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TOPIC: Burglar alarms

Re: Burglar alarms 11 Dec 2006 19:27 #25227

  • rodeojack
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You're lucky if you have a location where the law can get to a silent alarm quickly. My question would be whether your first priority was to catch the burglar or minimize the damage to your business.

Augmenting a reporting alarm system with lights, maybe cameras, and a REAL LOUD siren system works with my sordid sense of justice.

Rather than chance sneaking up on someone after a silent system was tripped, I'd much rather see the reaction of some guy who, after working in the dark and quiet to get into a theatre, got suddenly blasted with lots of decibels of really obnoxious noise, along with plenty of bright light.

If he's still there when the Sheriff shows up, then he gets the stupid award... but hopefully he'd be too shook up to do the damage he intended.
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Re: Burglar alarms 12 Dec 2006 04:10 #25228

  • jimor
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I designed such a "repellant" high decibel system for a small store in a strip mall: 12, 8-inch underdome vibrating bells; 6, 100-decibel electronic warbling sirens; four compressed air horns designed for fire engines (expensive!) on 12-volt triggers; plus flashing lights in the windows to alert passing cops. Well, early one evening when the owner was away and only a manager was on duty, the system went off and the manager said she didn't know how to turn it off. The average of 125 decibels in the store quickly caused the customers and mgr to flee to the parking lot while the owner was phoned and came within a half hour to turn it off. Turns out the noise was so great that the cinder block walls did not stop it getting into neighboring stores and their people fled too! The next day the owner was confronted by a delegation from the other business owners and they persuaded him to disconnect the system, or they would go to court and get an emergency injunction against him.

I soon was apprised by the owner's attorney that the law would hold me as well as the owner liable to prison time if any crook had entered and set off the alarms and could later claim temporary deafness or any injury proximate to that. It was not long thereafter that another store cross town was convicted of manslaughter when firemen found a man's body in an air duct that came through the roof. Turns out the owner had been burglarized before and so lined the inner portion of the duct with wires plugged into the 120-volt AC outlet. My design was not lethal in itself, but it was well publicized those 20-some years ago that courts take a dim view of such 'self-defence,' regardless of whether or not a person was there legally.

My system never got turned back on again, and I learned a lesson: there is a limit to self-defense unless one is actually defending life rather than just property. Let the silent alarm call the cops, and wait for them to enter and declare things Safe! Before that, all you can do is put up heavy doors and locks and heavy grilles on windows and vents and hope such discourages the average lazy thief.

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited December 12, 2006).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Burglar alarms 12 Dec 2006 12:36 #25229

  • rodeojack
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Well.... perhaps something in-between!


My system didn't quite have the sound pressure impact that yours did (air horns... wow!), nor would I ever resort to that "shock treatment" method (creative, though).

I have however, witnessed the value of an audible system firsthand. In my case, the building was single-occupant (me), located within earshot of a nearby trailer park. Unfortunately, the isolation of the place led to it being a somewhat inviting target.

The alarm system had to be armed manually, and there was no chance it could go off in the middle of a business day. Only the managers and I had keys, and the switching positively disarmed the system.

I made the choice because on average, it took 15 to 30 minutes to get a response from the gendarmes. I lived a half-hour away.

On the day in question, the bad guys took the door off the side of the building. In the quiet and relative darkness, it was probably the safest side of the building to "work".

I got the call from the 911 center at about 3 in the morning. When I got there, the deputies showed how the burglar had taken about two steps into the building before all Hell broke loose and pretty much put an end to his efforts. The footprints on the freshly-mopped floor told the whole story!

It doesn't take ear-splitting noise to make the point. The shock value of an appropriate system can be pretty effective, as can the risk that someone nearby might wake up (as happened in this case).

The door was easily replaced (and reinforced). There was no damage to anything else. If I had only a silent system, I have no doubt the outcome could have been much more expensive, whether they caught the guy or not.

Just my humble opinion

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Re: Burglar alarms 12 Dec 2006 15:34 #25230

  • ttroidl
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Night Vision cameras are not that expensive anymore, and some are even in color, a plus sometimes to aid in color of clothing etc...

$75 or so gets a decent one.

Dumbest criminals, My favorite was a Radio Shack getting robbed in a mall, and on camera was a criminal on camera taking his sweet time with a BAG on his head because he knew there were cameras, Problem, HE STILL HAD ON HIS SECURITY GUARD UNIFORM!

DUMB!

tony.
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Re: Burglar alarms 13 Dec 2006 00:49 #25231

  • jimor
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The "shock value" system I designed was at the owner's request, since he had been burglarized twice before. The cops were slow to respond to his previous silent system due to hundreds of false alarms like it on a typical night (they arrived an hour after the alarm was dialed in). Now the city requires all alarms to be connected to a monitoring service which must respond first and then phone for cops if need be.

In your situation the audible alarm was the only real choice, as it would, of course, be in most rural and semi-rural areas, but I found out that urban cops' response time can be slow too when they are spread too thin! I hope no one here has need to defend as we did, but maybe our experiences will be a helpful guide to them should the occasion arise, unfortunately. --Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Burglar alarms 13 Dec 2006 01:14 #25232

  • BurneyFalls
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I do have an audible in my other theatre. The exterior horn is directed toward a retired S.O. sergeants house, up the hill. Hopefully he will call to report the alarm, as that one is not connected to a central dispatch.

The theatre that was burglarized is only four blocks from my house and two blocks from the Sheriff's substation. This alarm goes to a central dispatch and I am called first, then the S.O. The alarm does beep from the keypad, so it is not entirely silent. I may consider an audible there, too. I would probably hear it from my house.

I may upgrade my camera. The one I have is infra red, but it didn't do so good. I have been leaving three overhang lights on the last few nights.
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