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Law Enforcement Explains How to Improve Intrusion Detection

In the 2011 Law Enforcement Security Industry Study, police and sheriffs provided tips on how alarm companies can strengthen their relationships with law enforcement. In this latest blog, read their responses on how to improve intrusion detection.



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The July issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION features the 2011 Law Enforcement Security Industry Study — groundbreaking research of utmost importance to the electronic security industry. The project aims to define law enforcement’s perceptions and expectations of the security industry, and identify how both sides can best work together in partnership to minimize false dispatches, deter crime and make more apprehensions. Overall, the findings were extremely favorable toward security systems ranging from intrusion alarms to video surveillance.

While the published results supply most of the statistical data, responding police and sheriffs contributed hundreds of comments that also lend fascinating and helpful, albeit sometimes a bit harsh, insight. The comments dig deeper into their thought processes, experiences and realities regarding dealing with security systems and the industry that provides them.

Here is the last of three postings in which we air some of these opinions. This installment is from police officers in response to the question: What would you advise electronic security companies to do to strengthen their relationships with law enforcement? As you will see, police are not shy about voicing their viewpoints. Where appropriate, consider it constructive criticism. 

“Need better cameras and better placement of them. Stop selling fear in your ads and pretending instant apprehension. We all know that it takes several minutes to even get to 911 before we can start to respond. Monthly fees are a big profit scam. How about you charge your customers for each alarm? I don’t mind paying for a real alarm and that would reduce false alarms without the need of alarm laws.”

“Focus continued use of proven digital technology capabilities for image capture, storage and access. Help to give police the ability to manage this resource, and make the technology as easy to implement and use as possible. Twenty (or even 10) years ago, who would have thought that paper and ink fingerprint cards would be rendered useless (at least in my department, even as archival storage)? AFIS is robust, uniform (in image capture and storage) and ubiquitous. I’d like to see video alarm surveillance make those strides in the same direction. Basically, demonstrate that the technology you offer is robust, useful, manageable and end-user friendly. Then we will have the same confidence level that we do when it comes to deadbolt locks.”

“I do not agree with the two phone calls to the home or business owner prior to dispatching police. Being a customer of an alarm company and a police officer I would rather have an officer canceled from going to my home because the alarm company contacted the police first after receiving the alarm and then me, as opposed to attempting two phone calls and then contacting the police. I realize this will cause more “false alarms,” but I believe that this problem can be mitigated by identifying the “repeat customers” and changing the policy for them.”

“Be proactive with customers who have repeated false alarms rather than waiting for the police to address it. Too often all the alarm company does is call in the alarm with little or no follow-up in the case of false alarms. It’s their system, work with the customer to ensure it is used properly and don’t just sit back to collect the fees.”

“Have a better method to verify alarms (actual or false) before notifying a law enforcement agency. I see alarm companies installing a system and then collecting monthly fees for monitoring. When companies get an alarm, then make one or two calls, then notify the LE agency. A method for alarm companies to see someone at an alarm or hear what going on at an alarm location would be great. That would also make if safer for LE officers responding to the alarms.”

“Need better cameras and better placement of them. Stop selling fear in your ads and pretending instant apprehension. We all know that it takes several minutes to even get to 911 before we can start to respond. Monthly fees are a big profit scam. How about you charge your customers for each alarm? I don’t mind paying for a real alarm and that would reduce false alarms without the need of alarm laws.”

“Routinely update the ownership, service address/phone info, emergency contact information and points of activation in their databases. These are often very old and outdated. We often respond to alarms at public schools with “unknown point of activation.” This requires officers to check hundreds of doors and windows within a multistory school building when they should tell us, for example, it is door No. 321 in the Computer Lab located on the west side of the first floor.”

“Interact more on the local level. Perhaps create partnerships with agency to monitor crime areas via video, as well as structures. Maybe ease cost to agency for implementation of such a system, which would gain great PR and exposure for the individual company and provide enhanced service to community.”

“Pool resources and work with local law enforcement and area business groups to install and monitor video footage. Video can be pushed over to local law enforcement at minimal to no cost. This video acts as a force multiplier. The next wave of behavioral analysis software needs to be more cost effective for widespread local use.”

“Figure out less of a delay time. I have been a cop for 14 years. I have actually been pulling into a parking lot as an alarm is dispatched only to find out through video that the crime is actually 10 to 15 minutes old. This is because the alarm company is not calling fast enough.”

Scott Goldfine

Article Topics
General Industry · Installation and Service · Management · Blogs · Industry Research · Intrusion Detection · Management · Monitoring · Response · Under Surveillance · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
Contact Scott Goldfine: sgoldfine@ehpub.com
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Industry Research, Intrusion Detection, Management, Monitoring, Response, Under Surveillance, Video Surveillance


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