Because of a recent burglary, I am going to install an alarm system in
my single-family ranch home (no basement)that I reside in alone. The
street is a quiet, family-oriented one (no loud cars, boom boxes,
tough-looking guys of any age).
The considerations (aimed at burglar detection):
1. A silent alarm so the cops might catch them in the act, vs. one that
lights lights and beeps horns to scare them away (so they're free to
2. A silent alarm that signals me if I'm home, so I could defend myself
with a gun. If I'm away, the alarm could notify a next-door neighbor, a
monitoring service, or the police. Police allow three false alarms a
year before charging. (I believe there are systems that will call my
cell phone, but it's always off and in my car, as it is used only for
calls that I originate.)
3. Beefed up barriers to entry, like locking bars for sliding doors, and
high quality door locks. Problem is, if place looks too fortified,
rather than being deterred burglars might see this as a sign that there
is really valuable stuff inside and make a more determined (and
damaging) effort to enter.
4. How easy is it to defeat? The incoming AC power cable is enclosed in
heavy duty metal conduit. But it would be easy to cut the flimsy pin
that locks the cover over the meter and simply remove the meter. The
cable TV and phone lines are not enclosed and are easy to cut and
thereby defeat ordinary landlines or phone service via the cable
company. This forces a battery-backup wireless system.
5. Camera: Do they really do much good in deterring via their visible
presence or in identifying a suspect that the cops catch?
Other measures (mainly home security):
1. Lights on timers.
2. Radio or TV on all the time.
3. Shades for the garage window so nobody can see if a car is present.
In my neighborhood, a car is a necessity as it's a mile to a major
highway. So if the garage is empty, it's a excellent indication that the
house is empty also.
4. Locking bars on sliding doors.
5. Double-key deadbolts on doors with glass panes, so burglars can't
break a window and simply reach in and unlock a single-key deadbolt.
6. Fake decals warning that a system is installed even if not true.
After writing the above, I came across a book on amazon.com called
Essential Home Security: A Layman's Guide. Clicking on the Table of
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
it appears to address my concerns and many, many factors that I have not
considered. I can't tell, however, if he addresses defeating the systems
(consideration 4 above).
One of the reviewers was annoyed because the book was self-published (so
what?) and because there were no specific product recommendations. The
other reviews gave it high marks for at least pointing out
vulnerabilities you may have.
Thanks for your comments/feedback.