Is a siren a good or bad idea on a intrusion detected when on vacation?

If there is a intrusion detected is it a good or bad idea to have a loud siren go off? I would only use it when on vacation when there is no way i can rush home.

Would it help scare away the intruder? or would it be better to have no siren and let the bad guy take his time in your house so you could call the police?

I use cameras as well inside and outside the house mainly viewing windows and doors.


Partly depends on where you live and your neighbors. If close to some neighbors, the siren would cause the intruder to exit. If in a rural area, no. Let your neighbors know you are gone and if they hear a siren, check or call police. (Make sure the alarm automatically turns off after 10 minutes or so and then rearms.


Idea. A montered alarm spoofer. When motion / door open is detected, the spoofer panel:

  • asks for the disarm code entry (popping up a screen),
  • waits 30 seconds for a proper disarm code,
  • Notifies the user that the monitor is calling the police and starts the siren.

Of course, aside from the police call announcements, there are inexpensive, OTS systems that provide the detection, disarm panel, and siren functions (and you can pay a fee to monitor as an option).


Alternatively you could get notification (priority via Pushover recommended) and then check your cameras and decide whether to start the siren yourself, call neighbors etc. But only if your internet connection at home is fairly reliable, otherwise direct control locally is better.


I don't really have any neighbors none that are close enough to hear it. If i called the police it would take them 10-15min to get here if they acted right away, i'm only guessing from there location.

My internet is great but a smart bad guy could cut the line and i would be blind to everything.

No real statistics here, but I've heard of at least one instance where police were investigating a theft at a residential construction site. They asked all the homeowners in the neighborhood of they had any cameras and if they would be willing to share any video during the suspected time of the theft. Strangely enough, all the cameras in the area lost signal at the time in question.

I can only assume, but it seems reasonable to conclude that wireless signal jammers will be just as common as bump keys and dark-colored hoodies among theives and other trouble makers. If i were serious about security, I would choose hard-wired sensors, cameras, and sirens wherever practical.

I tend to think sirens make people feel like they’re protected, but have no actual use otherwise. When was the last time you saw an RF theft protection system in a store actually catch someone stealing? A few people just look when the alarm sounds, and the person that set it off just pauses an looks back at the employees that wave to them. Actual thieves know how ineffective these are, and could easily steal and pretend to be surprised the alarm is sounding. So in a rural area especially, home intruders know they’ve got at least 10 minutes or more to take what they want. That’s a really long time.

When is the last time you heard an alarm go off (home or car) and you’ve done something about it? Most people just assume its some kind of user error (especially if it goes silent and resets after 10 minutes) and ignore it. Or more likely these days, they just dont want to get involved.

Unless you're going to directly call the local police (automatically or manually), alarms are a waste of time in my opinion.

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All valid points, but i have heard examples of cameras helping apprehend criminals and recover stolen property.

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I have motion sensors and contact sensors to wake me up in the event of an intrusion. I do that through rules that are based on the clock. For example, if someone enters the house after normal bedtime, interior and exterior lights turn on and an announcement is made as to which sensor has triggered. I am currently using custom alert messages on an Aeotec Gen 5 doorbell and an Ecolink 700 chime/siren.

Because we occasionally arrive home after normal bedtime hours, I do not use siren level alerts. However, I do use siren type alerts in the case one of my flood sensors goes off as I want to be alerted immediately.

For a vacation home, the siren makes sense. You can also have notifications sent to your smart phone so you can call police after checking to make sure it was not a false alarm. Watchful neighbors are always an advantage, especially if there is one you can trust with a key or the access code to your smart lock.

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Worst case alarm sirens are a nuisance that you'd have to make SURE you automatically handled in HE when away, i.e. shut off and reset after x amount of time and/or quiescence of motions. And any contact switches remaining open would have to be ignored after x amount of time since you can't count on those resetting themselves unless the intruder was nice enough to close the door/window on the way out. Forget about it with a pet unless you are using a purpose built Security System with sensors designed to minimize falsing.

Best case is that sirens encourage the intruder to work a little faster and if you have neighbors it does bring eyes to your place, especially if they know you are gone.

Personally I like a nice informative TTS slightly delayed and before the alarm siren -

Such as:

"Excuse me but I think you have the wrong address,
the Sheriff and my two trigger happy neighbors have been called to greet you,
...hope you're feeling lucky today".

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Try that in England and you're likely to get arrested for making threats :smiley:


I would add that one other factor to consider is what does your local police department do if they respond to what turns out to be a nuisance alarm? In many jurisdictions there’s a fine, but the details can differ.

Local departments will also differ in how they prioritize their response in the first place, if all that’s being reported is a siren going off (ie the 911 caller isn’t on premises, can’t confirm there’s actually other signs of an intruder, etc).

I'd also add that I used to live in an apartment complex near a guy who worked graveyard shift. One time his (fire?) alarm went ballistic. No one in the building had this guy's number. No one could get a hold of the manager to turn the bloody thing off. It went off for like 7 hours straight in the middle of the night and was absolutely terrible.

So, if anyone else is considering this, please do not set a siren you are unable to deactivate. Particularly, if you live in an apartment complex

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