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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 joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
Contact Scott Goldfine: sgoldfine@ehpub.com
View More by Scott Goldfine
Industry Research, Intrusion Detection, Management, Monitoring, Response, Under Surveillance, Video Surveillance


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