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Most Alarm Systems Don’t Work When the Phone Line is Cut

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March 9, 2011
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Most Alarm Systems Don’t Work When the Phone Line is Cut

A news story of a burglary with a cut phone line in West Virginia reminded me that the significant time and energy we spend on providing safer cellular alarm systems is well spent. In this particular instance, it’s not clear that the victim’s home was protected by an alarm system – but that did not prevent the burglars from cutting the phone line anyway. Even if the home did have a traditional “old school” system using the phone line, it would just have become an expensive noisemaker. Here’s a telling excerpt:

“Wellman (local police) said the 911 call was received after the shooting. He said the home’s phone line was cut during the burglary, forcing the homeowner to call from a neighboring residence.”

I have often mentioned that only about one in four homes have a monitored alarm system – and that over 90% of them depend on a vulnerable phone line. Since a burglary happens in the US about every fifteen seconds (FBI statistics), we do need alarm systems to protect our families and homes, and these systems need to be cellular to be safe. The headline of this news article from Texas says it all: “Wire-Cutting Thieves Hit Suburban Homes.”

“Police are warning homeowners to make sure their alarm systems have a working backup battery. Some alarm companies also offer wireless uplinks, which ensure that the system will contact the alarm company even if the phone line is down.”

And here’s another cut line news story, in this case about a Texas business that was hit. There was an alarm system - but without its phone line, there was no protection. The owner’s advice?

“Install digital cell back-up on security alarm systems. Phone line tampering used to be rare, but is becoming more and more common as burglars find new ways to break-in.”

Happily, the word is getting out – sometimes from high places! Here is a link to the State Farm Insurance web site, and their warning on traditional alarm system communication:

“Burglars realize most security systems sound inside the house and then the alarm is transferred to remote locations through the telephone lines. Most phone lines are typically exposed on the outside of the house in an easily accessible location where the phone line can be cut. If the telephone line is cut, the security alarm system cannot notify the central monitoring station of the break-in.”

That pretty much says it all – and that’s from the folks who offer the discounts on homeowners insurance when you have a monitored alarm system. Hmmm... Wonder if the day is coming when that discount will only apply to cellular monitoring! Remember, wireless does not mean cellular. As the only 100% cellular alarm company in the US, FrontPoint specializes in safety – so you can benefit.

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