Live Surveillance vs. Alarm Systems: Multifamily Properties

by | May 19, 2023

Deep Sentinel vs. Alarm Systems for Multifamily Properties

A safe multifamily property means lots of happy tenants—and, for owners, fulfillment of your legal duty of reasonable care. For years, traditional alarm systems from companies like ADT or Bay Alarm have been the go-to security solution for apartments and condos. But just because alarm systems are common doesn’t mean they’re the best option (or even a good option). Smart security cameras backed by live guards do much more than call you after a burglar has made a getaway. Let’s compare Deep Sentinel’s live surveillance with alarm systems for multifamily residential properties.

Comparing Live Monitoring and Live Intervention

Most alarm providers claim that someone is monitoring your system at all times. But is that the entire story?

Many security alarm companies like ADT offer “live monitoring” that can only be called passive monitoring at best. They can respond to an alarm after it goes off. But unless they have access to a live video feed—or can reach you by telephone—they have no way of knowing what’s actually going on or whether it requires police attention. All told, it may be up to 8 minutes before anyone notifies the police. That’s why getting a system that can verify crime for you is so important.

Deep Sentinel’s real-time video surveillance solution centers around an active monitoring service. LiveSentinel surveillance guards have real eyes on your property, providing critical help when it counts. The guards intervene on your behalf because they can see what is happening themselves. Total time until the guards contact the police? 30 seconds or less. And because there are live eyes on a verified crime in progress, authorities are quick to respond.

Surveillance vs. Alarm Systems for Multifamily: Overview

  Deep Sentinel Live Surveillance Alarm Systems (ADT, etc.)
Engagement Live guards engage with suspects
Can prevent issues and verify crimes
Monitoring reps can’t contact suspects
No eyes or ears on the scene
Management Hands-off
Doesn’t require user input
Owner and provider share responsibility
Rely on owner for threat verification
Speed 10 seconds to intervention
30 seconds to police contact
Crime verification gets a fast police response
15-60 seconds to notify monitoring center
Must attempt to contact property owner
Unverified calls aren’t a priority for police
Accuracy AI with human verification
No false alarms
No AI or visual verification
Prone to false alarms
Effectiveness Prevents crimes outside the property Reports crimes after break-in
Terms 1-year service agreement Industry standard: 3-year contract

Examining Major Factors

How do traditional alarm systems fare against smart surveillance from Deep Sentinel? Let’s investigate each of these categories.


Alarm monitoring companies have done some great marketing over the years. And, as a result, many property owners have a wildly inaccurate impression of how the service works. If ads are to be believed, the system sends an alert to a monitoring center, prompting an agent to jump in and save the day. But that’s not quite right, is it? In reality, monitoring center reps can’t see or hear what’s happening at your apartment complex, nor can they do anything about the situation besides calling you to get more information.

In contrast, Deep Sentinel guards actively engage with suspicious characters as soon as they set foot on your property after hours. They can speak with the suspect, clarify identity and intent, de-escalate dangerous situations, and verify any crimes instantly. Deep Sentinel delivers the experience of a dedicated team of security guards–a promise that ADT and its peers can’t live up to.


Multifamily property managers already have a lot on their plates. The last thing they need is to be worried about handling security issues, too.

On the surface, traditional alarm systems seem hands-off. After all, that’s what you’re theoretically paying for: someone else watching your complex. But the monitoring center can’t verify what’s happening (if anything) when an alert goes off. Because they don’t want to call the police if nothing is actually wrong, the standard protocol is to call the property owner… every single time. Multiple times, if you don’t pick up right away. It’s your responsibility to visually verify threats or crimes before the monitoring center will take action.

At Deep Sentinel, our objective is to ensure that security never becomes a burden on your time. While you are free to monitor camera feeds and respond to incidents yourself, our guard team is ready to intervene on your behalf. In addition, the system’s AI filters out non-threats, guaranteeing that you won’t have to deal with a slew of irrelevant notifications. This is the epitome of hands-off security, implemented correctly.


Response time is another area where alarm systems fall short. The process of getting help simply involves too many time-consuming steps. Let’s say an intruder trips an alarm. First, the system typically gives a “grace period” for someone to disarm or override the system in case it was an accident. After this delay, it typically takes another 5-30 seconds for the system to notify the monitoring center. Add in the time to call the property owner before contacting the police, and it’s easy to see why the intruder is almost sure to commit the crime and get away.

Deep Sentinel’s response time is faster than any other security system on the market. Let’s look at the same scenario. The instant an intruder sets foot on your property, the Deep Sentinel system starts analyzing footage. The guards receive a notification immediately and spring into action, intervening in less than 10 seconds without needing to call you first. If needed, they reach out to your local police within 30 seconds of the intruder’s appearance. Because the guards verify the crime and provide real-time details, law enforcement agencies make these calls a high priority.


If traditional alarm systems are famous for anything, it’s how frequently they churn out false alarms. Your system might go off for any number of reasons: faulty installation, low batteries, an obstructed sensor, a tenant’s pet, wiggly doors, or (very rarely) an actual criminal. In fact, up to 98% of alarm calls are false alarms. At that rate, you’ll spend a lot of time and money dealing with nonsense alerts. And you might not notice when a real threat appears.

By combining smart technology and human verification, Deep Sentinel has eliminated false alarms for good. Artificial intelligence combs through each frame of footage to identify potential threats. Then, a skilled human guard evaluates the situation and takes action appropriately. This unique synergy makes annoying junk notifications an issue of the past and sets Deep Sentinel apart as the most reliable apartment security system around.


How effective is your security solution at stopping crime? This answer is a combination of all of the above factors.
Can an alarm system from a company like ADT stop crime? Not really. What it can do is report a break-in after it happens. That’s better than nothing, but “better than nothing” isn’t all that good. Try telling your tenants that you installed a security system that’s “better than nothing” and see how it goes over.

A smart surveillance system like you’ll get from Deep Sentinel actively prevents crime at your property line. A criminal might not even reach your front doors before the guards step in and activate the system’s blaring sirens. There’s a huge difference between crime prevention and crime reaction–and Deep Sentinel puts you on the right side of that divide. That’s peace of mind you can easily pass along to current and prospective tenants.


Now for a consideration that’s more about your business needs than your tenants’ happiness: service contracts.
The standard contract length across the security industry is a three-year service agreement. And most providers will slam you with heavy penalties for early termination. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’re locked in for three long years, even if the system doesn’t provide the security you were hoping for.

Because we’re sure you’ll love Deep Sentinel’s award-winning service, the agreement is for just one year. (As you’ve probably guessed, nearly every property owner sticks with the service for much longer.) And if you have any lingering doubts, you can try Deep Sentinel at your multifamily property for 30 days risk-free.

Better Security for Multifamily Properties: Deep Sentinel

Between frequent false alarms, hands-on involvement, restrictive contracts, and slow response times, alarm systems like ADT don’t deliver the stress-free security that they promise. As a property manager, you need something better. (And your tenants deserve something better, too.)

Secure your multifamily residential property with Deep Sentinel, the fastest and most accurate apartment security system on the market. Call 833.983.6006 for your free security consultation.

Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit or call 833-983-6006

Share This