carbon monoxide/ smoke monitoring. I already have these and I will hear the alarm right away if there is a problem.

2. Cameras- the chances that the police will (a) capture and (b) convict are probably not that great and I have already lost my stuff. No need.

3. Security system- I'm convinced there is little additional security having it tied to the monitoring. A really loud outdoor alarm might be a serious deterrent however. On the other hand, these days most alarms are ignored.

4. Security system revisited- if it saves money on my insurance- maybe. I have to check.

5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.

6. Personal protection. The idea that most (virtually all?) of us will effectively use a gun is, in my opinion, delusional. The chances of injury to residents are also significant. I think maybe: bear repellent. Deeply discouraging, easy to use, and nonfatal. I also keep ice axes handy, but mostly because I already had them.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:01 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:06 pm
Without monitoring, do you get notified if an alarm goes off?

I think you've described the pros and cons of monitoring. I use the ultimate deterrent at my house......nothing of any value inside. :D
The ultimate deterrent!

$15/month is robbery in itself 🤣🤣

msk
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by msk » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:56 am

If you install an alarm just make sure that it is connected to a ridiculously LOUD klaxon; ideally one outside and one inside. I have one that is so loud that even I will not stay inside the house for half a minute; never mind the burglar. Of course I do not expect any neighbor to help, but the burglar does not know that :twisted: What can go wrong? DW, age 75, was awakened at 2am by the alarm. Called the police who arrived 20 minutes later. It turned out that the battery in the alarm was defective. She was alone in the (large) house. I can just imagine her terror! In our other home we did not install a smoke detector in the kitchen because our experience has been too many nuisance alarms from French fries, steaks, etc. Guess what. The dishwasher caught fire, smoke destroyed all the cabinets, etc. and because the kitchen was in a separate building, nobody noticed anything till the next morning with the fire having burned out. Seems you just can't win...

Finridge
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Finridge » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:20 am

Remember the story of the two hiking buddies that encounter an aggressive bear. One of them takes of his backpack and starts exchanging his hiking boots for running shoes. His friend says, "What are you doing! You can't outrun a bear!" The response: "I don't have to! I only have to outrun YOU!"

So it is with home security. You don't need to reconstruct Fort Knox. You don't need an impenetrable fort. You only need to "outrun" your neighbors. Make your house a marginally "harder" target, and the "bad guys" will go after easier prey.

Putting up cameras, etc.--that isn't so much to catch and convict thieves--rather the hope is that their existence will encourage them to seek an easier target. You want both cameras and signs notifying intruders that they are on "candid camera."

S&L1940
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by S&L1940 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:33 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 pm
S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 pm
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm
Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign.
So they smash and grab the TV
Radio Shack used to sell more alarm system decals than alarm systems. Maybe that is why they closed up...
My MIL used to have a neighbor with a sensor that set off a recording of a dog barking every time someone passed her apartment
4. Security system revisited- if it saves money on my insurance- maybe. I have to check.

I received a reduced insurance rate that gave me a wash on the monitoring cost.
The system itself was part of the builder's package, so no added cost there
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

michaeljc70
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:06 am

tc101 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:02 pm
I got a SimpliSafe burglar alarm that I installed myself. I can get monitoring for $15/month, but is the monitoring worth while? If someone kicks down my door and sets off the alarm, it will be at least 10 minutes before the police get here. The burglar knows that. The burglar will either run away as soon as he hears the alarm go off, or he will run around the house for 5 minutes, looking for whatever he can grab, and then run away. The burglar does not know if I have monitoring or not. What good does it do me?

Most burglarys in my area happen during the day. They do not want to come into a house when anyone is home. They do not want to come at night when they might get shot by a sleepy home owner with a shot gun. They want to kick down the door when I am most likely to be away.

There are very rare cases of home invasions, but that is very rare. Even then, the invader would be pointing a gun at me when the alarm company calls to see if it was a false alarm before calling the police.

What good does monitoring do?
I agree with you. I had monitoring for many years and then decided it wasn't worth it.

I once accidentally set of my alarm by pressing the key fob while working the backyard. I had a 5 foot fence. The police were out front. They couldn't get in the gate, didn't see a broken door or window so they won't do anything else (I lived in an urban environment where you couldn't walk around the fence on the side due to neighbors and garage was in the back). If a burglar came in the back door and was in my house, the police wouldn't have even noticed.

From what I've read, the more important thing is having the "key" to the system somewhere a burglar cannot easily rip it out. If they can come in and rip out the keypad/siren and stop the system in a short period of time, they won't need to rush to get out of your house.

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wabbajack
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by wabbajack » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.

michaeljc70
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:18 am

wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.
Is there a map for that? Are burglars aware they cannot go to those neighborhoods? As far as I know, there are burglaries in the best and worst neighborhoods.

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wabbajack
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by wabbajack » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:24 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:18 am
wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.
Is there a map for that? Are burglars aware they cannot go to those neighborhoods? As far as I know, there are burglaries in the best and worst neighborhoods.
The statistics will vary locally, but at a high level the best neighborhoods almost never get break-ins. You know your local area the best.
EDIT: I work in data, but this is one of those cases where the data simply doesn't do you any good. Law enforcement simply does not have the time (or motivation) to report all the incidents into a handy map for you. In other words, you are always working with incomplete data - and my tendency is if a particular area (county) doesn't have up to date statistics, assume the worst.

jehovasfitness
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by jehovasfitness » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:32 am

wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.
some people are afraid of dogs. Another is burglars may not want to risk either getting bit, or having attention drawn to them.

Our dogs, 2 presa canarios and 1 cane corso, deter even my family and friends at times LOL

Thegame14
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Thegame14 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:49 am

it gets you a deduction on your homeowners, so the cost is very negligible after that savings.

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wabbajack
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by wabbajack » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:41 pm

jehovasfitness wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:32 am
some people are afraid of dogs. Another is burglars may not want to risk either getting bit, or having attention drawn to them.

Our dogs, 2 presa canarios and 1 cane corso, deter even my family and friends at times LOL
That's not my point. My point is that if someone breaks in, I'd rather they just take my TV and leave the dog alone.
Do you let your dogs roam around the house while you're out? Most people don't. I consider my dog to be one of my most valuable possessions, so it does not work as a deterrent.

jehovasfitness
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by jehovasfitness » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:48 pm

wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:41 pm
jehovasfitness wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:32 am
some people are afraid of dogs. Another is burglars may not want to risk either getting bit, or having attention drawn to them.

Our dogs, 2 presa canarios and 1 cane corso, deter even my family and friends at times LOL
That's not my point. My point is that if someone breaks in, I'd rather they just take my TV and leave the dog alone.
Do you let your dogs roam around the house while you're out? Most people don't. I consider my dog to be one of my most valuable possessions, so it does not work as a deterrent.
I hear ya, but you said, "I don't understand why anyone would see a dog as a deterrent". People are deterred from entering a home with dogs. Not always, but a barking dog, especially certain breeds will deter more than others.

Rupert
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Rupert » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:44 pm

I think monitoring is more valuable if your smoke/heat detectors are hard-wired into the system and in cities where the police still respond to alarms. In my city, the police respond and generally do so in about 10 minutes. The fire department is even faster (I live very near a fire station). Also, my city has implemented a monitored alarm permitting system. You pay $25/year for a permit. If the police respond to your home and you have a permit, there's no additional charge even for false alarms. If the police respond to your alarm and you don't have a permit, you are fined hundreds of dollars even if the alarm is not false.

Baldrekr
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Baldrekr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:05 pm

Burglars could be in and out within 3 minutes, long before the alarm has any effect. That was the case for the "Rock Smash Burglary Crew" who committed something like 120 burglaries in the Seattle area before finally getting caught a couple years ago. Alarms meant absolutely nothing to these guys.

I have 6 highly visible cameras outside the house (the dome camera is like a glowing Eye of Sauron at night), as well as motion sensor lighting so that the cameras get a good picture even at night. While these won't stop burglaries, it will make the burglars more likely to try one street over (if they are professionals, that is; if they are just some random meth-head, they will try to break in anywhere). I also have contact sensors on the windows that burglars would try to smash to get in through. If the contact sensor breaks, my home automation automatically turns on some interior lights and the TV upstairs.

JBTX
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by JBTX » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:13 pm

There is some potential value there but not enough to stop me from canceling the service decades ago. You may get a small homeowner insurance break.

Something like 95% are false alarms.

I do think a monitored fire alarm may be worthwhile.

larsm
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by larsm » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:14 pm

Unless there is something unique about your house (i.e. a target that determined burglars will go after) this old adage very much applies: You don't need to outrun the bear you just need to be faster than the other guy.

So, yeah, alarms are probably worth it plus they should reduce your home owners insurance policy premiums.

Cheyenne
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Cheyenne » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:39 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 pm
S&L1940 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:26 pm
squirm wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 pm
Just make it look like someone is home. Most TV's are efficient, so leave one on when you're not home. Leave some lights on, radio etc. You can also put up some fake signs, maybe even a fake camera or two, put up a beware of dog sign.
So they smash and grab the TV
Radio Shack used to sell more alarm system decals than alarm systems. Maybe that is why they closed up...
My MIL used to have a neighbor with a sensor that set off a recording of a dog barking every time someone passed her apartment
I think maybe: bear repellent...
I've read that bee spray is effective too.

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bertilak
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by bertilak » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:02 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:54 pm
Police response time will vary depending on jurisdiction and perhaps location within the jurisdiction. Some communities have diligent police presence, others not so much. So, any experiences you read about on the internet are merely anecdotal. It should also be noted that some communities will fine you for false alarms (perhaps the first one will be free).
All that is true in my area. In addition you must get an alarm permit and get it periodically renewed. There is a fee for the permit and renewal.

I get a small discount on my home insurance if there is a active permit.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker, the Cowboy Poet

prairieman
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by prairieman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:52 pm

I have nothing of much value, but keep monitoring cameras (Arlo) on in a few rooms in our house when we leave. I just want to know if/when someone is in our house when we’re out - and have a movie of who it is to provide to police. Hopefully we never have an intruder.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:37 pm

My wife is fairly paranoid about a potential break-in. Our subdivision is not gated, and 2 neighbors have been burglarized in the past year (out of 150 homes). From what I've heard, robberies in our upper-middle-class town tend to be targeted (typically Asian families that keep a lot of cash at home).

We have active monitoring, as well as yard signs, window stickers, some Nest outdoor cameras, Nest doorbell, and some landscape lighting. I also have a WiFi smart bulb next to our basement door that turns on at night. I'm thinking about getting some plate reinforcement on the basement door, or 3M break film (the basement door is mostly glass).

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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by whomever » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:49 pm

I had a 5 foot fence. The police were out front. They couldn't get in the gate, didn't see a broken door or window so they won't do anything else (I lived in an urban environment where you couldn't walk around the fence on the side due to neighbors and garage was in the back). If a burglar came in the back door and was in my house, the police wouldn't have even noticed.
I think that's jurisdiction dependent. When burglars entered our basement window right in front of a motion detector :-), a deputy responded within a few minutes, jumped the fence and went to the backyard, noticed the window, hoped the burglar was brave enough to still be there and called in the clans. A half dozen officers arrived and did the 'clearing a house' drill, but alas the burglars had exited as soon as the alarm went off.

(as others have said, some burglars are brazen enough to gamble on a few minutes of ransacking before the police arrive. I'm OK with that. We had neighbors where burglars broke in and spent hours selecting what they wanted and stacking it in the garage, then phoned an accomplice with a van for a load-n-scoot. An alarm doesn't give them the luxury of time. Having the clock ticking stops them from bringing tools up from the basement to work on the safe, searching for things hidden in the backs of closets, etc.)

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Toons
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by Toons » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:51 pm

Depends on where you live.
:happy
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:18 pm

We live in a very safe neighborhood with burglary and theft being extremely rare. We have $25/month monitored burglar alarm system and tied to it are smoke and carbon monoxide detector as well as flood/water sensors in the kitchen, laundry room, and attic mounted water heater. I can put the system in test mode, then trip a sensor and literally 15 seconds later my cell phone is ringing from the alarm company. Well worth the monthly fee especially after the home insurance discount. Also have an interior camera we can view on cell phone as well as a ring video doorbell. Add it all up, add the yard sign, and most burglars will most likely just go next door.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:35 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:18 am
wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.
Is there a map for that? Are burglars aware they cannot go to those neighborhoods? As far as I know, there are burglaries in the best and worst neighborhoods.
Lake Wobegon?

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unclescrooge
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:40 pm

wabbajack wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:48 am
5. Dog- maybe the one true deterrent. However you need one that is genuinely unfriendly, at least to strangers. Trouble is most people get dogs mostly as pets, not personal protection. AND everyone with an unleashed dog assures me that they are friendly, so apparently virtually all dogs are useless as protection. No silly little lapdogs for sure. Maybe a dalmatian, they get loud and excitable even with people they know.
I don't understand why anyone considers the dog a deterrent. If my house gets broken into, I don't care if they take anything - just don't touch my dog. I can replace the stuff with insurance money. Also most people with day jobs end up crating their dogs, so that doesn't do any good if someone's broken in.

The best insurance is to live in a neighborhood with no break-ins.
My 10lb mini husky is a great deterrent.

She's suspicious of everyone, and has bitten my MIL several times because she was acting suspicious 🤣

Also a 300lb appliance repair guy got nipped for shuffling his feet.

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vitaflo
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by vitaflo » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:09 pm

Watched a video recently with a convicted burglar talking about things that would deter him from breaking into homes. Things that would deter him:

- Neighborhood Watch. If he was on a street where people were always around and looked suspiciously at cars they didn't know (especially true on cul-da-sacs) he wouldn't even bother. He said knowing your neighbors and having nosey neighbors, especially on streets with stay-at-home parents are something burglars just don't want to deal with.

- Security systems that are wireless. Wired systems he didn't care about, because most of the times he could defeat them. Wireless ones aren't defeatable and he would usually pick a different target. If you have a security system make sure the signs outside say wireless. Actually even if you don't have a system, get some security signs that say wireless. Make sure they're on your back patio windows as well.

Things that didn't deter him:

- Dogs. Unless it was a Rottweiler or something, he would just mace the dog and that would take care of it.

- Loud alarms going off inside the house. If he's robbing a house where the neighbors don't pay attention to each other, nobody is going to care if the inside alarm is going off. He said what homes really need is outside alarms, so people further away can hear and know something is happening in side the home.

Other tips from him to safeguard your house:

- Don't have windows on your doors. He cases houses, and was astonished by how many times blinds would be pulled, but he could just walk up to a door and see all the way thru the house, many times even seeing the security system panel on the wall and whether it was armed or not.

- Don't leave jewelry or cash in your bedroom/bathroom. This is the first place robbers go. They know they have probably 5 mins and hit the easiest areas.

- If you're gone for an extended period, have someone take in your trash cans and pick up your mail. Have a light that goes on at night. Burglars love when they are certain nobody is home.

In the end, you're just trying to get them to pick a different (easier) target.

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bertilak
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by bertilak » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:07 pm

vitaflo wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:09 pm
In the end, you're just trying to get them to pick a different (easier) target.
It's like that joke:

Joe and Moe are preparing for a hike in the woods. Moe puts on hiking boots and Joe puts on running shoes.
  • Moe: Joe, why the running shoes?
    Joe: In case we get chased by a bear.
    Moe: Even with running shoes you can't outrun a bear.
    Joe: I don't need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you!
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker, the Cowboy Poet

five2one
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by five2one » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:13 pm

I've been on both sides of the equation (responder & home owner) with and without alarms.

They are worth it but not asa valuable as living in a good area surrounded by other good areas, off major roads to avoid commuting criminals.
Even better, add a couple cameras.

I use ADT and there are other options but they have done me right.

Was especially nice when I'm at work and wife is dealing with it with kids in tow.
With ADT, I have key fobs, smart phone access, and cellular backup.

I have setup alarm as silent or audible and includes fire and any other sensors I tie in.
My EMS response times are measured in single digits, inside that, I'll solve the problem.

texasdiver
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Re: Is home alarm monitoring worth it?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:21 pm

You can get ADT lawn signs on eBay for $25. I expect they are probably stolen off other people’s yards.

The previous owners of our house had ADT and I left the sign and window stickers up but didn’t activate the service. With teens coming and going at all hours it didn’t seem worth it for the hassle. We do have a big dog that has a fierce deep growl and bark when strangers are at the door.

Perhaps we are just lucky. But have never been burglarized. I think over half the homes in our neighborhood have some sort of security sign out front. Mostly ADT or Brinks. I haven’t heard of anyone burglarized recently. Fairly upscale neighborhood well into the suburbs.

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