I was catching up on some old TiVo and saw an ADT commercial that really tweaked me. You know the one, it has a woman alone in the kitchen when the bad guy smashes the window to pop the door and do all sorts of nastiness. Her alarm starts blaring, scares off the bad guy, and it’s ADT to the rescue.

There are two things that bother me about this:

  1. The average default alarm installation doesn’t include glass break detection. Those free-with-service ADT (or anyone) systems just include contact sensors for someone opening doors or windows, and usually one motion detector. Glass breaks can cost over $100 more each, only cover about a 30’ radius, and are prone to false alarms. Sure, maybe the alarm would go off when the bad guy opened the door, but only if…
  2. How many of you set your alarm when you’re home during the day? Nope, maybe only those of you in a real nasty part of town. Definitely not in the nice suburbs like our luckless victim.

I really don’t like deceptive advertising- especially when it imparts a false sense of security. I wonder how many people think those sensors on their windows will go off if someone smashes them? How about all those people that lose bikes out of their garages every year because garage doors aren’t normally sensored?

I realize I’m exaggerating a bit to make a point. Just having an alarm can really reduce your risk of any kind of break in, and if you’re in a higher risk area I recommend alarms (and have one myself in Phoenix). But if advertising is going to play on FUD, it’s irresponsible to create a false sense of security. Having dealt with multiple alarm installers over the years, very few of the sales guys (as opposed to the installers) educate customers on the gaps in the system, or additional high-cost options.*

*which is a little surprising, although I suspect they worry about sticker shock to the average consumer.