Dropping the monitoring of the home alarm?

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My wife is looking for ways to cut some expenses out of our family budget, and she has suggested that we drop the monitoring of our home alarm system. She got the idea from a friend of ours who has done the same at his small business. If his alarm starts going off in the middle of the night, then it will continue to sound until he shows up the next morning. I wouldn't say we live in a extremely high-crime area, but we do live in the suburbs of a city where there is a good deal of crime. Any of you folks going "unmonitored" out there??
Thanks....
Mike
P.S. Our alarm system consists of sensors on all doors, a motion detector on the main floor, and a smoke alarm (we have several battery- operated smoke detectors, too).
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And a fire will be not notified as fast , or ever.
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My understanding is that the police here hardly ever respond to alarm calls, and certainly not quickly, so monitoring is kind of useless.
Make sure that your alarm has good outside speakers, and that your neighbors will check if they hear it. Or get a phone dialer to call your cell phone when the alarm sounds.
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I'm not sure where your here is, but my here is different. The cops show up pronto, and you get two free false alarms, then they send out a notice that they won't be responding to additional false alarms within a certain period of time. If your alarm goes off and doesn't shut off, you get fined. If it were up to me, you'd get shot.
I was installing a kitchen some years back, and was carrying a cabinet into the help with my helper. Don't ask me why I'm the one that always has to walk backwards when carrying something, but that's what happens. Anyway, on one of the bigger base cabinets it was a tight squeeze coming in through the door to the garage and I bumped into the wall. A couple of more trips with cabinets, and as we're coming out of the house there's a cop walking into the garage with his gun drawn. Seems I had backed into the alarm keypad and pressed all of the keys with my back, including the special combination which sends off the silent panic alarm to central monitoring. Needless to say the owners were _delighted_ I nearly got shot. ;)
R
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A quick google search suggests that alarms that end up with police response are between 90 and 99% false alarms. Several major police departments have policies to ignor all but special classes of alarm calls. Researching the policies of your police department would be useful in determining if alarm monitoring has any usefulness.
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The central station calls the house to find out the problem. They do the vetting. If no one is home then they call the cops directly. In that situation I'm sure you're numbers are not far off.
R
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Bob F wrote:

monitored as in a local office with their own rent-a-cops they send out. Some cities ban auto-dialers due to false alarms. Neighbors tend to shoot out flashers and sirens that don't auto-reset after a few minutes. If you are just 'out', an auto-dial to your cell will work, if you don't mind being the first responder. Not much good if you are away on a road trip.
If your neighborhood is bad enough that you need an alarm system, I'd find someplace else to cut the budget. BTW, I'll bet your friend didn't tell his insurance company he dropped the monitoring.
When I hit the lotto and build my dream house, it'll have automatic shutters that lock the perp inside 5 minutes after he breaks in. It'll then talk to him as it pumps the place full of something scary but non-lethal.
-- aem sends...
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I agree that there is a big difference in central monitoring companies. Some are a joke. That's worth investigating when you're doing your due diligence in hiring a monitoring company.

That sounds like a bad neighborhood to me. Maybe you should move. ;)

Alarm systems are not only for theft and for bad areas. Fires and other emergencies can be reported without you being present.

There are some flaws in that plan, so maybe you should have a backup in case you do hit the lottery. Confining the person would be either a citizen's arrest or false imprisonment, and you'd probably find yourself defending a lawsuit (you'd be rich, so maybe that wouldn't matter).
Probably better to have the perp sprayed with dye like they do to the money in bank heists. Let the guy walk around bright pink or blue for a while while the police are looking for him.
R
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Actually, we don't really need the alarm I don't think. When we bought this house 6 years ago, it was our first real house. I was in "new homeowner" mode when I ordered up the alarm system. The neighbors on one side tell us "we haven't locked the house in years, couldn't find the keys to lock it up if we had to" and the neighbor on the other side doesn't lock her house either.
The cops did show up once when my wife accidentally entered the "hostage" code when disarming the system.
Mike
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Mike wrote:

And how much would you save?
--
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dpb wrote:

It varies. Ours is $320/year.
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Whether it's worth it depends on factors unknown to us. Like what you have of value, how difficult it would be to replace, whether your insurance is adequate and you would be OK with $$$ instead of some of your items, etc.
Also, you should check with your insurance company. Many offer discounts for homes that have monitored alarms. That can offset the cost of the service.
Also, there are cheaper monitoring services available which you can find with a search.
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The monitoring costs about $30/month I think. Wife floated the idea of giving up cable to save some money and I had to put the kibosh on that. I know it would be a good idea to do so, I just can't.
Mike
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Certainly an alarm service offers you multiple services - Fire, carbon monoxide (at least for me), a panic alarm (in case of forced extry while home), and the general proximiety alarm in the house for about $300-$360 a month. I sometimes debate this expense but have decided to keep it because I USE these services - some people have alarms but never turn them on.
I have also discovered that my home owners policy provides a discount on my policy because I have these services - offsetting some of the cost. In addition I have increased my deductables on the house to a $1,000 to obtain an even greater savings on my home owners policy.
My muncipality also charges $50 a year for any alarm service BECAUSE they respond to every alarm triggered on our property. In fact, they do rapidly respond to an alarm.
IF you live in a community that is distant to response services, have neighbors who are never home or don't care, have security issues, etc - this does not seem like a bad investment.
Kent
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Mike wrote:

Well, have to balance that against benefit and make a value judgment. Not having cable/dish, there'd be no question which I'd choose if it were a sufficient budgetary crisis that would make a difference. Of course, there are probably lots of other areas that could find that kind of spending in, too... :)
Just as a note, while we're totally rural, the big news on the city from which the TV signals come recently has been car/garage thefts from the better n'hoods just by cruisers driving by looking for open garage doors. May be middle of the day -- a few minutes in the house during break of lawn work or whatever and come out to poof! it's gone....
--
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Had that happen last year to my neighbor and a couple of other houses here. They cruise around neighborhoods and enter unlocked cars sitting in the driveway or take things from open garages. Neigbor lost DVD player, CD's, etc from his car. Also, any car with a portable GPS/navigation sytem or evidence of one, like a mounting bracket on the windshield is a high target for break-in when parked anywhere.
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here. They cruise around neighborhoods and enter unlocked cars sitting in the driveway or take things from open garages. Neigbor lost DVD player, CD's, etc from his car. Also, any car with a portable GPS/navigation sytem or evidence of one, like a mounting bracket on the windshield is a high target for break-in when parked anywhere.
***************************************
Good reason not to lock your car. I don't keep anything of value in it and I've had my car broken into twice. Total loss was a $1 can of oil. Other cars parked near me had broken windows, scratched door frames etc. My brother had his convertible top slashed for a $5 pair of sunglasses. I have a GPS but I won't walk 10' away from the car if it is inside. Run into the store and it goes in my pocket.
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dpb wrote:

Heh! They don't have to look for open garage doors.
Many people don't change the default code. The thieves just drive around with a fresh door clicker. When a garage door pops open, they stop.
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That won't work with the newer units that have been available for quite a few years now. They use a pseudo random code system that is synched between that unit and it's remotes. You could press the opener thousands of times and it stll wouldn't open the door.
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He's foolish, IMO. Spending all that money and not using the system? By the time he gets there in the morning, the looters have cleaned out the place and/or the perps are long gone.
If you do decide to forgo the monitoring, you may be able to have the alarm dial your cell phone. Some can do that. Anyhow, if you do use a siren, make sure it SHUTS OFF AUTOMATICALLY after about 5 minutes otherwise the cops will give you a ticket, and the neighbors will be quite unhappy. If the siren wails for 30+ minutes, one of the neighbors may get a ladder and some wirecutters and use them on the siren. (that would be me)
Personally, I'd look elsewhere to save money.
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