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Old October 11, 2009, 08:46 PM   #1
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investigating an alarm

I just installed a home secuirty system and signed up for monitoring. If the alarm goes off and is not turned off in 30 seconds it calls the monitoring company who then tries to contact me via phoen to see if it was a real alarm.

So I live alone with my 2 dogs. Lets say the alarm goes off in the middle of the night, what do I do? My first thought is to stay barred up in my room and wait for someone to come through my door and shoot. But what if it is a false alarm (sensor came lose, wind blew the garage door enough to set it off or whatever could make them go)? I don't want the alarm company calling and having the cops come out for nothing. I have a keypad right next to the bed that can disarm the system and will verbally tell me which door/window set off the alarm when I disarm the system. This tells me where to go check but it is pretty loud so it gives my position away if someone is in the house.

So whats the proper procedure?
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Old October 11, 2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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My first thought is to stay barred up in my room and wait for someone to come through my door and shoot.
That's the best thing to do. Nothing in your house is worth your life. Attempting to locate an intruder, even heavily armed in your own home, is a lose-lose proposition. Think about it:
1. You will make noise searching for him while he can stay quiet and hidden.
2. You must show a light to see him, thereby revealing yourself.
3. He's in hiding while you're exposed.
4. He knows where you are, you don't know where he is. He can wait for you to come to him.

I don't want the alarm company calling and having the cops come out for nothing.
Why not? That's what you're paying them to do. Even if you're charged for a false alarm, the cost is cheaper than your life.

So whats the proper procedure?
Grab the family and bunker down in a defensible position with your weapons and phone. Let the alarm people call. "My alarm is going off and there may be someone in the house, send the police." Then call the police yourself (helps to have a land line and a cell phone, too). Identify/describe yourself and your family, inform the dispatcher you are armed, and give him/her your location in the house. Stay on the phone with the dispatcher. When the police get there - STAY PUT. Let them enter/check the entrance points (doors/windows) and instruct you as to what to do.

There will be many who think you are a coward for not defending your property. I will think you're a smart man who knows what's worth dying for and what isn't.
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Old October 11, 2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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CWPinSC nailed it front and center.

I would say additionally, though, . . . should you have an "equipment fault", . . . that results in a false alarm, . . . make your alarm company that installed the thing good for it.

I've been around enough alarm systems and devices to know there can be problems, . . . but they can be adjusted or tweaked to get them to do their job without crying wolf.

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Old October 11, 2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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I would say additionally, though, . . . should you have an "equipment fault", . . . that results in a false alarm, . . . make your alarm company that installed the thing good for it.

My alarm system is CPI. They have a microphone/speaker talk-back system. When my alarm goes off, they listen through a whole-house microphone for about 15 seconds. Then they come through on the speaker and ask for a name and password. Any wrong answer sends the police immediately. If I am home, I can speak to them from any room in the house and be clearly heard. I also have strategically-located keypads with "panic buttons" that respond LEOs immediately. No phone calls necessary. A slight improvement, I believe.
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Old October 12, 2009, 12:19 AM   #5
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All above is perfectly correct.
To add one more thing, here we have two sets of passwords to give the security company. one indicates that all is OK, the other tells them that you are under duress, and even if you say that " all is OK" a team of armed personnel ( the company that I use employs chaps that are also trained as paramedics) and the police are immediately dispatched to investigate.


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Old October 12, 2009, 07:09 AM   #6
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I think I would be on the phone with 911 so I don't shoot through the door at an LEO. There could be a patrol car near and the LEO could be there in minutes. Yes LEO's are supposed to announce their presence but not all goes as planned.
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Old October 12, 2009, 07:32 AM   #7
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good advice

I have a system that is similar to CWPinSC's. The monitoring company can listen in and communicate with me via the two control panels in my home. I have three dogs in my home as well that will sound as soon as anything moves near the outside of my home as well. If you live alone I would take CWPinSC's advise nothings worth the risk, unless you have children or family members that you need to get to and protect…then everything changes. I’ve heard a few people on this board say "I’m not the biggest or most proficient BUT I’m DETERMINED"
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Old October 12, 2009, 09:15 AM   #8
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My system provides a way to send an intrusion alarm in the situation where the BG has you at gunpoint and orders you to disarm the alarm before it goes off. You enter the 4 digit code but add 1 to the last digit- if the "no problem" disarm code is 1234, punch in 1235 and "off". The system will disarm without any drama or horns going off or phone calls, but it will secretly notify the operator at the alarm center that you're in a "distress" threat situation in some physical danger, and he calls the local police with that information. Around here they respond with a couple of police cars which arrive quietly but rapidly, the officers are out and unholstered and looking to enter the house from both doors with sidearms in a Weaver hold very quickly.

I know this because my son, who was 12 when we first got the system 15 years ago, came home from school one day to the empty house and screwed up the code when he tried to disarm the alarm. He came in the house, left the door open, entered his code (he thought) and the "disarm" button on the alarm keypad, and it acted as usual. So he gets a can of Coke from the fridge and flops on the couch to watch "Batman" reruns when all at once there's a loud thump at the front door and 2 police officers jump in, crouched and aimed at him with their Glock .40's (he likes guns, knows all the safety rules and knew what the implications of having one or two pointed at him were). This scared the crap out of him- he fell off the couch, spilled the Coke, and yelled something like "Don't shoot!" or "Jeezus Christ, what the hell do you guys want?" -the officer told me this later, which begat a conversation with my son about profanity and blasphemous language, but I really couldn't be all that mad at the kid for the language- he was truly frightened and it took a number of hugs and tender talk to settle him down. Some time later we had another "discussion" in a different tone about using the alarm system properly and paying attention to what the hell he was doing, especially when it mattered. I also changed his code to one where the next higher number from the last digit of his code was in a different row than the usual last number.

It was a tense situation for the police officers, who definitely don't like being drawn down on a kid like that. I got a stern lecture from them which was deserved, which you can safely bet I passed on to my son. I was entirely grateful for their response and as apologetic as I could muster for testing them like that, even though it was a mistake too easily made. The police have enough to deal with without having to go to Defcon One because some kid fumbled the alarm system.
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Old October 12, 2009, 09:20 AM   #9
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I don't shoot through the door at an LEO.
You don't shoot through doors. You should be able to identify your target. In SC, you need intent, opportunity, and ability from the BG to shoot. Shooting through a door may get you a manslaughter (or worse) charge.
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Old October 12, 2009, 06:18 PM   #10
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Here's a related story and an Email I sent to a couple friends a few days ago. It speaks to the possible hazards of investigating your own alarm.

Just saw on local the local news more about that car crash from yesterday. It seems my dentist (since 1976, Dr. David Jarrett) was playing golf at Hidden Valley, and heard an alarm coming from his house nearby.
He decided to investigate, (his golfing buddy went with him), so he armed himself and went in and began looking around. About the time he realized the alarm was for real, his golfing buddy spotted the intruder down the hall. In order to escape, the intruder fired a shot thru the window and got away---at least until he crashed his car during a police chase and went to the hospital with serious infuries.

Dr. Jarrett pointed out that investigating it himself wasn't the smartest thing he could have done and that he should have called the police. Amen. He knew better, but was hesitant to call the police because he'd had false alarms in the past.

His property was recovered.

Note: while the intruder was armed going in, he also armed himself with the stolen .357 which he used to shoot out the window during the escape. Dr. Jarrett was armed, but I don't know at what point, or how he armed himself.

Situation was obviously rather precarious, because the Doc was the one going into the house which, unknown to him, contained an armed intruder. The Doc's local TV news interview was more informative with re: to the specific details than the newspaper article.

Last edited by Nnobby45; October 12, 2009 at 06:26 PM.
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