View Full Version : Burglar alarm suggestions

07-16-2011, 4:07 PM
We're looking at our home security alarm system now and I have a question. Obviously we'll have the usual perimeter sensors for the windows and doors plus exterior video security (way better than the Costco packages) with external DVR storage duplication.

We have probably two key areas where a burglar would focus, one being a safe (bolted down, not going anywhere!) If we have MONITORED audio plus the perimeter and motion sensors, when an event is called in to 911, how much difference in priority does it make if the alarm company can tell the dispatcher that they hear voices on the premises? What would that difference actually mean in time of response? (BTW, this is San Diego city limits but the question applies anywhere.)

07-16-2011, 4:13 PM
Just a normal burglar alarm for us is routine. Which means if bigger stuff is going on, your alarm will wait. If it's 0200 hours and I have no calls, I'll be there in a couple of minutes.

Now if someone calls saying that the alarm is going off and they hear voices, that should get put out as a priority....possible burglary in progress and will jump to the top.

07-16-2011, 4:17 PM
Personally, I would have the alarm company call you first and you be the one to call the police. Dispatchers get alarm company people calling them all the time. I would think a homeowner calling would make it seem more "legit". That's just my opinion though.

Try to find out the time frame involved for an alarm activation and either you or the police being notified.

07-16-2011, 4:19 PM
Oh....one more thing. Make the alarm so loud that their ears bleed. I know when I have to clear a premises on alarm calls that I'm in there for all of 20 seconds before I want to get out.

07-16-2011, 4:49 PM
I am NOT a police officer, and my expertise is computer security, not physical security. But...

An alarm NOISE is probably more important overall. Have it noisy, loud, and obnoxious. When it goes off, it will chase away all but the most determined burglar, because the burglar KNOWS he's the center of attention.

This happened to my grandparents about 2 decades ago. My grandfather built an alarm system into his house, before monitored alarm system companies were all the rage. They left the house onetime, setting the alarm but not locking the deadbolt. The scumbag who credit-carded the door left in a BIG hurry when the alarm went off.

The alarm-call-to-the-cops should rightly be ignored, as 99% of them are bogus calls and the 1% are legit the police may easily be there too late. Freemont PD got some flak for this (stating 'we don't respond to burglar alarms'), but any department in its right mind is going to deprioritize residential burglar alarms to the absolute bottom of the pile, below handing out jaywalking tickets.

Also, just lock the doors and windows is the biggest thing. Unless the burglar is targeting you specifically, (eg, you're running a stash house..), you only have to be tough enough that the teenage scumbag goes and breaks into your neighbor's house instead.

07-16-2011, 4:53 PM
Garplay is 100% right... The noise is what the deterent is... Don't expect the police to show up with any sort of speed to your house if an alarm is triggered. My old neighbor was broken in and the cops took 2 hours to show up...

07-16-2011, 5:25 PM
For those who can't afford a built in alarm system!

Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get into your house, just push the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: it's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. "Test it". It will go off from most everywhere in your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or your garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around....after a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This tip may save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

07-16-2011, 5:53 PM
Oh....one more thing. Make the alarm so loud that their ears bleed. I know when I have to clear a premises on alarm calls that I'm in there for all of 20 seconds before I want to get out.

Absolutely correct. I didn't mention it but we already have a single painfully shrill electronic "siren". The final system will have two, both embedded into the house in a way that will make them very difficult to mute. They will also be focused on the highest target areas (one being the gun safe.)

A couple weeks ago, I accidentally breached the alarm while in a stairwell. That screaming alarm went off for maybe 15 seconds before I could shut it off. My ears were ringing for the next day! Painful. So loud you probably wouldn't have heard my cussing! Assuming a burglar actually gained entrance to the house (we have other measures in place to either deter or really slow that possibility), the noise would encourage him to go find an easier target. And we can give some really nice photos to LEO, even framed so they appreciate the quality.

07-16-2011, 7:10 PM
Priority and repsonse time...depends on the area. In slow residential city, you will likely see quicker response for an alarm call. In a busy city, alarms will keep getting bumped for in-progress crimes or fresh crimes against persons.

Don't worry too much about a large safe that's locked and bolted down. A typical burg won't have the time, skill or tools to crack a quality gun-type safe. He's looking for stuff he can carry out within his means (on foot or car) and turn into cash quickly (video games, tv's, jewlery, cash, cell phones...). Now if you are being targeted by pros for a specific reason, that's a different issue.

Best thing about alarms is that it puts a time limit on the burg. They know somebody is coming so they make with the quick-quick. As stated above, the loud siren can act as an area denial device and speed their exit.

07-16-2011, 7:45 PM
what's been relayed so far is good information.

make sure the signs indicating the alarms are posted up in obvious view..

I would also make sure the cameras capture good quality images - because IF anything should happen AND if the images are crap and there is no other information to go on, the case may be put on the back burner

at our dept, If there is no or lousy lead info, it does not get looked at or worked at all.....

it's the reality of the present budget situation. crimes against persons gets the priority over crimes against property.

07-16-2011, 7:51 PM
Company I used to work for sells this...
any type of alarm verification is helpful, sent to your pda or smartphone is awesome!

07-16-2011, 10:20 PM
The louder the audible part of your alarm the better. It took my local LEA 45 minutes to respond to my house recently when the dog pushed open a door the didn't latch when we left. Glad it was just the dog. Everything of value in the way of jewelry and guns are in the safes and would take time to breach, but tv and DVD players can get expensive.

07-17-2011, 8:03 PM
Not an expert or LEO here, but I did sleep at a...

Having listened to Police scanners, I have heard several calls updated with info regarding alarm points tripped. Such as interior motion only (seemed common).

And I have also heard exterior trip, followed by interior motion trips relayed to LEO's via dispatch while enroute. Listening, I could usually guess the false vs. the true break ins...
Oh....one more thing. Make the alarm so loud that their ears bleed. I know when I have to clear a premises on alarm calls that I'm in there for all of 20 seconds before I want to get out.

When I had my alarm system installed, the installer said I could employ (in my city) the LOUD exterior horn. But IIRC, some co-workers were not able to have the "loud" exterior horns installed, by city code? I also had an interior siren installed so I would made immediately aware, as I work rotating shifts. It makes all the dogs bark within quite a distance after it shuts off.

FWIW, I wound up cancelling my monitoring service, and relying only on the siren/horns. A neighbor will call I'm sure if it's not shut-off quickly (I think?). PM to OP regarding info/help...

07-17-2011, 9:31 PM
Get to know your local guys. I have a few friends on the department where I live and they expedite when my house alarm hours off and they get called. My alarm company calls me first but they tell me which zone gets tripped so I can tell if it's likely to be a false our if there is something to worry about.

My alarm is pretty loud and most of the neighbors are retired so lots of people are home during the day. There's another cop next door so between the two of us and our schedules, one of us will be around most of the time.