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Questions about security systems

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I hate it when it turns out I don't understand a piece of technology as well as I thought. I thought that security systems for a building involved some kind of circuitry placed around windows, etc. so that if they were broken, it would break the circuit and trigger an alarm. However, it turns out that in the modern era, they involve magnetics and motion sensors. I'm trying to fictionally get around one, but I don't know anyone who has one locally that I can inspect. Help! Has anyone worked with them before? Here is the situation I'm trying to set up:

1. There's a run-down building in town. The city wants to keep kids from playing there and getting hurt, so they install a security system. But they also want to condemn the building, so they don't want to waste too much money on it. Think as cheap as you can get.

2. There is a secret way into the building via tunnel, that would not be considered when installing the security system.

3. Obviously, someone trying to enter through a door or window would trip the alarm, sending some kind of alert to the police. But what about the tunnel entrance (NOT near a guarded door or window)? Could someone come up through there and walk around inside without setting anything off? What would they need to beware of? If necessary, I can give my bad guy the codes to turn off the system (he has a veneer of respectability), but I still want it to be logically possible for someone (else) to sneak in via tunnel.

Does this scenario work? What am I missing? I'm googling "worst security systems," but it's all either too vague, or tied to specific companies.
#1 - April 29, 2016, 04:29 PM

Dionna

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Sounds sooooo exciting! What about dogs, locks, gates, barbed wire, bars, the stuff people have always used????
#2 - April 29, 2016, 04:41 PM

Dionna

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You could also find a security company and email an expert. I find almost everyone replies when you tell them you're a children's writer doing research!
#3 - April 29, 2016, 04:43 PM

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Sometimes I want to put a sign on my internet searches saying that no really, I'm a WRITER, not a criminal... :grin3
#4 - April 29, 2016, 04:48 PM

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I'm with Dionna -- if they are on the cheap, just have them board up the windows and install padlocks, etc, on the doors. I still see this on buildings now. Otherwise you're right; security systems now are often based on motion sensors (like at my lib), so if someone is moving around inside, no matter how they got in, they'll be caught on camera or set off the alarm. Not that you can't work around that... (check out Varian John's latest GREENE novel.)
#5 - April 29, 2016, 05:06 PM
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This is helpful. I'm going for a cheap solution (the town is one of those where progress stopped many decades ago), and I just don't see them investing in motion sensors.

My knowledge of security systems comes from uh...Snap Circuits, so I'm glad I asked. :hiding
#6 - April 29, 2016, 05:36 PM

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I can't imagine anyone in a run-down section of a town or city investing much in a security system to protect a building. It would have to contain items worth the expense to protect, or the building itself would have to be worthwhile, and if there is a fancy alarm system on an old, empty building it begs the question - what's in there worth protecting?

I think if it's an old building and they just want to keep kids out, a big fence with NO TRESPASSING around the property along with boarded up windows and doors would probably be the norm, not something with a working security system (which would also have to have electricity running in the building to work).
#7 - April 29, 2016, 05:53 PM

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There are security systems that work off of air pressure change. If a building is sealed and any window/door opens (even by breaking it) then the sensor is tripped.

But if they are going for cheap. They might do what many companies do: fake cameras and sensors. They aren't attached to anything. Some might turn lights on, but no alarm ever goes off. Just because it looks real doesn't mean it is. Perhaps the kids can think there's an alarm and realize once inside that it's all fake.
#8 - April 29, 2016, 05:57 PM

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If the building is about to be condemned, I don't think they would spend the money on a working security system. There are monthly fees.

I agree with David Wright about the use of fake cameras and sensors.

Or even cheaper, they might use a timer on lights.
#9 - April 29, 2016, 06:08 PM
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Oh, I like the idea of fake cameras! My bad guy has a great local reputation but is a bit of a phony. He doesn't want people sneaking around in there and tries to scare the kids off by getting the city to put in some more security. If it just *looks* real but isn't, that sort of goes along with his personality.
#10 - April 29, 2016, 06:13 PM

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But if they are going for cheap. They might do what many companies do: fake cameras and sensors. They aren't attached to anything. Some might turn lights on, but no alarm ever goes off. Just because it looks real doesn't mean it is. Perhaps the kids can think there's an alarm and realize once inside that it's all fake.

Yes! Exactly what I was going to say.
#11 - April 29, 2016, 06:18 PM

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Sometimes I want to put a sign on my internet searches saying that no really, I'm a WRITER, not a criminal... :grin3

:lol4

I don't have anything useful to add but a condemned building won't have much ... a wire fence maybe. Your book sounds exciting!
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#12 - April 29, 2016, 06:31 PM
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