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Home Security Alarm Systems
Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Net subscribers. Your
own experience may be different. Please always check references before hiring!
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Home Security Alarm Systems
Another company beside ADT?
I'm hoping to hear new recommendations about alarm
systems. We have had ADT for the past 10 years and have
received a few price increases over the years. Can anyone
please recommend another company with reasonable pricing,
etc. that supports the Bay Area. Thank you!
Check out Reed Brothers. They tend to be affordable and as
far as I've heard are way more reliable than Bay Alarm or
ADT. They also keep their technicians around versus all the
turnover these larger companies tend to have. Plus, they're
We signed up with Bay Alarm a few months ago. Ask for
Gerard Dell. He has been with the company for a long time.
We were skeptical about them, mostly because ADT salesperson
was so flaky that we thought all the big companies were the
same. Gerard spent over two hours with us as we asked him
all sorts of questions and negotiated his price down.
(Actually my wife was better at negotiating than me) We got
a deluxe system at a reasonable price. He didn't offer
things we didn't need, but he did explain the value of some
features that we had not considered. Feel free to mention
my name. stu
As a Bay Alarm customer, I'd like to add my first hand
experience. Contrary to another poster who 'heard' they
were unreliable, our experience at our home and business has
been that Bay Alarm is very reliable. Due to the
neighborhood, our business alarm has gone off a number of
times. They have always contacted us promptly. They have
been working with us to reconfigure our business alarm
system so the neighborhood gunshots will not set off the
glass break alarms. We have been satisfied with Bay Alarm
service for both our business and home installations. As
far as being a local business, they are a family owned
business that has expanded from the bay area to statewide
CA. Please don't post a negative review of a business you
have no experience with, and likewise a service you don't
use. An actual Bay Alarm customer
I'm surprised no one mentioned a local home security
company, Sentry Alert, based in Berkeley. They wired my
house 14 years ago, and I've been with them, without
complaint, ever since. (They haven't raised their prices
during that time either.) I'm a single parent, and my house
is very close to the street as well as all on one level, so
I was nervous about security, particularly while asleep.
The Sentry representative was responsive to my concerns and
did not try to 'up-sell' me features I didn't need. The
number is 510-549-0306.
Seeking home security system-hardwired
We are looking for a home security system-hardwired, so
something like ADT or Bay Alarm. We do not want to install
it ourselves and would appreciate any insights, ideas
and/or recommendations (and companies to avoid).
bit on edge
BAY ALARM - www.bayalarm.com - installed and has serviced
our security systems for years. We recommend their
professionalism and understanding ( ... like when we've
goofed and set off our alarms by mistake !) Safe to go on
vacations ! Now, we just need enough time to actually GO. .
After a rash of burglaries in our neighborhood, we decided
to put in an alarm system. We used Bay Alarm, based on the
recommendations of friends. We were extremely happy with the
entire process, from the first consultation with the sales
rep to the installation. You can start with a really basic
system and build on it (extra motion detectors, etc).
We decided to upgrade to the smoke detector/fire alert
system. We put it on our second floor so we wouldn't get
many false alarms. Doing that gave us a sizable discount on
our homeowner's insurance. I have heard enough stories about
fires happening while the house is empty that I thought it
was a worthwhile addition to our package.
Our system--and think most are this way--allows us to
program in up to 45 different codes. When someone arms or
disarms our system, we get an email message immediately
telling us what time the system was armed/disarmed and the
user who did it. This is a great way to track the comings
and goings when you're not around. My kids each have their
own code and don't know ours, my brother has a code, as does
our dog walker.
When we first had our alarm I set it off a few times by
letting the dog out before turning off the alarm. I ran and
disarmed it immediately and never got dinged for a false
alarm. Happy With Bay Alarm
When I moved into my house in 1998 the previous owners had
installed a system from Bay Alarm so I just continued with
them and have been very happy. I don't know how expensive
the initial installation is, but over the years I have
upgraded my system several times and the cost always
seemed reasonable to me. A few times they even let me
spread the payments out over a few months. Their service
is very good, they are very efficient. They monitor the
system to make sure everything is working, they call me
when a battery is low or something isn't right. The few
times that the alarm has been triggered they called me
immediately and dispatched the police.
high marks for Bay Alarm
Looking for a home security system
My wife and I are expecting and are looking for a home
security system (presently renting but looking to buy soon).
I read some of the previous postings but they're a little
out-dated. Please respond and let me know: what system you
use, who installed it, how much you paid, and whether or not
you're happy. Thanks! Gabe
Security Etc is a great small firm. We live in Piedmont and
have been a client for 10 years.
We use Bay Alarm at our home in N. Berkeley and at our
business in West Oakland. We have monitored systems in
both locations - don't depend on the neighbors to call when
the alarm goes off. We haven't had any trouble with false
alarms. The alarm in W Oakland goes off because of
gunshots in the neighborhood, they always call us promptly.
They were really helpful in figuring out a cost effective
installation, a combination of window/door open alarms and
motion detectors. I don't know their current pricing for
installation, ask them. But we've been happy with Bay
Alarm. and they are a local company. alarmed
We ended up going with Nextalarm - an online provider.
Service is about $17 a month - much cheaper than the ADT's
of this world. I couldn't get any local feedback on them
when we signed up but am glad to report we are happy with
them. My husband installed the system as it is wireless. The
initial programming of it was a bit of a pain but he got it
sorted out fairly quickly with their help. I guess you could
get a local company to install it too. When we've
accidentally trigger the alarm they are always very prompt
in calling. saving $
Home alarm for very safe neighborhood
I would like to hear current yays/nays for home alarm
companies. i'm interested in alarming home that is in a very safe
neighborhood crimewise. unfortuately, there is an
individual neighbor who is a delusional addict/alcoholic,
adult child living in elderly parent's home next door.
~want to sleep without one eye open
We've used Security Etc for nearly 10 years and have been
very pleased with their service and pricing. The company
installs and monitors. The website is www.security-etc.com.
Carl is the owner. Allen
We also live in a nice neighborhood (Moraga), but a house
two doors away got burglarized. It is a good feeling to come
home and here the warning alarm go off. That way you know no
one is in the house.
We got bids from ADT & Bay Alarm a couple of years ago. Bay
Alarm was slightly cheaper for the installation & the
monitoring. Bay Alarm promised never to raise our monthly
monitoring rate (billed quarterly) and so far they haven't.
We had one service call and it was a simple fix so they
didn't charge us.
Bay Alarm is a local company.
-Happy with Bay Alarm
I have had Bay Alarm for about 3 years and have been very
happy. likes my alarm
We got Global Security Systems after we were broken into.
They are in Moraga: 346 Rheem Blvd, Moraga.(800) 675-7000
(925) 377-8411 That was years ago and we've kept the system
because it is very unique. When you leave you set the house
so that a break in or a motion causes it to 'go off.' Then
a voice comes over the line and asks if you are ok & to give
the password. If the burglar can't give the password they
call the cops. They can listen in to see if there seem to
be one or more burglars, whether YOU are there, or if there
are children or a dog in the house. So when they call the
cops they can give more info than: The alarm went off.
Also, It's local and I feel like local businesses are more
same system for 18 yrs
We recently installed a home alarm system and went with Bay
Alarm. We've been very happy with the entire process so far.
Our sales person explained the system really well,
installation happened very quickly, and everyone was very
nice to work with and walked us through everything
thoroughly. Fortunately, we haven't had to use it, but that
means I can't comment on how well the response times are.
Features we like:
-- Easy to use.
-- Direct panic fire & police panic buttons on the keypad,
and a remote you can keep on you also has a panic button.
(Not that I am paranoid or live in fear, but I like to keep
that next to the bed when my husband travels b/c the alarm
keypad is downstairs.)
-- The ability to program up to 43 separate codes. My kids
each have their own, which is a great curfew-obeying
incentive! My dog walker has her own. We get emails when the
alarm is armed and disarmed (including the code for who
armed/disarmed it), so even if I'm not home, I know who is
coming and going and when.
-- We also installed a fire/smoke detector that is part of
the system. That is great peace of mind when you travel.
-- We got a 15 percent discount on our homeowner's insurance
for having the burglar and the fire alarm.
Bay Alarm was really great and I highly recommend them
We use Bay Alarm and so far have had no problems with them.
Tried to get a quote from ADT and got terrible customer
service from them, so I don't recommend them.
What is the best alarm company?
I'm thinking about having an alarm system installed and I'm
looking for up-to-date recommendations. What is the best
company? What factors do I need to take into consideration?
I have a corner lot -- is the house more or less likely to
be burglarized? Any other tips?
I have a dog, but she's too sweet to offer much protection.
I had both ADT and Bay come and give me their pitch when I
bought a couple years ago. I ended up choosing Bay Alarm.
ADT was cheaper for their set up costs, and will wire more
rooms, but it's all wired into the console, so it's easily
disabled. Bay Alarm's installation was more expensive, but
the monthly charge is about the same. Their system has a
'brain' that can be hidden far from the central panel, so it
is way harder for anyone to disable it. It is also a family
owned business, where the people that come and talk to you
work for them, and are not simply contractors, like for AD,
so the customer service is way better. Lisa
Single mom needs alarm system!
I am single and just bought a house. The day after I got
the keys two men kicked in the back door (no one was home,
thankfully). I need an alarm system! Any positive or
negative recommendations for Bay, ADT, Century, or any other
I've been satisfied with Bay Alarm which came with the house
when we bought it. The house was broken into last year, and
the alarm scared the bad guys off. The company did call the
police quickly as promised. anon
First of all, don't pay any attention to those 'Free Alarm
System' ads. Yes, they offer you a basic free package, but
anything else on top of that will cost money, and most
houses will require extra wiring, etc. In the end, all the
alarm companies will cost about the same after they tack on
the 'extras', regardless of whether they offered you 'free
installation' or not. So go for the company that gives you
the best service, and ignore those advertised discounts on
We installed our system 3 years ago. ADT was horrible. The
guy came and gave us a quote, then literally disappeared off
the face of the earth. I think he quit his job. I called his
office AND his manager to follow up and nobody bothered to
call me back. Finally some weird guy from ADT called me at
night (who calls at night??) to ask me for feedback on their
service. I told him I had no feedback as nobody bothered to
give me any service. Nobody followed up on my feedback
We went with Bay Alarm and had a good experience with them.
Be sure to ask your salesman for discounts. Usually they
have some flexibility to throw a few free things in for you
(this is different from the 'discounts' they advertise on
We got bids from adt and bay alarm. Bay was a little cheaper
and was less per month for monitoring each month. They also
said they wouldn't raise our monthly rate, which they
haven't. --Happy bay customer
I went with ASI Alarms. They are in the East Bay and are
VERY responsive. When my toddler son sets off the alarm by
accident, the phones start ringing in under a minute. Or if
the system needs tweaking, they'll come right over and do
I've used ADT before for an out of state home. I won't go
through the trouble of switching, but I would not ever go
with them again. It's a huge corporation, and when you have
a simple question you gotta go through all the voice
prompts. With ASI, I can talk to the owner if I want to!
Try Bay Alarm. They must have a reputation among the
thieves. Ours has not worked for a long time, but the sign
out front seems to keep us safe!
Try Sentry Alert in Berkeley. Been around for a long time
and the only use their own installers. Work is always
professional, service is great and they are the most
convenient. They are right off Gilman. berkeleymom
I'm sorry your house was broken into. Even in you aren't
home when it happens and didn't lose much, it still feels
like you were personally violated. After our home break in
(ours took someone a lot of time and effort, but they still
got in) we had Bay Alarm install an alarm system. We also
alarmed our garage. We have a monitored system, meaning if
it goes off they first try to reach us and then call the
local police. imho there is no point to a alarm system
that is not monitored. My neighbors haven't been much help
in any of the burglaries in the neighborhood, I wouldn't
want to rely on them to respond to an alarm going off. My
husband also has Bay Alarm for his office/warehouse in West
Oakland. I recommend them. alarmed now
Too many burglaries - time for alarm system
Too many burglaries in the Montclair area and it's time to
put in an alarm system. I'd love to hear people's
experiences with the major companies, Bay Alarm, Sentry,
ADT and others you might use. Cost? Customer Service?
Quality of work? Reliability?
We got quotes from ADT & Bay Alarm. Bay Alarm was a little
cheaper for the equipment/installation and slightly lower
for the monthly monitoring. They also pledged that they
would never raise the monthly monitoring fee. So far (3
years later), they've kept their word.
We got the monitored fire alarm too which saves a little
money on our home insurance bill.
We've had one service call. A door sensor went out and after
replacing the battery (which I did), it needed a little tap
to reset. They didn't charge us.
We are happy with Bay Alarm, but either one would be fine.
Luckily we haven't had our alarm go off for real. 90% of the
deterrent is having the sign up in front of your house. But
you've got to turn it on. Someone in our neighborhood had
some burglars set off his alarm and they ran off.
There is a lot of piece of mind in hearing the alarm warning
bell go off (telling you to turn off the alarm) when you
enter. You know no one is in the house. --Bay Alarm
Alarm Systems - DIY without monitoring?
We would like to get a home alarm system. There have been
several recent break-ins in our neighborhood. But we're not
sure that we need to be paying $40/mo for monitoring. I'm
not even sure what that entails. My husband wants to install
our own system (a DIY approach) and forego monitoring and
contracts. I'm not sure if this is a good idea. I worry that
we don't have enough experience with this field, but maybe
it isn't too difficult. Has anyone installed a DIY alarm?
Which one? What has the experience been like without
monitoring? Can you think of any pros and cons for doing so?
Also, can you please share your experience with alarm
companies and what system you went with, if not DIY?
Thanks for your help!
Check out Al Lasher's Electronics on University--they're family owned and
operated and have a large selection of DIY alarm and video monitoring
equipment. http://allashers.com/ You might also check out Reed Brothers on
Telegraph: http://www.reedbrotherssecurity.com/ I've had plenty of dealings
with both companies and can recommend both.
We used/use Bay Alarm.
I forget the original cost, but it was about seven hundred
dollars I think. We have door alarms and motion sensor
alarms that cover the whole house. The motion sensors
seemed a lot better than window alarms to us since we like
to crack our windows open for fresh air (they are blocked
so you can't open them all the way).
We pay $31/month for monitoring (charged quarterly). Bay
Alarm pledged not to increase that if we keep our system
That buys a lot of peace of mind for us. A house just down
the street was burglarized during the day. Our family
doesn't want to come home to a house that has burglars in
The other benefit of a monitored system is that they are
also monitoring a fire alarm. If you have a fire when you
aren't home (or don't wake up), they will call the fire
department. That gets us a discount on our homeowner's
insurance. I forget how much, but it helps offset the
monitoring cost. I doubt you'll get a discount for DIY
Just having the sign up is a huge deterrent, but if it is
not one of the major companies, it will probably be less of
Happy with our alarm
DIY is easy. The alarm companies in my opinion are a
complete rip off. They sell on fear. You pay $500 a year
for monitoring. There are so many false alarms the police
never respond. (My neighbor has one and the thing goes
off once or twice a month and everyone ignores it.
The only plus I know of is you might be able to save a few
bucks on insurance. Other than that they are a pain in
Unless your husband has alarm expertise, I say forget the
DIY approach. If you don't pay for monitoring, what do you
expect to happen when the alarm goes off? The short answer
is that nothing will happen, other than your neighbors will
be annoyed. The thief might be scared off, more likely not
until they have made a quick pass through your house. With
a monitored system the alarm co will make an effort to reach
you before contacting local police, this can save you the
cost of police responding to false alarms. (they charge,
rate varies by city) We have a monitored alarm system from
Bay Alarm at home, installed after we came home from a
vacation to find our back door destroyed. The cost of
damage to door and surrounding framing was vastly more than
the value of the few stolen items. Apparently the thief
underestimated the effort required to break in. My husband
also uses Bay Alarm in his office in West Oakland, his
office alarm goes off regularly, it's a feature of the
neighborhood. Bay Alarm did a great job figuring out an
optimal installation, where we needed window and door
sensors, where it made more sense to use motion sensors.
We also get a discount on our homeowners insurance for the
monitored alarm system.
We've had our home monitored by Bay Alarm for almost 2 decades and have
been very pleased with their service. We have a combination of Door/Window
alarms and motion detectors, as well as fire alarm monitoring. When the
alarm is tripped, the company calls immediately to find out if it's a false
alarm and if they receive no reply, they alert the police. This has happened a
couple of times and the police came in our absence. Also, I like the added
protection of having a panic button that immediately alerts the alarm
company to call the police. This happened to us a few months ago when --
for the first time in many years -- we forgot to set the alarm at night and
experienced a home invasion the next morning. Everyone was ok but being
able to push the panic button to immediately send an SOS to police made it
possible for them to be there in 6 minutes. I don't think alarm systems give
you a false sense of security: anyone can break into your house if they really
want to . What they do is scare off your thieves when you're not there and --
God forbid you're in the house -- give you precious time to react. On our
street alone, in a ''nice'' neighborhood in the hills, 7 houses have been hit in
the last year. None of the houses with set alarms had anything stolen because
the thieves bolted. I don't know the reputation of the other alarm companies
out there but we've been very, very pleased with Bay Alarm.
Oakland Hills Mom
Alarm system for El Cerrito house
We're just moving into El Cerrito and are wanting
recommendations for alarm system
services. Who has great service/pricing in the area?
thanks! New to El Cerrito
I've had Detect All as my security system for over 15 years.
Just had them redo parts of my system when I installed new
windows. My contact is Rick: 415- 559-0673. Linda
More economical options than Sentry Alert?
We have our alarm monitoring service with Sentry Alert, but would
like to see if there are other more economical options. Does
anyone use 911 Alarm? It is only $11.99 a month and is local
company. (I checked previous posts for recommendations and they
are quite old.) Are there other companies that anyone would
We use Allen Alarm out of Orinda (925-254-2112). My father in law had
used them for his home, and chose them in part because they are a
small firm with an actual human to answer the phone. Our monthly cost
($20) includes fire and police, and this cost is offset by the alarm
credit we get from our home owners insurance company (Safeco). There
was also a set up cost when we first signed up to wire all our windows
and doors, don't recall the amount - it probably depends on how many
windows and doors your home has.
For anyone looking for a security system for their house, we highly
recommend Sentry Alert. Dan, the owner, is personable and very easy to
work with. He assessed our house 3 years ago for our wireless system
and they have done an excellent job monitoring our alarm system during
that time. They are a service oriented company that values their
clients and we are loyal customers!
Anyone have ADT home alarm system?
Anyone have ADT home alarm system? My understanding is the
central controls are not local. Does that matter? When your
alarm has gone off, whether that be a false alarm or a true
alarm due to home intrusion, were you satisfied with the speed
I would be careful about ADT.
I had a difficult time dealing with the service from ADT for my
parent's house. My father was elderly and needed the alarm
battery replaced. They came out, did not have the right parts,
charged him for the visit and never fixed the system.
a few months later when he moved to a retirement community, and
we sold the house, they would not close the account until the
bill was paid and continued to bill him monthly despite his
written letter to end service (and even though we had properly
notified them in a timely manner that he did not own or live in
the house anymore). Then they fought with me continuously.
They finally took off the service visit charge, but then wanted
to get paid for the service during the months when he had
cancelled service. It took months to finally get someone who
understood the situation and would close the account and remove
For my own house, I went with Bay Alarm. They have been very
responsive, good service providers. I have been with them for
about 10 years and had few (and small) reasonable fee increases.
I support the local businesses.
They are good about keeping the account info up to date.
Seeking alarm system for house in San Ramon
Please help! My parents-in-law would like an alarm system for
their house in San Ramon.
-Which company do you use?
-Would your recommend or not recommend them and why?
-Did you have to commit to a specific period of time (When we
signed up with Bay Alarm before, we had to commit for 3 years. Is
this still how it is?)
-What was the cost of installation and what did it cover
(windows, doors, motion detector)?
-How much do you pay monthly or quarterly? (I'm of the belief
it's negotiable. Is this true? When we signed up with Bay
Alarm, the salesman would say things like ''if you also added on
fire detector, we'll reduce the price of X by Y but add on Z for
the fire detector.'' Also, my mother says they have been raising
the monthly prices by a dollar here and there.)
-Did you have to have a home evaluation before they would sit
down and discuss prices or were you able to discuss prices over
the phone? (When we had an alarm system, we felt pressured by
Bay Alarm to sign right then and there, and we didn't get a 2nd
quote which we should have gotten. )
-In the future, if you want to add other services or products or
there is a problem, what do they charge? (My Mom had her front
door replaced. The Bay Alarm person we talked to on the phone
would not quote us an estimate for the actual part that needed
replacing, though she was able to quote the price of the home
visit. She kept saying only the person who did the home visit
could give us a quote on the part AND that representative had to
have a home visit to be able to give us the quote. Bay Alarm
should be able to give a price quote on a part over the phone.
What is wrong with them? Why can't they do this over the phone?
The Bay Alarm rep on the phone said she'd pass on the message
via email to her supervisor, but we never heard back.)
-Are the little ads we get in the mail actually worth anything or
do they give out discounts all the time?
As you can see from my comments, we do not like Bay Alarm much
from our own experience. Maybe if they see this post they could
We would really appreciate recommendations. Thanks in advance.
Wow - I must say I was surprised to learn of your terrible
experience with Bay Alarm. We just switched our alarm system
after 7 years because we had such bad experience with ADT. They also raised
their prices over the time we had them,
required a 3-year minimum, and wouldn't quote prices over the
phone. The other issues we had with ADT included: no outside
alarm (this was important to us, because our neighbors will
respond immediately and the police take 20-minutes), equipment
that stops working years before it is supposed to, high charges
for replacing batteries (Bay Alarm did this for us free when
they installed our new system using our old ADT parts), and
FREQUENT false alarms in the middle of the night (and we have 2
small children - ugh).
I called Sentry Alarm first (on advice of BPN) but the person
who came over (yes it seems they all require a visit to do a
quote) kept changing the prices on us. They also have a VERY
high monthly charge for monitoring and this person was NOT
knowledgeable about alarm systems (she couldn't find our ADT
front door monitor and was going to charge us, whereas the Bay
Alarm person found it right away). This person also changed
the price (it went up) just before she left on our estimate. I
asked why and she said there were some negligible charges she
forgot about, but she couldn't really explain them.
So - I'm sorry to say we LOVE Bay Alarm. It probably doesn't
help you, but it sounds like it really depends on who your
representative is. I'd tell you to call them directly, tell
them you had a terrible experience with your rep, and have them
send out Al (the Oakland Hills Rep) or someone different.
Best of Luck
Security Measures for North Oakland Home
We had a recent burglary in our backyard and a break-in next door
to our North Oakland duplex. We would like to provide some
additional security measures for our tenants, who live below us
at ground level, to make them feel safer. So far, we have added
backyard gate locks, flood motion lights around home, and have a
security door on the front door. The windows are all new and
lock. We also provided additional locks for the window sill
interior. We would like to avoid bars on windows.
We are on a tight budget and are hesitant to shell out $40-50
monthly for an alarm system, but we also want to be responsible
landlords and feel safe in our home too.
Any ideas on additional security measures we can take without
breaking the bank?
In my experience from living in a neighborhood where there were a
lot of burglaries, putting in an alarm and having a dog are the
very best preventative measures you can take. We put the alarm
only on the windows we thought were most likely to be places a
burglar would try to come in (along the side of the house where
you couldn't see someone trying to get in from the street) and on
all of the doors. If the windows are new and therefore hard to
break or jimmy open that's good, but if they can be opened and
then no alarm goes off, someone can break in during the day, when
the motion lights are irrelevant. The main thing, of course, is
always closing all accessible windows at night and when you go
out, and instructing your ground floor tenants to do the same.
A couple of 'security' measures to add to the list- put a security alarm sign on
property (burglars don't need to know ur just advertising for the company!) and
get a beware of dog sign! And if you can get a dog-even better...they really are
Want to install a home security system
We are in the middle of a major remodel, and decided this would
be a good time to look into an alarm system. I've been through
the old BPN recommendations, but thought I'd put it out there
again. Sentry and Omni were two companies in particular I'd like
to hear about, but would like to hear any opinions pro or con
about other companies as well. Thanks!
We have had Sentry Alert for 1.5 years and we have had a very
good experiences with them. We bought a house with an extremely
old Sentry alarm system in it. They accommodated this without
forcing us to upgrade, which I thought was very unusual
customer service. Recently we decided to upgrade afterall,
because the new alarm offered better features. During all our
interactions -- installation, training, calling to let them
know we'd be out of town, changing the code, turning it off
when we accidentally set it off, they have been incredibly
friendly and more than helpful. Go to their website for more
Is a home security system worth installing?
We live in North Oakland. Our house was broken into about 7 years
ago while we were at work. My husband works late and I'm home
alone with the kids full-time. I know Oakland police don't
respond promptly, but I'm wondering if just having an alarm go
off if someone is in the house as I'm entering the house with the
kids or when I'm home alone. But, if the police won't arrive to
help is it still worthwhile to be aware of an entry so I can get
help from neighbor or not enter the house? Any advice or thoughts?
Yes! A home alarm system is worth installing as long as you
have alarm monitoring with it.
When your alarm goes, the alarm company will try to reach you
first, if they cannot get a hold of you then they will call the
Robert G. (locksmith)
Just had our old, ancient alarm replaced by Sentry Alert (510-
549-0306). Every dealing we have had with them has been
exceptional. Dan, the owner, came out to survey the job, and
he was very knowledgeable and practical. The installer was top
notch, on time, and left no mess. And, their after sales
support was extremely responsive when we had questions.
Nothing but a great experience!
Sentry Alert has been wonderful. The staff is competent,
friendly, and helpful. Once, a phone company technician who
knew nothing about alarm systems deliberately snipped one of the
alarm wires and could not figure out what he had done wrong. I
called Sentry Alert, and an employee explained exactly what the
phone company needed to do to repair the damage they had done.
The careful instructions from the Sentry Alert employee (who was
actually on his day off) saved me the cost of a service call.
I need to have a very basic alarm system installed.
Any recommendations for cheap, competent service?
WE went with the low-cost alternative when we first moved into
our house and regretted it. As soon as we could cancel our
monitoring contract without a huge penalty, we switched over to
Bay Alarm. MUCH better customer service. Afterall, what you're
buying more than anythng else is peace of mind. Having a company
that responds intelligently when you call is most important. Bay
is by no means the cheapest, but, I think that you will find is
well-regarded and is still locally owned and operated
Bay Alarm Fan
It's been some time since anyone posted a recommendation for an alarm system, and
we're facing a dilemma. We've had terrible service from ADT since they took over from
what was once Westec. We'd like to switch companies, but we've been told that the old
Westec system can only be handled by ADT. Are there similar experiences out there? Has
anyone paid to have a whole new system installed? If so, who would you recommnend?
We have had a great experience with Sentry Alert (549-0306). The woman who does the
estimate is very helpful. The techs who installed the system were great. Everyone I
have interacted with at the company has been helpful, including the call center
where we call if we accidently set off the alarm. We once had a problem late at
night and I was able to talk with a technician by phone. He helped me solve the
problem but they sent out someone the next day (for free) just to double check the
I received 4 quotes before chosing Sentry Alert. Their price was very competitive
and they were the only firm I truly had confidence in after getting estimates. The
companies we did not go with were: ADT, Reed Brothers and Sentry Alarm.
Other friends of ours signed up with Sentry Alert in the last 6 months and have also
I am considering getting a home alarm system. I've looked
in the archives but the recommendations are fairly old.
I'm hoping to get more up-to-date information on which
companies seem to be best. Thanks!
I use Sentry Alert: they're locally owned and very easy to
deal with. Lucky for me, I haven't tested them in a pinch,
but for day-to-day dealings, they're great. And I love
supporting a real, local business.
I'm looking for an affordable home security systems. Does anyone know of a
reasonable/reliable one, like ADT or Bay alarm?
Omni Alarm, 925-837-3961. They are located in Contra Costa County, but work in the
east bay as well. They were recommended to us by someone who knows the best and
cheapest places to get stuff like this, and we recommended them to others as well.
I had my system redone by Sentry Alert. I like them, they are local
and response has always been good from them. They did a nice job of
redoing my system - I had wireless sensors put on the windows to
replace the old wired sensors, and the main "box" replaced. What has
worked fine for me was to have all openings (doors and windows) on the
ground floor set up with sensors, and a motion detector in the living
room. The motion detector goes off if someone enters thru the upper
story (thus avoiding the downstairs sensors) and goes downstairs to
rip of the TV, stereo, etc. You can have your system set up however
you want, though.
We just had a security system installed by Sentry Alert, and they did a
very good job. The installers are employees, not subcontractors -- and did
an incredibly clean, unobtrusive installation. The person to contact is
Marie Hellman, who took a lot of time with us to make sure we got the
system we wanted. Their phone number is 510-549-0306. The installation
cost $1600 (which is probably more than most houses because we have a lot
of windows in our little house), and the monitoring is $30/month, I think.
I have lived in Montclair for 19 years without a burglary problem but
had two break-ins in April. I got an alarm system from Bay Alarm. I
was very apprehensive about having one given 3 kids to teach to use it
and remember. I was also concerned about aesthetics. I was pleased
with the salesperson (Greg Blanc 291-2673) and the installer. The
system is wireless and includes a motion detector, glass break
detectors and door and window contacts (alarm goes off if two pieces
are separated by opening). It is not obvious (few little white boxes
on doors and windows). The whole thing came to about $1100. I did
commit to 3 years of monitoring at $29/month (if the alarm goes off
and isn't turned off right away they call to check, if no-one can give
them the family password they call the police).
I also talked to ADT - Robert Little (786-5020) and found him and ADT
and the price good too. I chose Bay Alarm since a neighbor showed me
their system and that gave me some degree of familiarity. Mary
We have been very happy with Honeywell. We had the system put in over 2.5
years ago, so I don't remember the cost, but I know it was resonable. We
pay $25 a month monitoring fee. They send the police out if the alarm goes
off and no one answers the phone with the secret code.
We use Sentry Alert, locally owned and operated. Annual fee is reasonable,
service to the system is excellent. They installed our system in 1990 and
have monitored us continuously. They were purchased by another company
5 years ago, but retained their name and still have a local business. We
stayed with the original and they are excellent. We have a complex system and
they did exactly what we wanted for a great price. Sentry Alert 549-0306
I highly recommend Tom Finucane to install a burglar alarm system and
his alarm monitoring company, Goldstar Alarm Co. Tom installed alarm
systems in both our old house and our new home which we built about
half of --- so he installed the alarm wiring right into the open walls
and window frames. It has all the bell and whistles (zones that can
be turned on and off, motion sensors, etc), the price was extremely
reasonable and the job was very professionally done. He gives
personal service (such as coming on a weekend to explain how to
operate the system when we are both home), and that is much better
than dealing with a large company. Tom Finucane, 415/225-4892.
At the risk of sounding like yuppy scum, I am soliciting information
regarding home alarm systems. We live right near a bustling and fairly
prosperous Oakland commercial area and I frequently read in the local
rag about property crimes and violent crimes in our neighborhood,
although we have been spared so far. Anyway, I'd like to know if people
have had any good or bad experiences with particular systems and
installation companies, and what the cost was to get a new system
installed. Our house is of an extremely modest size.
We've had Bay Alarm service for about 4 years now. They had good ideas about
how to give us the appropriate level of protection (wouldn't foil
sophisticated thieves bent on entry, but those would be unlikely to target
our humble abode) and the installation went very smoothly. Training was
good and the system has worked well. Installation cost was about $450;
monthly fee for central station hookup is $22 (billed every 3 months).
We recently cancelled our service with a company called Protection One. Our
service provider was bought out by this company about a year ago.
I sent a letter requesting the service be discontinued. About 3 months
later I was
still receiving bills and I also received a rather nasty letter stating
that our contract
said we couldn't cancel our service mid-year that we would have to pay through
the end of the contract year (another 9 months). I had trouble actually
anyone that could help me. I sent another letter requesting a copy of the
contract that we had signed that stated this crazy policy. After another
got a 'oh never mind' response from them. They couldn't seem to find a signed
contract so they were being nice and letting us cancel our service. We had been
customers for a little over 4 years. I would be very careful about reading
fine print on whatever contract you sign and make sure you understand the
policies. We currently have service through Bay Alarm and are happy with their
neighborhood patrol service, we have not had the occasion to test the alarm
We just chose Bay alarm. You can call Marcia Jones at 291-9766. She will
walk you through the various options and what she recommends for your home.
You should not have to pay so much for an alarm system. Ours (a wireless
system with ADT) was installed for about $500 and we pay $22.50 per month
in monitoring fees. Plus we now get a discount on our homeowner's
insurance premium. They put the sign up in the yard even before the system
was installed and I immediately felt safer and happier -- though I, too,
live in a safe neighborhood. It's the deterrent effect that really counts,
so if you want to save money on installation (or do it slowly, over time)
be selective about which windows you wire up to begin with. You can still
cover your house with stickers, and intruders are more likely to pass you
by. We actually use it most when we're home, going to bed. Nothing like
feeling really locked in with your little ones at night. Worth every penny.
I started with Brink's years ago and had them install the system for $199
(including motion detection). The monthly fee was $21.95. They fell down
on the job in my opinion and I switched after a couple of years to ADT. I
like them better, but they're not ideal either.
Our house came with an alarm system installed, so I can't help with
installation advice, but we are very happy with Morgan Alarm in Vallejo.
Their call backs are very prompt, they have a nice newsletter, and it's only
$70 per QUARTER for monitoring.
Installing an alarm system had been on our "to do" list for a few years. It
went to the top of my list after I was mugged outside my home (Montclair)
when I was 8 months pregnant. At that time I compared ADT and Bay Alarm
systems. They were pretty much comparable when it came to price and what
they had to offer. One main difference was that ADT would charge for
service calls but not add a surcharge if I wanted additional features added
on at a later date, and that Bay Alarm would not generally charge for
servicing but would charge an additional surcharge if I wanted something
like an additional motion detector added on at a later date. This might vary
by contract. Bay Alarm is also locally operated which had some appeal. I
paid in the range of $1000 for installation but I may have gotten some extra
features considering my state of mind. No system is fool-proof so remember
not to go overboard. Our main usage of the system is when we are in the
house. My husband was not really convinced that it would make a difference
but it really does provide me with peace of mind. I think there is a little
room for bargaining the price because I had gotten quotes in the past that
were a lot less than what I actually paid because they said winter was a
high demand season, so I imagine that summer is low demand?! We also got a
discount on our homeowners insurance. Good luck!
any recommendations for security systems and companies
for residential / apts ?
I'd like to recommend Sentry Alert, based in Berkeley. They provide the
services for my house, but I believe they also do apartments. Of the
of three companies I got quotes from when I bought my house two years ago,
rep, Marie Hellman, was the only one who really listened to what I wanted
security system: to deter prospective intruders. The other two focused on
detectors, which would be triggered if someone were in the house already,
by my young daughter or a guest on the way to the bathroom. Frankly, I
want to keep
the bad guys out, not scare them away once they're inside! In two years,
only one malfunction, and Sentry sent someone out immediately. Very
pleasant to deal
We priced systems and went with Westec a few years back. They came in to
install and did a poor job the first time around, for aesthetic reasons.
We called the supervisor who came right out, apologized and said it wasn't
up to their usual work, they redid the whole system for free (took them 3
additional days) and it has always worked quite well. They are very nice
to deal with by telephone. And their monitoring system worked well -- we
had no occasion to have it tested until I left the back door unlocked one
day. Two years after it was installed, I was at the market one day
shopping and received a phone call on my cell phone from them informing me
that my back door was open, the police were on their way, and would I care
to go home to check things out? We highly recommend them.
I'd like to hear recommendations for and against alarm monitoring companies in
the Berkeley area as we would like to switch companies. We would prefer a local
company with a track record of consistent, dependable service.
We have been using Protection One which we do not recommend. For a while we had
a number of alarm set-offs for a variety of reasons and found that it often took
them 5-10 minutes to even call our house prior to calling in the alarm to the
police. Once it took them 40 minutes after the alarm was set off to call us,
and one time they never called us. It turns out that their monitoring center
monitors alarms for all of the western US so if there is an emergency in Utah
for example, there may be significant delays in reporting for Berkeley.
In addition their bookkeeping dept has made some mistakes and it is almost
impossible to get through to them by phone to correct them. On the positive
side, we have been very impressed with their repair department. Thanks for
any experience you can share.
I would highly recommend Bay Alarm.Unlike other companies like Brinks and
Protection One whose monitoring centers are located in Oregon and Utah, Bay
Alarm's monitoring center is centrally located in Walnut Creek. This is
one of the reasons why we've decided to go along with Bay Alarm. Even
though the other two major monitoring companies argued the fact that there
would be no delays in reporting from one state to the next because the
message is sent electronically, we were still apprehensive. Your
experience just confirmed our thoughts. We've been with Bay Alarm since
February and have been highly satisfied with their customer service as well
as their convenient 24-hour repair service. The monitoring fee costs us a
reasonable $26.00 a month. For two more dollars we added the security of
smoke monitoring (not to be confused with smoke alarm.) We only had a
problem once due to a super sensitive motion detector. The alarm went off,
and within minutes the company sent the police and called my husband and I
at our respective workplaces. They immediately fixed the motion detector
at our convenience.
I've had good service with Sentry Alert, I believe they are located in
Berkeley. I had them initially 10 years ago. Then I believe that they
were bought out (or some customers sold? I forget how it went) by Protection
One, and I had the same problems with Protection One as expressed by the
person asking for the recommendation. Last year, I reconnected with Sentry
Alert, and I've been quite happy with their service since.
this page was last updated: Apr 24, 2012
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