Recommendations for a Home Security System

Updated on November 03, 2011
X.O. asks from Naperville, IL
12 answers

There have been a string of random home invasions in the Western suburbs in the past few weeks, and the burglar has killed a little girl in one and "subdued" a homeowner in another. My husband is freaking out, especially because he is rarely home, so he wants to get an alarm.

I have no experience with home security systems, so I don't know where to start.

What do you have? Do you like it? What kind of cost does it carry? What are its capabilities? Do the companies vary according to geographic location?

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answers from Houston on

Security systems are great but don't fully rely on it. Faulty wiring and power outages can throw any system off track.

It is a well known fact that a dog w/a good bark can deter any criminal.

If you don't have experience in home security systems, then you probably don't have experience with burglars. Do your research on both and in your area.

They told us in self defense that home invasion criminals have nothing better to do than to scope a home/neighborhood they want to steal from. That is their "job" and they want to do it well. They study who lives where, who has what, resident schedules, cars, routine, even security systems and how to disengage them...and then wait to strike. It is very rare that a criminal will just drive up to some random neighborhood and pick some random house at some random time to break in. Criminals these days are very progressive - they won't make any effort unless they will get a sure return on their efforts.

I am a full believer that if half the women who are attacked knew how to defend themselves, they wouldn't be raped or killed. Same thing w/kids.

Stay safe everyone!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Smith Thompson is what we have. $16.95 a month fully monitored. Make sure you go with a wireless system, that way a power outage won't affect it.
But honestly, a dog is very effective. Statistics show intruders don't want to mess with the attention from the barking or risk being bitten.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

You should also put, motion sensitive outdoor Floodlights... around the perimeter of your home.

No shrubs against your home, they can hide there.

A big noisy dog. Get one.

Timers on your interior lights.

"Door Knob" alarms (Amazon has these).
Window alarms
A security system by a security system company. You have to be willing... to spend bucks on it.

Neighborhood Security Watch teams. Or organize one.

ALSO, since there have been so many home invasions there, are the Police, cruising around there more?

Fortify the lock on your doors.
Although, if any bad guy wants in, they will get in.

As the other poster said, do not only rely on security systems.
Home Invaders, DO carefully observe and watch the homes/homeowner/neighborhood habits. They don't care if you are home or not.

Once an Invader is IN the home...then what?
There should be a loud alarm going off. They don't like noise. It brings attention to themselves.
Keep your car key fob with you. On most car key remotes, there is a button on it in which you can sound the car-horn.
That is a way, to trigger a noise/alarm/attention, at your home. For example.

Call your local Police, have them come out to your home and inspect it for safety etc. Have them, tell you, how to secure your home and what to do in case of a home invasion.
Do not rely, on only 1 system.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I have a really BIG dog that likes to lay in the bay window near the front door.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I know I'm not in your area, but we have a small local company. I can't remember how we found him initially, but he actually does mostly commercial properties with some residential.

The house we're in now, already had a system, but not monitored when we bought it. So I don't know what it takes to wire one.

We set ours every night when we go to bed. Even as the kids got older and would come in after DH and I went to bed, we would set the door chime and the kids would then set the alarm when they came in. I bet I can count on one hand the number of false alarms we've had in 11 years.

And we too have had a bunch of break in's in our 'hood. Even with 2 big dogs I like the feeling of the extra security.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have a security system that is rarely used. We are not monitored because there are so many false alarms around here, no one cares when they hear an alarm.

One thing I LOVE about my system is the door and window alarms. Everytime a door or window is opened, there is a sequence of beeps and I can see what location was opened.

Now my neighbors closest to me know if they hear my alarm it is because I have set it and something is wrong.

All that aside.... educate yourself regarding home break in's, etc. The criminals do a lot of research and work to figure out who is most gullible, not paying attention, etc... such as (get a new expensive tv or some electronics and leave the box on the street for garbage pick up, leave garage doors open, have garage sales so your house can be cased out, open your door to the solicitors, etc)

We happen to have dogs. Dogs are a known deterrent for criminals. It is a lot easier to go to the next house with no barking dog which causes attention.

Also, I don't know about your area but in ours, there is a free service with the police department where they will come to your home and tell you what criminals look for, where you are lacking with security, etc.

I do believe a security alarm can help be a deterrent but it takes a lot of factors to keep your home safe such as basic common sense cautions.

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

we have ADT, we went with wireless that way lines can't be cut.......we've had it for a year

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It seems to me like the burgulars in you area are going by the any means necessary approach so with that being said I would say ADT, A big dog and Smith and Western. You can never be too safe.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We went with Vivint. It was free to install and they put in 4 door alarms, window sensors on the girl's windows, window-shatter sensor alarm, we have a duress code in case someone comes in and tries to make me turn off the alarm, I put a fake code in and it calls the cops. It has buttons for OnStar so that you can call for emergencies and they speak to you over the system.
Beyond home invasion, I was very grateful to have the system when my 3 year old woke up early, unlocked all 3 locks (!!) and opened the front door. The alarm went off, woke us, and OnStar was on asking if everything was alright.
I think we pay $50 a month.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have ADT. I've been very happy. I think the system was free to install. I pay $35/month for the monitoring.
The standard system usually comes with 2 door monitors, one motion detector and several window monitors. We swapped out the window monitors for an additional door and an additional motion. But if you need more than what the standard comes with, it will cost extra for the additional equipment.
My alarm is just a security alarm. You can add in fire alarm and life alert systems for an additional fee.
And, you can also get higher tech systems for additional $$ that let you control the system remotely - via computer or telephone, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Companies do vary and option vary by each home. I previously checked out a few and about a year ago went w/ Melaleuca Security. Melaleuca is a wellness company and I am an independent marketing rep so that is how I found out about their security company. The monthly fee is less than the others I checked into years ago and I am happy w/ their service. They will walk you though the info they need to give you the best options for your home based on your floorplan, your needs, and best should any good company.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Yes the companies vary. You need to find a local company or you will be paying for the alarm for the rest of your life. What the big companies do is charge you 100 for the alarm, bargain right? Then charge you and extra 50 a month more than other companies for the monitoring. So where I pay 15 a month for my monitoring my neighbor pays 95 a month.

I have had my alarm for 18 years so just on 50 more I would have paid 10,900 for my alarm and counting.......

Make sure you look at monitoring charges before you commit to any one company.

1 mom found this helpful
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