When we had our house built a few years back, one of the decisions that we had to make was whether or not to include an alarm system. Sure, you can add them after the fact, but it’s a lot easier to have it done when the walls are open and everything is accessible. The main problem with home alarms is that all but the most expensive systems are incredibly easy to defeat — just cut the phone line. On top of this, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of paying a monthly monitoring fee.
To make a long story short, we ultimately decided against an alarm system. However, as more and more houses went in around us, and more and more alarm monitoring company signs went up in our neighbors front yards, we soon realized being in such a distinct minority placed us among the ‘softest’ targets on the street. Then I got to thinking… You can buy pretty much anything on eBay — what about those alarm monitoring company signs that everyone around us had?
I checked and, sure enough, I was able to buy an ADT Home Security sign and some window decals for about $20. Given that even the cheapest monitoring service cost ten bucks a month (plus tax), we’ve saved a substantial chunk of money in the three and a half years that we’ve lived here. And I remain convinced that the appearance of having an alarm is every bit as effective as actually having one when it comes to deterring burglars. The only regret I have is that it would be nice to have our smoke detectors wired into an alarm system such that the fire department gets automatically dispatched in case of a fire.