What Home Security System do you suggest?

This is a discussion on What Home Security System do you suggest? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I used Protect America here, and was satisfied. Satisfied, not overjoyed, not underwhelmed. Just OK. For what I wanted they were OK, and had lower ...

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Thread: What Home Security System do you suggest?

  1. #16
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    Array Rock and Glock's Avatar
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    I used Protect America here, and was satisfied. Satisfied, not overjoyed, not underwhelmed. Just OK. For what I wanted they were OK, and had lower cost monthly monitoring fees.

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  3. #17
    Member Array Eaglebeak's Avatar
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    Home security systems are just like guns because there's no limit on the amount of money you can spend on a mind-boggling array of expensive high-tech devices and accessories almost down to having a few well-placed Claymore's hooked to your panic button.

    First thing to decide is whether you want a "reporting" type system that will automatically call for help when triggered, or a "non-reporting" localized system that simply turns on lights and sirens to alert neighbors and hopefully frighten an intruder away. If you live out in the boonies with few or no neighbors within a reasonable distance, then a "reporting" system is probably best to summon help. However, even if you design your own system, most reporting type systems still require paying a monthly fee to contract an established alarm company as the "contact entity" since most states, counties and cities with E911 systems strictly prohibit (with heavy fines) any kind of direct 911 dialing by an automated system to prevent thousands of them from overloading E911 service during a natural disaster or any other wide-spread calamity.

    As Thunder71 mentioned, there are a lot of good sources to set up your own customized wireless system at a considerable savings since contracting a "turn-key" installation solely through an establshed alarm company usually gets you reamed pretty deep for the same type equipment they supply. The downside of a DIY "reporting type" system is that it's sometimes difficult to contract an alarm company as the contact entity when they've not done the installation using their own equipment. Also (as already mentioned) there are a number of alarm companies who aren't too whoopee with the service they provide whether you're using their equipment or your own; so, doing a little consumer review research in your particular area is a wise move before selecting any alarm company as either the sole provider or only as a contact entity for a DIY system.

    A localized non-reporting system is fine if you're home most of the time, only concerned about being alerted to a "home intrusion" event and/or have neighbors nearby who would also be alerted by the alarm and call for help if you weren't home. However, many people get so caught up in the possible intrusion scenario that they completely forget about including a few more accessories to deal with fire or a medical emergency; and to be completely covered in that area, a "reporting" system (and monthly payment to a contracted alarm company) is worth it's weight in gold.

    Consider having only a localized "non-reporting" system when you're away from home, the neighbors are also off shopping at Walmart, and there's nobody around to hear the alarm when a BG busts into the house to hurriedly ransack the place and quickly run away with all your guns and a lot of other neat stuff. So, you've lost a few thousand dollars worth of goodies that your insurance will probably cover. But consider the same scenario with a "non-reporting" system when a fire suddenly breaks out inside, you have no wireless smoke detectors integrated into the alarm system, and nobody is around to hear the alarm even if you do. Now, ALL of your stuff and your home itself are left in a pile of smoking charcoal if you don't have a "reporting" system to get the FD headed to the house as soon as it triggers.

    Even if you can only afford a simple wireless system that includes the most basic intrusion detector, one smoke detector, one CO detector, and a medical "panic button", having a "reporting" type system that contacts a reliable alarm company (to quickly get appropriate help on the way) is the only way to go.

  4. #18
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Your first call should be to the law enforcement department that is responsible for your area. Ask them which company they respond to that has the best record for low false alarm low miss rate. Make sure they understand that you are not asking for recommendations but just history. They usually will tell you which company helps them catch the most bad guys.

  5. #19
    Member Array tommy62's Avatar
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    Great Dane or other big dog.

  6. #20
    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    While your investigating companies, look to see if there are any local firms that have been in business for a while. Be VERY careful of any contracts, especially if your dealing with a national or regional chain.

  7. #21
    Member Array Carnivoire's Avatar
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    BTW - all sirens are loud!

    Eaglebeak has good information & noway, spot on - most will try to lock in a 3-7 yr contract with large cancelation fees.

    I agree, research a local firm. Get recommendations from electrical contractors & builders - tell them you want sombody local. You will appreciate a smaller business attitude and response vs some huge chain. Just think, do you like calling your phone or cable company about a problem?

    When you ask 'What type of security system' if you mean mfg - look for GE, Bosch, Honeywell, DSC, Napco.... These are common consumer alarm systems.
    I personally like the ease of use in the GE Security, however they are all pretty simple - you can arm/disarm with a fob like your vehicle.

    When you buy a national chain (eg. ADT) you buy the name. They use the same equipment but rebrand it for their use only. Equipment is not always owned by you and monthly/annual monitoring contract cost are high. (should be arround $20/ month or less for home security)

    Detection - is up to your comfort level. You all know the door contacts, motion sensors (can be small pet friendly) and such, but there are security screens, glass breakage sensors, photo beams, panic buttons (wired or wireless). Point being, you can taylor your system to alert you soon as somebody attempts to access your home, or after they have entered. I have always recommended an outdoor siren and or strobe light - This is not to make neighbors swear and complain but look out thier window as they do so!

    Security is more personal then most would think. Find what makes you confortable.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the outcome of the vote.
    -Benjamin Franklin

  8. #22
    Member Array mkphillips's Avatar
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    First decide what you want your security system to do then find the company that can supply it. The items I point out below are just the tip of the iceberg:
    1. Cameras
    2. Connect to smart phone
    3. Cellular communications - recommended
    4. Internet access - I'm still debating on this one, for most can not setup a secure network
    5. Home automation - I like the option of having lights turn on when alarm is tripped, plus many other options.
    6. Access codes - One time codes are very useful, "restricted use" codes for cleaning people, they only work at certain times.
    7. Printer interface or someway of getting a hard copy of activity - I knew a lady that used this as a time clock for her cleaning person.
    8. Interface to door locks - Card keys and such, while not common I have put in a couple of houses.


    Most major cities will not allow a call to the police first unless it's a duress or silent alarm, what is common is al least 2 attempts to a key holder. Most cities now charge for false alarms after X number of calls, I have seen it as low as 0 and as high as 5. I would go with a cellular reporting system of some sort. Up front cost is like 300-400 dollars and 5-10 dollars more a month. Bad guys in my neck of the country are now starting to cut the phone and cable lines before breaking in. I'm not talking about the meth/crack heads, but the ones that make their living stealing.

    If looking to have cameras then ADT MAY be the route to go. They seem to have the integration better than others so far. If you don't want to have cameras integrated then I would look at some other company than ADT. ADT equipment will only work with ADT monitoring, monitoring at other companies is usually cheaper, just be sure it is a UL LISTED monitoring company. Be aware that the company that installs your security system will probably not be company doing the monitoring, other than ADT but they can/will use third party companies to install systems.

    *** If a company other than ADT then get in writing that will will not lock do an installer lockout. Installer lockout stops anther company from taking over the monitoring, this could save hundreds of dollars down the road.

  9. #23
    Member Array scott625's Avatar
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    When I lived in Philly, I had an Adt alarm. My idiot roommate left a window open and when then rainstorm hit, the wind shook the blinds and set off the motion detector. It took ADT 25 minutes to call the house. I learned that their call center was overloaded due to the storm so it took 26 minutes from when it went off until the police got there. ( the university cops response time was about a minute).
    Last edited by scott625; February 2nd, 2012 at 07:37 PM.

  10. #24
    Ex Member Array pir8fan's Avatar
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    I use a dog and a real old, real powerful 10 gauge.

  11. #25
    Member Array ponchsox's Avatar
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    Alarms are like the gym, you tell yourself that you are going to use it every day but after a while you stop going to the gym and turning on the alarm because it's a hassle. Once you sign a contract, they get their money no matter what.

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    Electronic systems are at best a joke, followed by the rapid response from them and law enforcement. This is meant as no offense to Police; but, they don't have he resourses to be there now when seconds count. Get a good dog and the training you need to defend your family and yourself. I've showed several friends how their home seurity systems can easily be defeated by just about anyone. Of course, if you have thousands to invest, it's harder to do; but, it's not impossible.
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  13. #27
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    We use a local company for the systems at home and at the office. We have had good luck with them.

    I disagree that they are like the gym. That is only if you let them be. Every time we leave our home or office the alarms are set. No ifs ands or buts, no different than when my pants go on the gun goes on.

    Any time my alarm has gone off, the police have gotten to my office before me. It takes less than 3 to 5 minutes for me to get there, so I can't complain about the response time from the local police.

    Cell phone backup on an alarm system will help to keep the system from being defeated. Having good neighbors and a very loud outside speaker mounted where it can't be tampered with also goes a long way.

    I also have installed dvr systems myself at both locations. They can be remotely monitored from either my home or office, or from my laptop, and with either my wife's Iphone or my Android. Either system will email me if they loose signal from any of the cameras, sending pictures from all the other cameras on the system.

    Dogs are also good for security.

    Every layer you can add gives you one more option to either deter, stop or catch someone who is up to no good.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  14. #28
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    Every layer you can add gives you one more option to either deter, stop or catch someone who is up to no good.
    The layers add intimidation, layers add risk. Criminals are risk averse, so as farronwolf notes, layers add options.

    Make your house comparably harder than the next, and most criminals will walk on past to the easy mark.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array Dennis1209's Avatar
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    I selected ADT myself. Make sure you completely evaluate your vulnerable areas for security and not skip a possible entry point. If memory serves, the basic package covers like two doors and a window or two. I paid extra installation costs to cover everything I needed. NOTE: If you do choose ADT and get one or more motion detectors, I didn't know this for a year until I decided I needed to test my system. To activate the motion detector, a different code needs to be inputed than you may think, then open a doors / window and close to activate the motion detector. Not in the instruction book or told by installer, go figure?

    Also, wife set off the smoke detector trying practice cooking for me to see "Ralph and the Buick". But that's another story. It took ADT 10-15 minutes to call the house. I thought that was very excessive. A nice key pad feature they have is the press and hold buttons for police, fire and EMS.

    Several years ago at my old residense after my two year contract expired I called ADT and negotiated a better monitoring monthly fee.

  16. #30
    Ex Member Array Armey's Avatar
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    yes I also apply alot of signs and window stickers indicating a video system is in place.

    No security alarm company will call the police directly in Milwaukee , so response time is an issue. Next to useless.....

    Been there did that...... Still leave the ADT signs up also!!!

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