Home Security Recommendations
May 12, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend Home Security companies for burglary monitoring

Someone broke into my house a week ago and leaving the house unattended is a huge burden on me now.

Please recommend home security companies that are from experience reliable. I'm hoping not to spend more than $30 a month for the monitoring fees.

Also, please recommend how I should go about canvassing for home security costs and companies. My next step if I didn't have the hive at my disposal is to pick up the phone book and start calling companies.

I'm in Pasadena, CA.

I will really appreciate your help. I can't focus very well right now that I'm at work.
posted by onich to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
After someone broke into the neighbor's house, we contacted Guardian Protection which while headquarters locally for us, does appear to be in CA as well.

After the initial installation of sensors/monitors (a few hundred dollars) our monthly fee is $29.95.

I guess to some the proof of a good security system is that we haven't had our house broken into? But for us, it has come down to customer service. The gentleman who came to the house didn't try to oversell us into more than we needed, took pains to make sure that our cats woudn't be able to trigger anything, and followed up after installation. The installers cleaned up after themselves (drilling into walls mostly). I've triggered it by accident a few times, and they have been on top of things there. And I personally like that we have the ability to do different keypad and safe word codes for people that are temporary (say for the cat sitter, or a house guest) and expire in the system.

I'm sorry you've had this happen. I hope that once you calm down a little bit, you can find a service that offers you peace of mind.
posted by librarianamy at 12:23 PM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks librarianamy. I'll definitely give them a call. Mind if I ask if there's a way for you to monitor if your system has been down or inactive at some point? I've read somewhere that some people (I think with Brinks or ADT) didn't realize that their alarm system was non-operational until they've tested it with the police. I can't quote where I found this, but I believe everything I read in the internet. :)
posted by onich at 12:32 PM on May 12, 2010

One thing to keep in mind is it's not enough to simply get a system installed, you will most likely have to fill out a form for your local police as well. Otherwise they won't actually come out if the security company calls them. A good security company would explain all that stuff for you though.

We have Brinks, now Broadview, and they seem OK if a bit overpriced. They go through our broadband (we don't have a landline) so I do test the system every once in a while to make sure it's still working ok. You just punch in a certain code and if it responds with a beep eventually then you're still connected to their op center. If our Internet went out while somebody was breaking in, we'd be totally screwed I suppose, but in the end an alarm system is just one more barrier. There's no fool proof system. Somebody could also just turn everything off using the breaker box that's outside our house. There's a lock on it but any bolt cutter would take care of that. In the end, if somebody really wants to take your stuff, they can. The key is to make it as hard for them as possible.

And we did actually still get broken into, even though we had the alarm system. They took the XBox and Wii, but I think if we didn't have the alarm system, they would have cleaned us out a lot more.
posted by kmz at 2:28 PM on May 12, 2010

I have ADT and it's a little bit more - $45/mo. I don't have a landline either - my system is connected via a standalone cellphone. It chirps when there's an issue connecting to the monitoring center. FWIW, it has about 18hrs of battery backup, but after that, as kmz points out, the system is decorative.

I'd had an older system updated (reusing some of the old sensors, adding a few, replacing panels), and the installation guys were good about providing the forms to get an alarm permit from the city (Portland, in my case).

Do you have a friend who can deal with interfacing with the security companies? I found it pretty helpful to have a non-rattled buddy deal with the doom-is-approaching sales pitch and identify a reasonably level of sensor coverage, so all I had to do was read the contract and pay.
posted by janell at 2:44 PM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for letting me know about the forms. I'll definitely add that to my questions when I'm calling these companies this afternoon. Come to think of it, my breaker box is also outside my home, right beside my phone NIC panel.

In the end, if somebody really wants to take your stuff, they can. The key is to make it as hard for them as possible.\

I guess this is the right mindset in proceeding with this. But talking this through does make me feel better about what I'm doing.
posted by onich at 2:56 PM on May 12, 2010

Follow up - we too had to fill out a form with the city police. It's an annual renewal here and we have a sticker we put in our front window that is dated that we've paid the city to be summoned by the alarm company. Husband says it's $20 to the city.

Part of our theory of having the alarm is a deterrent factor, and having an up to date sticker from the city in our front door window, we figure helps. If someone is casing the house (which is what happened next door) we want them to know that not only do we have the alarm, we use it. (Anecdotally, our pet sitter tells us that 90% of the people she sits for don't bother to use their alarms after the first year.)

Confirmed with my husband that if we want a scheduled system test, we can have that done. And given that more than one lazy weekend morning I've set it off opening a window for the cats, I do know that it works. And then been a stuttering idiot trying to remember our code when they call to find out if we're ok. ("Um, yes, it's me again, the cats wanted the window open. Our code word is blah...") Ours goes through our landline, and had an option for a cell phone backup. There's a speaker box on the wall that they do the emergency communication through that was part of our installation.
posted by librarianamy at 5:33 PM on May 12, 2010

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