Author Topic: Home Security Systems - Worth it?  (Read 35847 times)

ghaynes

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Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« on: June 07, 2013, 01:16:05 PM »
I've been thinking of getting a security system for our house since we have this one teenager that is a troublemaker in our neighborhood and would like to avoid the off chance he decides to break in. Now I've never had any home monitoring system so I've been researching some companies and hate the idea of a monthly bill since its so anti-mustachian but would like to have something in place in case anything happens. The teenager has been reported to the police multiple times and it seems like nothing ever happens. We live in a great neighborhood and I love it here but we can't get rid of this weed.

So if anyone already has a system in place I'm curious if you would recommend it or not?
Also whats the usual discount on your home insurance if you have a security system?

I've also been thinking of setting up some ip cameras instead of using a monitoring service to avoid a monthly fee, but not sure what would be the best route.

GuitarStv

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 01:21:55 PM »
FWIW, we cancelled ours after a few years.  It had sensors, alarms, and a monitoring service.  We don't keep much in the house worth stealing, and we're not away from home very often.

stevesteve

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 01:25:48 PM »
I've also been thinking of setting up some ip cameras instead of using a monitoring service to avoid a monthly fee, but not sure what would be the best route.

Out of curiosity how do you think a monitored home security system will help?  Is it a deterrent so you won't get broken into in the first place?  Is it something that would somehow stop an attempted burglary before any items could be taken?  Would it help provide proof for conviction?  What else can you do to secure your house? (most break ins are not someone battering in a solidly built door, they are opportunistic).  I think you need to figure out what you think the system will do and then figure out what a monitored system would actually do that no system or a set of cameras recording to the web at key locations would do.  My guess is you'll find it won't do much/any more.

matchewed

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 01:31:46 PM »
To the initial question as to whether it is worth it. IMO no. You're essentially paying for the feeling of security. Someone can still rob you.

Dog or security sticker would probably be an equal deterrent.

If you wanted to get tricky you could rig up your own alarm system which would just flash noise unless someone can find the switch

cerberusss

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 01:42:27 PM »
I heard a good rule of thumb is to spend 5% of the value of whatever you're trying to protect.

Personally, the only things of value that I've got, are: $1500 worth of iPad and MacBook, and a $200 TV. I just double-bolt the door. Done.

DoubleDown

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 03:57:38 PM »
I agree, forget the monitoring services. Some inexpensive deterrents will work wonders and make your house a far less attractive target than everyone else's:

- Security camera mounted in plain view (doesn't even have to work)
- Official-looking security stickers in windows and signs that say, "This house is electronically monitored"
- Good locks on doors and windows, security bars on sliding glass doors
- Eliminate concealment around entry-ways that allow burglars to break in without being seen
- Be friends with your neighbors and watch out for each others' places
- Keep lights on outside when it's dark and you're not home
- A large dog is a great deterrent if you're inclined to own one
- Install inexpensive door and/or window alarms if you think the noise would lead to a response by your neighbors or the police
- Don't open your door for anyone you don't know and trust
- Keep anything really valuable somewhere else, like a safe deposit box, or in a bolted down safe if for some reason you own crazy expensive, large stuff. I don't have any personal possessions that would ruin my life if they were stolen, and I don't want to own anything like that. Pretty safe bet that thieves would not make a beeline for photos and other things that have only sentimental value to me.

m8547

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 08:03:05 PM »
- Keep lights on outside when it's dark and you're not home

Lights that stay on all night really bother me. They are cumulatively a huge waste of electricity (even if each light is a relatively small load), and they contribute to light pollution. I've lived too many places where it's light enough all night that I don't even have to think about what time it is or if I need a headlamp to walk around or go for a run. In the city I live in, I'm lucky to be able to see more than four stars and a planet or two at night. Motion sensor lights are a good compromise. The payback in dollars is slow (I estimate 3-4 years for an inexpensive fixture), but I would argue that you can't put a price on being able to enjoy the darkness at night.

Plus motion sensor lights are probably a better deterrent since they make it extremely obvious when someone is moving around.

mostlyeels

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 10:57:27 PM »
I had a back-to-base alarm with a loud alarm for a couple of years, "inherited" from a flatmate who worked for the security company and got a good install rate.  I found that when I first got it it gave me some sense of security, but as time went on it just became a drag: the sensors would go off when no-one was in the house, and set off the alarm (adjusted a few times it gradually became better).  In the end I got rid of it with the feeling it never gave me much value, although I never had a known anti-social kid running around the neighbourhood either.

I think a lot of webcams come with monitoring software.  I've never used one, but a friend monitored his place when they went away on holidays.  Apparently these days you can mark out areas it'll watch, and it will email you if it detects movement, and I guess save the footage as well, hopefully remotely.  No alarm might mean no deterrent, but at least you could show the footage to the police afterwards.  And it's cheaper than a monthly fee to a security company.

Amutt

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 03:18:16 PM »
When we got our current home I bought a wireless system online with sensors for every window from a website that deals in security products. Came out much cheaper than one of the big guys that you probably get door to door with the "free" system that typically includes 2 window sensors. Wireless was super easy to install. I also bought window decals and yard signs.

If you do want monitoring having your own system lets you shop around. That site for example had different home monitoring products, one as low as 10$ a month with claims of 10%-20% off homeowners insurance (have not tried monitoring so no idea if that's true just what they claim). One thing to keep in mind with monitoring though is it gets trickier if you don't have a traditional home phone. Things like cellular I think get more expensive.

Outside of technology, if you do a search on adding security plants to your yard you can find articles on using nature to make your house more secure. Who wants to break in a window that involves climbing through a thorn bush to get to;-) We have dogs ourselves but even if you didn't, if you have a fence a couple well placed beware of dog signs can be a nice deterrant. Can even add a doorbell that makes dog barking noises.

Psychstache

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 05:07:08 PM »
We just moved into a home and one of DW's non-negotiables is a home security system that does summon someone if the system is triggered.

After all my research we decided to go with SimpliSafe. They had the cheapest plans and they are month-to-month whereas everyone else wanted a 2-3 year contract to get their 'cheapest' rates which were all still in the 35-40 dollar range. Also, they use a cellular system so there is no extra expense of a landline to be bothered with.


GuitarStv

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 11:35:52 AM »
- A large dog is a great deterrent if you're inclined to own one

Our beagle is only 25 lbs, but sounds like a 300 lb monster dog when someone's at the door and she barks . . . so you may not need to get a particularly big dog.

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 11:57:34 AM »
IMO home security systems are not worth it.  We had several false alarms and sometimes the sensors would set off the alarm in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.  The police does not like responding to false alarms and where I live they charge something like $100 per false call if they have to respond to more than two false alarms.  Also, I believe most if not all security systems use cellular communication.  If the security company you go with uses a cellular system that has poor service in your neighborhood, expect false alarms and other issues.  We canceled ours and just kept the stickers on the windows.  The guy who installed our system said that the stickers are honestly the best deterrent.  You can probably get official-looking stickers and yard signs on eBay.

If you are determined to get a home security system anyway, ask your neighbors what companies they use, whether they have false alarms, and how customer service is.

cbr shadow

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 12:18:24 PM »
What about just getting a security camera that records and stores video?  The advantage being that it is a one time cost rather than monthly payments.
A friend of mine has a system that was $200 that stores 2 months of video and if there is any movement at his front door he'll get a text message (or email) with a 10 second video clip of that movement.  I think it's a great idea.
The downside of his system is that he has a big black half-dome camera on the front of his house.  They make more discrete versions though, since his is a bit of an eyesore on the front of his house.

Spork

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 12:26:14 PM »
A security system is probably not as effective as a dog, but it is probably a lot cheaper.   Pets can easily run $100/mo depending on what you want to feed them, how/where you domicile them and what veterinary/grooming needs they have.

...made me giggle.

On the other side, a security system isn't nearly as fun.  It's a trade off.  ;)

Rural

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 12:48:15 PM »
A security system is probably not as effective as a dog, but it is probably a lot cheaper.   Pets can easily run $100/mo depending on what you want to feed them, how/where you domicile them and what veterinary/grooming needs they have.

Dogs generally don't have "grooming needs," as I've yet to meet one who cared what he looked like. Dog grooming is a people want.

jpo

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2013, 01:33:30 PM »
What about just getting a security camera that records and stores video?  The advantage being that it is a one time cost rather than monthly payments.
A friend of mine has a system that was $200 that stores 2 months of video and if there is any movement at his front door he'll get a text message (or email) with a 10 second video clip of that movement.  I think it's a great idea.
The downside of his system is that he has a big black half-dome camera on the front of his house.  They make more discrete versions though, since his is a bit of an eyesore on the front of his house.
I am planning on building this DIY in the next few years, possibly with Arduino/RPi/BeagleBone/etc's.

madmax

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 01:41:32 PM »
A security system is probably not as effective as a dog, but it is probably a lot cheaper.   Pets can easily run $100/mo depending on what you want to feed them, how/where you domicile them and what veterinary/grooming needs they have.

Dogs generally don't have "grooming needs," as I've yet to meet one who cared what he looked like. Dog grooming is a people want.

This. I grew up in a country where dog grooming was unheard of when I was a kid. We used to have a pure bred German Shepherd with a long coat of hair and every year once during the summer when the heat got a bit unbearable for him (no air conditioning), my Dad would grab a trimmer and give him a short hair cut. He ended up looking ridiculous for a month or two but I don't think he cared.

Eric

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 01:45:07 PM »
we have this one teenager that is a troublemaker in our neighborhood and would like to avoid the off chance he decides to break in.

I think you answered your own question here.  You're considering taking on a frivolous expense just on the off chance that this one "bad" teenager decides that:

a)  He's going to start committing felonies
b)  His felonies of choice are home burglaries
c)  His target of choice will be homes in his own neighborhood
d)  Your home will be one of the targeted

Honestly, that all sounds pretty ridiculous to me.  It's one kid!  You're on the verge of WAY over insuring yourself on the off chance that your unfounded fears may somehow come true.

iamsoners

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2013, 05:15:24 PM »
Quote
I think you answered your own question here.  You're considering taking on a frivolous expense just on the off chance that this one "bad" teenager decides that:

a)  He's going to start committing felonies
b)  His felonies of choice are home burglaries
c)  His target of choice will be homes in his own neighborhood
d)  Your home will be one of the targeted

My presumption based on the original post was that 1-3 had already started happening.

We're in a somewhat similar situation--very safe neighborhood but it's the first time I've ever lived in a house that has bedrooms on the ground floor and it just makes me nervous.  I'm struggling with whether to do a loud un-monitored system that's purpose would be to scare someone off (neighbors would certainly call the cops if they heard it). From what I've seen, that would be about $200 which is ultimately fairly nominal but I'm just struggling through whether I want fear to run my life in such a way that I feel like this is a necessity.  Honestly I should probably just cut out all the Criminal Minds and Law & Order episodes...

DoubleDown

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2013, 01:02:28 PM »
- Keep lights on outside when it's dark and you're not home

Lights that stay on all night really bother me. They are cumulatively a huge waste of electricity (even if each light is a relatively small load), and they contribute to light pollution. I've lived too many places where it's light enough all night that I don't even have to think about what time it is or if I need a headlamp to walk around or go for a run. In the city I live in, I'm lucky to be able to see more than four stars and a planet or two at night. Motion sensor lights are a good compromise. The payback in dollars is slow (I estimate 3-4 years for an inexpensive fixture), but I would argue that you can't put a price on being able to enjoy the darkness at night.

Plus motion sensor lights are probably a better deterrent since they make it extremely obvious when someone is moving around.

Note that I suggested keeping lights on when it's dark and you're not home, not full time which I agree would waste electricity and contributes to light pollution.
 
No argument from me on motion sensor lights in general, but there is some limitation there. One primary argument for keeping a light on rather than just a motion-activated light, is you want to keep entry points illuminated so that if someone is attempting to break in they can be seen.  Most motion-activated lights will turn off after a short time, and small movements like trying to pry open a door would not activate them again (meaning the burglar can continue to operate in the dark, even IF the sensor happens to be pointed right where they're trying to break in).

Also, I should have added to my original list:

- Put an inside light on a timer that turns on at dusk and turns off around normal bedtime. This will give the illusion of someone being home even when you're away, plus you won't return to a dark house inside.

The great thing about all these deterrents is you don't have to be the most secure house ever, you just have to look like a less appealing target than the other houses around you (kind of like outrunning the bear -- you don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friend that's with you).

Cromacster

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2013, 07:16:00 AM »
A security system is probably not as effective as a dog, but it is probably a lot cheaper.   Pets can easily run $100/mo depending on what you want to feed them, how/where you domicile them and what veterinary/grooming needs they have.

Dogs generally don't have "grooming needs," as I've yet to meet one who cared what he looked like. Dog grooming is a people want.

This statement is wrong when the health of the dog is considered.  Dogs have been domesticated and they do have grooming needs.  It is not for the aesthetics.  Although this mainly involves simple tasks like ear cleaning, eye cleaning (for some dogs), and maybe a brushing to remove snarls and lose hair.

A security system is probably not as effective as a dog, but it is probably a lot cheaper.   Pets can easily run $100/mo depending on what you want to feed them, how/where you domicile them and what veterinary/grooming needs they have.

Dogs generally don't have "grooming needs," as I've yet to meet one who cared what he looked like. Dog grooming is a people want.

This. I grew up in a country where dog grooming was unheard of when I was a kid. We used to have a pure bred German Shepherd with a long coat of hair and every year once during the summer when the heat got a bit unbearable for him (no air conditioning), my Dad would grab a trimmer and give him a short hair cut. He ended up looking ridiculous for a month or two but I don't think he cared.

I'm sorry, but this quote proves you/your family knew nothing about the grooming needs of German Shepherds.

My security system is my German Shepherd.  Which does require 10-15 minutes of my time per week grooming him.  But yes, there is the cost of feed, vet bills, and health insurance.  My average monthly spending for this security system is $120.


On another note, has anyone on here looked into Z-wave at all?  It is a Home Automation protocol and has some pretty interesting uses.  one of them being a home security system that can be set to alert with text messages when motion sensors are tripped and what not.  Can also incorporate video, lighting controls, heating/AC controls, and can be accessed from your smartphone. Though the upfront cost can be quite high.  I have not used it before but I have looked into.

Does anyone have experience with Z-wave?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 07:20:58 AM by Cromacster »

Spork

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2013, 07:52:50 AM »

Does anyone have experience with Z-wave?

They were a topic at Blackhat this year.  I didn't attend this year's conference, but form what I can read: AVOID AVOID AVOID.

There are lots of articles about the presentation.  random one from google.

edit: a little bit better article on z-wave and the presentation overview
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 07:59:54 AM by Spork »

MSC

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2013, 09:42:21 AM »
So if anyone already has a system in place I'm curious if you would recommend it or not?
Also whats the usual discount on your home insurance if you have a security system?

I would wholeheartedly recommend the alarm system, but for a few different reasons.  We went with one of the big names in the alarm industry and we're pretty satisfied:

1.  As everyone mentioned above you get the standard burglary protection if you have the appropriate sensors.  Since we have a dog and two cats, we opted out of the motion sensors and went with sensors on every door and window on the first floor (at a fraction of the cost, see #3!).

2.  The company we went with offers fire and carbon monoxide detection at no additional cost (only the cost of the sensors).  This is the reason that I don't think I'll ever get rid of the system (at least in the near future).  In the event of an emergency they'll call the fire department without you having to do a thing.

3.  The systems can get pretty expensive, but if you can DIY it, or at least DIY a portion of it (i.e. purchase compatible products (http://resolutionproducts.com/) and install yourself) you can save 80% of the cost in some instances.

4.  The insurance discount isn't great, something around 10%.  In our case that equates to about three free months of service a year or about $10 less per month for the security system.

Hunny156

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2013, 10:28:28 AM »
I have the window stickers and the outdoor sign of a very well known security company.  Purchased them off Ebay.  Expensive for what they are, but worth it to me - I felt it would be more legitimate looking than some of the truly fake signs and stickers out there.

My entry lights are on sensors, so they turn on at dusk and off at dawn.

I keep all windows and doors locked, including the gate to the backyard, w/a padlock.

My house came equipped w/an alarm system (standard in our subdivision), and the keypad is not visible from the street, so a burglar would not be able to look inside and see if the system is armed or not.

There has been some crime over the years, but it usually is something very targeted or wayward teens looking for easy scores.  So many of my neighbors have so much stuff in their garages, they park on the street, doors unlocked, and leave things like laptops and iPads in plain sight.

Another interesting suggestion from a gun safety instructor:  Hubby wanted a firearm, I don't feel comfortable w/the idea.  We decided to take a gun safety class b/c we live in TX, and everyone around us is armed, so probably a good idea to have some idea  on how to properly handle a weapon.

Hubby asked the instructor what the best firearm would be to protect the home from intruders.  He suggested a shotgun, but said the best deterrent would be to have the audio of a shotgun connected to the window sensors.  In his experience, any burglar who hears that sound is going to quickly & quietly head in the opposite direction!

Samsam

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2013, 10:53:22 AM »


haha sorry couldn't help posting the picture.  I have some cameras out on my back patio right now and it has stopped the neighbors from using my outdoor furniture / throwing cigarettes everywhere...but, they aren't even on anymore.  I think you should try just getting one of those fake cameras. 

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2013, 11:25:58 AM »
I have the window stickers and the outdoor sign of a very well known security company.  Purchased them off Ebay.  Expensive for what they are, but worth it to me - I felt it would be more legitimate looking than some of the truly fake signs and stickers out there.

My entry lights are on sensors, so they turn on at dusk and off at dawn.

Do both of these. At my old house they Brinks guy gave me a ton of extra stickers. I sold them all on Ebay for a pretty price. :) All you need is the illusion of security. Do this with motion sensor lights and you'll be fine.

But if they are really dumb enough, train with and own a firearm. When seconds count, the police are minutes away. :)

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2013, 12:05:34 PM »


haha sorry couldn't help posting the picture.  I have some cameras out on my back patio right now and it has stopped the neighbors from using my outdoor furniture / throwing cigarettes everywhere...but, they aren't even on anymore.  I think you should try just getting one of those fake cameras.

Haha like the picture. 

Dogs, unless trained, are mostly a deterrent due to the noise they may create.  Even with a trained home security dog its hard to justify the use if the event happens when you are not home.

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2013, 08:32:16 AM »
I just shopped around for HO insurance, and asked about any other possible discounts. I know American Family offered only 6% discount for having an alarm system. I didn't ask if it had to be monitored.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2013, 06:13:37 AM »
Monitored systems are a joke. They're only as good as 1) the time for you to rush home from work (15 minutes for me, 1 hour now that I'm on a bike); 2.) Police response (in my city, whenever they feel like it).

The only time our house was broken into was when we had monitoring. Takes less than 10 minutes to kick down a door and rip electronics out of your house. What alarm system can help with that?

Cromacster

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2013, 06:37:00 AM »
What alarm system can help with that?

A trained protection dog...but then again if he's just protecting electronics/possessions that's pretty pointless.  The same with any security system.  Mostly there so people can feel warm and comfy about their tv's computers and jewelry being safe.

My philosophy is, if you want my tv bad enough to break into my house, take it, my tv isnt important or all that valuable.  If there is a chance that the person could harm me or my family...well that's where my dog and other means are more useful than any alarm....

For the home security systems, I like the security alarm system, which will be very safer for my home. But there are different quality of alarm systems available, and I am confused to purchase which one. So, please give me some suggestions..??

Real security starts with the self.  My first tip would be to remove your address from a public forum where you are seeking advice about security systems.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 06:43:38 AM by Cromacster »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2013, 06:51:29 AM »
Thiefs are usually looking for things they can flip easily, which is why the police usually recommend you don't have your shiny plasma TV visible from the street.

Insanity

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2013, 06:59:14 AM »
My HOI discount more than pays for the security system. So, for that it is worth it.

Spork

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2013, 08:07:25 AM »


Real security starts with the self.  My first tip would be to remove your address from a public forum where you are seeking advice about security systems.

I just spit coffee.   LOL.

dragoncar

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2014, 01:16:16 PM »
Ok, I know this is a necrothread, but I prefer to revive old threads rather than start new ones.  I'm considering a security system, so the advice here has been helpful.  So far, I haven't seen this rationale:

Many naysayers point out that a burglar will be in and out in a few minutes.  I don't have a lot that is valuable on the street.  So a burglar would probably assume it's hidden somewhere and start trashing the house looking for my stash -- this is the cost I'm concerned with, home and furniture damage.  At least with an alarm going off, the thief will have extra incentive to grab visible items and LEAVE.

So I might not get monitoring, but I am leaning towards at least a noisemaking device.

If anyone has new thoughts on cheap places to get off-the-shelf sensors/panels that will interoperate with monitoring in the future (should I decide to go that way), I'm all ears.

RichMoose

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2014, 01:46:20 PM »
Ok, I know this is a necrothread, but I prefer to revive old threads rather than start new ones.  I'm considering a security system, so the advice here has been helpful.  So far, I haven't seen this rationale:

Many naysayers point out that a burglar will be in and out in a few minutes.  I don't have a lot that is valuable on the street.  So a burglar would probably assume it's hidden somewhere and start trashing the house looking for my stash -- this is the cost I'm concerned with, home and furniture damage.  At least with an alarm going off, the thief will have extra incentive to grab visible items and LEAVE.

So I might not get monitoring, but I am leaning towards at least a noisemaking device.

If anyone has new thoughts on cheap places to get off-the-shelf sensors/panels that will interoperate with monitoring in the future (should I decide to go that way), I'm all ears.

A security system is definitely not worth the cost unless you have a house in a remote area, it's frequently unoccupied for weeks at a time, you have a large number of "pawnable" items. If you have all of the above, then get a hard-wired motion camera system that is live feed to your mobile device & a few security stickers with a backup system on a 1 or 2 month loop. No need to pay a company to do that, you can easily install yourself. Otherwise just get to know a few neighbors, let them know when you're leaving for a trip and give them a key, and maybe put up a sticker. If you live in a high crime area, get a large dog that appears intimidating. Thieves hate dogs and your neighbors house will suddenly appear more attractive.

For most residential break-ins, thieves are in and out within minutes because most of them are shitting their pants that someone (a neighbor) observed them or will see them moving in the house. "Trashing" is a fear that security companies prey on, just watch their commercials. Fact is nearly all "trashing" causes none or very minimal real damage, usually a couple tossed dresser drawers and that one or two "junk" drawers in the kitchen, clothing strewn about from closets, and files tossed about from a filing cabinet (don't lock it because they will pry it open thinking there is definitely something of value inside). These are all common places where people hide a bit of cash and thieves know that.

For anyone still thinking about getting one, or anyone that is paying every month for one: paid security systems suck and the industry knows it. It takes several minutes from the time the alarm is triggered before a police officer is dispatched. Then another x minutes before they get to your residence. Police absolutely despise home / business security alarms because 99% of them are false, if you live in a busy or understaffed police area you can guarantee that your alarm call is at the bottom of the priority list. Security system alarms are not priority response (because they're almost all false) so there are no emergency responses to alarms meaning no lights / sirens / excessive speed. All this equals lots of time for thieves to get what they want, including cracking open your filing cabinet or fire safe, and exiting without getting caught.

usmarine1975

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2014, 03:10:35 PM »
I purchased a refurbished Simpli Safe system.  It's simply a distraction in my opinion.  I did not subscribe to the monthly service but liked that if I wanted too I had the option.  It's a battery system and you can install the components yourself.  The base can be placed anywhere and you can get a louder horn to put elsewhere in the house.  The thief can rip one item off the wall but the system is still going off.

I moved into an area that is a little more questionable and for me the door chimes even while I am in the home give me a better sense of what is going on.  My wife can be upstairs and hear me walk in the door or someone else for that matter.  I like it and the price wasn't that bad.

AH013

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2014, 03:48:19 PM »
If anyone has new thoughts on cheap places to get off-the-shelf sensors/panels that will interoperate with monitoring in the future (should I decide to go that way), I'm all ears.

If you just want noise, dollar stores usually sell battery operated window/door alarms.  Basically a local alarm that goes off once the magnetic link between the device and the bar is tripped, like what happens when a window or door opens.  I used to live in a city apartment ground-level with really bad (old wooden) windows that didn't properly lock shut, so I had to mostly secure them with a wooden dowel.  $5 and I would always know if someone opened one of my 5 windows while I was sleeping.
http://www.dollartree.com/Battery-Powered-Window-Alerts/p328789/index.pro

Couple the above with a set of window/door decals proclaiming you have a monitored alarm system (whether you do or not) and some well-placed motion-activated flood lights, and you've done as much deterrent as a full monitoring system will.  For $20 bucks you can have some piece of mind that you won't wake up face to face with a burglar in the middle of the night.  There really isn't much need to pay $100-$400 + $5-10 a month on even a self-monitored GSM-based monitoring service, unless you enjoy getting a text that you're being robbed with a realization that you have no real means of getting to your home in the next 10 minutes nor desire to risk your life on a potentially drug-crazed armed thief to protect a few hundred bucks worth of stuff or a insurance deductible.

And really, any thief that isn't deterred by locked doors, bright lights, loud noise and the threat of a potential police response isn't going to be deterred by anything else.  At that level (targeted robbery or a drug high/withdrawal), the threat of being video recorded, knowing for sure that ADT/Brinks is "dispatching someone", or having random neighbors looking outside their windows adds nothing to the deterrent, and nothing is doing to stop them short of a German Shepherd or hot lead.

matchewed

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2014, 05:03:34 PM »
Ok, I know this is a necrothread, but I prefer to revive old threads rather than start new ones.  I'm considering a security system, so the advice here has been helpful.  So far, I haven't seen this rationale:

Many naysayers point out that a burglar will be in and out in a few minutes.  I don't have a lot that is valuable on the street.  So a burglar would probably assume it's hidden somewhere and start trashing the house looking for my stash -- this is the cost I'm concerned with, home and furniture damage.  At least with an alarm going off, the thief will have extra incentive to grab visible items and LEAVE.

So I might not get monitoring, but I am leaning towards at least a noisemaking device.

If anyone has new thoughts on cheap places to get off-the-shelf sensors/panels that will interoperate with monitoring in the future (should I decide to go that way), I'm all ears.

Definitely not off-the-shelf but more customizable than you could ever want is just going some arduino or raspberry pi route. Some motion detection built in to either a text message or noise creation. Lots of "easy" guides out there depending on your level of knowledge in circuit boards and the like. :)

deborah

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2014, 11:52:29 PM »
Whether it's worth it depends on why you want it. My first home was continually broken into. The first 7 school holidays I lived there I had a burglary each school holiday (not that it was necessarily children). I tried everything - bars on the windows... Then I got a monitored alarm, and after it was installed, I was broken into 2 or 3 times in 13 years.

It wasn't the stuff that was stolen - sometimes nothing was stolen because they were interrupted. It was the battering of my secure spot. It was the continual wondering if it had happened again each night when I was coming home. It was the continual fixing of doors and windows and making sure no broken glass was lying around rather than being able to get on and improve the place.

After the alarm was installed nothing was stolen, but thieves would find a window without a sticker on it, and go in there. Once it was a laminated bathroom window and I ended up with glass dust throughout the house. As soon as they were in an alarmed area, the noise went off, and out they went. That's why dogs are so good - it's the noise not the size. In the first burglary, the noise was my telephone answering machine!

The security system was really worth it. I stopped living in continuous anticipation of violation.

My current place has an alarm. We probably shouldn't have it. In 13 years we have been burgled once and they didn't take anything.

foobar

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2014, 07:13:44 AM »
To the initial question as to whether it is worth it. IMO no. You're essentially paying for the feeling of security. Someone can still rob you.

Dog or security sticker would probably be an equal deterrent.

If you wanted to get tricky you could rig up your own alarm system which would just flash noise unless someone can find the switch

Who cares about getting robbed? Thats what insurance is for. The risk is being home when the murderous gang invades the house and they kill everyone during the robbery.  Is it worth 300 bucks/yr for that type of security or do you realize that the risk your protecting against is nonexistent in most communities?

matchewed

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2014, 07:20:42 AM »
To the initial question as to whether it is worth it. IMO no. You're essentially paying for the feeling of security. Someone can still rob you.

Dog or security sticker would probably be an equal deterrent.

If you wanted to get tricky you could rig up your own alarm system which would just flash noise unless someone can find the switch

Who cares about getting robbed? Thats what insurance is for. The risk is being home when the murderous gang invades the house and they kill everyone during the robbery.  Is it worth 300 bucks/yr for that type of security or do you realize that the risk your protecting against is nonexistent in most communities?

Are you arguing against my point or for it? I see you saying that the threat isn't robbery but murder. Then you proceed undermine it by saying it's nonexistent. So what's your point?

deborah

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2014, 07:27:37 AM »
Who cares about getting robbed? Thats what insurance is for. The risk is being home when the murderous gang invades the house and they kill everyone during the robbery.  Is it worth 300 bucks/yr for that type of security or do you realize that the risk your protecting against is nonexistent in most communities?
I certainly cared about getting robbed - and everyone I have ever met who has been robbed also cared about it - particularly the house repairs that are necessary afterwards.

If a murderous gang invades your house and kills everyone, your alarm probably won't be on!

usmarine1975

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2014, 07:29:41 AM »
I CARE about being Robbed.  I have been robbed and it is a sucky feeling to have your space and your property violated.  Insurance does not make you whole it only covers up to the limits of the policy.  And oh guess what you Pay for that.  In my experience just over 50% is covered by Insurance.  (they depreciate your property and you have a deductible)

I have an alarm that does not have a monthly fee as I did not subscribe to the monthly service.  But I was given stickers to put on the doors and I have a REALLY LOUD Alarm if someone enters.  I think of my system as  a 1 time Insurance fee of $100.00 worth every penny in my book.  If someone walks in any of the doors and I am on another floor I will hear the ding and know.  Knowing someone is coming up helps you be more prepared.  So far it has only been friends and family entering and I hope it stays that way.

I am also very proficient with a 9mm which I hope to God I NEVER have to use.  That cost me a little more then $500.00 but I wanted it anyway.

usmarine1975

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2014, 08:22:51 AM »
While in the Reserves I once spent the night in inner Philly with a fellow Marine.  I had my truck loaded with tools at the time and a truck cap that I did not have a key for.  I mentioned this to my friend and was concerned. His response was to point to 3 guys in the street standing on the sidewalk.  And he said you see those guys.  They are the drug dealers.  No one will touch your truck because they are there.

I don't know that I felt real secure but he was right my truck was untouched.

I currently live beside a house which many have accused one of the occupants of being a drug dealer.  His friends will sit outside on the sidewalk beside and sometimes in front of my house.  If that is true I don't need to worry about someone entering my home.  On the other hand it does add another concern in regards to safety.  I prefer to have the simple alarm system that I have.  And one day I might add camera's.  Not at this point.

dragoncar

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2014, 11:10:39 AM »
To the initial question as to whether it is worth it. IMO no. You're essentially paying for the feeling of security. Someone can still rob you.

Dog or security sticker would probably be an equal deterrent.

If you wanted to get tricky you could rig up your own alarm system which would just flash noise unless someone can find the switch

Who cares about getting robbed? Thats what insurance is for. The risk is being home when the murderous gang invades the house and they kill everyone during the robbery.  Is it worth 300 bucks/yr for that type of security or do you realize that the risk your protecting against is nonexistent in most communities?

Uh, I'm pretty sure my deductible will be higher than any smash and grab.  That's how Mustachians tend to roll (it's a sacred cow!)


Whether it's worth it depends on why you want it. My first home was continually broken into.

Yikes... I'm in a relatively safe area.  I'd probably move if crime was that bad (doesn't have to cost more to live in a safe area).


I have an alarm that does not have a monthly fee as I did not subscribe to the monthly service. 

I will probably go with one of the cheap services listed here.  My insurance discount will be around $100/year so I can justify a bare-minimum "reporting" feature.  Have to double check whether the discount is for an alarm or a reporting alarm.  Might also get better discount if it ties into smoke alarm -- fire is a bigger risk than burglary (on a cost-probability adjusted scale)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 11:14:50 AM by dragoncar »

foobar

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2014, 12:36:40 PM »
I CARE about being Robbed.  I have been robbed and it is a sucky feeling to have your space and your property violated.  Insurance does not make you whole it only covers up to the limits of the policy.  And oh guess what you Pay for that.  In my experience just over 50% is covered by Insurance.  (they depreciate your property and you have a deductible)

I have an alarm that does not have a monthly fee as I did not subscribe to the monthly service.  But I was given stickers to put on the doors and I have a REALLY LOUD Alarm if someone enters.  I think of my system as  a 1 time Insurance fee of $100.00 worth every penny in my book.  If someone walks in any of the doors and I am on another floor I will hear the ding and know.  Knowing someone is coming up helps you be more prepared.  So far it has only been friends and family entering and I hope it stays that way.

I am also very proficient with a 9mm which I hope to God I NEVER have to use.  That cost me a little more then $500.00 but I wanted it anyway.

If they smashes your window, you are going to feel your personal space has been invaded no matter what happens. The math is that you are unlikely to be robbed (i.e. a once in what 20-50 year occurrence for most people) by a stranger and the overhead of paying that yearly fee is more than deductible.  Of course it also helps that I don't have much that is worth robbing. Your odds of shooting a criminal versus a family member are in the same boat.  You might feel more secure but the stats are what they are.

If your getting robbed often enough for a security system to make sense, your solution is to move:)

Now I am all for just putting up the stickers. Why not. You can get them for .50 a piece on ebay and they are going to be about as effective:)

big_owl

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #46 on: September 16, 2014, 12:36:44 PM »
We had a monitored system but eventually got tired of paying the monthly fee.  It worked great for almost ten years - we had two false alarms but they were our own fault (curtains blowing in the wind while not home). 

I really didn't get one in order to avoid being robbed, it was more for letting me know if someone was in my house at night when sleeping or otherwise.  With the internal motion sensors, someone getting in the house at night would set it off and give us time to get to our guns and have a chance of enforcing the castle doctrine.

Since we canceled the monitoring service, the alarm has recently stopped working altogether.  It's bothering me now, knowing that somebody could get in the house at night and I wouldn't even know it until they were in my bedroom.  I'm close to springing on buying a new main board that uses the existing sensors but doesn't require 24/7 monitoring.

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #47 on: September 16, 2014, 04:05:31 PM »
Hubby and I recently got broken into. We did not have a security system and did NOT want a monthly bill when even the cop we filed the break-in report with said that all a security system does is make the burglars go faster. We went with the IRIS system from Lowe's and so far we LOVE IT! It also included a smart thermostat - highly mustachian! The system was about $300 with a few sensors (3 I think?) and you download the app on your phone and can arm and disarm it when you're away! If a sensor goes off, Your phone is dialed immediately where you can shut it off or have it call the cops. We got an "extra" - energy monitor where you can plug in 1 thing into it and you can monitor how much enegy it's consuming online. I believe they also have things like cameras, and an energy monitor for your whole house, more sensors, etc. We spent $400 which we expect will be recouped by the savings with the smart thermostat and the monthly bill we would be paying. Plus no contract and you can take it with you if you move.

iris lily

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2014, 08:56:11 PM »

If they smashes your window, you are going to feel your personal space has been invaded no matter what happens. The math is that you are unlikely to be robbed (i.e. a once in what 20-50 year occurrence for most people) by a stranger and the overhead of paying that yearly fee is more than deductible....
Oddly, I didn't have a problem with the "personal space" issue. I had heard of that, but when our house was robbed of a tv, it didn't really bother me that some assh*le was in my house, uninvited. That's likely because this was so obviously a smash 'n grab event, there was no turning over our underwear in bedrooms to find jewelry, etc. Mainly DH and I marveled that

1) the perps didn't get either one of us at home since he and I were in and out that day and the perps broke in within a 45 minute window (it's likely that they were watching)

2) our 3 little dogs were not hurt

3) we didn't have a rescue dog at that time, a good thing, because our rescue dogs are big ones and I would think that perps would do them harm

4) perps didn't see the family silver, literally 14" from where they stood. Now THAT stuff is worth a lot more than a TV.

Metta

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Re: Home Security Systems - Worth it?
« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2014, 07:45:23 AM »

If they smashes your window, you are going to feel your personal space has been invaded no matter what happens. The math is that you are unlikely to be robbed (i.e. a once in what 20-50 year occurrence for most people) by a stranger and the overhead of paying that yearly fee is more than deductible....
Oddly, I didn't have a problem with the "personal space" issue. I had heard of that, but when our house was robbed of a tv, it didn't really bother me that some assh*le was in my house, uninvited. That's likely because this was so obviously a smash 'n grab event, there was no turning over our underwear in bedrooms to find jewelry, etc.

I live in the one of the worst large cities for violent and property crime (we hover in the top five worst cities). Our first year we lived here my husband was still teaching and finishing his Ph.D in Ohio and I was doing a lot of traveling for business. One day I came back from a trip to find our windows were broken and that our house had been burglarized. They took nearly everything. The insurance replacement value was upwards of $25000. What they didn't take, they destroyed. They defecated on our religious articles. They emptied out our freezer onto the floor of the kitchen. They emptied our 20lb bag of rice onto the floor of the kitchen. Between the broken windows and the food on the floor, the bugs and other vermin found a happy home.

The police, when they finally arrived, shrugged their shoulders and left. They said that the house had been emptied and vandalized over the course of several days or a week. I felt unsafe and completely violated. I was angry because my neighbors apparently watched it happen without so much as picking up the phone to call the police.

We moved to a safer area of Memphis and we pay for a monitored home security system now. It is not to deter smash and grab. It is to ensure that if someone does break in, they will only be there for a short sojourn in my house. Even Memphis police should arrive in enough time to discourage thieves from rolling up with a van to empty my house.

Once we move to a better city, we will no longer pay for a monitored home security system. In Memphis, it is part of the cost of living here. With home security systems as with other things, you must make a decision based on where and how you live.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 07:52:23 AM by Metta »