Monday, January 19, 2009

Is My House Alarm Useless?

My house is not only protected with an alarm, but it is also monitored. I sometimes wonder if it's worth having the place monitored, because the alarm has only ever been activated so far, by my cats being locked in a room. Over the years, the cats have cost me a pretty penny in callouts to check the place for burglars. At $60 a pop, this isn't cheap.

When I go out, I have to lock the cats out of the bedroom upstairs, the bedroom downstairs, and the lounge. The problem is that they know when I'm about to go out, and if they don't want to be put outside, they'll hide from me. Or they'll get up someplace really high where I can't reach, above the kitchen cupboards, and nothing will coax them down. Occasionally I've had to go out without setting the alarm because of this.

However, this morning it wasn't the cats, but myself who set the alarm off. I got up at 6.00am this morning, then headed out to meet my friend for an hours brisk walk and set the alarm as I went out the door.

Came home and totally forgot that I had set it. Walked into my lounge and logged in to my emails. Totally unaware that my alarm was now blaring at 140db telling everyone that my house had been broken into. Just shows you how deaf I am at the moment. Totally, utterly!

Half an hour later, the security guy comes round to find me sitting in the lounge totally unaware of anything and wondering why he was visiting!

This little episode just cost me $60. Gah!

When the cochlear implant works, I can hear the beep beep warning that the alarm is about to go off which galvanises me into action. Now I have no clues at all.

So - is it worth having my house monitored? So far no one has bothered to break into my place, maybe an alarm that is unmonitored is all I need. The security guy turns up half an hour after the alarm goes off - any burglars would still have had plenty of time to grab and take off with everything before he turns up.

Makes me wonder if monitoring is worth it at all.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Is there a security company that can provide a strobe light alarm system in your house alongside the sound alarm? The sound alarm is supposed to deter someone breaking in, but you don't hear that warning beep-beep. A half-hour response is not worth your money.

Except for your cats, I'd recommend a dog. They're the best alarm system we've had. When the alarm is armed with snarling teeth, you bet a burglar will think twice.


Bron said...

Yep, it is worth having one. Burglars will leave quick smart when an alarm goes off. Especially at 140dB since that would hurt their ears if they stuck around.

My parents alarm is not loud but last time they got broken into the neighbor got a laugh watching the burglar shit himself and panic to get out. He shot off down the street so fast there was no time to grab anything. In fact he left something - his cigarette so the Police had no trouble catching him later.

They are worth it. The last thing a burglar wants is any sort of attention being drawn to them.

Maybe the security company can attach a light that flashes when the alarm is going off so you can see it?

jeff said...

Monitoring is completely useless. In fact there has been an effort to do away with this practice entirely. According to a report on NPR in January of 2007, only 10% of alarm reports to local police departments are the result of crime. In contrast, responding to home alarms makes up 25% of police resource use on average, and that number goes up dramatically in nicer neighborhoods. In short, monitoring is an expense that very rarely results in crime prevention.

Anthony Nguyen said...

I still think it's really worth having your house secured, Robyn. Especially since you’re having trouble hearing it, anything can happen during the night, so at least that can assure you that even if you can’t hear it, others will. Maybe you can just try controlling your cats. Haha! :)

Anthony Nguyen