Part Five: Intruder Alarms

Piece of Mind?....Or a Pain in the @#?!*

There is no doubt that a good quality, properly installed intruder alarm will provide excellent protection and invaluable peace of mind. Technology is now so advanced that false alarms are seldom caused by faulty equipment.

A burglar alarm, however, should be your LAST line of defence. If your general home security is poor, an alarm is unlikely to put of a determined burglar. On the other hand, good all round security measures and an intruder alarm, will prove to be an excellent deterrent.

What Type For Me? There are three points to consider when choosing a system:

 1. Hard wired or wire free (radio controlled) intruder alarm? Radio systems are being heavily promoted, especially in the DIY market. They are easy to install, can be relocated, require no chiselling and therefore make less mess during installation.

However, they are generally more expensive than wired burglar alarms and, unless you buy high-end, they can be prone to jamming or other external influences. Wire free alarms come in six classes. The higher the class, the more safeguards are built in. Buy the highest class you can afford. Professional installers only install class 6. systems.

Wired intruder alarms are usually more reliable and cost less. However, they will take longer to install and may not be so easy for DIY installation.


2. Do I want to "Do it Myself" or use a professional installer?

We recommend that you always use a professional installer. The police have a very strict intruder alarm policy and maintain a list of intruder alarm companies that comply. This helps to weed out the "cowboys".

Compliant companies will: Install to the British Standard - Belong to one of the recognised bodies that oversee the industry - Provide an emergency call out service - Provide an annual maintenance contract.

Local independent 'Police Compliant' companies will install to the same standard as the well-known nationals, but will cost you about a third less.

3. Should I choose a monitored or a "Bells Only" Intruder alarm system.

Only compliant companies will be able to offer monitoring. Alarms are not connected directly to the police anymore. Your alarm installer will have a contract with an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

Signals from monitored burglar alarms are sent via telephone lines to the ARC, where they will weed-out the false alarms and contact the police if necessary. They will also call your nominated keyholder.

Bells-only systems simply sound at the premises. The police will be unaware until someone tells them about it. In general, the more isolated your house...the more you will benefit from a monitored system.

PLEASE NOTE: The police will not routinely attend "Bells-Only" alarms, unless the informant can give them evidence of some sort that there may be an offence in progress.


The Cost

DIY systems cost from as little as £69 to over £400.

Systems supplied from cold-calling doorstep/telephone salesmen are usually very inferior and will often set you back over £3000! DO NOT entertain any cold-calling companies.

Installations from recognised ,compliant companies start at around £650 plus VAT.

A Last Word On The Subject.

There is no foolproof way to prevent crime. If we all do our best to make our homes a hostile environment for burglars. If we buy ourselves TIME! Then they should be forced to try their luck elsewhere. Remember, any money spent on your home security is an investment, not a liability!

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