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Published: Sunday, 4/3/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Home alarm system buys peace of mind

BY MARY ALICE POWELL
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

Combine these two statistics and find a common denominator:

● Every 14 seconds a home in the United States is broken into, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program Time Clock.

● Sleep is important to our health and it prevents stress.

If you guessed a home security system as the denominator, you are absolutely correct, at least from my tabulation and needs.

Home burglaries are reported daily and with each one I have thought that could have been my house. The fear increased with reports of abusive crimes that occurred during break-ins a few miles from my home. I never considered Digby to be a watchdog, but he would bark loudly just before he shook hands with anyone and he was protective.

While I have courage traveling alone or even walking close to the edge of a volcano, there have been many scary nights at home. To imagine hearing footsteps downstairs after you have gone to bed upstairs means you should go down to check or hold your breath until the imaginary noise goes away. Then there is the question day or night when you swear you locked the house when you left but found it unlocked when you returned. Should you enter the house even though your heart is pounding rapidly with the apprehension a stranger has been waiting for your return?

Being fearful in your own home leads to sleep deprivation. The fear doesn't lessen if you go to bed while it is still daylight, reasoning that you will get a head start on the dark night hours when it seems we are most afraid.

I could never admit some of the eerie thoughts my wild imagination conjured of what could happen as I suffer through sleepless periods. I probably should have written them down for seed for a good murder mystery but instead I was awake until 3 a.m. listening, wondering, and hoping daybreak would come soon.

After receiving several calls from an alarm system's telemarketers and seeing advertisements in The Blade, I made the decision: What better way to spend $41 a month than for peace of mind and restful sleep?

While so far I am pleased with the decision and the system, there was a catch when the installer arrived. The pleasant young man who drove from Woodhaven, Mich., for the task said he wanted to be sure I understood the rules. His information was as I had been told until he recited the 36-month contract. That's when I exploded. I had not been told anything about having to sign up for three years. Cancellation is detailed and tricky.

My first decision was to scrap the plan and let the young man head back home. It is nothing short of deceit not to notify a customer of the long contract that tallies about $1,500. According to the installer, he gets the same complaint often from new customers who are shocked when they learn they will be bound to three years.

But, after talking to a supervisor twice, I agreed to the plan which binds me for the allotted period, unless death do us part, I move and take the system, or sell the house and leave it. The last possibility is of course favored.

With motion detectors and armed doors in place I sleep like a baby and wake up ready to pursue the day's schedule. The old house even seems quieter. I no longer hear mystery sounds and feel compelled to check things out.

The best news is that so far I am pushing all the right buttons on the key pad without making a mistake that unnecessarily brings the police. And I can move faster than I thought I could. The 30-second time limit to leave the house after it is armed is no sweat.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com



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