The realization that you are solely responsible for your personal safety and protection is an important undertaking. Once this occurs, people are quick to look for easy and simple solutions to try to protect themselves. The problem is that personal safety is neither easy nor simple, and requires an honest look at how your probable incidents can happen, and then coming up with a reasonable and educated plan.
All too often, people take what I refer to as the “baby blanket approach” to their personal safety and defense. I call it this because a baby in a blanket feels safe and secure, but as adults we know the blanket offers no real protection other than warmth. Even toddlers cling to this idea and need a certain blanket to sleep with to ward off bad dreams and feel safe. The problem is that we too, as adults, like this feeling and are susceptible to products and ideas that make us feel safe, but in reality do nothing to protect us. I want to address one of those and take a realistic look at the downfalls.
Alarm systems are great at deterring criminals, and statistically your home is less likely to be burglarized if you have alarm company logos and signs displayed. Also the average loss from a burglary is significantly lower in a home with an alarm system versus one that does not have one. Criminals do not want to be in a home where they believe the police are being dispatched to or a loud siren may alert a nosy neighbor. This is good for protecting your property, but it does nothing to protect yourself or your family.
Alarms may generate a response, but in many cases the alarm company tries to call the homeowner prior to dispatching. This delays an already slow response even further. During this time, you could be in a fight for your life. And whether it is you or the alarm company that calls, police will not arrive instantly.
I had a discussion with an alarm company salesman once when a relative was buying an alarm system. She had been having trouble with an ex-boyfriend and wanted to be able to protect herself. The salesman asked me what my issue with the system was and I explained I was familiar with response times to alarm calls and did not feel the alarm system did anything to actually “protect” her. The salesman said his alarm had gone off twice in the past year and he had “great response times.” I asked him for approximate times and he said confidently, “The first was 15 minutes and the second was 18 minutes.”
I asked if someone were to kick in the door if that was the point the alarm would go off or if there would be a delay. Of course there would be a delay because the sensor cannot tell the difference between a door being politely opened and it being violently kicked in. On most systems, this delay is 30 to 60 seconds.
I then told him I was the bad guy and pointed my finger at him as if it were a gun. I said bang a couple times, then asked, “How much time do I have left with your ‘great response times’?”
The fact is, when a person is there to harm you, an alarm does nothing to protect your well-being. It only means that someone will find you sooner and therefore law enforcement gets an early start on their investigation to find the person who harmed you.
Please educate and train for your safety and the safety of your family.