Being a Partner in Public Safety
SIAC always encourages security dealers to partner with law enforcement. That relationship is integral to the alarm industry’s success today, and in the years to come, in forging successful and enforceable ordinances.
Dealers must continue to train their technicians properly, and train their customers on how to use their alarm system properly. Both of these are integral to reducing unwanted alarms. Dealers must also get cell numbers for two-call verification, and be sure to implement this procedure for ALL customers.
SIAC encourages all security companies to get involved in their community by attending city council meetings, getting to know the mayor and council members, along with the police chief. Set up some time to meet with the chief one-on-one or with a group from your local alarm association. Building that relationship ensures the dealer has a voice and helps build a professional bond that will pay dividends for years to come.
For proof of how these best practices are making a quantifiable difference, see the sidebar below.
SSI Hall of Famer Stan Martin is Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). He can be reached at email@example.com.
Stats Prove Practices Are Working
In 1995 the estimated average false alarm dispatch rate was roughly 3 for every system installed. In 2013, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) now estimates the commercial/residential average is less than 0.8 dispatches per system per year. The residential average rate is about 0.24 per system per year, or one dispatch every four years. During that same period, the number installed systems has doubled. Recent statistics from two major agencies that maintain accurate long-term statistics, Phoenix and Montgomery County, Md., substantiate those figures.
Furthermore, with well-enforced recommended alarm ordinances in place, approximately 85% of permitted alarm systems will have no dispatches in a given year, with the next 8% (approximately) having only one dispatch. That’s 93% with one or no dispatches per year.
Clearly, a small percentage of permitted systems are the chronic abusers who should be targeted for additional fines or suspension of law enforcement response if no corrective action is taken. Ironically, the industry position has moved toward actually recommending suspension of response to chronic abusers. It just makes sense to apply this most serious of penalties against the worst violators as opposed to punishing all alarm system owners. Interesting, many agencies don’t want to deny services to any of their citizens, even the abusers.
Agencies that utilize SIAC’s model with all recommendations that include ECV, CP-01, limiting free responses to one or two and suspending response to chronic abusers, see a 60%-80% reduction over a period of several years. Those that wish to take the most aggressive position utilizing SIAC’s best practices and reducing free responses to one or none with strict enforcement are seeing 90%+ in dispatch reductions.
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