Author Topic: Alarm systems for Mustachians?  (Read 10944 times)

Narumi

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Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« on: March 08, 2012, 10:13:57 AM »
I have the general feeling that monitored burglar alarms are anti-Mustachian, but I want to get everyone's opinion anyway. A recent thread on my local city-data forum put forth the idea of simply having the SIGN for the alarm company, but not actually buying the alarm system.

My husband and I recently moved out into the country where it would be very unlikely for anyone to notice someone prowling, let alone bother to call the cops (or call us). So on the one hand, this makes me think an alarm system might have some merit. But then my inner mustache starts wincing at the thought of monthly (& upfront) payments. After all, isn't that what homeowner's insurance is for?

Thoughts?

Danielle

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 10:52:53 AM »
I read a comment somewhere (maybe lifehacker) that putting the sticker for a particular alarm company will give thieves information on how to get around/disable the system.  But in this case, I guess there shouldn't be any problem if you can get ahold of a sign.  I've also read that Radioshack offers generic stickers for alarms, so that's an option too.  I think it would probably be more mustachian to take the steps to make your house less enticing and more burglar-proof than buying an alarm service.

AJ

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 12:29:37 PM »
I'm sure you would do this anyway, but if you do sign up for a service make sure to read the fine print carefully. My friends bought a service, and were told by the salesperson they could cancel within 3 months if they weren't satisfied. They just took him at his word (!) and of course, no such clause was listed in their documentation and they are stuck with an unsatisfactory service for the duration of their 5 year contract.

Whether or not it is worth is will depend on how risky your neighborhood is, how valuable your stuff is, and how paranoid you are (buys peace of mind). Thieves are opportunists, so you really just need to make your house less appealing than your neighbors. Motion sensor lights are good, so is a vocal dog. I read that a yippy little dog is actually better than a big (but quieter) dog. Though, if you don't have one already or don't really want one, an alarm system is probably cheaper than a dog in the long run. Also, it goes without saying, but don't leave valuables in plain sight. Lock up your shed/barn/garage, tools are easy pickings.

After all, isn't that what homeowner's insurance is for?

Yes, it is. But have you ever had your house robbed? The physical items you lose aren't the worst part. It feels so violating to know that someone was in your house, going through your things, when you weren't there (or worse, when you were!). Honestly, if we were robbed in our current house I would move. I would never feel safe there again.

sol

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 01:26:22 PM »
Do you have a computer that stays on all day? There is free motion activated webcam software that will watch your house for you.  It can be set up to back up images to a remote server like dropbox, or text your mobile phone, or call your neighbors. Or you can watch the video feed over the internet. You can adjust the sensitivity and screen out portions of the field of view to allow for pets wandering by.

It will use power, but still costs less than paying an alarm system.  Plus you can use the computer for other things, like as a media server or controlling you house lights while you're away.

fiveoh

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 04:32:54 PM »
Get a big dog, or several. 

Parizade

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 05:58:43 PM »
I used to work for a company that manufactured the alarm systems, we sold the hardware to security companies who then sold the monitoring. Here's a direct quote from the sales VP, who was responding to a comment about the poor quality of our systems:

"Our customers don't care about quality systems! Hell, they'd nail a piece of dog shit to the wall and call it Jesus if they could get a recurring revenue stream from it."

Need I say more?

MacGyverIt

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 07:33:37 PM »
I also shuttered at the cost of monthly monitoring fees and ended up purchasing the stand alone GE alarm system. They are attached to each outfacing door/door frame and the alarm is loud enough to wake the dead. If anyone attempted entry, that insanely loud screech would send them packing.

This is similar to what I ordered, I didn't need something quite so elaborate:
http://www.amazon.com/51107-Smart-Wireless-Alarm-System/dp/B00032AVN6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331260313&sr=8-1

You can purchases these units at your local Lowes, so if you're not satisfied you can always quickly return it for a refund.

MountainMan

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 01:30:31 PM »
Is there anything available like a fake video camera that you can mount that has a indicator light that is a bright green?

So people wander by, notice the camera, see that it's on and move on.  It doesn't actually film anything, but they don't know that.

But if you're going to cover all angles with cameras, might as well set up a real surveillance system.

Physics

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 02:19:23 PM »
Is there anything available like a fake video camera that you can mount that has a indicator light that is a bright green?

Lots of em and they are cheap (well, lights are red, but the general idea):

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11016

Bakari

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 05:01:15 PM »
You just need your home to be more secure than your neighbors(and/or look like it is)

I may be installing this:
http://www.nokey.com/foxstylpollo.html
next week for a client who's neighbor was just robbed.

You can instal an alarm system yourself without having it be monitored, it will just sound an actual alarm.  A little more secure than just a sign, but no ongoing costs.

Last year there were a string of break-ins in my neighborhood.

I installed an additional deadbolt near the bottom of the front door.  I put fake camera above my door.  I put some simple bars across the larger windows (but not those big ugly black ones, they are painted white to match the trim, and are thin, and are on the inside of the windows, so between the curtains and the window tint, they aren't super visible until you actually get close to the window).

But I think the real deterrent was when I hung up the human silhouette paper target with the bullet holes concentrated around the bulls-eye prominently outdoors from when I was at the range with my Glock ;)


WageSlave

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 02:46:53 PM »
Our house was broken into a few weeks ago---in broad daylight---while we were away.  We don't own the place, we rent, and it has an alarm system.  We pay the monitoring fees.

Since the break-in, I've learned a couple things about alarm systems.  If you get the monitoring, you most likely need a radio- or cellular-based backup.  At least with our system and monitoring company, the monitoring is through an old school, land-line phone line.  It doesn't take a very sophisticated intruder to cut the wire to the phone service, which would render the monitoring useless.  This is where the radio backup comes into play.  (And none of this stuff is cheap.  Basic monitoring is $30/month, plus $20/month for radio backup, plus $17/month for the most basic AT&T landline we can get.  And this is with a "cheap" monitoring company, big names like ADT and Brinks cost even more.)

Another thing: we have window and door sensors, and motion sensors.  We have cats so we can't use the motion sensors.  The window sensors only sound if the window is opened, not if they are broken.  In our case, the intruder broke-in through a window, then set the alarm off when they opened the back door.  So we paid some real money to have glass-break sensors installed.

Furthermore, the window sensors are not hard-wired, and are therefore wireless and require batteries.  The alarm system lets you know when batteries are low, and in fact will trip the alarm if they get too low.  But it seems that the wireless system uses a fair amount of power, so we change batteries semi-regularly.  For us, it's three AAA batteries per sensor.  That's a lot of landfill waste.

Yes, it is. But have you ever had your house robbed? The physical items you lose aren't the worst part. It feels so violating to know that someone was in your house, going through your things, when you weren't there (or worse, when you were!). Honestly, if we were robbed in our current house I would move. I would never feel safe there again.

This.  As far as break-ins go, ours was the "best case": we weren't home, and nothing was stolen or even broken (except the one window).  And they were nice enough to shut the door behind them so the cats didn't run away.  I thought about all my "stuff", and the thought of losing some or all of it doesn't really bother me.  What bothers me a little is just the time I'd have to spend dealing with insurance and the associated bureaucracy, and time spent replacing the necessities.

But what bothers me a lot is the thought of unscrupulous people breaking into our home.  I'm guessing these were probably just petty thieves, but who knows?  They could have been truly bad people willing to harm my family had we been home.

Right now, it's worth it to us to have the alarm and monitoring.  But we do live in a major US city (though it is a nice neighborhood).  I would definitely feel safer in a suburb or smaller town.  Perhaps emotion is clouding my judgement, but after the break-in, I'm not sure I'd ever feel safe not having and alarm with monitoring.

Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 02:23:13 PM »
I've worked for one of the big alarm companies as a door to door sales rep. My impression is that alarms are a total scam, unless having one allows you to sleep better at night. The only value you'll get from a monitored alarm system is 1) deterrence from a break in; 2) a noisy alarm that might scare someone off; and 3) your own piece of mind.

There are ways to achieve all 3 of those without agreeing to a 3.5 year contract at $50/month.

If you decide to get an alarm anyway, work the heck out of your sales guy. They have a lot of flexibility. Get as much "free" equipment as you can.


ShavenLlama

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 04:53:35 PM »

dancedancekj

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 12:32:03 AM »
Nobody else thought of this commercial? Sorry, this is immediately what my mind jumped to when I saw the subject... :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O1SX4x7uUE

James

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 11:35:34 AM »
Here's a $2 solution...

That's awesome!  :D

Gerard

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2012, 02:12:44 PM »
I may have mentioned this before (I meant to), but I protect my home by not owning anything that thieves would want. I'm thinking of making window stickers that say "Protected by NWS: Nothing Worth Stealing", but I haven't gotten around to it.

shedinator

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Re: Alarm systems for Mustachians?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2012, 03:03:23 PM »
we have alarms to let us know if our son is breaking out...

I can't imagine it would be difficult to find one of those yard signs that says "this home protected by XYZ Alarm co." If that doesn't deter the thief, then your super-sophisticated alarm system probably won't either. It will just give him/her a self-imposed time limit. Unless your system can trap the perp inside, it's only going to reduce the total amount of stuff that gets stolen. And that's assuming you're very thorough, leave no unguarded point of access, and remember to set the alarm every time you leave the house. A lot of alarm techs, when they're being honest with you, will give estimates that over 50% of their clients don't set their alarms, or don't alarm EVERY point of entry, rendering the whole system useless.

While opinions definitely differ, mine is that home protection systems "work" by deterring breakins, either making it harder to break in, or making a break in less attractive, or both. The home monitoring aspect only kicks in after somebody has decided it's worth tripping the alarm, and the odds that the cops will get there any faster are incredibly low. With that in mind, if I were alarming a home, and I might be doing so soon, here's what I would use, in order of how important I'd consider them:
1)A noisy alarm, connected to nothing. ideally it would be programmed to inform an intruder that the police are on their way, but any loud noise would be equally successful in making an intruder believe their presence has been noticed.
2) Several strategically placed CC Cameras (one on each side of the house) connected to my computer
3) Motion lights
4) Some dummy cameras that look like my real cameras

Some other things you might consider:
-A timelocked safe for valuables, if you have any
-An open landscaping plan. Secluded houses are preferred targets
-Fences. They serve the added benefit of keeping kids and pets in.
-Good locks on your door.
-Window Bars
-don't forget the little things, like locking your door when you leave the house, stopping deliveries when you go on a trip, and for the love of all that is holy do NOT make it easy for thieves to track your movements (ie, "checking in" to every location you visit via twitter and facebook).

obviously, most of these things have initial costs, but there's no subscription cost.