Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Morgan Park, IL
Location: Morgan Park, IL
Sportbike: A couple
Years Riding: too long to have any sense
How you found us: NESBA
If you do get an alarm system, be aware that the monitoring will cost you about $35-40 per month as an ongoing bill. If you have a standard AT&T landline, then they will connect the monitoring through that connection. If you don't then they have options for either Internet or cellular connections, but those carry a higher monthly charge. Any of these systems can be circumvented by a reasonably knowledgeable crook. Also be aware that the CPD can and will decline to investigate a residential alarm called in by the monitoring company, unless someone (human) on site has verified that a crime is in progress.
Perhaps some other options:
Lighting: Get a set of timers or an X10 timer system and have lights going on and off around the house at varying times each evening. Even better if the times vary each night according to your normal life schedule. [An excellent timer setup is one where you never need to turn on or off a light that is on a timer, because it follows your normal schedule well.] One light in the living room won't deter anyone. Timers in the Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, and if possible bath and eating areas are good. Exterior lighting- use motion sensor lights around the perimeter of your home. No need to light every inch in most neighborhoods, but motion sensor lights or dusk to dawn lights working at each building entry will be a deterrent.
Make your home look like it's not special: Don't put your 65" plasma where it can be seen from the street. Use heavy sheer or translucent curtains that do not allow someone to see in from the street at night when interior lights are on.
The more you fortify your place, the more it looks like you have stuff worth stealing.
The trick is to make it harder than average to figure out what's inside and/or to break in, but overall make your place not stand out from the other houses on the block. This includes outside maintenance and things like shoveling snow/mowing the lawn, taking in papers, flyers and mail, etc. Anything that will tip off a crook that you are away is bad.
Locks, doors, windows, etc: Good security is simple. Deadbolt locks on each door. Install them so that breaking a window will not allow someone to reach inside and unlock the door. Solid wood or steel doors, with sturdy frames. Lock the doors / deadbolts when you go. Get devices that limit window travel to 4" or less. Otherwise, always close and lock windows that can be reached by a very strong and athletic 20 year old whenever you leave the house. This includes windows on the upper levels that can be reached from a porch or garage roof, tree, etc.
Don't show off your stuff. Your visible life to your neighbors should not be more flashy or ostentatious than theirs. This will attract thieves. You want to fit in to your neighborhood. If you have real nice stuff, consider not having it lying around when having incidental guests in (other than known good and honest friends).
The bottom line for all security is:
Make it appear both less lucrative and more difficult to rob your place than the the average place in your area. Thieves are lazy, and they will take the easy pickings. Make it look either more dangerous or less easy to rob you, and they will go somewhere else. That said, nothing will stop someone who is more determined to have your stuff than you are to keep it - from doing whatever it takes to get it.
Know your neighbors. Get to know those who live on your block. Look out for their well being, and they will likely think well of you and look out for yours. Maintain those friendships, because the neighbors are the best security system you can have, and it's essentially free. If you don't know who lives on / regularly visits your block, how will you know when someone who doesn't belong is casing your or your neighbors place?
Same applies to garages and other outbuildings.
What police district/neighborhood are you in? What is the crime rate per 100,000 in your area? Base your security preparations on the actual risk, not your fears. Fear is irrational, and security companies use that to upsell you lots of stuff that may not be needed in your situation.
Just some food for thought.