Thursday, April 09, 2009

"But the alarm scared them away!"

An alarm company commercial just came on, and I had a realization beyond the standard fallacy of a loud noise stopping a violent offender.

It was the expected plot...
It's night, a woman hangs up the phone after saying something like, "Boy, I sure am alone, and completely vulnerable! I'm sure nothing will happen." She then begins some distracting task like listening to music through earphones on a treadmill, or entering a sensory deprivation chamber. BUT! Unbeknownst to her; robbers white robbers dressed all in black have been watching her, and are preparing for a daring robbery rape abduction ambiguous forced entry with unimportant intentions.

The robbers kick through the door, an alarm immediately sounds, and the robbers; obviously suffering from some kind of ear sensitivity, flee as if chased by the hounds of hell. Before the shattered splinters of the door jamb even touch the floor, the phone rings and, through some form of teleportation, is answered and against her ear.

"This is the alarm company! Are you OK?"
"Yes, someone tried to break in, but the alarm scared them away!"
"Well, you're safe now! I'm here with you in this call center several states away!"
"I feel so safe!"
"I'm going to call the police in your state, probably. See, our emergency calling system doesn't route calls as well as a local 911 call does, so we'll figure out what agency we need to call, and whether or not your street is within their jurisdiction, and since the intruders are gone now, and you are in no immediate danger; they'll be there within the next 48 hours, and write down everything that happened on a piece of paper and leave. Probably. And don't worry; since you've turned off the alarm, and your door is in splinters, the intruders probably won't return when they notice the police aren't coming, and they can enter at will without worrying about the alarm. Probably. "
"I still feel safe!"
"It's a good thing they didn't cut your easily accessible phone lines with a $2 pair of wire cutters, otherwise the alarm wouldn't have been able to notify us, and we wouldn't have been able to call you."
"I maintain my naïve feeling of safety!"
"That's the kind of piece of mind we provide ma'am. We're not heroes... We're just minimum wage call center douches in another state."

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there...

The thing I realized was that the robbers knew where she was, and knew that she had an alarm thanks to those signs that erect a magical barrier alert home invaders to factor it into their plan.

This means the robbers could have easily kicked the door open, rushed to intercept the scared woman, and forced her to answer the phone and claim a false alarm, or simply cut the external phone lines and possibly the power depending on the type of house.

Either way, this commercial is made of fail.

So, are alarms good? Yes!
They alert you to the fact that someone has clandestinely or otherwise entered your home so you can act accordingly, while alerting the police or alarm company to that fact (if placed on a backup battery, and hooked up to an unused cell phone).

Then alarms keep you safe? NO!
An alarm is incapable of causing the loss of blood pressure required to incapacitate a home invader. Therefore, the invader is free to rob, rape, murder, or abduct, until the police get around to responding to the low priority call of an unconfirmed residential alarm activation, and provide the same loss of blood pressure you should have been able to deliver in the first place.

But can't alarms scare away invaders? Maybe!
Are you willing to bet your life on it? An alarm has the possibility of scaring away intruders. A firearm (preferably a long gun), used by a trained individual (you!) has the highest probability of stopping an intruder you can get without employing explosives or a flame thrower. The best thing about using a firearm for self defense is that you are always where you are when you need help. Not across town, or even across the street. Make sure you have a firearm available, and the training to use it effectively, so you have the best opportunity to defend your life.


Steve B said...

Positively brilliant. I've often had the same thoughts. if the intruder has to step over the alarm sign to get to the door...and kicks it open anyway...then he probably isn't that concerned with it.

Anonymous said...

How many times have you heard "All our officers are busy with other calls and will be with you as soon as they are free."

MadRocketScientist said...

I have a home alarm system as part of my overall security setup. Two things you should know about how alarms work. First off, most modern systems have two paths of communication to the alarm company, the landline, and a very powerful cellular backup (the kind of power a 1994 vintage bag phone would have), more than enough to burn through any cellular interference that can be carried on your person. The unit on my house has a 48 hour battery and is the size of a small laptop.

Also, security company protocol is such that whenever the security company talks to you, they ask for your password. If you give them anything else, they assume you are under duress and call the police. The alarm pad is also rigged with two codes, one is the all clear code, the other is the duress code. Both shut off the audible alarm and make the unit go green, but one of them continues to send the alarm to the company.

This is not to say I disagree with you, home security should have more than just an alarm, but the alarms are more involved than what is shown on the TV.

Fletch said...

I was aware of the advanced redundancies in modern alarm systems, but most (in my experience) are still offering the standard plug and play, easily defeated alarm system.

Even for those who buy the security of cellular backups, duress codes, and passwords, they still leave the occupant in control of the invaders until private security or cops arrive. Hopefully the first they do after you clear the alarm (or they THINK you cleared the alarm), isn't shoot or stab you.

Advanced alarm systems are valuable tools, but they still don't provide the loss of blood pressure required to incapacitate intruders.

I know you already understand this, MadRocketScientist, but I just want people to understand that all the modern gadgets and technology are barely an equal to a 100 year old 12 gauge shotgun.

Fletch said...

Readers should also note MadRocketScientist said;
"I have a home alarm system as part of my overall security setup."

Layers of security folks. Not one cure-all. Even a gun is not a cure-all.

NotClauswitz said...

I've often heard that a mobile alarm system that has teeth, fur, and a particular emotional bond with the alarmee has yet to be improved.

MadRocketScientist said...

I got two of them fuzzy systems (size large)! I don't know if they'll gnaw off a leg or just lick it into a soggy mess (that part of the system has never been tested), but they'll raise unholy hell if you put so much as a toe into the yard.

Keeps the curious at a respectable distance.

Also, it seems that if your read Stingray's latest, Snakes are effective home security as well.

Mike said...

We have a fuzzy portable alarm system. She's great at making a racket, especially at noises that sound like knocking... or a door being kicked.

I wouldn't count on any dog to be part of my home defense plan beyond that point, though. Gnawing intruders' legs off is my job.

Jessie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fletch said...

Die in a fire, spammer scum.

Pen Plum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fletch said...

Die in aforementioned fire, additional spammer scum.