Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alarming Advice

If you are smart enough to have an alarm system installed in your house, kudos to you. All I ask is that you PLEASE have an OUTDOOR bell or siren installed as well. Most of your alarm companies will discourage this saying it's not necessary. I'm here to tell you it is.

If you don't have an outside bell and someone breaks into your house, here's what happens. The bad guy opens a door or window, thereby tripping the alarm contact. The alarm system makes a little bit of noise at the keypad (where you arm and disarm the thing), but no noise outside the house. The alarm system sends a signal to the alarm company, who then contact your local police. The police dispatchers assign the call to an officer, me, and I make my way across town to your house to check on your alarm. This all takes time, and time is something you do not want a burglar to have. Let's try this scenario again, this time with an outdoor bell.

The bad guy opens the same door or window, again tripping the alarm contact. THE OUTSIDE BELL STARTS RINGING! While the alarm system is calling the alarm company is calling the police is calling me...... YOUR NOSY NEIGHBORS ARE LOOKING AT YOUR HOUSE TO SEE WHAT'S WRONG! Make sense?

The biggest excuse I hear for not having an outdoor bell or siren is that people don't want to annoy their neighbors with false alarms. If your alarm system regularly has false alarms, contact your alarm company because something is wrong with the system. Get it fixed and get that bell installed at the same time.

Please understand, it takes TIME for your alarm detail to get through the maze of calls and dispatching. Depending upon how busy we are dealing with serious crimes, we may not get to your house for several hours only to find that half your property is in the wind.

Do me, and yourself, a favor. Let your neighbors hear your alarm.


*Goddess* said...

And then there are those of us who have heard our neighbor's (false) alarms quite enough, thanks...esp at 2 a.m.

Anonymous said...

I love researching my alarm calls. Its usually 7-15 minutes before they call PD. Then I drive 4-10min to get there and when I run into someone at the house, the alarm company can't tell me if they are supposed to be there or not.

Or the somewhat larger buildings where the "warehouse" door is going off. Had they just labeled each door with a simple stensel 1 thru 10, I could go right to it, or at least know where the alarm is coming from as I check everything.

HonkingAntelope said...

Quick question: Do security companies usually call the police right away or do they send out a car to check up on the property first?

Other than that, it's good info to keep in mind. Anything that puts the heat on the bad guys is Good Thing e.g the outside siren screaming bloody murder when the alarm isn't disarmed in time.

Mad Jack said...

Excellent advice. I'll add that:

1. Your alarm system will call the alarm company operator (India? Korea? Philippines?) only if the land line is working. If it's down for some reason the call never goes through. But the outside bell or horn will go off, thus alerting the neighbors that the poor old neighborhood grandmother has an unwanted guest.

2. Tell the local police about your alarm system and ask if they'll come out to help make your home safer. When they show up, offer refreshments. Listen to what the police have to say and follow their advice.

3. Think about the commercials for the alarm system, then think about the time involved between the alarm going off and the police arriving. An alarm system is good, but until the cavalry arrives you are well and truly on your own. Having that outside horn might draw the attention of the ex-special forces bachelor living across the street.

Officer Smith is right about the annoying noise. If nothing else, people will start calling 911 to bitch about the racket and remind Officer Smith just who it is that pays taxes around here, and has a right to peace and quiet at four in the morning.