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Spend more on home security vs buying home in guarded community

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  • #16
    I'm too lazy to look it up, but anyone have a good idea on how much crime you get in a high rise luxury apartment with a doorman?

    I'm guessing that if security is your top concern, then that's going to be about as good as it gets for reasonable cost. Maybe.

    Obviously there are other aspects of apartment life you would have to be OK with.


    • #17
      I think it is more of a psychological question. Do you need this gated community for your piece of mind while you are at work? I would not pay an extra $100k to live in a gated community.

      Also, are you not going to get a home security system if you buy in the gated community? I would argue that having a monitored home security system provides more security than a gated community. My opinion is the name brand home security companies are overpriced. You can get ring alarm for not that much money and $100/year for professional monitoring. You can also check in remotely for peace of mind (though I do have some privacy concerns with that). Simplisafe is another option which is a bit more expensive per year but not a huge expense.


      • #18
        You have to ask a couple questions: is your worry about crime grounded? Are the rates of crime adequate to actually need to spend this much time considering security? We have an alarm and use it, but we live somewhere we can leave our doors unlocked if we wanted to. If you’re this worried about crime, you probably need to look at better neighborhoods. Chances are, you are being overly cautious. As above, crimes have very specific locations. Yes, there are freak things like the Indiana EM PD getting murdered in his home in broad daylight, but these are so horrific and noteworthy exactly because they are so rare.

        if the question is simply, should I buy a house in a nice neighborhood or spend more on alarm system, the answer is obviously to buy the nicer house - any money spent on an alarm won’t be recouped while a house in a better neighborhood will return the principle.


        • #19
          From my read of the OP, both options are in "nice" neighborhoods.

          Even if I were in a gated community, I'd still have a dog and fancy alarm system. And a firearm and actively encouraging my neighbors to be nosy.

          I'd go for the cheaper alternative and buy more stuff for my fancy safe.


          • #20
            Crime absolutely does have zip codes. It is not an all or nothing event though.

            When I was a resident in a not so nice area kids would mess with the cars on the street and if a door was unlocked it was as good as stolen.

            In my current neighborhood I have accidentally leave my garage door open overnight more times than I can count. Once for a long weekend vacation. Nothing missing.

            Thinking that crime is universal and is just as likely everywhere is ridiculous.


            • #21
              Trulia is linked to some good crime mapping services. You can drill to police reports (dates included) and screen for different crime types.

              What you see is patterns exist along commercial, shopping centers, and different types of residential. It was immensely helpful in apartment hunting for my daughter’s residency, fellowship, and first attending locations. My concern would be proximity and types of crime. Probably not as significant when choosing between “good neighborhoods”. Big difference between identity theft and burglary of a residence. As you zoom in and out, the crimes adjust and the shading shows the hotspots. Crime has patterns. My daughter and son both use it when scouting for apartments. A low crime block can be two blocks from the start of a high crime area.


              • #22
                Gated communities are worthless IMO. Everyone including the Amazon, FedEx, UPS, USPS, and pizza delivery guy has the gate code. Having a person manning the gate is a step up but that doesn't help if he waves everyone through. If there is a 2nd adjacent entrance accessible by card or code that makes it even less secure. Having this setup is not cheap and gating the entrance means the neighborhood is responsible for all street maintenance and repairs.

                I would rather live in a low-crime non-gated community and set up a camera system at all the entry points to the home. Cameras should be visible but not easily accessible to anyone walking up to the home.


                • #23
                  I would go with the non-gated option. I looked very closely at a house in a gated community before I bought my current house. Even in a gated area you would still need a security system. Your HOA fees will be horrendous with manned security.


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Hatton View Post
                    I would go with the non-gated option. I looked very closely at a house in a gated community before I bought my current house. Even in a gated area you would still need a security system. Your HOA fees will be horrendous with manned security.
                    A lot depends on the size and neighbors attitude towards security. Gated here. We have a no soliciting policy. If one has a child soliciting (Foodbank recently) an email goes out with specifics. If someone starts soliciting (regardless of charity or business), they don’t make it through the subdivision. Someone either acts or the Constable is called to check it. Gates alone don’t replace home security if you want it.
                    There have been vandalism and theft from cars in adjacent neighborhoods that are outside of the gates. I actually leave a path into the house unlocked. Pretty stupid, by we simply don’t get casual or probing traffic. It is socially acceptable to ask where they live or are visiting. No one bothers on holidays. Gates are open upon request for functions. Pretty easy to spot the cars.
                    Our gates seem effective. Never worried other than a vehicle following through. I have circled to see where one stopped. Proves absolutely nothing. Someone can climb the 8ft wall in my backyard. That actually happened. A kid trying to retrieve a football. No problem. I walked him out.


                    • #25
                      Thanks for all the responses everyone. I will take all your inputs into consideration. The reason I asked is to see if manned/gated communities have any ups over nongated and whether it's worth the extra $$. I have been robbed in an OK neighborhood that's why i said crimes have no zip codes and some of your anecdotal experiences prove my point. Things are fine until they are not, so again crimes have no zip codes despite what statistics say. When it happens the stat changes to reflect it, it's a good reference but not "absolute", so every precaution is necessary and i appreciate the suggestions regarding security systems/cameras.


                      • #26
                        I think the phrase crimes have no zip codes is perhaps not convening what you intend. Obviously, there is no area that is immune to crime but some areas have higher frequency of certain crimes than other areas. Life is full of risks and those we have had a brush with feel much more most real. If you had been in a bad motor vehicle accident you would probably be researching the safest car and be looking at the route between your home and work carefully. So, I'd suggest being appropriately cautious so that you feel safe; but don't go overboard.

                        For the risks we face in life each of us has to decide what steps are reasonable to reduce the risks. I suspect when you say every precaution is necessary you aren't considering hiring 24/7 private security. It sounds like Tim likes his high security neighborhood; I would find such a neighborhood repressive.

                        For home security, definitely get a monitored system. You will probably feel better if you can access the cameras remotely on your phone. A dog is a good deterrent and a great companion. However, I wouldn't get a dog if it is only part of your security system and not a valued member of the family. If you get a trained guard dog make sure your insurance is up to covering any injuries/deaths. Avoid flashy displays of wealth and keep some lights on in the evening (smart house can allow you to program and vary timing). As mentioned above, only get a firearm if you are going to learn how to use it and be responsible (even more so if little ones join the family). If this is not enough you can always get a panic room.