A False Sense of Security

We’ve all seen the Brinks home security ads. Now, they’re operating as Broadview Security – but the ads remain the same. Here’s an example.

There are a lot of illogical things in the video – one of the biggest things that stands out to me is the fact that the criminal is brazen enough to kick in a door in the middle of the day, while people are at home – whether you’re in the backyard or not, that type of criminal isn’t going to run away when they hear an alarm.

They will run away when they hear something else, though – gunfire. Don’t believe me? Check out this video. Four men, armed with an AR-15 and several handguns – and they can’t pull up their pants fast enough to keep themselves from tripping as they scramble away.

But that was an isolated incident, you say. When the alarm goes off, the company immediately calls you, and a smart-looking guy in a room resembling the CIC (Combat Information Center) of a US Navy aircraft carrier “sends someone right away.”

Well, what does “right away” mean? And who are they sending?

Well, the police will respond to alarms. However, due to the exceptionally high number of false alarms, police response times to alarms are normally upwards of 30 minutes, and in some cases, several hours. Some departments require that alarm companies verify that the alarm isn’t false before responding.

So in most cases, the response that companies advertise is someone who passed a drug test, has a GED, and hopefully knows which way to point his weapon – if he’s armed at all. There are a lot of proficient security guards, but they’re hopelessly outnumbered.

As for the response times of these security guards, Broadview won’t elaborate beyond saying that it’s “rapid”. They also don’t offer any information about the people who respond to alarms. Most of their “success stories” are simply people who pushed the “send help” button when a fire or medical emergency occurred. While this is certainly a nice feature, they still call you to verify that you need help, so you might as well have cut out the middleman and simply dialed 911.

Another thing I noticed about the video – actually, most of their videos – was that the bad guy gains entry simply by kicking in the front door. Why go to the trouble of having an alarm installed if you’re going to have a front door that can be opened by one solid kick from an adult male? If it was that simple all the time, SWAT teams wouldn’t have large, heavy, and expensive breaching tools which they use to gain entry to various buildings. A good, solid door – better yet, a metal security door which swings outward, but has hinges that aren’t exposed – and some good deadbolts will keep some random guy in a hoodie from kicking in your front door.

Here’s my favorite ad. It’s from the Brinks days. In this scenario, the wife tells the husband to go “check out a noise” – and the husband wanders off in the dark, weaponless, without a flashlight, and without turning on any of the lights in the house. Quite frankly, that’s a good way to get killed. The husband sees the bad guy and immediately runs away, slamming the bedroom door behind him. Well, if the front door didn’t stop the intruder, why would a hollow core interior door stop him? Of course, the alarm system “scares off” the bad guy. The alarm company guy sends someone (presumably, someone with balls) “right away”. The day is saved.

Now, I’m not saying that you should never get an alarm – they’re certainly nice for when you’re away from home. An alarm would be a good component of a complete home security plan – a fire safe for valuables and firearms, motion detector lights covering the outside of the house, good locks on the exterior doors, a dog, possibly even security cameras, etc – but if you’re relying on the alarm alone, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

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3 Comments

Filed under Lies, Errors, and Omissions

3 responses to “A False Sense of Security

  1. Mike W

    I don’t have an alarm. After watching the commercials, I’m hoping a girlie scream will ward off a wayward individual.

    To me, the commercial also implies the intruder isn’t high or drunk and is completely rational (which you alluded to when he leaves at the sound of the alarm). Judging by the time someone tried to walk in here in error, that is a distinct possibility (that they’re rational), but in my case, he was looking for the neighbors house and completely apologetic for the error. Contrast that to the time where an individual not of sound mind was pounding at the door and trying to force his way into my brother’s place only to be stopped by my brother and his teeth snapping doberman.

    Also, if the alarm scared him off, wouldn’t the stickers outside of the house send him to one of the neighbors who are alarmless?

    Gaston and a flashlight guide me through the valley of darkness, shouldn’t they do the same for you?

  2. Pete H

    Thanks for writing this, it’s a much more articulate way of saying what many people are thinking. These ads are a perfect example of the learned helplessness people exhibit today. I actually can’t watch these ads anymore, I end up yelling “Grab a gun!” at the TV. I don’t think my neighbors appreciate hearing that through the walls.

  3. ERNurse

    Years ago we lived in a neighborhood where the house across the street had an alarm system. Many days we sat on our porch and watched the sheriff’s deputies search around the house. Not a bad guy in site, the alarm would go off at random times during the day…

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