Home Security System
 

OK, so I have decided that I want a home security system. I have taken
other putions in my home such as having a light on a timer,
deadbolts, motion detection light on the side of the house, and I
ntly got a neat-o gadget for the front porch. It is an electronic
timer that has a randomization feature, leaning that you program an on
time and off time into it, and the light switch turns itself on and
off at slightly different times based on what times you programmed.
Not a bad idea--so if someone really is watching or casing your house
and noting the time that your light goes on the front, it will go on
and off differently each day, making it look like someone is in the
home turning it off and on. As an added bonus, I like coming home to a
well-lit front porch. No more fumbling for keys. This gadget hard
wires into the switch, and costs about $30.00. Too bad they don't have
an equivalent wall timer with a random feature.
Anyway, even with all of that, I have decided that I want a security
system. I can get a discount on my insurance, and one of my employees
tells me he pays less than $30 per month for monitoring. Being as I
travel and also stay away from my home when I stay at my girlfriend's
apartment, it would be really worth the peace of mind.
So here's an interesting frugal twist: My employee tells me that he
called up one of the big national chains and asked for the free
installation package. The national company sends people to do the work
and then when they get there, my employee pulls out a fifty dollar
bill and asks if he can get all of the bells and whistles. So the
installers hook him up with just about everything! By my estimates,
with all of the extra stuff he got, it saved him like $700.00. That
seems like quite a frugal deal to me. So, anyone ever tried that? Any
other tricks or suggestions of note? Any good chains to try or bad
chains to avoid? As always, I appate the help and experience of
the members of MCFL.
Thanks,
Deadend

On 19 Jul 2002 14:24:52 -0700, deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend)
wrote:
<snip>
>Anyway, even with all of that, I have decided that I want a security
>system.

A good investment, IMO.
>I can get a discount on my insurance, and one of my employees
>tells me he pays less than $30 per month for monitoring.

You can buy your own system and skip the monitoring. The big companies
make all their money with the monitoring charges, and typically only
call your local Police Dept if they get a tripped alarm zone. More
than one or two of those calls in a year will cost you big bucks, in
most cities.
>So here's an interesting frugal twist: My employee tells me that he
>called up one of the big national chains and asked for the free
>installation package.

Sorry, no free lunches in this business. They get paid one way or the
other, or they wouldn't be in business.
>The national company sends people to do the work
>and then when they get there, my employee pulls out a fifty dollar
>bill and asks if he can get all of the bells and whistles.

Sounds corrupt at best. Plus the monitoring company gets a complete
readout from your system regarding what is enabled and whether or not
you have paid for it. They call it "theft" if you play games with
them. And then they prosecuted, just like cable companies.
>So the installers hook him up with just about everything!

I don't know what this means. Is the system wired, or wireless? How
many and what kind of sensors? Is it interior protection, or interior
and perimeter? Are there automatic check-in sent to report on the
status of the system? Who owns the equipment; the company?
> Any good chains to try or bad chains to avoid?

Local alarm monitoring companies are almost always a better choice.
They understand the area, the police restrictions on false alarms, and
they can provide quick service if needed. But they aren't cheap.
If you subscribe to a high-end service, they have armed private patrol
officers who can be at the door in minutes. And if you give them a
key, they can enter the house and check out the problem.
BTW, systems that use modem dialers can be easily defeated by cutting
the phone line. High end companies install a cell-phone link to
prevent this, plus have "cut line" alarm trips and other safeguards.
You get what you pay for.
Caveat

hchickpea   Jul 19 2002, 3:32 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living hchick...@hotmail.com - Fri, 19 Jul 2002 22:32:20 GMT Local: Fri,Jul 19 2002 3:32 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living981ce80239c24783" Individual Message Show original On 19 Jul 2002 14:24:52 -0700, deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend)
wrote

:
- ->OK, so I have decided that I want a home security system. I have taken
>other putions in my home such as having a light on a timer,
>deadbolts, motion detection light on the side of the house, and I
>ntly got a neat-o gadget for the front porch. It is an electronic
>timer that has a randomization feature, leaning that you program an on
>time and off time into it, and the light switch turns itself on and
>off at slightly different times based on what times you programmed.
>Not a bad idea--so if someone really is watching or casing your house
>and noting the time that your light goes on the front, it will go on
>and off differently each day, making it look like someone is in the
>home turning it off and on. As an added bonus, I like coming home to a
>well-lit front porch. No more fumbling for keys. This gadget hard
>wires into the switch, and costs about $30.00. Too bad they don't have
>an equivalent wall timer with a random feature.
>Anyway, even with all of that, I have decided that I want a security
>system. I can get a discount on my insurance, and one of my employees
>tells me he pays less than $30 per month for monitoring. Being as I
>travel and also stay away from my home when I stay at my girlfriend's
>apartment, it would be really worth the peace of mind.
>So here's an interesting frugal twist: My employee tells me that he
>called up one of the big national chains and asked for the free
>installation package. The national company sends people to do the work
>and then when they get there, my employee pulls out a fifty dollar
>bill and asks if he can get all of the bells and whistles. So the
>installers hook him up with just about everything! By my estimates,
>with all of the extra stuff he got, it saved him like $700.00. That
>seems like quite a frugal deal to me. So, anyone ever tried that? Any
>other tricks or suggestions of note? Any good chains to try or bad
>chains to avoid? As always, I appate the help and experience of
>the members of MCFL.
>Thanks,
>Deadend

Why not use a webcam with motion detection?  Depending on how you are
connected to the net you can view what is going on real time.
Logitech has a webcam with motion detection and a month's free account
at spotlife.
Alarm monitoring is fine, do it myself, but there is a lot more
comfort in also having a rd of exactly what was going on while you
were away.  The only caveat is that the logitech motion detection sees
the light change from lightning as a motion, so you can get short
rdings of pitch black during a nightime storm.  A flashing neon
sign nearby wouldn't be a good idea either.
Get an older computer, add the webcam and set things up hidden.  When
you go away, start the motion detection then unplug the monitor,
keyboard and mouse from the computer. Toss a blank floppy into the A:
drive to prevent a reboot.  Even with a minimal UPS, you should have a
fine rd of every important event within camera view.  If someone
does break in and you can show the rding to the judge, you've got
them nailed. (Hint, if you can, set up a dummy system as well with a
non-working computer that the burglar can trash.  It makes it more
fun. >-) )
As for alarms, there are (mostly X-10 based) private alarm systems
that call your cellphone or pager dily (or a next door neighbor)
and thus avoid the monthly monitoring fees entirely - as well as the
semi-competent monitoring personnel.  I've been on the iving end
of alarm notifications more times than I can count (I was responsible
for a group of locations as a district supervisor) and I found the
staff of the alarm companies are usually about as educated in their
job as the average minimum wage employee.

James Linn   Jul 19 2002, 6:08 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living "James Linn" <j...@idi.com> - Fri, 19 Jul 2002 21:06:32 -0400 Local: Fri,Jul 19 2002 6:06 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingcbe64f5b25832d5d" Individual Message Show original "Deadend" <deadend_dead...@hotmail.com> wrote in message

news:5a25c106.0207191324.3fa60246@posting.google.com...
> OK, so I have decided that I want a home security system.

Recent report in the paper interviewed a number of former burglars - they
all siad hearing a dog would make them move on to another house.
They all said most standard security systems can be beaten with enough time.
Good lock will slow them.
James Linn

val189   Jul 20 2002, 8:37 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living val189 <gwehr...@bellsouth.net> - Sat, 20 Jul 2002 11:33:16 -0400 Local: Sat,Jul 20 2002 8:33 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingec9a1490f7cb6f85" Individual Message Show original Be sure you understand the contract.  Especially when you want to cancel
the service - mimimum periods, cancellation notice time frames --
find out from your local police what their  charge for false alarms is, if
any.  I know someone who had so many he gave up and disconnected it.  Was
really sorry he'd invested in the system instead of getting some decent
locks etc. He was on in years and the system was too complicated for him.
Where did you get the neat-o gadget on the porch?  Manufacturer?
TIA

val189   Jul 20 2002, 8:37 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living val189 <gwehr...@bellsouth.net> - Sat, 20 Jul 2002 11:33:46 -0400 Local: Sat,Jul 20 2002 8:33 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living5af6bcb762e491b1" Individual Message Show original - -Be sure you understand the contract.  Especially when you want to cancel
the service - mimimum periods, cancellation notice time frames --
find out from your local police what their  charge for false alarms is, if
any.  I know someone who had so many he gave up and disconnected it.  Was
really sorry he'd invested in the system instead of getting some decent
locks etc. He was on in years and the system was too complicated for him.
Where did you get the neat-o gadget on the porch?  Manufacturer?
TIA


Deadend   Jul 22 2002, 5:02 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend) - 22 Jul 2002 17:02:20 -0700 Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 5:02 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living204486cab5cf4673" Individual Message Show original A few people replied to my post, saying get good locks. Please read
the original post before replying--I already said that I have
deadbolts. I am getting an alarm for additional security, as I stated.
chickpea had an interesting idea of adding a web-based motion
detecting camera to the equation. Although, hearing stories where
people have had their entire homes cleared out--wouldn't that defeat
the purpose if they stole the PC (even if there was a "dummy" PC, and
they stole both)? But if they didn't or if you could hide the PC well
enough, I guess it would be incredible to have a video of the thieves!
Do you have any info or links?
val189 wrote:
> Be sure you understand the contract.  Especially when you want to cancel
> the service - mimimum periods, cancellation notice time frames --
> find out from your local police what their  charge for false alarms is, if
> any.  

Sound advice. I called the "property crimes unit" and left a message.
I will carefully look at the contract, and post back about it.
> I know someone who had so many he gave up and disconnected it.  Was
> really sorry he'd invested in the system instead of getting some decent
> locks etc. He was on in years and the system was too complicated for him.

Well, being as I can set up my own in home network and build a PC from
components, I think I can handle entering a four-digit code into an
alarm!
> Where did you get the neat-o gadget on the porch?  Manufacturer?

It is made by Intermatic (no affiliation, yada yada) and I bought it
at the Home Depot, their service tends to suck immeasurably, and I
have witness them do predatory business practices. For example, they
went into my old hometown and price dumped until the local hardware
stores went out of business and later Home Deopt raised their prices
dramatically after they killed the mom and pop shops. However,
sometimes for certain items (like this one), there is no other choice.
But shop at your *local independent* hardware stores first! Anyway,
you can go to HomeDepot.com and look up the item by SKU number. Enter
271585 in the search area and click on the button that says look up by
SKU. Also, it turns out that they do have an appliance timer that
works the same way with the random feature for $19.95 on the site.
Using both would be a good extra measure of security.
Thanks,
Deadend

Deadend   Jul 22 2002, 5:14 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend) - 22 Jul 2002 17:14:05 -0700 Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 5:14 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living6c15b68ee5b04ae1" Individual Message Show original Caveat thoughtfully wrote:
> You can buy your own system and skip the monitoring. The big companies
> make all their money with the monitoring charges, and typically only
> call your local Police Dept if they get a tripped alarm zone.

I do not exactly understand. I would hope that it would only call the
police if it goes a tripped alarm, after all, thats the only reason I
want the alarm is to call the police when it goes off! Maybe I am
missing something here.
> Sorry, no free lunches in this business. They get paid one way or the
> other, or they wouldnt be in business.

You were cor in your first statement, that the big companies *do*
get all of their money from monitoring fees, not from the
installation. Your second statement that there are no free lunches
(referring to free installation) contradicts your first statement, and
is incor. I have investigated this, and it is free, and more than
one company had free installation. Actually, for homeowners, free
installation of a basic alarm system is becoming a common practice.
The monitoring fee, as I said in my original post, is less than $30,
which I think is reasonable. Since your system does not have
monitoring, how does it provide security for your home, specifically?
>>So the installers hook him up with just about everything!
>I dont know what this means. Is the system wired, or wireless? How
>many and what kind of sensors? Is it interior protection, or interior
>and perimeter? Are there automatic check-in sent to report on the
>status of the system? Who owns the equipment; the company?

Wired, interior and perimeter, motion sensor with every door and
window wired.  The $50 tip I mentioned got him all of the doors and
windows wired, unlike  the maximum of three windows or doors with the
basic package. Yes there is an automatic check in. I dont know who
owns the equipment, but that doesnt seem particularly relevant to me
in the discussion here. Maybe you could shed some light on this. If I
move out in five years and the company comes and takes their equipment
back, but it didnt cost me anything to install, what is my concern as
I have no loss? Plus, I could actually then move into another home and
get a free installation on a more technologically current system?
Again, maybe I am missing something.
> Local alarm monitoring companies are almost always a better choice.
> They understand the area, the police restrictions on false alarms, and
> they can provide quick service if needed. But they arent cheap.

This is a curiosity to me. What service would they provide? Sending a
person (i.e. a security guard) to the scene? What would they do if
they found an intruder? Are their guards allowed to detain intruders?
How would this be better than the police getting there? I should
mention that the police station is only ten blocks or so away from my
home, also. My employee said that he had only one false alarm when his
oldest son came over to feed their pet, and spaced out and
couldn?t remember the code. The alarm company called, and the
son couldn?t remember the code word. Within a few minutes, the
police were there asking him questions. That?s what I?m
looking for.
I actually asked around about a local alarm company, Bay Alarm. I have
seen their boxes, which are unattractively mounted atop the front of
some homes in the area. Almost everyone tells me that they are
incompetent. Lousy looking installations, calling the police when no
alarm was tripped b/c their systems had an error, etc. They also just
seem to offer the same services that the big boys do. They seem to be
cheaper for monitoring, but I have heard bad stories about them.
> If you subscribe to a high-end service, they have armed private patrol
> officers who can be at the door in minutes. And if you give them a
> key, they can enter the house and check out the problem.

Hmm. I would need one *hell* of a detailed written action plan from
some company before I gave them a key to enter my home. Specific
circumstances they were allowed in, etc.
> BTW, systems that use modem dialers can be easily defeated by cutting
> the phone line. High end companies install a cell-phone link to
> prevent this, plus have cut line alarm trips and other safeguards.

Yes, the national company offered a radio feature for such an
eventuality. And this was the only feature that my employee did not
get, because this is one added feature that they main monitoring
station had to switch on, and added to the monthly fee. So everything
else was not detectable from the monitoring station. It makes sense:
the system installed in your home doesnt send info on how many sensors
or windows or doors it is monitoring, it only sends info if the system
is tripped or not.
>You get what you pay for.

Yep, you do. The same thing goes for tipping people: You get better
service by providing a tip up front, plain and simple. By offering $50
and asking for good service, the installers set him up with a more
complete system than he would have otherwise. Hey, money talks, YMMV.
But thats pretty much what I plan to do, I got the business card for
the same installer!
You also mention that you dont pay for monitoring in your reply. So
what happens when the system gets tripped? Does it call the police, or
just make noise? If it just makes noise, Id rather spend the cash to
get the monitoring. Otherwise, as you said, you get what you pay for.
Electronic noisemaking alarms are useless, IMO. However, if it does
call the police, please provide more info. Will it do the radio/cell
phone thing if the telephone is cut? Where did you get it, how much,
etc.?
Thanks,
Deadend

Bob Ward   Jul 22 2002, 6:36 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net> - Mon, 22 Jul 2002 06:37:36 -0700 Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 6:37 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingd84273517a563f78" Individual Message Show original On 22 Jul 2002 17:02:20 -0700, deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend)
wrote:
>-:
>-:chickpea had an interesting idea of adding a web-based motion
>-:detecting camera to the equation. Although, hearing stories where
>-:people have had their entire homes cleared out--wouldn't that defeat
>-:the purpose if they stole the PC (even if there was a "dummy" PC, and
>-:they stole both)? But if they didn't or if you could hide the PC well
>-:enough, I guess it would be incredible to have a video of the thieves!
>-:Do you have any info or links?

If it's a WEB based motion detecting camera, I'd assume that it is
emailing a series of JPGs when the camera is activated.  In that case,
stealing the camera and PC would not prevent the homeowner from
eventually viewing the pictures.
--
This space left intentionally blank

hchickpea   Jul 22 2002, 6:52 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living hchick...@hotmail.com - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 01:52:33 GMT Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 6:52 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livinga1957da1cdbb710a" Individual Message Show original On Mon, 22 Jul 2002 06:37:36 -0700, Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net>
wrote:
- ->On 22 Jul 2002 17:02:20 -0700, deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend)
>wrote:
>>-:
>>-:chickpea had an interesting idea of adding a web-based motion
>>-:detecting camera to the equation. Although, hearing stories where
>>-:people have had their entire homes cleared out--wouldn't that defeat
>>-:the purpose if they stole the PC (even if there was a "dummy" PC, and
>>-:they stole both)? But if they didn't or if you could hide the PC well
>>-:enough, I guess it would be incredible to have a video of the thieves!
>>-:Do you have any info or links?
>If it's a WEB based motion detecting camera, I'd assume that it is
>emailing a series of JPGs when the camera is activated.  In that case,
>stealing the camera and PC would not prevent the homeowner from
>eventually viewing the pictures.

Bingo.  Whoever said BW wasn't quick on the uptake?  With the logitech
camera it does involve making some scripts, but I'll bet there are
better ways of doing it, especially for those who don't hate computers
for a living, like some of us.  If not, there is an opportunity for
that past poster looking for a good programming idea.

Frank White   Jul 22 2002, 7:45 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living fwhite*NOSP...@colfax.com (Frank White) - 23 Jul 2002 02:39:47 GMT Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 7:39 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living537dba2b506cf6aa" Individual Message Show original <5a25c106.0207221602.7417d...@ posting.google.com>,
deadend_dead...@hotmail.com says...
>A few people replied to my post, saying get good locks. Please read
>the original post before replying--I already said that I have
>deadbolts. I am getting an alarm for additional security, as I stated.

If you want to discuss increasing security, you might want to
post on misc.survivalism, as well.  We're a slightly to full
blown paranoid bunch, over there, and I'm sure some of them
have installed security systems that would make Fort Knox
feel inadequate...
>chickpea had an interesting idea of adding a web-based motion
>detecting camera to the equation. Although, hearing stories where
>people have had their entire homes cleared out--wouldn't that defeat
>the purpose if they stole the PC (even if there was a "dummy" PC, and
>they stole both)? But if they didn't or if you could hide the PC well
>enough, I guess it would be incredible to have a video of the thieves!
>Do you have any info or links?

TLC (The Learning Channel) likes to air programs sort of along
the lines of "Candid Camera - the Thieves version' in which
crooks are caught on video without knowing it.  Like the
dentist who hid a videocamera in a hollowed out box of
copier paper (assuming that being something a thief wouldn't
bother with) and pointed it at the window of his office through
which thieves seemed to always be breaking in.  Sure enough, he
got perfect shots of the next one in, and the police were able
to pick him up the next day.
Or the man who suspected his wife was up to something in his
home office while he was away, and put a hidden mini-camera and
microphone in place to see what happened while he wasn't there.
He was a bit startled to see his wife purchasing and snorting
drugs on his desk, and REALLY startled when the camera and micro-
phones rded her trying to hire someone to kill him.
Or lots of other interesting tricks and shots.  All you need is
a camera, and you may not be able to keep people from getting
in, but you can make sure they get picked up for it.
FW

Caveat   Jul 22 2002, 9:16 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Caveat <cav...@poster.com> - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 04:16:31 GMT Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 9:16 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingc313fecfb53b8108" Individual Message Show original On 22 Jul 2002 17:14:05 -0700, deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend)
wrote:
>Caveat thoughtfully wrote:
>> You can buy your own system and skip the monitoring. The big companies
>> make all their money with the monitoring charges, and typically only
>> call your local Police Dept if they get a tripped alarm zone.
>I do not exactly understand. I would hope that it would only call the
>police if it goes a tripped alarm, after all, thats the only reason I
>want the alarm is to call the police when it goes off! Maybe I am
>missing something here.

Alarms can be programmed to call anyone you want, including the
police. And anyone can call the police, including your next-door
neighbor. My point was that you would be paying an alarm service
(probably in another state) a lot of money to do something that you
could get done for free (if you buy your own system and do not pay for
monitoring service). It's simply an option to be considered here.
The larger question is whether or not you really want ANYONE to call
the police. Ninty-nine percent of burglar alarms are false alarms. The
police are so overwhelmed with those that they have begun charging for
their responses. Here, after two alarm calls to them, they will start
billing you $75 per call. That goes up to $150 per call after some
point. Most home alarm systems log lots of false alarms. Big $$$.
>> Sorry, no free lunches in this business. They get paid one way or the
>> other, or they wouldn't be in business.
>You were cor in your first statement, that the big companies *do*
>get all of their money from monitoring fees, not from the
>installation. Your second statement that there are no free lunches
>(referring to free installation) contradicts your first statement, and
>is incor.

Not really. The installation might be worth $100  (your "freebee"). In
the first year alone (under contract) you will have to pay them $360.
And you don't own anything. There's no "beef" in that free lunch. So
as I said, they make money on the total deal or else they wouldn't be
doing it.
> I have investigated this, and it is free, and more than
>one company had free installation. Actually, for homeowners, free
>installation of a basic alarm system is becoming a common practice.
>The monitoring fee, as I said in my original post, is less than $30,
>which I think is reasonable.

This is like a come-on scam that offers you a "free" radio if you buy
a car from a dealer. The cost of the radio is obviously in the price
of the car. In the alarm business, the cost of the "free" installation
is in the inflated monitoring costs you pay.
>Since your system does not have
>monitoring, how does it provide security for your home, specifically?

I can vary the programmed alarm response, but one mode is: If you come
near my home, an audible warning warble is sounded. If you actually
violate a perimeter zone, a 130db alarm both inside and outside the
house is tripped. If you get inside the house and trip a PIR  or other
sensor, the dialer either calls the police or a monitoring company
that I contract with to do optional monitoring. (My alarm is so loud
inside the house when fully tripped that it is painfully intolerable
to withstand for more than a few seconds.)
Any police agency will tell you that a credible warning decal outside
the house will deter most burglars. (These crooks really don't want to
get caught, so they select another house that appears to have no
protection.) And even if they decide to try my house, the noise (and
lights that flash with the system) would not encourage further entry.
And if they proceeded further, they'd have a problem they don't want.
>Wired, interior and perimeter, motion sensor with every door and
>window wired.  The $50 tip I mentioned got him all of the doors and
>windows wired, unlike  the maximum of three windows or doors with the
>basic package. Yes there is an automatic check in.

The $50 "tip" is a bribe to get the employee (probably a local
installer working on contract) to steal from the alarm monitoring
company. That makes you criminally liable as a co-conspirator in a
theft. Every time the system reports-in to the central monitoring
system, it sends the zone list. If you are paying for, say 3 zones,
and the system reports 7 are in place, you just got busted.
>I dont know who
>owns the equipment, but that doesnt seem particularly relevant to me
>in the discussion here. Maybe you could shed some light on this.

It's very relevant because if you do not own the equipment, they will
come and take it away if you default on the terms of the contract
(i.e., as with fraud) or cancel the service. Read the contract and you
may find that you agree to pay some fabulous amount for a cheap alarm
system if they can't retrieve it or if you default on ANY terms of the
contract.
> If I move out in five years and the company comes and takes their equipment
>back, but it didnt cost me anything to install, what is my concern as
>I have no loss?

Actually, what you have lost is the $1800 you have paid for the
service for 5 years, and have nothing to show for it. (That sure
sounds like a "loss" to me.)
>Plus, I could actually then move into another home and
>get a free installation on a more technologically current system?

And pay all over again. If you owned the system you wouldn't have to
get back into that same barrell again, and would have an alarm system.
Monitoring services for those folks who own their own systems are
about half the cost of the "free" installation deals, at least here.
>> Local alarm monitoring companies are almost always a better choice.
>> They understand the area, the police restrictions on false alarms, and
>> they can provide quick service if needed. But they arent cheap.
>This is a curiosity to me. What service would they provide? Sending a
>person (i.e. a security guard) to the scene? What would they do if
>they found an intruder? Are their guards allowed to detain intruders?
>How would this be better than the police getting there?

The police cannot make entry into your home. They can only do a
"perimeter check." The burglar inside just waits till they go away
then proceeds with the burglary. On the other hand, if the security
officer who responds has a key, and enters the house with a friend
named Colt, the thief has a problem of a very different magnitude.
They know this, so they carefully avoid homes that sport the yard sign
from a company that provides armed security patrol.
>I should
>mention that the police station is only ten blocks or so away from my
>home, also. My employee said that he had only one false alarm when his
>oldest son came over to feed their pet, and spaced out and
>couldn&#8217;t remember the code. The alarm company called, and the
>son couldn&#8217;t remember the code word. Within a few minutes, the
>police were there asking him questions. That&#8217;s what I&#8217;m
>looking for.

Police don't hang around police stations. They are out on jobs and
patrol and are dispatched based on the priority of the problem.
Burglary alarms are very low priority for police departments. They
have other problems to deal with (murders, vehicle accidents, etc.).
Local monitoring companies automatically call the home immediately
after a trip and ask for a "cancel" code. If one cannot be provided,
or no one answers, a patrol unit in the area is instantly
radio-dispatched (all alarm trips are top priority with these
patrols). Sometimes the police are also called at the same time.
>I actually asked around about a local alarm company, Bay Alarm. I have
>seen their boxes, which are unattractively mounted atop the front of
>some homes in the area. Almost everyone tells me that they are
>incompetent. Lousy looking installations, calling the police when no
>alarm was tripped b/c their systems had an error, etc. They also just
>seem to offer the same services that the big boys do. They seem to be
>cheaper for monitoring, but I have heard bad stories about them.

Maybe where you live that is the case. Here, it certainly is not. But,
in any case, that is why I chose to design, purchase, install, and
configure my own alarm system. I am free to have it monitored by any
one of several dozen companies, or none.
>> If you subscribe to a high-end service, they have armed private patrol
>> officers who can be at the door in minutes. And if you give them a
>> key, they can enter the house and check out the problem.
>Hmm. I would need one *hell* of a detailed written action plan from
>some company before I gave them a key to enter my home. Specific
>circumstances they were allowed in, etc.

Here, you specify what services you want: call the police, dispatch
patrol alarm response and perimeter check only, house entry in the
event of repeating trips, entry to replace batteries, entry to check
the house (for plumbing leaks, electrical failures, etc.). These
companies are bonded, and the requirements for armed security officers
are generally very strict (FBI checks.) And many are off-duty cops.
>> BTW, systems that use modem dialers can be easily defeated by cutting
>> the phone line. High end companies install a cell-phone link to
>> prevent this, plus have cut line alarm trips and other safeguards.
>Yes, the national company offered a radio feature for such an
>eventuality.

 Obsolete technology. And radio-link systems are unreliable.
>And this was the only feature that my employee did not
>get, because this is one added feature that they main monitoring
>station had to switch on, and added to the monthly fee. So everything
>else was not detectable from the monitoring station.

Sorry, this just isn't true.
>It makes sense:
>the system installed in your home doesnt send info on how many sensors
>or windows or doors it is monitoring, it only sends info if the system
>is tripped or not.

Again not true. Each sensor is given a zone number. My system has 28
zones. They fall into types: entry, motion, fire, smoke, ... misc.consumers.frugal-livingc313fecfb53b8108">read more
Bob Ward   Jul 22 2002, 10:14 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net> - Mon, 22 Jul 2002 10:15:38 -0700 Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 10:15 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingdca56551afb3e076" Individual Message Show original On Tue, 23 Jul 2002 04:16:31 GMT, Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote:
>-:>
>-:Alarms can be programmed to call anyone you want, including the
>-:police. And anyone can call the police, including your next-door
>-:neighbor. My point was that you would be paying an alarm service
>-:(probably in another state) a lot of money to do something that you
>-:could get done for free (if you buy your own system and do not pay for
>-:monitoring service). It's simply an option to be considered here.
>-:
>-:The larger question is whether or not you really want ANYONE to call
>-:the police. Ninty-nine percent of burglar alarms are false alarms. The
>-:police are so overwhelmed with those that they have begun charging for
>-:their responses. Here, after two alarm calls to them, they will start
>-:billing you $75 per call. That goes up to $150 per call after some
>-:point. Most home alarm systems log lots of false alarms. Big $$$.

That's why many police departments simply don't allow unmonitored
alarm systems to dial them dily - so in many cases, it's NOT an
option to be considered.
--
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Caveat   Jul 23 2002, 12:15 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Caveat <cav...@poster.com> - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 07:15:12 GMT Local: Tues,Jul 23 2002 12:15 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livingf915dc3377eaf2d8" Individual Message Show original On Mon, 22 Jul 2002 10:15:38 -0700, Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net>
wrote:
- ->On Tue, 23 Jul 2002 04:16:31 GMT, Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote:
>>-:>
>>-:Alarms can be programmed to call anyone you want, including the
>>-:police. And anyone can call the police, including your next-door
>>-:neighbor. My point was that you would be paying an alarm service
>>-:(probably in another state) a lot of money to do something that you
>>-:could get done for free (if you buy your own system and do not pay for
>>-:monitoring service). It's simply an option to be considered here.
>>-:
>>-:The larger question is whether or not you really want ANYONE to call
>>-:the police. Ninty-nine percent of burglar alarms are false alarms. The
>>-:police are so overwhelmed with those that they have begun charging for
>>-:their responses. Here, after two alarm calls to them, they will start
>>-:billing you $75 per call. That goes up to $150 per call after some
>>-:point. Most home alarm systems log lots of false alarms. Big $$$.
>That's why many police departments simply don't allow unmonitored
>alarm systems to dial them dily - so in many cases, it's NOT an
>option to be considered.

Um, Bob, the options to which I was referring were:
1)  To pay an alarm company to monitor their alarm.
2)  To not pay an alarm company to monitor your alarm
Under option #2, there are further sub-options:
        a) To have no one monitor your alarm
        b) To have your alarm call someone else
Which leads to further sub-options under 2b; to call:
                  I)   owner at another location
                 II)   a friend
                III)   a neighbor
                IV)   the police
                 V)   a different monitoring company
Now if option 2 b IV isn't viable under local police regulations, I
would submit that all of the other options ARE still options to be
considered.  
Are we being cranky tonight?  
;-)
Cav

B   Jul 23 2002, 3:45 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living "B" <butt...@my-deja.com> - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 06:50:00 -0400 Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living8ba364c76cd0eb80" Individual Message Show original Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote
snipped)
> I can vary the programmed alarm response, but one mode is: If you come
> near my home, an audible warning warble is sounded. If you actually
> violate a perimeter zone, a 130db alarm both inside and outside the
> house is tripped. If you get inside the house and trip a PIR  or other
> sensor, the dialer either calls the police or a monitoring company
> that I contract with to do optional monitoring. (My alarm is so loud
> inside the house when fully tripped that it is painfully intolerable
> to withstand for more than a few seconds.)

I'm wondering if we have the same system LOL
(snipped)
> Police don't hang around police stations. They are out on jobs and
> patrol and are dispatched based on the priority of the problem.
> Burglary alarms are very low priority for police departments. They
> have other problems to deal with (murders, vehicle accidents, etc.).

Isn't this the truth?! On a ride-along about 4-5am an alarn call came and we're
just calmly cruising there. I'm like "why aren't you hurrying??!" and he says
"she's letting her dog out and does this every morning". To appease me he sped
up and we arrived, to find she was letting her dog out  :-\
Hopefully nothing ever eally happens to her - attacked in the a.m. while letting
the dog out because she will not get a fast response.
> Maybe where you live that is the case. Here, it certainly is not. But,
> in any case, that is why I chose to design, purchase, install, and
> configure my own alarm system. I am free to have it monitored by any
> one of several dozen companies, or none.

We chose this route too after we had a guy in to estimate gave me the creeps LOL
There was no way I wanted this guy to know anything about our security setup,let
alone be part of setting it up!
> For (I hope obvious) security reasons, I'm not going into too much
> more detail about my system--the type, manufacturer, etc.

ROFLMAO
I can't believe some of things people ask on Usenet and actually expect a
response! Hey Caveat, may I have the code to your alarm?  ;-)
Buttons

Caveat   Jul 23 2002, 7:56 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Caveat <cav...@poster.com> - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 14:56:57 GMT Local: Tues,Jul 23 2002 7:56 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living0b86fe7e6c311006" Individual Message Show original On Tue, 23 Jul 2002 06:50:00 -0400, "B" <butt...@my-deja.com> wrote:

<snip>
> To appease me he sped
>up and we arrived, to find she was letting her dog out  :-\
>Hopefully nothing ever eally happens to her - attacked in the a.m. while letting
>the dog out because she will not get a fast response.

Ride-alongs are real eye-openers. They should be required for everyone
who depends on police for their safety (which is to say: Everyone).
>We chose this route too after we had a guy in to estimate gave me the creeps LOL
>There was no way I wanted this guy to know anything about our security setup,let
>alone be part of setting it up!

Unfortunately, there are some really shady characters in the alarm
installation business. And some fly-by-night companies are offering
worthless junk for alarm systems and non-monitoring service. That
scenario produces a false sense of security and is worse than no alarm
system at all.
>I can't believe some of things people ask on Usenet and actually expect a
>response! Hey Caveat, may I have the code to your alarm?  ;-)

And I can't believe that anyone would trust an alarm installer with
the intimate details of someone's alarm system and home who can also
be bribed into installing more than a customer paid for. Oh well...
Always good to hear from you, Buttons :-),
Caveat

B   Jul 23 2002, 8:05 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living "B" <butt...@my-deja.com> - Tue, 23 Jul 2002 11:11:18 -0400 Local: Tues,Jul 23 2002 8:11 am Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living1f17af1d93eb3c7f" Individual Message Show original Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote
> And I can't believe that anyone would trust an alarm installer with
> the intimate details of someone's alarm system and home who can also
> be bribed into installing more than a customer paid for. Oh well...

Wow, I got a cold chill when I read that! That's a very good point!
> Always good to hear from you, Buttons :-),

You too  :-)
Buttons

Bob Ward   Jul 23 2002, 11:32 am     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net> - Mon, 22 Jul 2002 23:33:39 -0700 Local: Mon,Jul 22 2002 11:33 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living33db4787c296f620" Individual Message Show original - -On Tue, 23 Jul 2002 07:15:12 GMT, Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote:
>-:On Mon, 22 Jul 2002 10:15:38 -0700, Bob Ward <bob.w...@verizon.net>
>-:wrote:
>-:
>-:>On Tue, 23 Jul 2002 04:16:31 GMT, Caveat <cav...@poster.com> wrote:
>-:>
>-:>>-:>
>-:>>-:Alarms can be programmed to call anyone you want, including the
>-:>>-:police. And anyone can call the police, including your next-door
>-:>>-:neighbor. My point was that you would be paying an alarm service
>-:>>-:(probably in another state) a lot of money to do something that you
>-:>>-:could get done for free (if you buy your own system and do not pay for
>-:>>-:monitoring service). It's simply an option to be considered here.
>-:>>-:
>-:>>-:The larger question is whether or not you really want ANYONE to call
>-:>>-:the police. Ninty-nine percent of burglar alarms are false alarms. The
>-:>>-:police are so overwhelmed with those that they have begun charging for
>-:>>-:their responses. Here, after two alarm calls to them, they will start
>-:>>-:billing you $75 per call. That goes up to $150 per call after some
>-:>>-:point. Most home alarm systems log lots of false alarms. Big $$$.
>-:>
>-:>
>-:>That's why many police departments simply don't allow unmonitored
>-:>alarm systems to dial them dily - so in many cases, it's NOT an
>-:>option to be considered.
>-:
>-:
>-:
>-:Um, Bob, the options to which I was referring were:
>-:
>-:1)  To pay an alarm company to monitor their alarm.
>-:
>-:2)  To not pay an alarm company to monitor your alarm
>-:
>-:Under option #2, there are further sub-options:
>-:
>-:  a) To have no one monitor your alarm
>-:  b) To have your alarm call someone else
>-:                  
>-:Which leads to further sub-options under 2b; to call:
>-:
>-:            I)   owner at another location
>-:           II)   a friend
>-:          III)   a neighbor
>-:          IV)   the police
>-:           V)   a different monitoring company
>-:
>-:Now if option 2 b IV isn't viable under local police regulations, I
>-:would submit that all of the other options ARE still options to be
>-:considered.  
>-:
>-:Are we being cranky tonight?  
>-:
>-:;-)
>-:
>-:Cav

If that was your point, why did you actually say
>>-:Alarms can be programmed to call anyone you want, including the
>>-:police.

???
Better ask that mouse in your pocket about the cranky part - I'm not
close enough to tell.
--
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Owain   Jul 23 2002, 3:08 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living spuorgelg...@gowanhill.com (Owain) - 23 Jul 2002 15:08:44 -0700 Local: Tues,Jul 23 2002 3:08 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-living9a40c6c6c7fe992d" Individual Message Show original (
Deadend) wrote
> OK, so I have decided that I want a home security system. ...
> Anyway, even with all of that, I have decided that I want a security
> system. I can get a discount on my insurance, and one of my employees
> tells me he pays less than $30 per month for monitoring.

1. How much of a discount? It may not offset the cost of the alarm or
the monitoring.
2. What happens if the phone line goes down or is tampered with? If
you're paying for central station monitoring you should really have a
continuously-monitored phone line (which may be incompatible with
modem use)
3. Check your insurance very carefully. The ins. co. might refuse any
claim if you cannot prove the alarm was set corly at the time - so
you have to close all the windows/doors and set the alarm even if you
just pop next door for five minutes.
> So here's an interesting frugal twist: ... By my estimates,
> with all of the extra stuff he got, it saved him like $700.00. That
> seems like quite a frugal deal to me.

No, that's an employee stealing from his employer, and a customer
conniving in that theft. Dishonest people are not the ones I would
want fitting my security!
One piece of advice I heard was: Never the the first or the last house
on your street to have an alarm.
Owain

John   Jul 25 2002, 8:01 pm     Newsgroups: misc.consumers.frugal-living tarheel...@hotmail.com (John) - 25 Jul 2002 20:01:08 -0700 Local: Thurs,Jul 25 2002 8:01 pm Subject: Re: Home Security System Reply to Author Forward Print misc.consumers.frugal-livinge436785d80152abf" Individual Message Show original Dead,
Solutions are out there. The web cam idea is something i use myself.
Unless you find it fun, forget the dummy PC idea. There are quite a
few software systems that will use your cam to help you.
www.gotchanow.com
www.securitycam.com
www.pcprivateeye.com
are just 3.
All of these programs do the essential things. Set up your webcams (or
regular vid cameras, or whatever). The software will detect motion for
you (or run a website cam-esque feature of pics every second, or
whatever time interval, so you can watch online elsewhere). Upon
motion detection, the software can do many things. It takes
pics/movies of the field of view starting when motion is detected, it
can play a sound file (a loud alarm sound does the trick), it Emails
the pictures of Mr. Intruder to anywhere you want, and/or uploads the
pics to an ftp server. Let the guy steal the PC. The pics are offsite,
resting in an email account, ready for you to show them to the cops.
Or maybe you know the guy, and you wanna test out your new shotgun.
lol.
It's a cheap and fairly effective system, especially with the things
you've already implemented.
John
- -deadend_dead...@hotmail.com (Deadend) wrote in message <news:5a25c106.0207221602.7417d785@posting.google.com>...
> A few people replied to my post, saying get good locks. Please read
> the original post before replying--I already said that I have
> deadbolts. I am getting an alarm for additional security, as I stated.
> chickpea had an interesting idea of adding a web-based motion
> detecting camera to the equation. Although, hearing stories where
> people have had their entire homes cleared out--wouldn't that defeat
> the purpose if they stole the PC (even if there was a "dummy" PC, and
> they stole both)? But if they didn't or if you could hide the PC well
> enough, I guess it would be incredible to have a video of the thieves!
> Do you have any info or links?
> val189 wrote:
> > Be sure you understand the contract.  Especially when you want to cancel
> > the service - mimimum periods, cancellation notice time frames --
> > find out from your local police what their  charge for false alarms is, if
> > any.  
> Sound advice. I called the "property crimes unit" and left a message.
> I will carefully look at the contract, and post back about it.
> > I know someone who had so many he gave up and disconnected it.  Was
> > really sorry he'd invested in the system instead of getting some decent
> > locks etc. He was on in years and the system was too complicated for him.
> Well, being as I can set up my own in home network and build a PC from
> components, I think I can handle entering a four-digit code into an
> alarm!
> > Where did you get the neat-o gadget on the porch?  Manufacturer?
> It is made by Intermatic (no affiliation, yada yada) and I bought it
> at the Home Depot, their service tends to suck immeasurably, and I
> have witness them do predatory business practices. For example, they
> went into my old hometown and price dumped until the local hardware
> stores went out of business and later Home Deopt raised their prices
> dramatically after they killed the mom and pop shops. However,
> sometimes for certain items (like this one), there is no other choice.
> But shop at your *local independent* hardware stores first! Anyway,
> you can go to HomeDepot.com and look up the item by SKU number. Enter
> 271585 in the search area and click on the button that says look up by
> SKU. Also, it turns out that they do have an appliance timer that
> works the same way with the random feature for $19.95 on the site.
> Using both would be a good extra measure of security.
> Thanks,
> Deadend
 

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