Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Burglary and a Fiasco

I'm curious if any of you have security systems and what your experience has been with them. It used to be that only rich folks and those in unsafe areas had security systems, but with the advancement of technology, there are many affordable options on the market.

This week, we had a bit of a fiasco involving a security system. My brother-in-law recently bought a fixer-upper house, and he installed a security system.

While my brother-in-law was away on a camping trip, we received a call early in the morning from the security company, informing us that the alarm had gone off at the house. They sent police officers over and determined that someone had broken in, so they asked us to go over to the house to talk to the cops. We live a good bit away, but we loaded up in the car and drove over there.

The cops were very professional and kind, and they patiently waited at the house until we arrived, so we could look around and determine what had been taken. The TV was missing, as was my brother-in-law's computer. The officers had been in the area when they had received the call, so they had arrived at the front door quickly enough to see the burglar run out the back. Unfortunately, they weren't able to catch him.

So that was our positive security system experience. We hadn't quite understood why my brother-in-law had purchased it, especially since he doesn't have many valuables, but after that situation, we were glad.

The next day, however, we weren't so glad. At 5:00 in the morning, the same company called again and said that someone had "pressed the medical alert button." What is that supposed to mean? She asked if the homeowner had one of those buttons that the elderly and those with health problems wear around their necks in case of a fall or other medical situation. Seems to me like the security company should know the answer to that question...

We kindly informed her that my brother-in-law is young and in good health. Then they she told us that there is a similar button on the security system keypad that could trigger that alarm. At that point, we were sufficiently nervous. We explained that my brother-in-law was still out of town and that no one was supposed to be inside the house. 

To make a long story short, emergency personnel went over to the house to look for signs of robbery. They didn't go inside but said that everything looked fine from the outside, so they left. At that point, we were already wide awake, so we decided to drive over to double check that nothing had been stolen. 

It was still dark outside, and I was afraid that the burglar was perhaps hiding inside the house, so I kept watch in the yard while my brave, heroic husband entered the house and began checking every room (even the creepy, old basement) to make sure no one was inside and nothing was amiss.

Everything was fine and dandy, but that still doesn't explain how the medical alert button was pressed. We plan to suggest that my brother-in-law try a different security company.

23 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/10/2017

    Your husband was a fool to go into that house by himself after an alarm was reported, erroneously or not. But after your recent post, I have to wonder if he had a gun with him and thought he was invincible. I don't call your husband's actions brave or heroic. More like rash and not very sensible, putting you both in potential danger. Besides, if someone had been hiding in the house, don't you think they would have left after "emergency personnel" checked the place and before you two ("a good bit away") arrived? So what was the point, either way, of going inside? You don't believe the police? Or you wanted to confront a burglar yourselves?

    And how does a burglar run out the back door (on foot) with a TV and a computer, and the cops can't catch him? The burden of carrying those electronics would slow you down a bit. Was an accomplice and a vehicle involved? Were the stolen good stashed somewhere? How was entry made? How was the house repaired or boarded up after that, so nobody could re-enter 24 hours later when the next alarm was received? This whole story, as you've told it, doesn't make much sense.

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    1. Anonymous11/10/2017

      Mr H. is intelligent but that time did not make a wise choice. A person with a weapon might use it if they are put in a spot. There are numerous incidents of this occurring, leading to injury or worse. Was that situation worthy of the ultimate sacrifice? No. As precious as people think their homes are, really they are just assemblies of junk...check out the receiving rooms for any thrift store! Your brother in law probably should have to come home after the first event. And he should have video going to a smart phone and he should have to approve and make all calls himself because if there are charges he should be the one doing the authorizing. In this case I agree with the person who said people should live in their financial boundaries and not put upon family for freebies (in this case security). I feel sorry for you Ellie you are getting the run around lately. I guess you always think that they will be there for you when you need it. Maybe your diaries asnd writing will come in handy when it is time to call in favours. But are you really willing to do ANYTHING for them, stop and think before you act. It is in the end your freedom, your choice and your responsibility to make good choices for your family. Family group love may be a peer pressure force now.

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    2. Anonymous11/10/2017

      Take it easy, Ellies not in the mafia!

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    3. Anonymous11/11/2017

      You don't have to be in the Mafia to have some wigged-out drug addict, mentally unstable person, or the homeless find their way into an empty residence. And you sure don't want to enter and confront them without police there!

      Have you heard of the "geo-exploring" or "suburban exploring" game where kids go around entering what they think are empty or abandoned houses, filming it, and putting it on YouTube? Sometimes they take stuff, and other times they just trespass. Whatever the case, it's not a good idea to go into a house that's had an alarm of any kind if you're not a police officer!

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    4. Anonymous11/11/2017

      I watched a true crime show about a previous owners enemy entering the new owners home....

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    5. Anonymous11/11/2017

      You also have to wonder, when you buy a new house, who the previous owners ever gave keys to. And who those people in turn gave keys to, etc. etc. If you don't change the locks when you move in, you're asking for trouble.

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    6. Anonymous11/12/2017

      I guess some of these people would never enter their homes again if their alarm went off and no police were present. I don’t blame Mr. Handsome for going in and checking things out. I am glad it was a false alarm!

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    7. Anonymous11/12/2017

      My neighbor's alarm went off this summer and their alarm co. called me, because I'm listed as the first contact person if nobody is home. They called me after police had already been dispatched. All I did was go down the street in my car and sit about 2 houses away until the police came, all the while watching to see if anyone came out of the house. No way was I approaching that house before the police did!

      P.S. - They "caught" the cleaning person who was there on his regular day and had forgotten the right code number to disarm the system. I was able to identify him as the cleaning guy, buckets and all.

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  2. O dear what an adventure!

    My major concern about anything "smart" for the home is possible hacking. Someone just thinking it is fun to mess around with your devices or even someone with more nefarious intentions hacking in. I have cover my computer and lap top cameras with a post-it for years, but the other day I realised that there is a camera on the from and back of my phone and iPad and everything had bluetooth capabilities. I am more concerned now about security systems than I was when I was younger. They would go off from the cat for example at times. I wonder if they are worth it for personal safety? They could be remotely tuned off and they are connected to the internet and phone lines. Your cell phone could be disabled if you are using the wifi inside like many of us do to save on data. I like to say I'm not that important I don't have to worry but it is certainly something to think about.

    There is a quote I love about the internet and it is making more and more sense. Eric Schmidt a former executive of Google or Alphabet:

    "The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had."

    Now after I have said all that, I wouldn't mind having a panic button connected to the secret service like politicians and their families have. :) ;)

    I don't know what good a phone call from a security company would do if I was in such a state that I could only push a button for help. I would think button pushed.... police on the way.

    Have a nice day! Hope you can catch up on your sleep!

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  3. Anonymous11/10/2017

    We had a doorbell at 2am once. Police were there. They said they had a 911 hang-up call from our address. We were all fast asleep! I could not imagine how the police were called while we were sleeping. They told me that certain brands of phones back then with certain batteries could automatically dial 911 when the batteries went low! Why and how, we never figured out. But we bought new phones and haven't had this problem since. So glitches in systems do happen.

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  4. Anonymous11/10/2017

    Thieves often target building sites including houses being built or renovated. They are looking for building materials and tools. It sounds as if the thief knew quite well your brother in law was gone. We have installed security cameras on our own place as well as an empty house we own. We have found just the cameras being visible to be a great deterrent. People know they are being taped if they come on the property. That seems to work better than an alarm going to a security company. We also can see in real time on a laptop etc what is going on when we are away. We also find keeping curtains open with lights on timers a good idea. I hope your brother in law didn't have important things on his computer. I am sorry to hear this has happened to him. Eileen

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  5. Anonymous11/10/2017

    How did he decide on this security system? Did he agree to a contract from a door to door style sales person? If he did, that is a questionable way to make a decision to spend money on a major item. If an impulse to buy is inspired - a person should force themselves to wait....meanwhile get busy and do a good review of all their options and possiblities and get very informed. This could take much time and effort. Then return to the door to door person or original impulse, only if one has made an informed and self controlled decision that they want this and are confident about this particular option.
    Also what condition were his locks and windows in? A house that is difficult to get into would be less likely to be robbed. Try getting into your own house as if locked out.

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    1. Anonymous11/11/2017

      I have to laugh because all you talk about is a door to door salesman and Ellie didn't mention a door to door salesman. There's something called the internet...maybe that's where he found the security system.

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    2. Anonymous11/12/2017

      That thorough explanation says you have probably made some really bad impulse buys! Hopefully Ellie's brother already knew how to shop when he got his security system!

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  6. Anonymous11/10/2017

    Sorry to hear about your brother-in-laws- house that was robbed. Your husband took a chance going inside without the police. Glad he is fine.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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  7. Anonymous11/10/2017

    I would be reluctant to help because I think emergency services will send me a bill for their help. Do you think you could be liable for any charges? Maybe that is really why they want to talk to you. To know who all gets their bills.

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    1. Anonymous11/11/2017

      I can't imagine a bill from the police for a genuine break-in. Around here, the only time they might bill you is if your alarm system generates too many false alarms. You first get a warning, and if it continues, then a bill if officers have to be dispatched. But they never bill you without a written warning first, or the first time they investigate something, or if there really has been a crime. Tax dollars cover that as part of their work.

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    2. Anonymous11/11/2017

      Nice answer but it does not hurt to ask a question because ignorance of the law is not an excuse in the courts of law.

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  8. Anonymous11/12/2017

    As another posted mentioned, I'd recommend a security system with a camera. That way the burglar knows he's being taped and will then most likely be caught. Also, a dog barking is supposed to be one of the best deterrants, however I know the dog probably would't be home if your BIL was on an overnight trip.

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  9. Anonymous11/12/2017

    Ok, I will probably receive a lot of negative feedback on this, but here goes. It's not in my budget to have a home security system. Coming from a family of gun lovers, I'm scared of them. I do not own a dog because I prefer to have a cat. My security system is the Word of God. I pray Psalm 91, 140, and 54 over my household every day and have for years.

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    1. Anonymous11/12/2017

      Good for you! We have done this for years also using prayer as our "weapon". So far it has worked for our security system!

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    2. Anonymous11/13/2017

      So why would prayer work for you, but not for my friend, whose house was broken into while they were at church one Sunday morning??? The police told them it seems that time of day is popular for break-ins. Thieves watch the family leave, all dressed for church, and then they know they have hours til they're back.

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  10. Anonymous11/13/2017

    Glad every one's okay. We had a security alarm system before our grandson was born. When we started to babysit him he would sneak over and push the buttons so we had to cancel it...Jane

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