Do you have a home security system?

C Marlin

I now want to install one and just had a sales call from ADT, what pressure to sign. Didn't do it, I like all the sales features, I'm just not ready to commit to one company. I'm not interested in a DIY product.

If you have one, do you like your system, is it centrally monitored? What features do you especially like?


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maifleur01

One thing to ask is what happens if the alarm goes off. Do they simply send a car to check out the house or do they call the police. When neighbor's went off it took over an hour for a car to arrive.

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jrb451

I think many call monitoring centers handle multiple brands of security systems, including some DIY ones. I like the fact that if our alarm goes off, we get notified as well as the local police. We get contacted when our power goes off and asked if everything is OK. I was once away from home and on the line with our company while they were talking with a Deputy as they walked through our house. Turned out the wind blew an outside door open and set off the alarm.

Never been broken into but I know the thing works.

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joyfulguy

Not even a dog (most are more useful for this than are cats).

o j

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Lindsey_CA

Yes, we have a home security system -- ADT -- and it is centrally monitored. If there is an "event," they call you and you have to give them the predetermined code word/phrase to indicate everything is ok. If you say anything other than the predetermined word/phrase, they will call your local law enforcement. If they can't reach you, they will call the predetermined "back-up person" before calling law enforcement.

Hubs and I, of course, have a code to set/disarm the system. We have a different code for anyone that we want to allow to disarm the system (e.g., my sister or niece if they come to feed the cat if we're gone for a few days).

Each window and door that is armed is a separate "zone." You can bypass a zone if you choose to. Say you want to leave one window open beyond the trigger point but you want your system armed. Just bypass that zone.

The entire system is hardwired, but there is a battery backup in case the power goes out (or a burglar cuts the power to the house). The system has a rechargeable battery, but when it reaches its "end of life," ADT will replace it at no charge (at least, the battery that's in ours was replaced for free when it ultimately gave out many years after it was installed).

You can check your system's account on the ADT website myADT.com. You can see your alarm history, update contact people/numbers/codes, order additional lawn signs and/or window stickers, etc.

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Bookwoman

We have one, not so much for the burglary aspect as for the hard-wired smoke/heat alarms. If a fire were to break out and we weren't home (we travel regularly) a fire truck would be dispatched automatically. The same of course is true for dispatching police if there was a break-in, but those occur very rarely around here.


We use Vector, and thankfully have never had any sort of incident. The very few times the alarm has been set off accidentally and we've reset it, we've had a phone call within two minutes asking if there is a problem (they also ask for your password) and whether or not they should dispatch police/EMT/fire.


I like it for the peace of mind it brings, and the yard sign can be something of a deterrent. It costs us $35/month, on top of whatever the price was to wire the house originally (a very long time ago, so I don't remember the cost).

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Elmer J Fudd

Yes, a 75 pound dog who only barks when she feels something's off.

I've never felt the need to have one. There's little of extreme value in the house and I have adequate insurance. Someone really motivated is welcome to break into the house when we're gone, they'd otherwise be discouraged by the noise of an obviously big and protective dog if we were home. Maybe when we're gone too and she's not with us.

We bought a second house recently that had a complete alarm system installed and I can only describe the sellers' attitude about it as one of paranoia. "We once lived in a house in another state that was burglarized and we've had a system installed in every home ever since". Well, fine. They started to take me through its operation and what codes to enter when when I said "Please show me how to shut it off". They were aghast but did so. I still need to call the security company to get it uninstalled and disconnected from electricity. I have a few Wifi cameras there just to check on it overall but there as in my main home, there's little or nothing to worry about.

I know some live in neighborhoods with more imminent danger but fortunately I don't. I'm not sure if my neighbors have alarms but I never hear one going off. There is a neighborhood patrol and that seems to be enough.

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Lars

I have cameras at my front door, but that's about it. I don't feel the need for anything more than that. By Los Angeles standards, my neighborhood is not that upscale - perhaps upper middle class at best - and crime is very low here. We do have a neighborhood watch, and almost everyone has cameras at their front doors. Now that I am retired, I am home much of the time, and when we go away on vacation, we notify the neighbors, who are very conscientious and they will water plants for us, if necessary.

My neighborhood looks modest, but of course you can't buy anything here for less than $1 million - that's a low price for the west side of L.A. If I lived in Pacific Palisades or Bel-Air, I might think differently. There is a police academy just a few blocks from my house, and the police cadets jog down my street on a regular basis. Another thing about this neighborhood is that a lot of retired people live here (some since it was first built 1947-1953), and so most houses usually have someone at home at any particular time.

We do keep all the windows locked almost all the time (except sometimes when we are home). I can't imagine what anyone would want to steal if they did break in, and they would most likely be seen by the neighbors across the street if they did.

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Anglophilia

I was required to get one by my insurance company many years ago. They would no longer insure my "scheduled property" if I did not have an alarm system. I didn't want one, rarely used it, and then I became a widow. I have no desire to find someone in my house in the middle of the night (safe neighborhood but there were 3 instances 3 years ago - all house with an old lady living alone - that would be ME!). I don't want to come home to someone in my house.


So, I set it whenever I go out and I set it at night when I go to bed. USAA insurance had a "deal" with ADT so I get a discount. I have most of my 1st floor windows wired and all my doors. There is also a motion sensor on the stairs (yes, I put a gate up so the dog that sleeps with me doesn't go for a roam in the night and set-off the alarm). It has a battery back-up and of course, I have a whole-house generator if the power goes out. I have two keypads - one by the door from the basement into the garage and one next to my bed.


Just this past Monday, I was on my way home and I got a call from ADT saying my alarm was going off and asking for the code. My grandson had gotten to my house to mow before I got home, and foolishly used the key to come inside (outdoor keypad for garage door is not working - yet another thing for my "to do" list). It scared the bejesus out of him, it was so loud! He now knows better than to come in if I'm not home!


I do like the security of having it. I also have a large safe where I put portable valuables when I'm going to be out of town and having someone check the house for me. Yes, I also have insurance, but then the replacements wouldn't have been my mother's or grandmother's, would they.


And I have a small dog that barks. Burglars just toss food at them and that takes care of that. My in-laws were robbed - two dogs. Found them locked in the pantry closet, happily knowing on meaty bones, when they returned to find all the silver and jewelry gone. It was not an opportunist break-in - they knew it was "cook's night out" and my in-law's (and the cook!) would not be home. Heartbreaking loss of heirloom silver and jewlery that had been my MIL's grandmother's. She didn't bother to replace it - it wouldn't have been the same.


I'm glad I have mine now.

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Protection One by ADT was installed in this house prior to our purchase. We will be installing a video doorbell and a few wifi cameras in the near future. Crime is spreading this direction, unfortunately. After losing everything, I would prefer not to have what I have now to be stolen. But most importantly, I don't want any of us to encounter criminals that would quickly kill us!


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amylou321

I have an 8 camera system and 4 big scary looking dogs. No official alarm. The DVR for the cameras is well hidden so if someone did break in when we weren't there,we would have them on camera for the police. If the dogs start going nuts I turn the TV to the cameras to see what's going on. It's usually the mail person delivering a package. Sometimes its unannounced workers from the power company that come through to cut tree branches and leave them in piles for snakes to take up residents in. Sometimes it's a pack of deer.

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functionthenlook

Just some cameras outside and Rugers inside. We live in a low crime area.

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terilyn

I guess the burglars will have to find out, not answering!

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DawnInCal

People find their way up to our house a couple of times a year. They are usually lost and we tell them how to find their way back to town - it's usually very quiet up here. Now and then, we'll get a lookie loo, which I find particularly annoying since the road is posted private/no trespassing, but that's another subject. When we are gone on vacation or staying in town, our neighbor parks his tractor across the road, so if someone wanted to burgle us, they'd have to walk 1/4 mile to our house, steal our stuff and haul it out on their backs. Plus, the neighbor would probably notice that there was a strange car parked next to his tractor.

We don't really feel the need for an alarm system, but I totally understand why people living in more urban areas would have one and some really good reasons for having one have been posted. I especially think fire protection is important. I don't have statistics, but I would guess that more people suffer loss from fire than they do from burglaries.

terilyn, when we lived in a suburban area, I didn't answer the door either. Some might interpret that as being afraid to open the door and face the world, but they would be wrong. It's about not wanting to be interrupted or bothered by sales people. My friends and relatives would never knock on my door unexpectedly, because in my circle, we don't drop in unannounced on each other.

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Elmer J Fudd

This is like phone calls - it takes less time to answer the phone or the door than the time many of you spend spend thinking and worrying about them.

What if a neighbor is at the door because they want to talk about something or give you something? Someone you know finds themself passing by unexpectedly and wants to say Hi. Girl Scout cookies? The postal carrier (who increasingly deliver boxes for Amazon too big for the mailbox) knocks because they want to give you something or there's something to sign for. No one is that busy nor lives in such a large home that access to a door or a phone takes a lot of time.

Not wanting to be interrupted? Your hands are full of flour or you're mixing ground beef, you can go to the door and say "Who's there?" Otherwise, nah.

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DawnInCal

What makes you think that the posters here are spending time worrying about answering the phone or the door?

All I see is a normal conversation with people discussing their thoughts and experiences regarding home security systems.

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sephia_wa

I have ADT. Windows and doors are armed plus a couple of exterior cameras. A couple of summers ago I woke up about 1:30am to a crazy, scruffy looking guy banging on my front door. I have a pretty sturdy storm door that he was pulling on, trying to open it. I called 9-1-1 and the dispatcher stayed on the phone until officers arrived. When the officers made contact with him, they found fake ID, heroin, needles, and he had warrants. That freaked me out enough to get a security system.

A family member is a retired sergeant with a police department. When he and his wife built a home, it was on a dead-end street in an area that had been cleared. There is about 7 houses on their street. Bob was having a neighbor help him install the security system. The neighbor asked why Bob was installing such an elaborate system, that "nothing like that ever happens around here."

Bob's response? "No, not until it does." At least he and his family won't be crime victims.

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hounds_x_two

ADT and two dogs.

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Lindsey_CA

"I know some live in neighborhoods with more imminent danger but fortunately I don't."

"The neighbor asked why Bob was installing such an elaborate system, that 'nothing like that ever happens around here.'

"Bob's response? 'No, not until it does.' At least he and his family won't be crime victims."

EXACTLY!!!

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Elmer J Fudd

I know many people who look for risks and "potentialities" in their lives and want to mitigate as many as possible. Maybe I'm at the other extreme and am too blasé about this. I don't know. I don't feel a compulsion to identify and address everything that might happen. I have no need for security systems and I think that's something I share with many who do have them. No harm done other than when having than to hear about how much safer someone thinks they are. Those who want one should get one.

With insurance and nothing to lose in the house, what am I risking? If someone wants to come in at night and smear my guts down the hall, that can happen as easily when I'm out in public. Should I wear a bulletproof vest and carry a concealed revolver?

I can imagine the attitude of a retired police sergeant concerning bad actors and understand why they would feel that way. I'm not that pessimistic.

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joann_fl

I hated mine, finally unplugged it. It was a pain!!! Then the sticky things would fall off the door or walls and scare me to death in the middle of the night. No Thanks, I'll just take my chances


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Lars

I can talk to someone at my front door through my security camera intercom system, but usually I can tell by looking at them on the security screen whether I want to interact with them or not.

We had a lot of odd people coming to our door in Venice, and some of them I ended up liking. We had a lot of pedestrians on our street, and if I happened to be working in the front yard, tourists would often ask me how to get to the beach. My street ran more or less parallel to the beach, and so I could understand why they needed help. Some tourists took group photos in front of my house. When I first moved to Venice in 1994, there was very little traffic on my street (Abbot Kinney Blvd), and I liked that particular street because it was lined on both sides with tall palm trees. In the 1990s, Venice was considered a dangerous neighborhood, and so it was cheaper than Culver City, but that started to change by 2001. Zillow predicts that prices are about to go down a bit in Venice. The price per square foot in my neighborhood now is $750, whereas it is over $1300 in Venice, which helps explain why we moved here. Crime rate is much higher in Venice, but a lot of that is attributed to thefts from tourists.

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terilyn

I didn’t mean I don’t answer my door, just not saying anything about having a security system. We have a gate, so you have to be buzzed in to get to the door. I know when someone is coming. If they are jumping fences or gates they will find out then if I have security.

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annztoo

We had a security system in a house south of LA and after a year disconnected it. There were a few false alarms but the final straw was when we were out of town and the alarm went off. Neighbors told us it took the police 20+ minutes to get there. We called the police to ask why it took so long and was told they had more important calls they were tending to. Totally understandable, but hearing that didn't leave me with a secure feeling if my life had been threatened. So, for peace of mind we got a gun license, something we're comfortable with since we both were raised around guns and hunters.

We've had the terrible experience of being robbed and I learned it just takes minutes for them to get in and out....much faster than the police could ever show up. What we lost was insured, except for my young son's coin collection. Everything else was replaceable.

I still don't feel the need for a security system but I really like the idea of fire monitoring and amylou's camera setup.

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C Marlin

To followup, we did buy a system yesterday. It was an easy decision, our annual insurance discount for central security and fire alarms is more than we paid for the security system. We did not buy the ADT plan, but from a smaller long established California company.

We are not security conscious, maybe we should be. I grew up with unlocked doors, I never carried a key. We still frequently forget to lock our doors when we leave. Never been burglarized or even filed a homeowners claim. I've had security systems in houses I bought but never purchased one myself, our last house had one I never figured out and finally unplugged it.

Lars, I lived in downtown Manhattan Beach for years, we always just walked downtown leaving our doors open, never had a problem. Now I've read there has been burglaries; one caught burglar, when interviewed by police said the word on the street was "go to Manhattan Beach no one locks their doors". Now I hope people are locking their doors.

I thought Venice had become very trendy, we used to ride our bikes there for lunch and sometimes up to Santa Monica.

Now I live in South Orange County, it's much quieter, not much crime, a while ago there were a few burglaries with the burglar coming up from our horse trails through backyards, climbing onto upstairs balconies for easy entry but haven't heard of a burglary since then.

I view my system as free, what's not to like.

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sephia_wa

A benefit I received from installing a security system is that my insurance rates went down substantially. I have ADT signs posted - the bad guy is going to my neighbor's unprotected home before mine.

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maifleur01

The bad guys know that those ADT signs are on many homes that do not have a system installed.

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Lindsey_CA

The likelihood of an ADT sign being on a home that doesn't have an ADT system is lower than you might think. When you get your system, they will give you two lawn signs and two window stickers. You can get an additional two once per year. Yeah, some people may get them and give them to friends, but not that many will do that.

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Elmer J Fudd

My experience is that it's quite common. Here's just recent incidents:

-One of my kids bought a house two years ago that had such a sign by the driveway. The house has no alarm system at all. The sign is still there.

-That kids' in-laws have such a sign from a different company in front of their house. I asked once when visiting them if they were happy with their security company, the response with a laugh was "We don't have a security system, just a sign".

-With the second house mentioned above that I purchased (which has such a sign too but no service, I need to take it down), I walked around to introduce myself to nearest neighbors. Two had such signs and I asked if they were satisfied with the security company. Each said they'd gotten their sign from friends. And each said they were using it "for deterrence".

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maifleur01

You can actually buy similar signs if you can not find one where people are moving out of a house. In our old, poor neighborhood I would see several when walking our dogs. As poor as that neighborhood was, most had income of less than $30,000, few of the houses ever had a security system.

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sephia_wa

I hope the bad guys think my signs are just a deterrence and there is no security system.

When the alarm blasts they'll find out the signs are for real.

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watchmelol

For a while several neighbors installed alarm systems. After too many false alarms (over 98% according to the local news) the police set a new policy that they would only respond to verified break-ins and robberies. So that fad sort of ended and our streets no longer have the damned things randomly blasting. The latest fad is people installing Ring doorbells and video cameras. Of course the criminals don't care because they are more aware than the good guys that video evidence is pretty much useless in court since it is easily tossed out. I mean how to you tell one guy or gal in a hoodie from the next one? I also have to laugh when I go on walks and observe so many home owner camera is the box kits that have the wires exposed outside the home and readily available to be cut.

Police departments in some areas are recently asking people to allow remote access to their video feeds. No way would I give up my privacy for a false sense of security.

So yes I do have home security. My well trained dog and myself. And I keep my house dark. I and my dog will see them before they see me. Never got the security light thing. Why provide light and shadows for them to work by. Make 'em bring their own light so we can spot them.

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Lindsey_CA

Wow. Elmer knows four people that have a sign but no security system. Definitive proof that his opinion is correct. [\sarcasm]

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Elmer J Fudd

Wow, why do you find it necessary to insult anyone who disagrees with you? It's not just me you seem to do that to.

To be clear, your comment was an opinion but mine wasn't. I shared what my real experiences had been, not a speculation as was your comment. Also, it was five, not four. Five of five, that indicates something real, suggesting how bogus the use of such signs seems to be.

You say you can get two extra signs per year? Think about why that might be necessary and where those missing signs may go. That says something to me and others, if not to you.

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Michael

I have a security alarm system. I don't post a sign. I want the idiot to discover the alarm.

We don't sleep with a dog. We prefer a security system for our personal safety. We live in an affluent neighborhood. Thieves like affluent neighborhoods.

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Lindsey_CA

Elmer you are presuming that everyone with an ADT system gets two extra signs every year. I sincerely doubt that's the case.

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caflowerluver

We got one 17 years ago when a few of our neighbors houses were robbed and in one case the woman was assaulted and raped. Scared me enough to have one put in. It is up to $? (was $30-40) a month for First Alert and $30 a year for a required permit to the police to monitor it. The alarm company calls you if it goes off. If they don't get an answer, then they call the police.

There is a lot of area to cover and most is rural and heavily wooded. And only a few officers to monitor it. Unfortunately a house will burn to the ground before the fire engines get here. It happened to my neighbor. And a house being robbed is low on their priority list. It is the price you pay to live way up in the mountains.

We have it for a sense of security, especially for me when DH traveled a lot for work. I felt safer with it on at night. Our closest neighbor is about an acre away so no calling or running for help. We have signs posted and hopefully they will discourage people from breaking in.

And my dog,a mini Dachshund, wasn't much of a guard dog. She would go with anyone that gave her a treat. She followed the UPS driver onto his truck because he gave her a dog biscuit. As long as the thief gave her attention and fed her, she would let him strip the place.


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patriceny

I researched this for a second home / vacation home a few months ago. We're only there on weekends and so most of the week the house sits empty. It's in a good neighborhood and we've made friends with the neighbors. There is no formal neighborhood watch, but there are 3 retired couples within eyesight of our home who know us now - and they keep an eye on things for us.

I looked at "monitored" systems but decided against it.

I ended up buying wireless cameras w/motion sensors that connect via our wifi. I get alerts whenever they detect motion. I have a hilarious video of a squirrel running back and forth across our back patio. :) I also know when the landscapers show up because I get video of them mowing the yard.

I like pulling up the live feed. I can then see with my own eyes that all is ok. Between that and the motion alerts, I'm satisfied with our coverage. The only cost was the cameras, which were ~$100/each. They even come with night vision. I'm quite satisfied.

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Elmer J Fudd

"Elmer you are presuming... "

I presumed nothing, I reported actual experiences and raised a question. YOU assumed that the presence of a sign suggested the likelihood of a monitored system and my real inquiries said otherwise.

Why do you think ADT offers a regular resupply of signs? Where do you think the missing ones go?


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Lindsey_CA

I ordered a new sign just a few weeks ago because some neighbors were tossing a Frisbee back and forth and at one point the Frisbee hit our sign and broke it. I know where our broken sign went -- into the trash.

I'm not saying, and have never implied, that no one has a sign without an active security system. I don't think it's a widespread "problem," and if a sign deters someone from trying to break into a house, that's a good thing.

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Anglophilia

When I lived in CA, what Elmer describes was quite common - signs but no security system.

The house we rented had a private security SERVICE contract - it was a number one called if someone was breaking into the house and you were there. We did pay for this as at that time (early 1980's) the average response time from LAPD was 25 minutes and with the security service, it was 3 minutes. While it was a VERY affluent area (we rented!), there were regular break-ins and it was unsafe to ever walk on the sidewalks after dark - sometimes even earlier. Personal muggins were quite common - this in a neighborhood where the house prices started at about 1.5 million and went UP from there very quickly.


BTW - ADT has never offered me additional signs and stickers since I got the system about 18 years ago.

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maddielee

People who are worried about Alexa, the Google home, or smart phone controlled thermostats really shouldn’t be posting if they have a security system or not. should they?

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Lindsey_CA

Anglophilia, ADT doesn't actively offer the signs/stickers to anyone. You log into your ADT account on their website (create your account if you haven't already), and there is a link to the page to order the signs/stickers.

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Lucille

Yes, I currently have a security system. A chihuahua. The features I especially like is that she will bark twice then stop for delivery people who deliver a package and leave but keep on barking if there is an actual visitor who continues to stand outside my door. This is important because the guy that lives at the other end of the apartments, his security system has no programming or off switch and will yap for minutes at a time when someone passes by.

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functionthenlook

I remember a time when criminals were behind the locked doors and security systems for the law abiding citizens protection. Now the law abiding citizens are the ones behind the locked doors and security systems for protection from the criminals.

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Elmer J Fudd

Driven by curiosity, I did a quick Google search and learned that ADT lawn/garden signs can be purchased on Ebay, Amazon,and also on other sites.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

I am one that had security system signage but no system :-) And it worked damn well afa I could tell!! We did have a break-in prior to putting up the signs but none in the 10+ years after until the house was sold. Maybe not entirely conclusive but I believe it did have a deterrence factor.

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Toomuchglass

We never wanted one. My neighbor is so paranoid ,she has all sorts of alarms , ring doorbell systems ,dogs . In fairness- her DH is only home on weekends (he's in construction in another state ) I feel safe in this neighborhood. I don't feel the need to buy one.

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