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In the last few years, there are now multiple companies that offer home security including cable companies and also Do It Yourself kits. I have tried to do online reviews but they all seem to be just ads disguised as reviews.

I live in a small town upper middle class neighborhood but just a few blocks away the local stop and go mart has been robbed at gunpoint on more than one occasion.

My wife won't let me harden the home as must as I would like ("won't look pretty"), so I am looking into quality alarm systems.

I have 2 medium sized dogs but they typically don't get up and bark until AFTER someone is in the house ( i.e. one of my daughter's friends).

Thanks in advance.
 

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Well, I was gonna mention a dog, but you already have 2. You could use your auto remote and set off the horn if you suspect something. SimplySafe is good I hear. My Aunt in Calif. had a security company wire up her house, installed camers everywhere. She can use her tablet to view her entire house inside and out from hundreds of miles away. Think $$$$$, but then she is loaded.
 

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I'm a fan of DYI. Depending upon your home layout it can be simple or complex.

For example, if you have a 2 story home with all bedrooms upstairs you can get away with sensors on the doors and IR for everything else.

One home that we had I hard-wired all doors & windows and also had a glass breakage detector.

Another home I used hardwired garage (interior & exterior) door sensors and wireless IR for the rest of the downstairs.

Third home I just had wireless IR - it was mostly to alarm & call us if there was a break-in while away.

Our current home has a commercial system (installed by prior owner) but we actually just rely on our dogs as they would set off the various interior alarms if we turned it on.
 

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quality alarm systems.
There are now a variety of security systems available which are suitable for DIY. These range from very basic to sophisticated. I have installed three of the "Simon" branded systems which have been quite satisfactory. Honeywell and Napco are two other well regarded brands. Expected to pay about $350 and up depending on brand and level of coverage. Most home systems these days use wireless "supervised" sensors which make installation much easier than wired sensors. These systems also typically accommodate sensors for fire/smoke, freeze, flood, etc. and also provide for remote monitoring via phone line and/or a cellular connection. Installation is more involved than taking it out of the box and turning it on, but anyone who knows which end of the screwdriver to grab can do it. Much info available online. Amazon sells some of these systems/components. Most important part of the system are the signs outside announcing that you have a security system. Some folks just put up the signs and pass on the system!
 

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Any wireless works by transmitting through the air. If it is transmitting something through the air, it can be blocked\jammed. White noise in the frequency range will do it.
 

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My wife won't let me harden the home as must as I would like ("won't look pretty"), so I am looking into quality alarm systems.
There are ways to 'harden' your home and property without T walls, Hesco Bags, and triple strand....

I've discussed some of the security measures I've enacted, but I'll just rehash some hardening techniques that are aesthetically acceptable to most.

- Doors. Heavy, solid core, dead bolts. Steel reinforced jambs (they make kits for this).

-Windows. Best bang for the buck is security/storm film on the ground floor windows. It essentially makes the window shatter resistant. It can be tinted or clear; tinted provides a layer of privacy as well as some energy efficiency in warmer climates. Have this professionally installed, its easy to screw up. What you can do yourself is apply the adhesive silicone to bond the film to the window frame. Its available at HD or Lowes, and applied with a caulk gun. Installers seriously over-charge for this...

-Landscaping. All of my ground floor windows have thorny hedges under them that are about 3.5' deep and window high. It looks nice, and discourages anyone from attempting entry that way. The same hedges line the road, and my driveways. The south drive is gated and locked,; visitors come to the north side. While there is access to the front yard from the drive through the hedgerow, its difficult to find... if you come up the drive, you're funneled to the front porch and door. The door is solid, and there's video on the porch.

-Fences. I have 2x6 3 rail, with field fence under the planks (to keep the dogs in). There is a strand of hot barbed wire along the inside of the top rail, but its not noticeable form the outside.

Just few suggestions; be creative. You can "harden" your exterior while still presenting a civilized and welcoming appearance.
 

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There are ways to 'harden' your home and property without T walls, Hesco Bags, and triple strand....

I've discussed some of the security measures I've enacted, but I'll just rehash some hardening techniques that are aesthetically acceptable to most.

- Doors. Heavy, solid core, dead bolts. Steel reinforced jambs (they make kits for this).

-Windows. Best bang for the buck is security/storm film on the ground floor windows. It essentially makes the window shatter resistant. It can be tinted or clear; tinted provides a layer of privacy as well as some energy efficiency in warmer climates. Have this professionally installed, its easy to screw up. What you can do yourself is apply the adhesive silicone to bond the film to the window frame. Its available at HD or Lowes, and applied with a caulk gun. Installers seriously over-charge for this...

-Landscaping. All of my ground floor windows have thorny hedges under them that are about 3.5' deep and window high. It looks nice, and discourages anyone from attempting entry that way. The same hedges line the road, and my driveways. The south drive is gated and locked,; visitors come to the north side. While there is access to the front yard from the drive through the hedgerow, its difficult to find... if you come up the drive, you're funneled to the front porch and door. The door is solid, and there's video on the porch.

-Fences. I have 2x6 3 rail, with field fence under the planks (to keep the dogs in). There is a strand of hot barbed wire along the inside of the top rail, but its not noticeable form the outside.

Just few suggestions; be creative. You can "harden" your exterior while still presenting a civilized and welcoming appearance.
You forgot claymores and range cards! LOL

I agree with all your statements. Including the landscaping! Nice thorny or very dense shrubs will keep most perpetrators away from your domicile and keep them out in the open for the sheepdawgs to keep an eye on. I prefer Knockout Roses. They grow very well here in Alabama and they look very nice. I planted them in places that I have not good visibility at night.
 

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In the last few years, there are now multiple companies that offer home security including cable companies and also Do It Yourself kits. I have tried to do online reviews but they all seem to be just ads disguised as reviews.

I live in a small town upper middle class neighborhood but just a few blocks away the local stop and go mart has been robbed at gunpoint on more than one occasion.

My wife won't let me harden the home as must as I would like ("won't look pretty"), so I am looking into quality alarm systems.

I have 2 medium sized dogs but they typically don't get up and bark until AFTER someone is in the house ( i.e. one of my daughter's friends).

Thanks in advance.
I've had the SimpliSafe system for about 6 months. Door/Window sensors, motion detector and smoke detectors.

ZERO false alarms. Initial setup took less than 30 minutes.
 

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You forgot claymores and range cards! LOL.
The OP was concerned about how "pretty" things look, or rather his spouse was.... So I intentionally avoided discussing some of the more aggressive measures; rather I focused on options that would be effective and either aesthetically pleasing or at worst, tolerable.

Besides, range cards are only effective for unit level static defense... with only 2 shooters in the house, movement may be required. While having assigned general areas of responsibility, placing hard limits on fields of fire is counterproductive for my situation.
 

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I used to be and installation tech for a couple home security providers. I mostly installed wireless GE units, sometimes we could tap into a preexisting hard-wired system as well.

Be careful of some of the traveling sales men that knock on your door, I've come across many shady people in that industry. Guardian is a good service provider company, and they offer Cell units on your alarm system so if someone cuts your phone lines it will still dial out.

You cant do motion if you have a dog, so i'd say you could put glass breaks in key areas, and normal door/window sensors. They also have video camera's you can monitor from your cell.

If you want to do local, talk with 2 or 3 companies and compare prices, I have seen people pay close to $100 a month, when in reality, u shouldn't pay over $55.

If you DIY, i'd recommend a Simon XT by GE. Its sensors are wireless, hardline option, very good unit.
 
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