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Where To Start With DIY Home Security?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the first-we'll-steal-your-cameras dept.

Security 825

secretrobotron writes "I'm a recent university graduate from a co-op system which has kept me on the move every other semester, so I've never really had a permanent place to live, and I've never had the opportunity (or the capital) to buy expensive things. Now that I'm working, those restrictions on my life are gone and I'm living in an apartment with things I don't want stolen. I would love to build a DIY home security system, but I don't even know where to start since Google searches reveal things like diysecurityforum.com, which help only to an extent for a curious newcomer. Has anybody out there successfully built a home security system on a budget? If so, where did you start?" Related query: When similar questions have come up before, many readers have recommended Linux-based Zoneminder (last updated more than a year ago); is that still the state of the art?

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a gun (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155746)

and if that doesn't work: more gun.

Re:a gun (4, Funny)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155762)

If violence didn't work, it's because you didn't use enough of it!

Re:a gun (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156266)

"There is no problem that cannot be solved by a suitable application of high explosives." - US Army Demolitions School

Re:a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155822)

And for when the dweller is not home, may I suggest video cameras which stream to a safe room (or offsite), triggered by motion, with a pre-motion buffer of a few minutes. Record sound too.

Also, remote controlled wall guns.

Re:a gun (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155926)

Video cameras? All they do is get you a pretty picture of the guy who stole you stuff.

You need a gun triggered by a motion detector.

Re:a gun (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156264)

or nukes from orbit, just to be sure.

Re:a gun (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156124)

Claymores.

Re:a gun (2, Funny)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155830)

and if that doesn't work: more gun.

Any chance you are from Texas?

Re:a gun (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155868)

Meshach: What a fucking stupid and predictable response that was. It was a joke, you fuckwad. Go drink some Javex.

Re:a gun (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155968)

He's from Bee Cave Texas, to be exact.

Meet the Engineer [youtube.com]

Re:a gun (4, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155852)

And a dog.

Re:a gun (5, Insightful)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155892)

Actually, come to think of it, a well-trained dog is probably one of your better security options.

Re:a gun (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156032)

Actually, come to think of it, a well-trained dog is probably one of your better security options.

Indeed ... especially if he's well-trained enough to use a gun.

Re:a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155910)

Screw a dog, train a parrot to fly to the local police station! Avian-Based Home Security System.

Re:a gun (4, Funny)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156002)

"Screw a dog..."

Umm. I think you want 4chan.

Re:a gun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156114)

Fuck me. Don't you like colloquialisms?

Re:a gun (2, Insightful)

ashkar (319969) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156140)

I've heard of some straight up horrible things happen to dogs when their owners were away. One of my friends came home from work a few years ago and found his dog with a screwdriver through its head. I've heard of oven cleaner being used. Truly fucked up.

I'm a decent sized guy that has been attacked a couple of times by dogs as well (a pit and a doberman), and while I have some good scars, I wasn't ever too worried about handling myself against them. I am scared of rottweilers, but I can easily out run one of those fat fucks. Multiple dogs are really needed to scare off an experienced thief. Even then, don't grow too attached to a guard dog. They don't have great chances if someone wants what you have.

Re:a gun (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155886)

Now we can't answer this question, because "Is my home secure?", well, that would fall within the purview of your conundrums of 'philosophy'.

We engineers solve practical problems.

Re:a gun (4, Funny)

glueball (232492) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155898)

A sticker on your door with the weapon of choice and a message saying "We don't call 911"

Re:a gun (3, Informative)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156090)

Ah that reminds me of one of my favorite signs: "Warning: prosecutors will be violated."

Re:a gun (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155962)

If you resort to DIY then you have nothing worth protecting. If you do have something that needs protecting, get insurance, and a real security company.

Re:a gun (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156062)

It's sad that so many people share your views on DIY these days. A reasonably intelligent person is perfectly capable of doing almost anything for him/herself to a high standard with a little patience and humility. It's not the easiest, fastest, and often not the cheapest way to do something, but it is almost always the most satisfying way.

Re:a gun (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156080)

Actually just buying renters insurance (cheap) and getting to know your neighbors (real cheap) will cover 99% of your concerns. You might also question the wisdom of moving to an area where you earn significantly more than your peers.

What you really need to do is ask yourself how much paranoia your stupid hdtv is worth.

Re:a gun (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156144)

I grew up in a pretty straight-across-the-board area.

There were robberies almost bi-monthly. Usually local kids.

Re:a gun (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156070)

Well don't that just beat awl?

Peace of mind or deter thieves? (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155780)

If you want peace of mind, yeah, put surveillance and monitoring, or just get insurance and back your data up. If you want to deter thieves, you just need to make it an unattractive target. You could put fake cameras and blinking lights, but that might tell a thief that there's something worth stealing.

Try this (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155928)

You could put fake cameras and blinking lights, but that might tell a thief that there's something worth stealing.

exactly! That's why I put stickers with images like this and [google.com] this [google.com] on my valuables. And scatter around photographs of people in advanced stages of AIDS and Leprosy around with captions of "me with my buddies..."

I've never had a problem with theft.

Re:Try this (1)

the_brobdingnagian (917699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156098)

I've never had a problem with theft.

Or dates.....

Re:Try this (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156164)

I've never had a problem with theft.

Or dates.....

Only if they're not pitted.

What?!

Re:Peace of mind or deter thieves? (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155940)

Exactly. Putting up theif deterrants in the form of monitoring systems only attract thieves.

If you want DIY home security - put bars on windows where your firecode allows, make sure you've got deadbolts on every door - the kind that need a key from both the inside and outside (so they don't break the window and reach in) - and make sure the blinds are closed, so people can't go inside.

A camera doesn't make your house any more secure. Surveilance is not truly a form of security, it's a form of prosecution.

Re:Peace of mind or deter thieves? (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156118)

Bars on windows will have the same effect of attracting thieves as you state monitoring systems will. Plus who would want to live in a house with barred windows? May as well just go to jail.

If someone really wants to get in to your house, they will find a way.

Re:Peace of mind or deter thieves? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156244)

Except that bars go on the inside of the window, and if you set up the blinds or any covers properly, thieves won't be able to see them.

Most thieves won't have the means to get past barred windows and well locked doors - the two entry points every thief chooses.

Yes - someone could bring a chainsaw and work their way through your front door or even your side wall - there is no stopping that. I have never heard of this happening. I've heard of countless thieves either
A) Breaking in the window
B) Breaking in the door

So if you secure those 2 entry points will good locks and bars, you have next to nothing to worry about, and the best part is that those 2 systems are not visible attractors for thieves.

Re:Peace of mind or deter thieves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155956)

Yes, nothing like blinking bells & whistles to tell a thief that your place is worth hitting. Best thing to do would be put up semi-concealed low light cameras and use a motion recorder, if you're really that afraid of your precious stuff getting stolen.

But in reality, the cops don't give a shit about your possessions getting stolen and will put in zero effort to do anything about it. Even with video footage, they'll just take it and say well no one was picked up that night matching that description CASE CLOSED. Buy an insurance lottery ticket and keep your non-replaceable data containing devices somewhere where they won't be picked up and walked off with. Oh, and stop worrying about the big, bad real world.

What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? (2, Interesting)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155784)

From what I had read, sorry I don't have a link to it ATM, but apparently most burglars agree the one truly effective deterrent that makes them go some place else, is a big dog.

Re:What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155934)

I think being dead is a better deterrent. And it doesn't push the problem onto somebody else.

Re:What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monst (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156030)

I have to note that a cat is not a viable replacement in that regard. Pretty sure my cats would rub up against burglars, purring, and then lead them to their food bowls, which happen to be near the computer.

Re:What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monst (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156230)

I've always thought a baboon would be good.

what do you intend to achieve? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155794)

What do you intend to achieve with this system?

The best security is formed of a nice area, a good lock and a well-trained guard (yourself, for most households; your neighbours might also keep an eye out for you).

Electronics will just make you feel cooler. But the stuff will still be stolen and, no, you won't get it back. Those tracked-my-IP-address-camera stories are one in a million, and always seem to have glaring holes in the accounts.

What do you have (3, Funny)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155800)

So...

What are you going to buy that is worth stealing?

Re:What do you have (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156128)

He's going to have a kickass security system that he doesn't want thieves to break in and steal.

Here's where NOT to start... (0, Troll)

Simulant (528590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155808)

... X10. Avoid them like the plague. Apart from being general douche bags, their equipment is crap.

where to start with DIY home security? (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155810)

I'd start with shooting lessons at the local run range...

OK haha...

Your local police departments often have basic home security pamphlets and some can even send out community liasons to help with securing your home. I'd start here first *before* investing in cameras and all the gadgetry. If you don't secure your home first, some lucky burglar will have some shiny new cameras and alarms to pawn.

Re:where to start with DIY home security? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156110)

I don't care how much of a geek someone is, DIY is almost always inferior when talking about anything complicated and physical.

DIY website? Sure.
DIY car? No.
DIY coffee table? Cool.
DIY baby monitor? Bad.
DIY pointless electronics project with blinking LEDs? LOL nerd.
DIY pacemaker? LOL dead.

Re:where to start with DIY home security? (2, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156240)

I don't care how much of a geek someone is, DIY is almost always inferior when talking about anything complicated and physical.

DIY website? Sure. DIY car? No.

Yes! [factoryfive.com]

DIY coffee table? Cool. DIY baby monitor? Bad.

Really DIY baby monitor you consider complicated? Turn in that geek card.

DIY pointless electronics project with blinking LEDs? LOL nerd. DIY pacemaker? LOL dead.

Do you really want to build your own? (5, Insightful)

aphelion_rock (575206) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155826)

I went down this path years ago only to have a system plagued with the occasional false alarm. I spent years tring to figure out why. The cause was discovered by accident when the police, who was nearby, commented that the alarm went off as soon as he pressed the button on his two way radio. The system was not immune to RF interference. I have since settled on a good quality commercial system that I have installed myself, it is programmable and covers all of the areas of the house that I want and sends me an SMS if it is set off. Someone else has done the painstaking R&D leaving me to get on with enjoying life.

Re:Do you really want to build your own? (4, Informative)

zuperduperman (1206922) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155966)

Agree - I just went through the process of researching and installing an alarm, and the bottom line is that while the technology seems cool at first it is actually finicky and you are dealing with a serious pain-in-the-ass when things don't work right (your neighbors won't be friends for long when stray cats are setting off alarms next door at 3am).

Therefore I went with an Elk M1 system that is pricey but infinitely expandable into a complete home automation system and comes with an ethernet module that lets you do whatever you want in software - and that is where I will have my geek fun with it.

obvious suggestions (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155828)

I know many will say the same thing. But perhaps I'll be first.
  • First: A sign on front door that says, "Rattlesnakes for sale: $25.00"
  • Second: Pistol. Taurus makes a gun called the Judge that fires 45 cal bullets and 410 shotgun shells in the same chambers. Not my favorite gun, but it does lend itself to someone who wants a varied approach.

Re:obvious suggestions (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155936)

The reviews I've read on the Taurus Judge suggest it is NOT a good security weapon, especially using the 410 round, which does not have enough penetration to be any good. See: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot41.htm [theboxotruth.com] for details. Of course, the OP was likely suggesting a system that would be in force when he wasn't there, so a firearm might be way off topic here. In any case, a Glock 40mm or a 12 gauge would be much better choices than a Taurus Judge for home protection.

Re:obvious suggestions (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155998)

With 000 buck, it has penetration, but only 3 balls.

Birdshot a CQB range will at the very least hurt like hell and make a great noise.

Re:obvious suggestions (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156036)

First: A sign on front door that says, "Rattlesnakes for sale: $25.00"

What's that going to do? You're just going to get lots of annoying people knocking on your door enquiring about the rattlesnakes for sale.

Second: Pistol. Taurus makes a gun called the Judge that fires 45 cal bullets and 410 shotgun shells in the same chambers. Not my favorite gun, but it does lend itself to someone who wants a varied approach.

So, is this some kind of autonomous pistol that can protect your house while you are not home?

The solution (2, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155836)

A moat and a drawbridge.

Re:The solution (1)

DarthBling (1733038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156078)

By the power of Grayskull, what a great idea!

Risk Management (5, Insightful)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155850)

OK. This is all about Risk Management. There are four strategies to Risk Management (check out the ISO on Wikipedia - 31000 I think?): 1. Mitigate the chance, 2. Mitigate the damage, 3. Insure it, 4. Accept it.

It sounds like you're not too keen on Accepting it, so lets consider the other three options. The magic here is to budget for it. Don't spend $1M to protect your $1000 stereo.

Chance mitigation is all about making it less likely for you to be invaded. This is about taking away temptation (eg tint your windows, good curtains), making entry harder (locks, security screens), and discouraging attackers (those cool stickers that threaten trunk monkey attack)

Damage mitigation is about reducing the damage once they're in. Alarm system. Connected to local security firm. Be prepared to pay $1 per day for monitoring.

Insure it. Nuff said.

There is nothing in this about video-ing the perps. There is nothing in it about having a gun, or traps or anything weird. When you assess the possible outcomes, those things don't reduce your loss, and likely increase your trauma.

Good luck!

Re:Risk Management (1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156060)

There is nothing in this about video-ing the perps. There is nothing in it about having a gun, or traps or anything weird. When you assess the possible outcomes, those things don't reduce your loss, and likely increase your trauma.

Seems to me if people break into my house intent on robbing, raping, and killing me, and I shoot them dead before they get the chance, I've mitigated the damage.
Step 1 is out because we're already at the point of something happening.
No insurance can get me back from that, so step 3 is out.
Step 4 is out too because I'm not a pussy liberal, so I'm not going to "accept" a solution that involves calling 911 and waiting while I've got a dick in my ass, a heroin scarred clit in my face, and a knife to my neck.

Re:Risk Management (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156258)

I guess being home 24/7/365 has it's security advantages, eh?

Re:Risk Management (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156262)

Seems to me if people break into my house intent on robbing, raping, and killing me, and I shoot them dead before they get the chance, I've mitigated the damage.

Except for the stuff you'll have to deal with if you have an overzealous, anti-gun prosecutor. Then you get treated like the criminal, not the victim.

Re:Risk Management (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156126)

If I only had mod points...

Insurance is the first and foremost important one, usually a professionally installed alarm will reduce your premiums, good deadlocks too.

Guns (in America at least) are for personal protection, your stuff... well its just stuff, it can and will get replaced by insurance.

So yeah, my advice (as someone who has had their house broken into in the past) get good window locks (ones that you can lock closed and open just a little for ventilation), door locks (they saved all my PCs, since the thieves couldn't carry anything big since the doors were all deadlocked) and get a real alarm system, talk to their techs, get a quote, whatever.

There is a Linux Home Security Project (3, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155872)

http://www.linuxhomesecurity.com/ [linuxhomesecurity.com]

All the surveillance is based on MythTV. Seems open source friendly.

Re:There is a Linux Home Security Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156132)

Couldn't find a download link. Found a link to the "LinkMarket", though.

Stickers & Insurance (5, Insightful)

Tester (591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155894)

The odds that you will get your stuff stolen are pretty low. Security systems are mostly a waste of money. Just get some realistic looking ADT stickers (from eBay) that will make the thieves think you have a security system. Having an actual system will get you ZERO extra security, just costs.

In case you get your stuff stolen, get home insurance, they will give you money and then you can buy newer toys! Actually, get insurance anyway, if the building burns or something and you are responsible, you really want insurance.

No need to buy them... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156048)

Just get some realistic looking ADT stickers (from eBay) that will make the thieves think you have a security system.

Several months ago, a woman with an ADT logoed polo shirt and Khaki pants knocked on my door and said "I'm not here to sell you a system. I just want to know if I can put one of our signs on your front lawn."

I was eating dinner and wanted her to go away, but now I wished I asked why - that was a weird request.

Re:No need to buy them... (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156074)

How do you know she was legit, and not just part of a crew casing the neighborhood?

Re:No need to buy them... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156156)

I don't know if she was legit. She and her associate had a stack of those lawn signs - it doesn't make sense if they were casing the place. After I told her I wasn't interested, she and her associate left and moved on to another house. They didn't linger. They weren't looking around. They didn't do anything else.

My best guess was that maybe they were just trying to make it look like they had a bigger presence in the neighborhood than they did - for marketing reasons.

Re:No need to buy them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156100)

simple. Very low cost advertising. Costs them $2 for the sign, people see it and think "I wanted a security system, seems like people are using ADT, they must be good"

Re:Stickers & Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156204)

i've had a remote building vandalized and then just this weekend broken into. there isnt much in the building at this point (has stable private wifi, and laptop); however, i'd like to think there is a way to protect my property. i've been using zone minder and testing, which is great, and almost pushed the button to order an axis 215 ptz-e camera today, but with your suggestion that a security systems are pointless (im assuming you meant both prevention and not just identification of the perp... ) what is one to do? just give up? Don't some of the ideas of electronic security apply? prevention is probably the best on the front line, but what about detection, and resolution? i.e getting the alert, the video, the call to the police? i'm just throwing this out there because im really at a loss at what to do?

Woof woof! (1)

Heebie (1163973) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155902)

It's been said several times already.. but a big, noisy dog. (preferably one who likes you, but is SLIGHTLY territorial.) but.. if you get a Dog.. you need to learn about pack mentality, and learn how to control the dog.. establish that you're the alpha male, and then make sure the dog is happy enough that he doesn't need to challenge alpha male's status. ;)

Re:Woof woof! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155976)

That's a horrible way to train a dog. You're more likely to end up with an overly aggressive dog than anything else

Re:Woof woof! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156018)

A guard dog doesn't have to be big or noisy. It just has to be a dog who wants to defend its pack and home.

Your training plan is flawed, a well adjusted family dog of any breed will die defending pack and home, doesn't take many barks to put off a robber.

Re:Woof woof! (1)

Heebie (1163973) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156154)

The two most important points of having a "guard dog" are that it is:
1.> Heard
2.> Seen

Without those.. it is not a deterrent.

The training bit is not flawed... if a dog thinks IT is the alpha male.. it will try to subjugate you by any and all means. Dog owners always need to be seen as alpha.. if they aren't.. their dog WILL, without question, have behavioural issues.

Choose a place to live where there is no crime (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155908)

Works for me. I live in a small city, big university . . . no crime. I left my Mercedes unlocked on a Friday after work, came back on Monday morning and was surprised to find it unlocked.

And the car was still there, and everything in it.

Stay out of conflict zones . . . and then you don't any need for high tech security systems.

Re:Choose a place to live where there is no crime (2, Funny)

m2shariy (1194621) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156006)

I left my Mercedes unlocked on a Friday after work, came back on Monday morning and was surprised to find it unlocked.

Nobody locked it for you? Bastards!

Re:Choose a place to live where there is no crime (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156188)

s/crime/niggers/

It's Fun Foiling Bad Guys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155912)

Marbles, glue, garden-rake, thumb-tacks, bucket o' water (over a door). You should be able to buy this ACME Home Alone security system for about $9.

freeballer (1)

freeballer (1160851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155958)

Very interested in seeing what is posted here. Ever since I bought a diy motion detector I've
wondered about low cost, diy security systems and home automation. I hope some other
solutions than zoneminder are available. I have relatively small area to cover right now, so a
camera and motion sensor is enough but I'd like to know how to scale it.

If you are looking for multiple camera application, and using windows, I've used webcamxp
with some success. (not free) but it supports some wifi cameras and my logitech orbit (with tilt/zoom).
A 20$ motion sensor phones any phone call and plays a pre-recorded msg. The webcamxp will email me
and record/send video

It seems obvious... (2, Insightful)

jamesdood (468240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155972)

A moat of course. A water barrier is quite effective keeping out the vandals and goths, not to mention pesky viking raiders.

Re:It seems obvious... (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156166)

A moat of course. A water barrier is quite effective keeping out the vandals and goths, not to mention pesky viking raiders.

If you go with the moat, be sure to skip the Gopher Moat [youtube.com] model. Those are not very effective.

Solution (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155980)

Dog

Better auditory detection capabilities.
Better olfactory detection capabilities.
Better friend-or-foe algorithms.
More reliable than any electronic equipment.
More trustworthy than any security system vendor.
Faster response times than any security or law enforcement.
More immediate and satisfying effects than any justice system.
Fluffier.

Re:Solution (1)

xenapan (1012909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156106)

Dogs require more maintenance. Feeding, exercise, cleanup... And a dog has nearly if not more false positives as a security system. I live with two and one still constantly barks at neighbors, ME, and practically any other sounds. On the other hand, being a night person I tend to slip into the kitchen for a snack or a drink and I can do it easy enough to avoid waking the dogs. I love my dogs, but security systems they are not. I say the best way is to make thieves avoid your house. Make it look like theres nothing of value inside. Thieves only try to steal things when they expect to find something of value. A security system implies valuables. A single apartment in a complex that has security when none of the others around it sticks out like a sore thumb if a thief is scouting for a mark

barking dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33155990)

A dog that barks a lot when someone comes to the door is probably the best deterrent.

That said, I didn't want a dog. I registered a business and set up an account with an alarm distribution company. I then bought a panel, box, wire, keypads, a siren, and various types of sensors. I then printed out labels for all the doors and windows. I then wired the house, connecting all the stuff, and got an alarm monitoring service, to get the insurance discount. Paid for itself in a few years, plus I got better at wiring in walls. You could easily bypass that portion by paying someone who does wiring for alarm installers. They tend to be excellent in sneaking wires you can't see.

Need more info (3, Funny)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33155996)

In order to select the correct solution for you, we're going to need your address and a list of the expensive stuff you don't want stolen. Oh, and in case we drop by, please let us know the hours that you're usually at home. Would hate to make the trip out there only to find that you're away. Thanks!

Woof (5, Interesting)

Roblimo (357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156004)

Our primary home security system is Terri the Terrorist Terrier -- 55 pounds of friendly tail-wagging furry cuddliness if she knows and likes you, 55 scary pounds of big teeth and growls if you're a stranger.

When we first got Terri my wife and I lived in what some might call a "sketchy" neighborhood, and we KNOW Terri scared off (and likely bit, from the screams) at least one or two intruders in the yard, well before they could get to the house or to my office in a separate building. Terri is also portable; if you need to walk around a not-nice neighborhood, you can take Terri with you.

Terri has also handled the few rat infestations we've had, using the traditional terrier "shake until dead" method.

We got Terri from the Manatee County Animal Shelter. There is surely a similar facility near you that has a perfect alarm system waiting to go home and protect you from burglars, cats, and Al Queda operatives -- and who will wag his or her tail when you come home and probably even lick your face if allowed. Don't worry about breeds and all that. You'll know the right dog, and the right dog will know you. Training is not hard, and dog food is cheap. For 24/7 indoor AND outdoor protection, you'll want a doggie door and a fenced yard, but your living circumstances may not allow this. No big; millions of dogs live indoors and go out for walks and to dog parks for exercise.

"Woof," tweets Terri -- @TerriTerrier

Put the money towards good insurance (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156008)

For the cost of setting up your own security system (or going commercial), you could pay for years of upgraded homeowner's insurance with full replacement value coverage. Take pictures of everything you own, keep copies of the receipts for expensive stuff at the office, and you are good to go. And not just against theft, but against fire, and whatever else you choose to cover with your policy.

And for the VERY RARE home invasion that occurs while you are home: If you are that worried, yes, a shotgun can go a long way there...

SirWired

Game camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156010)

Movement operated game cameras are cheap, and you could pretty easily re-wire to do something other than take a picture if you wanted to.

Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156044)

I sold alarms for three years and installed them professionally for one. Don't waste your time. Even in the places that cops actually do respond to alarms, they prioritize them so low that they become basically worthless. It's not like they can do anything once they get there anyways. Only in rare instances can they enter.

If you do feel that you need one anyways, I recommend one that can text/page/email you instead of paying a monthly service fee. The police will most likely come out if they receive a call from an actual person (you). You can get the basic hardware for about $100-$150. I recommend the Honeywell equipment for simplicity and ease of use. You need simplicity if you plan on arming/disarming it every time you enter/leave your home.

Dogs and Guns (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156056)

German Shepherds, and a 12-gauge shotgun. You can probably use the gun for other things, like killing noisy turkeys, and the dog will make an excellent addition to your family and/or good way to attract chicks if you take it for the occasional walk in the park (although, if the dog is out with you, its not home watching the house. Maybe get two and have them work on shifts).

Don't. Buy insurance. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156066)

Your home security system isn't going to keep stuff from being stolen. It might present some deterrent. It might help catch the thief, but it won't do anything to repair the damage the thief causes before realizing you have one. I remember sitting on a bench across from a store some years back. Some guy walked up to the store. Looked in the window. Walked away. Came back and smashed the window to grab some item that probably was worth $50 or so and run. The store had an alarm, which commenced wailing away, but did nothing to get the item back, or the much more valuable window unbroken.

Went through it (5, Informative)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156072)

I went through this about 6 months ago.
I ran Linux zoneminder and Blue Iris - a commercial but inexpensive Windows program each on their own dedicated servers. The servers were single rack space Dual Atoms. I then installed a $100 eBay wireless IP camera, a Linksys wireless IP camera, A usb video capture card with 1 camera, and a regular USB web-cam so I could try each of these out in comparison.
The $100 camera was useless - terrible focus. The linksys, being the most expensive at $250 was the best, but is not an outdoor camera without additional housing. The USB camera is acceptable but requires proximity to the servers. The video camera is also acceptable.
After running the software for 2 months, I eventually settled on Blue Iris. It was $49 and a lot more stable than ZoneMinder. There were some features of zoneminder I liked, but after using both I found several instances were ZoneMinder had flaked out and I could not retrieve data/images that I would need if I was really researching a theft. The errors are very cryptic, often requiring extreme measures to determine what had gone wrong. Usually I just gave up and rebooted everything and it would start working again. The configuration for zoneminder is also very difficult, having to get various versions of video for linux V1 and V2, java applets/jar files etc all tied together. You can go with their 'ready to run CD' to avoid the painful configuration work, but then you are stuck with their Linux distribution, and I wanted to go with the current Ubuntu.

In the end, I have a system I am confident will provide me with images after an incident that will lead to an arrest. I plan on adding/replacing with more of the Linksys style wireless IP cams, at about $250 a pop as budget allows. The entire system will probably get its own dedicated wireless lan eventually. I can also browse in when I am on the road and check in on things, although that is more of a 'peace of mind' thing and doesn't really have much practical use.
Server - $300ish with 1.5T disk space, wireless hub (eBay) $50ish, wireless cams - $250ish each, Windows+Blue Iris - $150ish - reasonably expect up to about 6 cameras. This puts it in the same range as a decent Hard disk based dedicated security recorder from say Radio Shack, but with a wireless ability and lot more flexibility.

I've found... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33156084)

If you leave a corpse on your lawn people normally don't pester you.

Of course, you need some privacy or the cops can be a real pain.

Zone minder really is excellent (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156094)

Stable too.

the only problem with using it for home security is if the burglars steal your server when they break in...

Seriously though, I use zoneminder, it has a really slick web interface, easy to configure, any camera supported by v4l2 is supported, there's also a nice plugin for mythtv - so if you use myth as your htpc - you can view your security recordings, or your live camera feeds on your tv.

Just make sure you have an offsite backup - otherwise burglars will steal your recordings of them

Video surveillance isn't really a deterrent though - a rather useful deterrent for nerds (which is actually more successful than it should be) - is to use a home automation system (like X10) to turn on house lights/tv etc, on a schedule - so if you aren't home in the evening, it will look like someone is to anyone who is scoping your place out for a burglary.

Zoneminder (1)

tanderson92 (1636327) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156116)

Zoneminder works flawlessly here with multiple cameras, despite not being updated for a year.

As to its features, it is very good at detecting motion, even when the area of motion is small compared to the whole frame. And you can playback all activity so you can know for sure if anyone has been acting suspicious so as to keep your guard up. I'd definitely recommend it, but with other security, because 1) a camera can't see everything 2) a camera won't stop a breakin.

Dropcam (1)

devil_doll (214324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156120)

Anybody tried Dropcam?

http://www.dropcam.com/ [dropcam.com]

Small Wi-Fi cameras that stream to a cloud service and provide remote viewing from the web or an iPhone. Offsite storage is pretty cool - if the camera gets stolen, you can still watch the recorded footage.

Wish it ran Linux though. :-)

It's called "renter's insurance" (1)

Tintivilus (88810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156160)

Get renter's insurance. Seriously. I don't think I ever had a policy priced at more than $100/year. If you also have a reasonably late-model car you can usually get a "multi-policy discount" that's greater than the cost of the renter's policy.

Surveillance equipment is just something else to be stolen if there's a breakin.

$10/month should be cheap enough.. (1)

lazn (202878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156172)

install the system yourself from: http://www.safemart.com/ [safemart.com]

then sign up for their $10/month monitoring..

that or a big dog.

Guns. Lots of guns. (1)

Randseed (132501) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156196)

Guns. Lots of guns. And flamethrowers. And electrify all the door knobs by hooking them to 220V mains.

Start with the basics (1)

Walter Wart (181556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156202)

1) Renters insurance 2) A solid core door, preferably steel-clad 3) A German Shepherd or other large protective breed of dog 4) A shotgun

Four Words: Fry's Electronics (4, Informative)

socz (1057222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156234)

So, SOMEONE slashed my motorcycle tires. I didn't want that to happen again since those particular tires are expensive for my bike (whitewalls). I went to Fry's and realistically spent about $2,000 on hardware. Now, I KNOW I am not going to keep all of it, but I just wanted to see what worked best for my needs. About 3 trips later I ended up with:


# $250-$350 4 channel DVR (I don't remember how much but it was the cheapest decent recorder).
# 1 $275 + tax wireless camera with receiver. (awesome quality and sound!)
# 1 "bullet cam" that is not tiny, but small enough to be hidden in plants. It is wired. Maybe $50?


I later returned the Fry's DVR and got one off of newegg for $100 +tax and shipping, though I had to provide a SATA drive that I already had.

I also spent a bit more, like $80 on 8 D cell rechargeable batteries, and then like $145 on a powermaxx (best company EVER) for a D charger with 4 batteries. Although I had a wireless camera, I had no where to plug it in. So I made a battery pack. My #'s indicate I could run that camera for at least 24 hours with consistent connection and quality, then about 12 more hours and it got dimmer, crappier video quality and less night time infrared abilities as the batteries died.

Thanks to Fry's excellent return policy, the only thing you lose is your time! But I was able to return all that went unused. Here are some things to avoid: Small/tiny wireless cameras: their quality and resolution sucks. Avoid very expensive cameras as that they'll be no better than middle range cameras. Don't worry about the DVR, they all pretty much suck. Don't use your PC as a DVR, pretty much most people have problems with it. Oh, and of all the DVRs I used, all of them had issues being accessed through the internet.

Someone ended up stealing that wireless camera, and I have that on DVR! My buddy put it on youtube for me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE0NkvA1uh4 [youtube.com]

I ended up buying another 2 of those cameras and mounted them high up and attached securely to the wall.

If you want more info on what exactly I bought, feel free to email me.

Security systems don't work (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156254)

The ONLY truly effective security measure is to hire armed guards. You probably can't afford that. For the average non-wealthy person, the best thing is a dog. Get a big dog that will bark when people open the door or break a window. Most will do that without any training, especially at night.

Security systems don't prevent break-ins, and if you can't prevent them, then what's the point?

Cameras for an apartment complex (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156260)

For myself, I'd be happy to use a linux-based system. However, I have a request by somebody else who wants security for an apartment complex.

I can probably handle setup, but I want something that's low-fuss so that I don't end up having to babysit it.

Can anyone comment on systems Like these [tigerdirect.ca] , for indoor/outdoor (doorways and parking area) surveillance, or make other recommendations?

Is this /. or forums.NRA.com? (0)

tobiah (308208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33156270)

Seriously, there are more "guns" solutions than there are high-tech solutions. Where are the geeks?

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