Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

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SouthLondonDaddy
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Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:40 pm

We're in the market for a new monitored burglar alarm system, that can alert either the police or nominated keyholders (not interested in DYI, unmonitored systems).

What are your experiences / recommendations? How much are you paying for your alarm?

We have found 6 companies but would like to narrow it down to 2-3 from which to get quotes.

We currently have ADT; getting the system set up was a nightmare, and extracting information from the company on how it actually works wasn't straightforward (e.g. it took a while to understand that we were getting calls because the alarm had lost connection to the wifi, and not because of a break in: the automated message didn't specify that!!!), so we wouldn't mind an alternative.

We contacted Verisure for a quote because some friends are happy with the service https://www.verisure.co.uk/

Chubb and Secom are two other companies available nationwide  https://www.chubbfiresecurity.com/en/uk ... detection/
 https://www.secom.plc.uk/home-security/packages/

There is this company in Colliers Wood: https://www.sdssecurity.co.uk/residenti ... t-my-home/

and this other near Earlsfield: http://www.barkingdogsecurity.co.uk/support.html

We'll probably not ask Banham as they tend to be much more expensive 

Anyone else we should be thinking of? 

The only ones I have seen in the area are ADT and Verisure (plus some unmonitored ones).

Thanks!
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:48 pm

I am answering my own question hoping it can be useful for other people.

Barking Dog installs Texecom alarms (that's the brand) then outsources monitoring to another company; they bill you for the monitoring but the actual monitoring is not done by them. They charge about £220 p.a. + VAT for the monitoring

SDS installa Pyronix alarms. They charge about £250 p.a. + VAT for the monitoring.

AMCO https://www.alarm-monitoring.co.uk/ installs the same Texecom as Barking Dog but do the monitoring in-house. They charge £230 p.a. including VAT.

With all these guys you buy the equipment upfront; the cost for an average house starts at about £700 but it really depends on the options you choose for number of sensors etc.

ADT charges less upfront but more every month (I paid something like £370 upfront and £36 every month), so can be a good option if you plan to move after 3 years but will probably be more expensive if you stay 5 or more years.

I haven't yet got a quote from Verisure but I understand the pricing model is similar to ADT (less upfront, more every month).
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rubyonrails
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby rubyonrails » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:42 pm

Thanks for posting and replying SouthLondonDaddy  ;)

We have been thinking about what to do regarding security and this is really helpful. 
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:12 am

Also: 

Barry Bros in Paddington is one of the largest locksmiths and security installers in central London; they do everything and anything from cheap locks to expensive European bulletproof doors, alarms, safes, registered security keys, etc. For a cheap mortice lock it's better to call a local locksmith, but for security doors alarms etc they cover the whole of London. They install Texecom or Honeywell Galaxy alarms. Like with Barking Dog, the monitoring contract is with them but the actual monitoring is outsourced to another company (Custodian-monitoring-something near Nottingham). A colleague recommended them but doesn't remember how much he's been paying.

Banham has its own monitoring centre but must use Pyronix alarms - if you search the Google play store for the Banham app, you'll see it's made by Pyronix. I found a 4-year old quote from Banham in my inbox, for a smaller property: £ 680 installation, £240 annual (including annual maintenance visit), but I don't remember for how many sensors. Prices may have gone up in the meanwhile but it was actually less than I feared (the prices for Banham keys, doors and locks are ridiculous).

I'll probably narrow it down to Amco, Verisure and Barry Bros.

I am only considering monitored alarms as I believe non-monitored ones are useless.

Verisure has "photodetectors", thingies which take still pictures when the alarm is triggered. This should reduce the risk of false alarms because the monitoring centre can see what's happening and alert the police if needed. Or, if you're away, you can connect to the app and tale pictures to check everything is fine.
With the other systems you can install cameras, but with all these things I always have the doubt: could a rogue employee from the monitoring centre spy on us when we're home? If you're technically proficient and have a NAS (a mini server that acts as network storage) it would probably be cheap to connect an IP camera to your network, so that only you, and not the monitoring centre, has access to it.

Also, I will probably get a keyholding and alarm response service, so that they can bring us the keys if we get mugged/lose them, and can attend if the alarm gets activated. Banham offers this service even if you don't have a Banham alarm. They are now based in Earlsfield and use motorcycles, so they can reach most of SW London quite quickly. Another one is the Keyholding company in Fulham, They cost about the same, about £250 per year.
 
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rubyonrails
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby rubyonrails » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:38 pm

Such great info, thank you for sharing.

Keyholding is something that I have thought about for the future as the kids get older and are out and about. I have a friend using the Banham service and she would recommend it. 

Out of interest is the opinion of normal alarms based on experience or just a hunch? I thought that normal alarms were a good detterent?

You will have the most secure house in Nappy Valley  :lol:
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:03 pm

Are you a web developer (given the nickname)?

If all you want is a deterrent, just put up one of those shields (like those with the ADT, Banham etc logos) at the front of the house, and one at the back. I find unmonitored or self-monitored alarms quite useless because they rely on you, or a trusted person (e.g. a neighbour – but giving keys to a neighbour might void your insurance) being able to attend if the alarm goes off. I am no expert but I get the impression that neighbours or passers by very rarely, if at all, get involved when they hear an alarm go off. Of course this is just my opinion – the UK is full of people who disagree and install unmonitored or self-monitored alarms.

By contrast, a monitored alarm with keyholder response gives you the certainty the property won’t be left in a mess (eg with a broken window through which other gentlemen might enter) for 10 days while you’re on holiday; of course, the risk of this happening is fairly low, and this kind of piece of mind doesn’t come cheap. To each their own choices.


I also think too much security may be counterproductive, because it might lead people to wonder what’s so valuable in your home that you are so keen on protecting. At least that’s what I think when I see a single house with CCTV and metal bars at the windows, in a row of houses with no security.

Ah, it’s not a factor for us, but an incidental benefit of most alarms is being able to track who enters and leaves the property when, e.g. to ensure that the cleaner or the nanny didn’t access the house when they shouldn’t us. Of course it’s also a slippery slope towards spouses spying on each other – I wonder if this has ever been used in divorce cases!

Jokes aside, maybe  a nanny or a cleaner might complain that something like Verisure's photodetectors allow you to spy on them? I'm really not sure.


Also, a couple more things that occurred to me:
  • You need clarity on call out charges. Banham was transparent in specifying their fees include an annual visit. Amco’s fees don’t, but they say a visit is required every 3-4 years, not every year, and spell out the call out charges clearly. The Guardian published lots of complaints from people who were egregiously overcharged by ADT (things like hundreds of pounds to replace a few batteries) – complaints which were resolved only after the newspaper got involved.
  • A smaller, more local company might be more likely to come round straight away if there’s an issue, whereas with a big nationwide company you might have to wait a week before they come in a 6-hour slot which forces you to take the day off work; not sure, just a thought.
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coldatchristmas
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby coldatchristmas » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:34 pm

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dudette
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby dudette » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:23 am

I use Barking Dog and think they’re great. The chap who runs it, Andrew, is very hands on and if I’ve ever had any problems he gets on the case straight away. They do pet-friendly alarms too which are great for cat owners - the sensors recognise your cat is a cat rather than an intruder so you don’t have to lock your poor kitty up when you go away.
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SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:34 am

Thanks - with 550 posts in 10 years yours shouldn't be a fake account :)

Can I ask you a few questions?

Who else did you consider / how did you choose?

What do they install outside? A shield with their logo? What does it look like? Does it have blinking lights? I always wonder if the local scrotes will think that a shield from a small company is a fake alarm (as opposed to Banham ADT etc).

How much are you paying for the monthly monitoring, if it is monitored?

is it a Texecom alarm? Do you use the app at all? Most reviews on the google app stores were terrible.

Thanks again!
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dudette
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Re: Recommend a monitored burglar alarm system?

Postby dudette » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:21 am

Ha ha! No I’m real! Yes it is a Texecom alarm - and I didn’t even realise there was an app so I’ve no idea how good it is. Apart from a couple of sensors that have not worked properly we haven’t had any problems with it. Yes we do have a Barking Dog shield. I can’t imagine the brand would make much difference to whether a burglar tries the property. I think it has blinking lights (can’t remember offhand). No idea how much we pay - I think I just pay an annual amount for servicing and monitoring. It doesn’t seem unreasonable. I’ve had a Banham alarm before (I didn’t like having the tags because I was forever losing them and also if a burglar finds one he can just use it to switch the alarm off so they didn’t seem very safe). Our architect suggested Barking Dog because they do pet-friendly alarms so they were the only ones we considered. Give Andrew a call. He’s a really nice chap. Won’t be a hard sell.
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