Is your home alarm always crying wolf?

About every home in Sandy Springs has an alarm. We answer from 600 to 1,200 alarms each month with an accuracy rate of about 3%. The other 97% or so can be chalked up to “subscriber error,” meaning you forgot the alarm was on, or other household goof ups. Each alarm probably takes 30 to 40 minutes of patrol time away.

Add it all up and it comes out to about — not good.

I have an alarm at my house and I can’t tell you how the dang thing works. I’ve never had one before, and it’s only been six years in this house, so I still have time to figure that and how to program the new multi-functional remote that costs almost as much as the television. The new remote can turn on the TV, CD, DVD, PS3, stereo, surround sound, the lights, the fireplace and, when the conditions are just right, my neighbor’s TV, too.

Nothing says fun like an adult beverage, sitting on the deck with Detective Sandy and watching my neighbor try to figure out why the TV automatically reverts to the Soap Opera Channel. Good times.

General alarms are no longer priority calls. They haven’t been in years because of the extremely high number of false alarms. We urge people to learn how they work, though our biggest problem with them has nothing to do with technology problems but rather that people don’t use them — like me.

My excuse is that I have three dogs, a rat and a snake. Here’s how it works: The youngest dog, a Schnauzer, has a short fuse on the “freak out” meter so she barks at anything, including dog commercials, which are becoming irritating. Normally, the chain of command includes the 12-year old Shih-Tzu. But in her “mature” years, she opts to just sleep and pass gastric smells that cause the walls to warp. As a result, the small dog passes the alert straight to Roxy, who is a six-year old Rottweiler we rescued from Hell and, according to a resident nearby, is inherently evil just because — yes, just because.

I think this resident is both ignorant and, well, more ignorant. Sure, we let the dog out late at night to bring us victims for our satanic rituals. But other than that, she’s a good alarm.  Her bark sounds like it’s jacked up with an Orion 2009 HCCA154 15-inch, dual 4-ohm competition subwoofer — at a cost of just over $600. That’s low. She has a doggie door with a sign on top that reads “I warned you.” She’s actually very friendly, though I don’t want too many people to know that.

As far as the rat and the snake, the rat proved to be rather aggressive in its role as the snake’s monthly meal, so the snake won’t touch it and the rat is living a rat’s life with its own cage until I can get a ball python to man-up. (Save the suggestions. I know the different ways to feed the snake but I’m just mad at it.)

Bouncing back to alarms. When an officer gets an alarm call, he or she is given certain facts about the house and the conditions, such as animals that are at the house and may not necessarily be happy to see the cops. The officer wants to know about these things. Other animals, such as goldfish and aquarium-ridden turtles, you can leave out.

Today I heard an alarm dispatched and the operator said two dogs and a gecko were on the premises. I owned a gecko once and I felt no love for it. It just sits there in the dark and stares at you. Reminded me of an old girlfriend.

Check you alarm to make sure it works properly. If it goes off when you turn on the bathtub faucet, you need to make a service call. If it goes off every time it rains or thunder claps, get it looked at.

Don’t let your home have the reputation as being the one with the chronic alarm problem. It is crying wolf and is dangerous.

Also, don’t waste your money on a gecko. I hate geckos.

47 comments Add your comment

Keith

February 3rd, 2010
8:57 pm

If there were no black people, we would not need alarms.

Marietta Gun Owner

February 3rd, 2010
9:04 pm

Wow Keith, you must have some pretty hi-tech alarm if it can determine the color of an intruder.

Mr. C

February 3rd, 2010
9:36 pm

Keith don’t get your news of off the Television and the internet! Try reading!! If you have ever left the state of Georgia you would know that other races break into homes, steal cars, and commit armed robberies.

Gwinnett Resident

February 3rd, 2010
9:38 pm

First of all, Keith you are disgusting. Second, other counties need to adopt Gwinnett’s policy. After the first false alarm, residents are charged fines. I believe that if you have three false alarms within one year, you are required to have the alarm deactivated. You are also required to register your alarm with the local PD. I only use my alarm when my husband is working at night because his patrol car serves as a deterrant on the nights he is home. Oh, and by the way…crime has no color, especially in the state the economy is in.

chuck

February 3rd, 2010
9:38 pm

keith: in an urban area the burglars are most likely going to be black, but in a rural or a suburban area they will most likely be white, and since white people make up about 68 % of the u.s. population and black people make up about 12 % then keith’s uninformed comment does not hold water. know your facts keith.

electrician

February 3rd, 2010
10:00 pm

I have an older home with a system that was put in place in 1980, the panel was upgraded 2 years ago,I Had a motion detector placed in the garage backed up by a door switch on the door leading from the garage into the basement.the only false alarms I have had were due to birds getting trapped in the garage and tripping the motion detector.on those occasions my monitoring company called me and identified the zone that was tripped and police were never dispatched. only 2 false alarms in the last couple of years. important to note that my system is hardwired to all of the window and door switches newer houses without wood frame windows tend to use a lot of wireless detectors. a friend of mine has one of those type systems, with wireless glass break detectors and yes,thunder will trip his alarm,happens all the time.starting this year in cobb county i had to register my system with the police dept,false alarms are now subject to fines.

N8's Young, Hot Wife

February 3rd, 2010
10:01 pm

Marietta Gun Owner your comment…well let’s just say that was a good one. I was actually LOL after reading it!

You would think that the alarm situation would fix itself by having a homeowner who would be terrified knowing that the police won’t come to their rescue in the case of a “real” emergency. Oh well, people are pretty much hurting themselves on this one. I agree with Gwinnett Res., other counties should charge a fine for false alarms after so long. It’s only fair! That’s just my two cents.

I just had a wonderful 2.5 hour nap; whew sleep is medicine for the soul! :-)

google the stats.."atlanta monthly police report"

February 3rd, 2010
10:07 pm

August 2009 in APD monthly police report: 11/11 murders, 8/8 rapes, 53/54 robberies, and 55/63 burglaries were committed by blacks. Draw your own conclusions. Maybe in the sticks it ain’t so true, but Keith has a pretty good point if you live in ATL… http://www.atlantapd.org/ucr/2009/08-2009.pdf

electrician

February 3rd, 2010
10:08 pm

Gwinnett resident..a police car in the driveway trumps an alarm system anyday. tell him to be careful at work.

July stats...

February 3rd, 2010
10:20 pm

July 2009 in APD report: 5/5 murders, 7/7 rapes, 48/50 robberies, 137/142 aggravated assaults, 75/84 burglaries, 94/115 sexual offenses (except rape and prostitution) were committed by blacks. Again, draw your own conclusions re: relative danger by race in Atlanta. But if you don’t realize you’re more likely to be a victim of crime by blacks than others in ATL, then you’re willfully ignorant to your own detriment. To paraphrase a quote, not all black people are criminals of course, but if you get robbed, raped or killed, I will take ten to one odds on a bet that I can guess the color of your perpetrator. These facts are not racist, and people who are aware of the reality are more aware of such things when you’re out and about in this town, and if you see a black person, one shouldn’t feel bad about being more worried about being robbed than if you see a white person. I wish it weren’t true…but sticking your head in the sand doesn’t help anything.

insomniac

February 4th, 2010
3:16 am

July stats: You know, stats can be manipulated any which way to make a point. Regarding the crimes you reference, were they black on black crimes or did they cross racial lines? If you read this column, you would know that criminals don’t like to call attention to themselves, they prefer to blend into the communities they target. So, if the crimes occurred in predominately black n’hood, well, the criminals most likely, might be black. I don’t think race is the biggest factor in determining who will commit crimes, but socio-economic circumstances…and opportunity. Just an opinion.

Equalizer

February 4th, 2010
8:27 am

A serious question here if you please. Is black on black crime any better or worse than any-color on any-color crime?
Why is it differentiated at all? I hear it on the news but I don’t know what to make of it. Someone please educate me.

Patrick

February 4th, 2010
8:45 am

Gwinnett Resident: I like that. Yeah, a patrol car in the driveway would be a great deterrent, especially if you had the lights flashing. That would indicate he is “on-call” and has an epileptic trigger finger.

I also agree about the fines for false alarms. I think it should be a statewide law. First false alarm call the fine could be $50. Second call, $100. Third call, $200, and you will have to disconnect the system completely. If you wish to reactivate and reconnect the system, you would have to sign a waiver stating that they will call your home first before responding. Most alarm companies would call your home first, to find out what’s going on, before calling the police.

Not only are house alarms sensitive to thunder, but I’ve seen and heard some car alarms go off due to thunder. I’ve also heard them go off in the middle of the night, just because a leaf fell on the car.

Wake up people

February 4th, 2010
9:03 am

People – please stop comparing Atlanta to other cities. We are talking about Atlanta here. Not NY, not Chicago. Facts are facts whether you like it or not. Is this really MLK’s legacy? What a sh** hole.

July stats...

February 4th, 2010
9:05 am

The stats don’t reference the victims, other than a separate page where you can see the homicide victim and perp race breakdown also. That is the stats for all offenders. Also, insomniac, those were the total stats for all of Atlanta Police Department’s zones. As you may be aware, Atlanta is approx 60% black, and you can see the crime stats for yourself (they have thru Oct 2009 posted now) at the webpage: http://www.atlantapd.org/index.asp?nav=Stats
I have a math minor and a knowledge of statistics, and am aware of the ability to massage some statistics, but these stats are pretty telling. If you want, feel free to add up the stats for any crime for a year. Just looking at the stats will astonish you at the disparity. In almost every crime category (incl sex crimes that black people inevitably try to assign to white folks) is committed by black people on at least an 8-1 to 10-1 ratio. And you can look up justice department statistics to see that yes, black on black crime is serious, but so is black on white crime. You know what isn’t significant? White on black crime. And BTW, how the heck can you see stats like that and then somehow say they can be manipulated any way you want? And it’s not just july or september, it’s every month on record. The only crime category blacks don’t consistently dominate by a wide margin (well beyond that expected by the slight population excess of blacks) is DUI. Over 90% of rapes, murders and aggravated assaults are commmitted by blacks in this city. Spin it, or blame it on socioeconomic, or whatever you want, facts are facts. If the crime rate for the whole population in Atlanta was that of the rate of commission by white criminals, this city would make the news as one of the safest big cities in the country. And to reiterate, I am looking at the race of the perpetrators, not victims. Victims are spread much more evenly over racial groups, but perps tend to look the same. And I know this is inflammatory, but I challenge you to compare the numbers of white women raped by black men to the number of black women raped by white men in this city or over the country. The first is common, the second almost unheard of. Anyway, don’t be angry when as a black man, people are afraid of you. The criminal element among your brothers have created those conditions.

Gecko

February 4th, 2010
9:14 am

Barry Gee

February 4th, 2010
11:19 am

Keith, and what color are most politicians, bankers, Wall Street “thugs”, and Bernie Madoff? White people are funny in that they enslave a race for hundreds of years, hang and shoot them, spray them with fire hoses, don’t allow them to vote, and now they expect us just to be civilized human beings? Just 50 years ago, blacks had to ride in the back of the bus and couldn’t vote. White people, you’re forefathers are responsible for blacks being the way they are, idiots!

Wake up people

February 4th, 2010
12:00 pm

Trouble is it’s not the older black generation doing the crime though is it? It’s the misled 15 year olds. Not the people who had to live through it, or at least it was when my home got broken into. If we wait 100 years do you really think things will be that different? We’ll all be dead, but apart from that, same old, same old. Oh and everyone will have a nice flat screen TV.

Lee

February 4th, 2010
3:12 pm

I looked out my window one night and saw two teenagers trying to break into my shop. My “guard” dog was right there with them – wagging her tail. Every now and then, one of the teenagers would reach down and pet her. I flip on the outside lights, they take off running, and THEN she barks.

Oh yeah, the two teenagers were white and my dog is black. Does that mean anything?

Gwinnett Mom

February 4th, 2010
4:26 pm

Thats why I live in Gwinnet county. It’s safe form the thugs and queers.

JC

February 4th, 2010
5:10 pm

I understand fifty years ago that there was segregation; I can understand and appreciate it because women weren’t considered equal citizens in the eyes of the law either, no matter your color.

And to add my own anecdote; several years ago, living in Cobb Co. Was at home alone one night when my dog started barking; the three white teenage boys who lived up the street were trying to pick the lock on my basement door. I do not think anyone picking a lock at one a.m. has good intentions, so I called 911. Cobb County PD was there in minutes, sneaking in quietly, and the boys took off. The very nice officer came and took my statement, went up to confront the parents of the boys and tell them I wasn’t pressing charges. Came back to my house and told me that if I was going to be there alone, I should buy a gun and gave me the card of local store. You know, to protect myself against white on white crime…..

How stupid is that? a crime is a crime no mater what color your victim is, and I believe it’s a known fact that people who are economically deprived turn to crime (although not always). If the poor people in Atlanta are disporportionately black (if Atlanta itself is 60%), it stands to reason that there will be a higher rate of crime.

Just saying.

And now I own a gun or two :-)

JC

February 4th, 2010
5:12 pm

Uh, queers rob and rape people?

Yeah, RuPaul is pretty freaking scary in a fight….

Sgt. Friday

February 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

Parts is parts……facts is facts and they don’t lie. BTW, I didn’t enslave your people……your own people did that to you.

insomniac

February 4th, 2010
6:50 pm

july stats: you should never make assumptions.

HardWorkinGal

February 5th, 2010
4:51 am

My husbands .357 didn’t care what color the idiot that broke in through our basement door 10 years ago was.

Gwinnett Mom

February 5th, 2010
7:43 am

To JC

Queers rape children and rob them of their childhood. Thats why god hates queers.

Jane

February 5th, 2010
9:12 am

Gwinnett Mom – you’re an idiot. Queers don’t rape children. They’re about the same percentage as all other groups. Get a life.

I feel sorry for your kids, they’ll grow up as stupid as you are.

Chris

February 5th, 2010
9:50 am

Nice threadjack Keith. You make me sick and you are part of the problem. Dont you have a klan rally you should be at or something?

Best thing for alarms is to have a LOUD external siren, and hopefully neighbors nearby that can check on your house. Most probably they will get ther before the cops. Also even with an alarm, burglars know there is a 30-45 second delay before it goes off and that they have a good 10 minutes to grab what they can and run before cops ever show up.

Gwinnett Mom

February 5th, 2010
9:51 am

Queers spread the aids. They are doing the devils work.

Sound mind

February 5th, 2010
10:06 am

House alarms, as well as car alarms are worthless. How often do we hear a car alarm, yet do nothing? Same with house alarms. I certainly won’t investigate a house alarm in my neighborhood. Imagine running in to a fleeing criminal. As someone stated already, there is a 10 minute gap from when the alarm is triggered to when the police show up. You can get a lot done in 10 minutes. Guns are too dangerous, and if you are not there to use the gun, it will get stolen, which puts one more gun in to the hands of a criminal. The best defense is a dog. Lt Rose will tell you, NO robber will enter a home with a large dog inside.

I think Gwinnett Mom is really Glen Beck in drag.

jus me

February 5th, 2010
11:40 am

a dog to wake me and a 357 to take care of any unwanted visitors

OK Corral

February 5th, 2010
1:15 pm

AJC Headlines: Henry Country: A man just defended himself and his family against intruders. From early reports, it appears that this guy was waiting for the burglars, who had fired their own weapon at him. He returned fire that killed one of the intruders. His wife and two kids were home at the time.

The point is that he didn’t have no stinking alarm, nor did he need one. He had instinct, the best alarm of all. He also didn’t lose his head in the shoot out. The one who remains the most calm and deliberate has a far, far better chance of surviving a gunfight, especially if he uses a snub-nosed .357

This weapon is the best choice. Even though it gives up range and accuracy for power, it’s perfect for in-close exchanges like what happened today in Henry Country. I think we should organize a parade for this home owner and give him the keys to the city. This is the best news I’ve read in a long, long time.

Autopsy reports say the bullet entered the burglar’s chest and pierced his heart and lungs and then richocheted around his body until his insides were goo, which is the specialty of a .357

They say a .357 can penetrate an engine block, man. Ouch.

This is a great way to start superbowl weekend, man. Once in a while, the system works!

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/man-beaten-robbed-near-292093.html

February 5th, 2010
1:59 pm

Gwinnett Mom here.

See what I mean about thugs in Atlanta? The only way this would be OK if the man they beat up was a queer.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/man-beaten-robbed-near-292093.html

February 5th, 2010
1:59 pm

Answer me this

February 5th, 2010
4:07 pm

Hey Jus Me, how small is your willy that you feel compelled to tell us how big your gun is?

Yeah, it’s that obvious.

catlady

February 5th, 2010
4:08 pm

90% of the crimes in my county are white on white (I live in a nearly all-white county). The other 10% are Latinos, and they prey on each other, especially the Mexicans on the Guatemalans.

Answer me this

February 5th, 2010
5:20 pm

What about the Costa Ricans? Hondurans?

In your face!

February 5th, 2010
7:44 pm

To OK Corral: Turns out the home that was invae had a cache of drugs. The homeowner was WAITING for the invasion. To say the system works beause a bad guy got killed is asinine. The home owner is a bad guy too.

HardWorkinGal

February 6th, 2010
1:26 am

YEP!! Seems to me they should also get charged with murder, as a homicide occured while THEY were committing the felonies of possesion with intent to distibute Pot and Cocaine, pursuant to the homicide.

L

February 6th, 2010
7:29 am

Gwinnett Mom, I bets yo baby daddy on tha down low.

JC

February 6th, 2010
10:43 am

Gwinnett Mom: I find you offensive. I have several gay family members in my extended family. None of them rape children, and none of them spread communicable disease. Do you live under a rock?

Urinal Cake

February 6th, 2010
10:05 pm

Catlady

February 7th, 2010
1:28 pm

My idiot neighbor’s alarm went off all the time. After the 200th time I think the police warned him. Now it only goes off 2-3 times a week. I think it is because the floozy of the week does not know the code to get in; either that or the underage drinking kids he has over there all the time. What does it take to get a place declared a disorderly house?

His other crimes :hunting out of season, baiting the animals, unsupervised burning during extreme drought, bulldozing on my property / no sedimentation control/ no permit posted, speeding, riding 4 wheelers without a helmet, hunting after dark, shots fired. Anyone have any suggestions? The guy is scary!

Tim

February 7th, 2010
9:30 pm

Keith, don’t you ever watch the Brinks Alarm commercials? It’s alway a white guy.

Erin

February 8th, 2010
2:03 pm

I moved into a new house that had an alarm already installed. Unfortunately, no instructions or codes were left – and ADT refused to provide a manual or directions to turn it off without several hundred dollars in subscription fees. How nice that they opted for the flashing lights and uber-siren. :-/
Of course, while I was determining which company and whether to subscribe, ADT was quite thoughtful to take themselves completely out of the running.

jus me

February 10th, 2010
2:50 pm

big enough to keep your mom calling me

Dish Network Questions

February 19th, 2010
3:31 pm

Ah, This is great! Puts to bed
a few misnomers I’ve read