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Burglars Cut Home Phone Lines in Minnesota, Alarm Systems Don’t Work - Cellular Monitoring is Safer

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May 16, 2011
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Burglars Cut Home Phone Lines in Minnesota, Alarm Systems Don’t Work - Cellular Monitoring is Safer

Burglars do cut phone lines: we know that for a fact, but once again it’s in the news - this time from Edina, MN.  Seems like I just posted on the ADT customer who was the victim of a burglary – and learned the hard way what happens when your alarm system relies on a phone line. By the way, a number of FrontPoint customers pointed me to the article from Minnesota - so the word on safer cellular monitoring is clearly getting out.

Edina police are urging area residents to be on the lookout for a man believed to have stolen more than $100,000 in jewelry from several homes in the city's northwest corner. Police said the homes—two in Kelsey Terrace and one on Annaway Drive—were broken into during the day likely using a crowbar, with the suspect cutting phone lines on two of the residences.

Don’t Use a Phone Line for Alarm Monitoring

With all that’s been written about the vulnerability of phones lines to any intruder with a $3 pair of wire cutters, it’s hard for me to understand why so many alarm companies still sell home security based on a phone line. For one thing, plenty of people don’t even have a standard phone line any more, and it’s a documented fact that you should not use an internet phone line for your alarm system – even Vonage says that on their web site. But the fact remains that most of the home security systems in use today rely on a phone line – and the majority of home alarms being sold today are repeating the same mistake.

Why Alarm Companies Do It

Why do alarm companies still use – or even sell - alarm systems based on a phone line? It’s certainly not because they want to offer the best protection! They do it because phone line-based “protection” costs less, so it’s easier to sell more systems that way. And when you ask for cellular monitoring, they usually make you pay extra for the equipment, plus there’s a much higher monthly fee to get the protection that you deserve. The continued use and sale of old-school phone lines is the biggest, nastiest practice of the security industry. FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the US that uses cellular monitoring and makes it affordable  in every system we’ve ever sold – just one more way we are different, and (we think) better.

The Police Know the Score

Det. Dave Carlson said it's not typical to see so many burglaries during daylight hours. He suspects the person responsible for these burglaries is a repeat offender, considering phone lines were cut in two of the incidents. "It's more common with older burglaries to see cut phone lines, as not a lot of them used to have cellular backups," Carlson said. "Before we had cell phones they'd cut phone lines and that'd disable an alarm system, but with cellular backups it doesn't accomplish much."

That’s right – cutting the phone line when the alarm system is based on cellular monitoring won’t help the burglar one bit. And here’s an important point of distinction: instead of using cellular monitoring as a backup, the best alarm companies make cellular the primary method of communication. That way the monitoring center gets the alarm more quickly – and police are on the way sooner.

Yes, we’re really serious about this topic. FrontPoint spends a lot of time spreading the word about why cellular monitoring is better: we want homeowners to make sure they're getting the protection they want, need, and deserve. There are many reasons why FrontPoint is the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US, but we think it all starts with safer cellular monitoring. Add in honest sales and advertising, no hidden fees, the best interactive, wireless home alarm technology at the best price, and world-class service. You’ll never read that a burglar cut the phone line on a FrontPoint system and went undetected – because we never use a phone line! We just know that cellular is the best way to protect your home and family. Choose safer, choose cellular – choose FrontPoint.

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Comments
Sean McCaffrey
May 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Google mini wireless phone jammers and tell me your wireless system prevents someone utilizing a wireless phone jammer from disabling the cellular alarm system.
Peter M. Rogers
May 25, 2011 at 8:34 PM
Sean - Great point, and thanks for raising this. The obvious response is that most burglaries are random, opportunistic acts committed by folks who are much more likely to have a $3 pair of wire cutters than a jamming device. After all, how would the average burglar know if a home has a cellular alarm system? They just cut the phone and internet lines and hope for the best - and they are usually safe in their assumption that the "normal" alarm system has lost its ability to communicate. Here's a bit more detail: the inexpensive jamming devices have a relatively short range, which is why we always advise our customers to place the control unit (which includes the built-in GSM radio) away from the door. There are jamming devices with longer range, but they cost more - further reducing the odds that the average burglar will own such a device. So, is it possible to jam a cellular system? Yes. Have I ever heard of it happening? No. Have I ever heard of phone lines being cut to defeat an alarm system? Repeatedly, sad to say. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to address this important point.
Sean McCaffrey
May 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Google mini wireless phone jammers and tell me your wireless system prevents someone utilizing a wireless phone jammer from disabling the cellular alarm system.
Peter M. Rogers
May 25, 2011 at 8:34 PM
Sean - Great point, and thanks for raising this. The obvious response is that most burglaries are random, opportunistic acts committed by folks who are much more likely to have a $3 pair of wire cutters than a jamming device. After all, how would the average burglar know if a home has a cellular alarm system? They just cut the phone and internet lines and hope for the best - and they are usually safe in their assumption that the "normal" alarm system has lost its ability to communicate. Here's a bit more detail: the inexpensive jamming devices have a relatively short range, which is why we always advise our customers to place the control unit (which includes the built-in GSM radio) away from the door. There are jamming devices with longer range, but they cost more - further reducing the odds that the average burglar will own such a device. So, is it possible to jam a cellular system? Yes. Have I ever heard of it happening? No. Have I ever heard of phone lines being cut to defeat an alarm system? Repeatedly, sad to say. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to address this important point.
Wireless Home Alarms Update – Burglar Who Cuts Phone Lines Strikes Again | Home Security Blog
May 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM
[...] Strikes Again Posted by Peter M. Rogers at 4:14 pm Add commentsMay 312011I recently posted on the burglar who was disabling alarm systems in Minneapolis suburbs, primarily by cutting phone lines of the homes he targets. Smart burglars know that’s the best [...]
Wireless Home Alarms Update – Burglar Who Cuts Phone Lines Strikes Again | Home Security Blog
May 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM
[...] Strikes Again Posted by Peter M. Rogers at 4:14 pm Add commentsMay 312011I recently posted on the burglar who was disabling alarm systems in Minneapolis suburbs, primarily by cutting phone lines of the homes he targets. Smart burglars know that’s the best [...]
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