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[Discuss] Home security & automation

On 9/21/2014 5:31 PM, Matt Shields wrote: On Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 10:21 
AM, Richard Pieri <richard.pieri at> wrote:
>> On 9/19/2014 4:37 PM, Matt Shields wrote:
>>> I'd rather not go with a provider based system (like Comcast, ADT,
>>> Vivint, etc) since I want to control everything and not have to rely
>>> on a company for service or pay a monthly fee.
>> [...]
>>> Any suggestions?
>> Pay a professional to help you plan the system, install and configure it
>> correctly. It'll be worth it in the long run.
> Part of wanting to do it myself is because I would learn about all the
> different components and be able to troubleshoot and fix them if necessary.

I think what Rich recommends is good advice: a professional will be able 
to tell you, gently, that most thefts are done by people you know, and 
that most of your planning will be concerned with ways to prevent that.

Here are a few items to consider:

*/Theft prevention:/*

 1. It's important to understand that most "snatch and grab" thefts
    can't be prevented. Police response times allow junkies to force
    entry, heist your TV and iPad and iPhone, and get out of reach
    before the police arrive. That's what insurance is for.
 2. Every "home monitoring" system that's sold to civilians can be
    disabled in seconds with a pair of wire cutters. Anyone who has
    spent time in prison knows this trick: even amateurs will take the
    phone off the hook and dial a nonsensical number, to disable
    old-school burglar alarms which are tied to the phone line. Banks,
    gun shops, and other target risks all have radio backup systems
    which are secured behind effective barriers. So, if you are trying
    to protect high-value items, think of WiMax or Satellite Internet
    service as a minimum first step.
 3. If you have jewelry, antiques, firearms, or other high-value items,
    you'll probably need a safe, depending on the value of the item(s)
    you're protecting, and applicable laws. Your insurance carrier will
    insist on it if you ask them to cover high-value items, and on
    having a notification procedure when the jewels (or whatever) are
    being taken off-premise. The safe will have to be appropriately
    rated (that's why the testing company is called the
    _/Underwriters/_/' //Laboratory/) and professionally installed so
    that it can't be dragged away and cut open later.
 4. You will need to set up security zones. You can't put a Maginot line
    around your home, because experienced thieves will be gaining entry
    when they visit family members, or come to a Tupperware party, etc.
    You're going to need "Private" areas where casual visitors are never
    allowed, and (more importantly) the willingness to erect barriers to
    exclude them.
 5. Alarms and safes and security zones are all about buying time.
    Safes, for example, are rated by how long they can withstand various
    kinds of attacks, and a properly designed and installed system will
    delay attackers until help can get there.
 6. You and your family members might be asked to attend
    security-awareness and self-defense training. Safes are only as good
    as your willingness to resist when a street stomper points a gun at
    you, and God knows that there's no shortage of guns or street
    stompers to hold them.

*/Remote Management:

 1. /99% /of environmental control can be done with programmable
 2. The other 1% is handled by giving your neighbor a house key and your
    cell number.


E. William Horne
William Warren Consulting

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