By Ted Parker
SDPD Neighborhood Policing Resource Team
This article deals with installing burglar alarms, providing visibility, maintaining your property, protecting your home and property when you're away, making sure the police can find your home, and identifying your property.
- Alarm systems usually include one or more of the following components: photocell or magnetic contacts on doors and windows, heat or motion detectors in interior spaces, glass break detectors, keypads with a means of checking the status of the system, and audible alarms. All equipment should be Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified.
- Multiple sensors are preferred because they reduce false alarms, which are wasteful of police resources and lead to fines and permit revocation.
- Residents of Del Mar Heights in the City of San Diego should see Secs. 33.3701-33.3723 of the San Diego Municipal Code for burglary alarm business and agent requirements and responsibilities, alarm user permit requirements, etc. Call SDPD Permits and Licensing at (619) 531-2250 about obtaining an alarm permit.
- Get alarm company references from friends or neighbors. Get at least three estimates in writing. The SDPD does not prefer or recommend companies, brands, or types of security systems.
- Burglary alarm permits are not required in the City of Del Mar.
- Make sure the alarm company has a City Business Tax Certificate and is licensed by the State of California. You can verify the latter by calling the State of California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services at (916) 322-4000 or going
- If your system is monitored, make sure the monitoring station is open 24/7 and has backup power. The company's customer service department should also be open 24/7.
- Make sure you understand your service contract, all the points of protection and the equipment to be installed, the initial and monthly payments, and the warranty period.
- Inform your insurance company. You may qualify for a discount.
- The system should also have a fail-safe battery backup. Check the batteries periodically and replace them if necessary.
- Leave outside lights on after dark or have outside lights controlled by a motion detector. Make sure there are no dark areas around the house, garage, or yard in which a person could hide. Street lights are generally inadequate for illuminating your property.
- Check lights regularly and replace burnt out bulbs.
- Trim bushes to less than 3 feet to eliminate possible hiding places, especially near windows and sidewalks.
- Trim tree canopies to at least 8 feet to allow visibility into your property.
- Replace solid walls in front yards with open fencing to eliminate hiding places and make climbing more difficult.
- Install a wide-angle peephole in your front door so you can look out without being seen yourself.
Maintaining your property
- Keep property in good condition and free of trash, litter, weeds, leaves, graffiti, dismantled or inoperative vehicles, and other things that indicate neglect in caring for your property.
- Replace broken windows or screens.
- Repair broken fences and gate locks.
- Use screens, wired glass, or other protection for light fixtures and bulbs.
- Remove loose rocks and other objects that could be used to vandalize your property.