Recommend me a home security system

So our house got broken into yesterday while my husband and I were at work. The place was ransacked, but apparently the shithead was only looking for cash and small items – he got my cell phone, a credit card, some proof coins and possibly a checkbook or two. Fortunately, I was wearing what jewekry I own that’s worth anything. I’ve cancelled all the accounts and so forth, and now it’s time to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.

What kinds of security systems do you guys have? Are you happy with it? How much did it cost?

We’re fairly broke right now, and I’m hoping there’s a way that I can protect the windows and doors on the first level without breaking the bank. Any advice you can give would be great.

I could really use some help.

I’m in Minnesota (South Minneapolis) too, and I use Protection One. I’ve had a problem in the past with the local office, but calling the national office solved the issue immediately. We’ve used them for almost 6 years.

They’re prompt about calling to check status if an alarm goes off; and contact the police immediately. How long the police take to arrive is another matter. My friend set the alarm off accidentally and the police took 45 minutes to arrive. I set it off a year later, and they were there within 2 minutes.

Brandishing guns.

Tell ya, that livened up my day. :smiley:

My Grandmother uses Brinks, and likes them.

I have a home s4ecurity/monitoring system with ADT. All the doors and windows are wired with sensors, and there’s a motion detector in the main hallway. If someone enters or walks around the house while we’re gone, the alarm goes off and the cops get called.

(I’m omitting some of the details, such as the one-minute “verification call” to make sure there aren’t any false alarms, but you get the idea)

I should add, we replaced our system about a year ago with an improved system from Protection One.

It cost about $300 for a good 1st floor system without motion detectors, flood alarms, CO detectors, or the other bells & whistles. It did include the glass sensors and the remote panic/shutoff button.

I highly recommend leaving Fisher Price and Little Tykes stuff out and about in your front and back yard.
Even if you don’t have kids.

If you have this strewn about, the bad guys will pretty much no you are broke.

Have you considered getting a dog?

Our dog is pretty much worthless in the attack department, but she has a good bark and shits large poos of mass destruction around the outside of the house, so I think we have to add that in the plus catagory in anti-theft.

We got a system installed by a local independent security company (instead of a big company like ADT or Brinks). The monitoring is $15/month with no contract (month to month), and the system plus installation cost $500. Included in that cost was:

a 15 zone LCD display lit keypad (Spectra)
2 pet friendly motion detectors, both at ground floor and covering most windows and all doors.
monitored smoke alarm
monitored freezing alarm (no frozen pipes for us!)
2 110db alarms (fricking loud!)
all doors and some windows monitored with contacts
all exterior locks re-keyed
kickbars installed to reinforce deadbolts
plus some other stuff.
You have to watch out for the big companies. They will lowball the cost of the initial system to get in the door, but usually the initial system is not nearly enough to provide proper security coverage and you’ll need to pay a premium to add to the package. Also you’ll be hit with large monitoring fees with 12/24 month contracts.

Disclaimer: I don’t work for any security company, nor will any pay me for my endorsement.

My house is connected to Sonitrol. Here’s the possible levels of alarm.

On–nobody’s home. If a door is opened, I’ve got 60 seconds to enter a code, then alarm sounds, and police come.

Occupied-Instant–Not expecting any visitors. Alarm sounds immediately, and police come.

Occupied-Delay–Anyone entering has 60 seconds to enter a code, then alarm sounds and police come.

Then there’s the fire alarm stuff, which you mostly cannot cancel. Once you’re fire-alarmed, get out and wait for the firefighters.

There is also a procedure for if you’re forced inside under duress. I could kill you, but I’d have to tell you.

I also have “armed” screens. Cutting the screen will bring immediate police presence. Any glass break will bring immediate police.

This is great advice.

Most criminals want to avoid houses with dogs. Even if they don’t appear mean, or aren’t barking, the thief doesn’t know what the dog will do once they’re inside.

Really, most criminals are kind of lazy. The places they want to rob are those with the least hassles. That’s why thorny bushes planted beneath windows, dogs, alarms, etc. are so effective: they make your place a less attractive target. Most theives are just looking for a small score-- some quick cash. If a place has too many obstacles, it’s just not worth it. They’ll go elsewhere.

We got the basic package, including a “get several sensors free” coupon, and we’re happy with it. Far as I’m concerned, all the extra stuff is unnecessary fluff.

I prefer Napco panels, simply because their remotes are intuitive, and customer feedback is positive.

Unfortunately, even the best equipment won’t do the job if it has been laid out poorly, or the installer is a doofus.

See if you can find a small company where the designer works closely with the installer (or maybe is the same person).

Good luck

A couple of well trained dobermans will always do the trick. Nobody will ever come near your place.

I’ve heard that dogs are one of the best ways to stop intrusion. Also visability, which is really 2 issues. Light up the house, especally the areas that are prone to break in’s, and remove obsticals (trees, shrubs) that allow a bad guy to hide.

If you do go for lights, remember light up your own house, not your neighbors (which just pisses them off and they come over and kick out your bulb when your not home).

IIRC, you can even get fake “Security service” stickers and signs to put on your windows, so the crooks will think you’ve got a system and give you a wide berth. We keep our security sign easily visible from the front of the house for the same reason.

Lissa is right; most burglars are just lazy punks, looking for an easy hit. If they think your place will give them a hassle, they’ll just go next door and look for a less demanding target.