Anatomy of a Home Security System

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Anatomy of a Home Security System

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My home was burglarized a little over a year ago, so I will share some best practices for home security that were communicated to me by the police department.

1.) The best security system is a dog. 
2.) It generally takes the police department (in my area) about 20-minutes to respond to a security system alert, and the smart burglars know this.  That said, the average burglar is in and out within 10-15 minutes.
3.) For the not-so-smart burglars, security system stickers/signs are usually enough of a deterrent for them to move on to another house.  Bottom line: get a sticker/sign and skip the security system.
4.) Most home burglaries today occur during the day, and not at night. 
5.) Most burglars are opportunistic.  If they are patrolling your neighborhood, and see you leave your house, they will take advantage of the opportunity.
6.) If you don't have a neighborhood watch program in your community and are concerned about security, you should check into starting one.

I also have other tips, if anyone is interested, but they are more home improvement related.

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I live in a "transitional" neighborhood and can absolutely agree with "The best security system is a dog."  I've had several questionable people try to solicit and "scope" out my home but they literal run when they see my dogs.  Though one of them is a 90+ lbs Catahoula that snarls when smiling so I don't blame them.

I have ADT and have my home security tied in with my home automation for sending me alerts.  When I go on vacation I setup my HTPC to play dog barking sounds randomly as an extra precaution in addition to the lights and security system.

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I have a yorkie with a severe under bite to scare off intruders. I need to go steal my neighbors ADT sign.

I can't beleive how long it takes the police to respond. I could cross my entire county in about 20 minutes, these guys have lights, right of way and at any given time I bet one is within five minutes of my house.

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Yeah, but it takes them at least 15 minutes to finish their coffee and donuts before they'll respond to the call. ;D

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I have a "Killer Pekingese on Duty" sign in my window. im safe Smile

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Joined: 21 Dec 2006

Man, I know I wouldn't go near that property.  That's one mean lookin' hound!  ;D  Much scarier than my two Shepherds!

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Meester.Rip wrote:

I can't beleive how long it takes the police to respond. I could cross my entire county in about 20 minutes, these guys have lights, right of way and at any given time I bet one is within five minutes of my house.

Just FYI: I live in the Washington DC area (NOVA).  *-*

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I'd have to drink and drive if I had to deal with the traffic in DC or LA.

Ankle biting dogs are the worst. I'd rather take on a Doberman than a couple of pekes or shnauzers.

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20 minutes? Wow you guys are lucky! My friend up the street got robbed one night a few months ago, and it took the cops over an hour and a half to get there. I was with her waiting for them and got so fed up that I drove to the police station myself (it was only 8 minutes away, and that was with me getting stuck at like 3 lights). She has a decent sized dog, but apparently the dog was too friendly to deter the thieves from taking her flatscreen.

I totally intend to buy some sort of home security system when I set up my home automation system (just need the home part first hehe).

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I cant see how a dog is really that big of a deterrent; a few treats and your good to go.  But none the less I'm sure it does keep away some thieves, atleast some of the not so smart ones.

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Ironically, we got robbed one night while we were away to buy a dog...

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jennyfur wrote:

20 minutes? Wow you guys are lucky! My friend up the street got robbed one night a few months ago, and it took the cops over an hour and a half to get there. I was with her waiting for them and got so fed up that I drove to the police station myself (it was only 8 minutes away, and that was with me getting stuck at like 3 lights). She has a decent sized dog, but apparently the dog was too friendly to deter the thieves from taking her flatscreen.

I totally intend to buy some sort of home security system when I set up my home automation system (just need the home part first hehe).

It actually took the police about an hour to arrive after I called 911.  The detective told me that, in my area, if you have a security system it will take them about 20-minutes to respond to the alarm.

I would check with your local police department to see if they will do an in-home security check.  They will actually come to your home, assess your property, and give you suggestions for improvement.  It would be a good opportunity to ask them about a home security system.  And, the assessment should be free!

robinhoody wrote:

I cant see how a dog is really that big of a deterrent; a few treats and your good to go.  But none the less I'm sure it does keep away some thieves, atleast some of the not so smart ones.

It's a huge deterrent because burglars will take the path of least resistance.  If they knock on your door and hear a dog barking, they will most likely move on to the next house.  Their goal is to be in and out as quickly as possible.  They know that even if it's a small dog, it will be enough to slow them down.

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robinhoody wrote:

I cant see how a dog is really that big of a deterrent; a few treats and your good to go.  But none the less I'm sure it does keep away some thieves, atleast some of the not so smart ones.

I think this only comes into play if we're talking about a professional job, like you'd see on TV, where a group of thugs are breaking into some millionaire's mansion or something (which is probably rare to begin with).  Otherwise, I'm with others:  they're looking for the path of least resistance.  I used to love watching the show "To Catch a Thief" and seeing how they'd get in and then be out in minutes.  There were very few episodes with dogs involved and only one where a dog actually seemed to be a threat.  Quite stupidly, the owners had their Rotty outside in the back yard and they just needed to distract the dog long enough to get past it.

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I think my security system needs a firmware update. Lab 1.0 ate my remote right off the counter a few weeks ago.

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Skirge01 wrote:

I used to love watching the show "To Catch a Thief" and seeing how they'd get in and then be out in minutes.  There were very few episodes with dogs involved and only one where a dog actually seemed to be a threat. 

I remember watching that show, one episode had what looked to be a pretty big, scary dog and when the burglars came in the dog just came up to them to be petted and then went on its way.

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evaliquette wrote:

I think my security system needs a firmware update. Lab 1.0 ate my remote right off the counter a few weeks ago.

If my security system had that feature, it would find its code being reprogrammed.

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I had a storage shed robbed last October.  They stole about $3000 of stuff...a riding mower, trimmer, some tools, and 2 empty gas cans.  I HAVE a security system, and the sales guy and installer NEVER suggested adding the shed onto the system.  I've got signs, stickers, random lights etc.... but they got almost everything out of the shed.

So, I upgraded to shed 2.0, and extended the alarm system to the new shed.  Of course the shed also has some serious upgrades as well....  50amp, 220v sub-panel, high strength latches, catches, and locks, motion sensing lights, and when the door opens it'll set off the alarm and a high-res security camera inside the shed gets a really clear video of your ugly mug.

That and we installed a 6ft fence around the yard and the gates are locked with the same high security locks.  The thieves will have to bust the fence down, rip the shed doors apart, and generally make a lot of noise and take a lot of unnecessary time to get to my stuff.

But once you get robbed, you never feel secure enough.  You've been violated, your peace of mind is shaken, and you want some kind of revenge for the crime(Drunk committed against you.  At least that's how I feel....

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I decided to resurrect this old thread, since the issue which brought this up last year has just reoccurred.  We apparently have a crotchety old man in the neighborhood, who has nothing better to do than ride his bicycle around the town, walk through people's yards and report code violations to the borough.  Since our town does not have "private property" unless there's a "no trespassing" sign in place, we have no recourse for previous trespasses.

However, we just put the sign up and now I want some sort of camera system in place for this old fart (no offense to any other "older" folks on the site), so that I can catch him trespassing next time.

I think the easiest location for the camera may be toward the roof of the house, since there's a crawl space I could easily run an ethernet cable through to a switch.  Power could be an issue, so I may need to consider PoE, as well.  I'm guessing a motion activated camera might be best, so that it doesn't waste storage space, but the distance from the roof to the driveway might be an issue there.

Any ideas for something fairly inexpensive, which I could install on my WHS box?

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