After we bought our house, I started looking for a security system – mostly for the peace of mind; I pay everything by credit card so not like I am hiding money under the mattress or in freezer. I researched scores of companies and devices including traditional ones such as ADT and more innovative ones such as Canary; looked at camera systems, local alarm vs central monitoring etc.
[funny story about ADT – the person I was talking to said they are in home security business for more than 140 years; I said: “it was before world wars and at that that the technology wasn’t too advanced, what/how did you guys monitor?” After a long awkward silence he admitted that he wasn’t sure what they did back then.] I also didn’t like the fact that they pulled my credit score/history without letting me know.
Eventually I got one and while I was registering it with the county (some counties require you to register alarm system with them) I saw this on their website, “If you would like to schedule a Home Security Inspection, please call <phone number>” I was glad to see that county was willing to do a security inspection. Few weeks later a sheriff came to do the inspection – he gave me few general security tips such as: have a lock in the backyard gate etc., which I thought was useful! Then it was time to test the alarm system; we verified that everything was working as expected, then opened the front door to let the alarm go. Sheriff said, “if it takes more than 1.5 mins (90 seconds) for them to call, you need to have a talk with them because anything longer than that is too long.”
I got the call in just about 90 seconds, but what the conversation with Sheriff after that was shocking and eye opening! He continued, since the alarm is working as expected, let’s talk about what happens in case someone trespasses in a house:
- 1.5 mins to call the first person
- if he doesn’t pick up another minute to call the secondary person
- if both go unanswered, another few mins to call police dept
- few more mins for police dept to call person on duty
- depending on the traffic, police arrives anywhere between 30 – 45 mins later
We are effectively looking at anywhere between 45 mins to an hour before police arrives when a burglary happens – no security company ever tells you this important piece of information. Still think spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on home security system is justified? Think again!
- Having a security system gives you piece of mind, and that’s why I have it too, but don’t end up paying too much for the monthly monitoring cost.
- The frequency of false alarm is high, which can cost you fine from the county too, besides wasting other resources:
Spend little time and money on securing the house in other ways too: things as simple as putting a lock on the backyard door and removing ribbon from the garage opener goes a long way ensuring security of the house.