Friday, June 29, 2012

Bob Seger Burglary-Family, Friends and Alarm Systems

Bob Seger

Bob Seger's house in Orchard Lake, Michigan was broken into last August and his prized 1978 Gibson Les Paul guitar, and personal valuables such as cash, a Rolex watch and autographed Shaquille O'Neal Sneakers were all stolen.

The suspect arrested Tuesday and charged with larceny from a building was identified as 20 year old Andrew D. Thompson of Waterford Township, MI-a close family friend. Police say Thompson attended a party thrown by Seger's 16 year old daughter last August and broke into the house afterwards to pilfer the items. The 1978 Les Paul is seen in Seger's hands on the cover of his 1994 "Greatest Hits" album. Its retail value is approximately $8000-$10,000 but it was reportedly 'priceless' to Seger.  

Interestingly, that guitar all of a sudden appeared later in Seger’s backyard.

Thompson denies stealing the guitar although Detective Darrell Betts said it turned up right after he questioned Thompson about the incident.

Betts also suggested Thompson broke into the back door after the small party had ended to steal the items.

The story:

This heartbreaking scenario is all too common. Very often people are burglarized by a friend, relative, or coworker. A substantial percentage of burglaries are committed by persons that have been inside your home that you trusted implicitly.

A burglar alarm system could have helped prevent this tragedy by alerting the authorities and Seger of the intrusion. Remarkably, apparently no burglar alarm was present or the alarm was not in use because Seger was reportedly moving.

Of course the best home security system in the world can be defeated by poor management of the alarm code(s). Only people who absolutely need access to your home should have an alarm code and the corresponding telephone "safe word" password.

You should also regularly change your alarm code to ensure that access to your home stays controlled. If you have a maid service or babysitter that needs access to the residence-give them a separate "user" code that will only disarm the alarm-NOT your "Master" code that can be used to access system settings. Many security companies also allow you to track online when and what code is used-which can help in the event a theft is discovered without a break in.

I will be happy to answer any questions regarding home security. You can contact me at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alarm Monitoring-Why the cost varies wildly.

As a security industry professional I have had the opportunity to work with multiple alarm companies and their central stations. A central station is the location where your alarm signals are received and processed for dispatch. Large national brands such as ADT and Monitronics own and operate their own central station locations. Your local alarm company may have their own central station-but this is not as common as it used to be. It is far more likely that a larger dedicated monitoring company provides this service to many smaller alarm companies-including yours. 

Now for the facts that every consumer should know-All reputable monitoring companies provide essentially the same service. You read that correctly. It doesn't matter whether your monitoring is provided by a large national brand or a smaller regional operation so long as you are doing business with a reputable company. This brings me to my next shocker-The price you pay for monitoring has almost no bearing whatsoever on the quality of service you receive. 

So, you ask, "Why is my monitoring so much higher than my neighbor's?" This is a perfectly legitimate question and there are multiple reasons why this could be.

If you signed up for a 'FREE w/ $99 installation fee' system then your monitoring cost will be higher because the monthly fee includes the amortized cost of the equipment. In this scenario, monitoring will typically range from $30 -$100/ month depending on the amount of equipment you received at the time of install.

The alarm industry national dealers borrowed this business model from cell phone providers, who figured out long ago that offering a 'free' or reduced cost phone with a 2-3 year contractual commitment sold better and substantially increased their business. This due to the fact that most people live paycheck to paycheck and can't come up with the $800-$1500 an average basic residential alarm installation costs-but they can easily budget the monthly expense.

If you purchased your equipment at the time of install, or you have completed your contract with a national company you own the equipment outright. You can purchase monitoring on a month to month basis as a separate service and comparison shop. You will find options ranging from $15-$50 for basic monitoring services depending on whether you are communicating your signals with a telephone line, a GSM (alarm cellular communicator), or a Wi-Fi or IP communicator. 

Whichever way you choose to purchase an alarm system, once you experience the peace of mind of having an electronic security system, you will never choose to live without one again. Feel free to contact me via email with your questions.