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  • Speaking of “Those Dumb Brinks Home Security Commercials”…

    Posted by Jonathan on June 18th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Not only are the ads stupid and misleading, they perpetuate the stereotype that, no matter what else is happening, a woman will always drop everything to answer the phone. If someone just broke into your house, and the alarm goes off and you’re trying to figure out what to do, are you going to run to answer the phone if it rings? I’m surprised there hasn’t been more comment on this point, if only for purposes of ridicule.

    I understand the commercial rationale behind these ads. They seem to be directed at women who are concerned about being victimized but who don’t like guns and aren’t willing to take other serious measures to protect themselves. They want to feel safe, but either the mere feeling of safety is enough for them or they don’t understand that alarms by themselves do little to protect them. And because most such customers will not be victimized they may conclude that their alarms are worthwhile.

    One of the reasons why there are few criminal break-ins of occupied homes in the USA is that many Americans do have real security systems, particularly firearms. If you prefer not to own firearms, which may be a perfectly reasonable choice for you, you still benefit from the likelihood, which most criminals probably understand, that some of your neighbors are armed.

    Of course, an argument about the positive externalities conferred on communities by community members who are gun owners would be difficult to convey in a simple-minded TV commercial, and it might not help the alarm company’s business to point it out. But it’s a valid point and that’s a good thing for all of us.

     

    33 Responses to “Speaking of “Those Dumb Brinks Home Security Commercials”…”

    1. James R. Rummel Says:

      Good post.

      James

    2. John Burgess Says:

      Your post posits, however, that those about-to-be victimized women live in a jurisdiction that actually permits them to have a firearm in their homes. Not yet true everywhere, Heller be damned.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Well, if I was a criminal invading an alarmed house, I would answer the phone and tell them everything was okay.

      Not to mention that the most dire threats that women face comes from stalkers. The most dangerous stalkers are willing to be captured or killed as long as they can kill their target. These are the types that go into their targets workplace. The only way to stop them is to physically incapacitate or kill them.

    4. sol vason Says:

      People with out guns are free riding on the benefits created by people with guns.

    5. James R. Rummel Says:

      “People with out guns are free riding on the benefits created by people with guns.”

      Sol puts it very succinctly.

      It is interesting to note that the group which benefits the most from concealed carry laws are the people who carry concealed weapons the least. The reports of rape and sexual assault against women plummet the instant CCW laws are enacted in a state, although the vile crime never disappears completely. And, of course, women make up only a fraction of the people who apply for permission to carry concealed firearms.

      It reminds me of what Batman said concerning the courage of criminals….

      James

    6. Matt Springer Says:

      Well, if I was a criminal invading an alarmed house, I would answer the phone and tell them everything was okay.

      Usually there’s a code the answering person has to say in order to call off the alarm company. Not that such a code really improves the system.

      My parents have the right idea: an alarm system and a .357 magnum. I’m too poor to afford an alarm, so I just stick with the 12 gauge.

    7. model_1066 Says:

      I was over at a friend’s house awhile back, and we were discussing home security (he was thinking about a system akin to Brinks). I pointed to his large german shepherd mix in the back yard and said ‘if you were a burglar in the neighborhood and saw that guy behind the fence, you’d move on, wouldn’t you?’. He got the point. Some breeds are amazing at security for people and property – dobermans, rotts, etc…they were bred for those instincts. Some are good at just being yappy when strangers are about, which is really all I would need.

    8. Rob O Says:

      I have two large dogs instead.

      My wife scolds them when they bark at strangers. I don’t.

      The lab doesnt get it, but my shepard mix understands. Nobody even gets close to our house without the ‘four-legged alarm’ going off.

    9. Shannon Love Says:

      When considering whether to base security solely on an alarm company it is also important to remember that there will be times when a security company or even the police may not be able to come to a household’s rescue. Blizzards, floods, riots, blackouts, zombies etc are all circumstances in which external help may not be forth coming. Such events might be very rare but it only takes one over the course of an entire lifetime for someone in a family to end up dead.

    10. Peregrine John Says:

      See, it doesn’t matter if they are safe, just so long as they feel safe. Because feelings create reality, dontcha know?

    11. Lasorda Says:

      As someone who has a home security system and several firearms, let me educate you how these systems work. When a door is opened or a window is broken while your alarm is on, the security company calls immediately and asks you to recite your password. If you answer the password incorrectly, cops show up at your door after a few minutes. When you own a security system, you know that the phone is about to ring when the alarm is tripped. You know this because you, yourself, accidentally trip the alarm about once a month. The phone rings immediately and you rush to answer it. I am quite certain that if there were a real emergency, I would remember that the phone was about to ring. The piercing, louder than you can possibly imagine screeching of the alarm would tip me off. Those of us with alarms have actual experience operating the alarm. It’s not a passive system. Sort of like a firearm.

    12. Anon Says:

      Oddly enough, I have a monitored Brinks system in my house. After examining the different companies, looking at prices, and interviewing their staff, Brinks came out ahead in cost and function for a system with the capabilities I wanted. YMMV, but that’s what it was where I live.

      I use the system for two things: hopefully, should something happen (break-in, fire, etc.) while I’m not there the monitored system will alert them and they’ll either call the FD, cops, or me, or both.

      If something happens while I am there, the klaxon will inform me I need to draw my gun and acquire a target.

      As for answering the phone during a break-in, I doubt I’ll be able to hear it over the gunfire. I can always call them back.

    13. JaimeRoberto Says:

      The most effective part of the alarm system is the sign out front that says “Protected by XYZ”. It encourages the would-be thief to move along to another house. We have one, and my wife sleeps a lot easier, especially when I’m on the road. I’d get her a pistol and training, but I’m still afraid she would shoot me by mistake, so for us, the alarm is a better solution.

    14. Oh, bother Says:

      Sir, ypu overgeneralize. Firearms for defense are wonderful for those who can rely upon them. Although I own more guns than my husband does, I also have vision so poor that if I woke in the dark, I wouldn’t recognize someone standing at the foot of the bed. With my glasses on, I shoot well enough. But I don’t wear my glasses when I sleep. I doubt if the bad guy would give me time to put my glasses on to determine friend of foe, and I’m sure you understand I’d be reluctant to shoot unless I was certain where my husband was. Thus I cannot rely solely upon firearms. Fortunately, my husband has excellent vision and shoots far better than I do. Unfortunately, he also sleeps with a CPAP machine so noisy he probably wouldn’t hear a break-in. An alarm system makes more noise than both a break-in plus our dog. Call it belt-and-suspenders.

    15. Erich Says:

      Lasorda said, “As someone who has a home security system and several firearms, let me educate you how these systems work. When a door is opened or a window is broken while your alarm is on, the security company calls immediately, after about 30 minutes and asks you to recite your password. If you answer the password incorrectly, cops show up at your door after a few minutes in a few hours, after they are done doing EVERYTHING else, including eat dinner – as home security alarms are at the very bottom of their priority list. When you own a security system, you know that the phone is about to ring when the alarm is tripped. You know this because you, yourself, accidentally trip the alarm about once a month. The phone rings immediately and you rush to answer it. I am quite certain that if there were a real emergency, I would remember that the phone was about to ring. The piercing, louder than you can possibly imagine screeching of the alarm would tip me off. Those of us with alarms have actual experience operating the alarm. It’s not a passive system. Sort of like a firearm.”

      There, I fixed a few parts for you.

    16. Conservemus Says:

      I seriously wonder if the Brinks systems will work if someone other than a white guy breaks into your house. The only guys who set off the Brinks alarm on the commercials are white guys.

    17. Willy Says:

      Shannon is right, the stalker, or whacked ex-boyfriend is a large percentage of threats to women. So the “home security” system does precisely the wrong thing – it rings the phone, putting the woman in a predictable place in the house, while distracted from looking around for the threat. Placing her “on the X” as it’s sometimes termed.

      Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    18. tammy Says:

      Actually, I have Brinks. There was a break-in at my house. They called me immediately, the police arrived in less than 5 minutes. Before getting Brinks, I looked at average response times to different alarm companies (independent study). It was 30 seconds for Brinks. That’s why I chose them. True, the biggest benefit is that intruders will move to a different house but the reason they leave is that there is a very good chance of them being caught if the house has an alarm. Some homes even have hidden cameras – easier to prove guilt.

    19. Jonathan Says:

      I appreciate the clarifications here from people who use alarms. I’m not knocking alarms or any other tool. I’m knocking the concept of alarm as panacea, which the Brinks ads exploit or even promote.

    20. Mikey NTH Says:

      Despite the commercials, there is no sound on earth like a pump shotgun chambering a round. If you have broken into a house, in the dark, and you hear that sound and you don’t leave…well, Mr. Darwin has an award ready for you.

    21. J Says:

      “I’m knocking the concept of alarm as panacea, which the Brinks ads exploit or even promote”

      There are other problems too, starting with the fact that the overwhelming majority of residential burglaries occur during the day; if a “burglar” is breaking in when someone is obviously or even apparently home, that is not normal burglar behavior, and you need to take action long before the cops can get there.

      “One of the reasons why there are few criminal break-ins of occupied homes in the USA is that many Americans do have real security systems, particularly firearms”

      It’s not enough that homeowners possess firearms. What really matters is the right to use them against an intruder without fear of being prosecuted or sued. For those of us who live in “Castle Doctrine” states, the purpose of an alarm is not to call the police, but to 1.) let the homeowner know an intruder has entered the house and 2.) make it clear to the intruder that the homeowner is aware of their presence (my alarm system verbally announces exactly where in the house the alarm was activated). What I’d really like is an alarm that goes for 15-20 seconds, then stops and plays the sound of a shotgun round being chambered; I think that might actually scare a burglar away.

    22. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks, J. Good points.

    23. Anonymous Says:

      I have an alarm from ADT. It’s sole purpose is to wake me up so I can address the problem with some .45acp

    24. Kathleen Says:

      Dogs work great. I have two – if one doesn’t bark the other will.

    25. Bob McCarty Says:

      In January, I researched this very issue and found that, in 7 out of 8 of the TV spots produced by the nation’s two largest home security systems companies and available on YouTube at the time, Caucasian men appear as the bad guys committing home invasions.

      These stats are disturbing in light of crime statistics reported by reputable media outlets that show, from 1976 to 2005, blacks committed more than 52% of all murders in America. In 2006, the black arrest rate for most crimes was two to nearly three times blacks’ representation in the population. Blacks constituted 39.3% of all violent-crime arrests, including 56.3% of all robbery and 34.5% of all aggravated-assault arrests, and 29.4% of all property-crime arrests.

      I made inquiries to the media relations folks at both ADT (Ann Lindstrom) and Brink’s (Dave Simon), asking them to explain why the vast majority of their respective companies’ television commercials feature light-skinned and/or Caucasian individuals in contradiction to the crime statistics highlighted above. Only ADT’s Ann Lindstrom responded via e-mail: “Bob, Thank you for the opportunity, but ADT does not wish to provide a comment for your article. Sincerely, Ann”

      Hmmm.

    26. Kevin S. Says:

      My burgler alarm goes off and “Captures the Phone line” for about 20 seconds while notifying the monitoring company…
      The Monitoring Company calls b4 the phone is released…
      I always get a message that they called and when…
      They also call my Cell and my wife’s cell…
      With no answer, they send the cops,…
      The LEOs arrive to investigate the event in about ten to thirty minutes…
      Long after the blood will be drying on the walls, ceiling, floor…
      Whether it is mine or some faceless loser’s will be determined by my determination to survive and God’s will…
      Oh yeah and Sam Colt’s 45acp 1911 design…

    27. Don Gwinn Says:

      My alarm system consists of two large dogs with loud voices. They’re the alarm; we’re the defensive system.

      Closing your bedroom door and cowering isn’t an option when you have three kids in two other bedrooms.

    28. The Ace Says:

      there is no sound on earth like a pump shotgun chambering a round.

      Exactly. And this point I reiterated to a girlfriend I lived with over & over as I taught her how to pull back the slide on my sig and fluidly take aim. I explained that most criminals will hear that sound and know exactly what it means.

    29. bbhack Says:

      BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE Riiing…..
      This is Brinks, are you still alive?

    30. bbhack Says:

      BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE BWE Riiing…..
      This is Brinks, I hope you’re well armed. The police will be there in about 3 minutes, maybe.

    31. bbhack Says:

      Alarms are good for when you’re not at home, and for waking you up when you are there.

    32. Scott Says:

      I have ADT. Contract runs out next month, letting it go. Alarm goes off about once a month or so, about 2 or 3 in the morning, to let me know the alarm system lost contact with ADT. After turning it off, I’m just about back to sleep 15 minutes later when ADT calls, asking if my alarm went off.

      Not impressive.

    33. ritesh Says:

      hi..
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