Audio Verification Equals More Apprehensions

One of the earliest technologies deployed to cut false alarms and boost apprehensions is still the most effective. Find out how Sonitrol and its unique impact-activated audio systems have enamored law enforcement by helping capture the largest number of criminals of any U.S. alarm company.

For decades, Sonitrol has defined itself as a security company known for the apprehension of burglars and intruders. Since opening the first franchise in June 1964, Sonitrol’s unique impact-activated, audio intrusion detection technology has provided business customers and homeowners with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling protection with real-time monitoring and alarm verification.

The key benefit to impact-activated audio security systems is their ability to monitor an entire space with early detection and verification of an intrusion. This results in a much quicker law enforcement response time that leads to apprehensions.

Unlike conventional alarm systems, which may only rely on door switches and motion sensors to trigger an alarm transmission, Sonitrol’s audio-based verified alarms provide detection for all points of entry — including windows, vents, ceilings and roofs. Each activation is then directly monitored by trained audio specialists to confirm the authenticity of a break-in or incident of property vandalism before dispatching local law enforcement.

With countless cities and municipalities facing substantial budget deficits, the benefit of Sonitrol’s approach to alarm verification has become increasingly significant. This audio impact technology can positively identify a break-in — in progress — thereby reducing the costly occurrences of false alarms and achieving more apt response and intruder apprehensions by law enforcement.

Pest Control Turned Against Criminals

The technology, developed 50 years ago in Anderson, Ind., found unlikely beginnings in the business of pest control. Sonitrol’s founder, Robert Baxter, whose family owned a local termite extermination business, originally invented an electronic listening device to detect and pinpoint the exact locations of termites in the walls of buildings. After designing this and various other acoustic devices, Baxter and his wife coined the company’s Sonitrol moniker by combining the words “sound” and “control” in June 1960.

Baxter then teamed up with Al Cronk, who owned a local alarm company at the time, and together they established the Sonitrol brand to provide what some say was the most accurate, reliable alarm equipment and comprehensive security solution in the industry. The first franchise and Sonitrol’s original manufacturing, engineering, and research and development location was established in Anderson in 1964. By 1973, the number of franchise operations had grown to 149 to meet customers’ demands.

Since then, the primary features of Baxter’s original audio-based technology have continued to evolve to offer an unrivaled security solution for businesses, schools, storefronts, warehouses and numerous other types of facilities. In 1974, with the development of Sonitrol’s 5600 System, the company was among the first in the security industry to begin the transition to computerized central stations as a way to improve operations. Progressive technological advances in the monitoring of impact-activated audio systems during the next 40 years have led to the development of several proprietary central station platforms.

“As we get ready to celebrate our 50th anniversary, the heart of what Sonitrol is and always has been in providing businesses and facilities with the ultimate in central station verified audio detection has never strayed,” says Bruce Winner, director of the Sonitrol brand. “Advancements in technology and an unwavering commitment to the needs of our customers have offered us the capability to incorporate additional services, such as central station managed access control and central station video verification, throughout the years.”

According to Winner, the convergence of enhanced alarm verification services has reduced false alarm rates, provided more immediate alerts for faster police response and allowed Sonitrol to achieve the highest documented apprehension rate in the security industry. “If an intruder breaks into a customer’s facility, we do not want to scare them away, we want to catch them,” he says.

Law Enforcement Valued As Key Partner in Security Mission

At 170,000 documented apprehensions since 1977, Sonitrol not only tracks the number of criminals caught with the use of the technology but also says those results prove the credibility of its professionally trained operators, and their fine-tuned judgment to detect unusual noises and sounds associated with criminal activity. At the same time, Sonitrol recognizes its accomplishments would be nonexistent were it not for the outstanding efforts and skilled response of its partners in public safety — local law enforcement.

“Our technology could never have achieved the success that it has in this highly competitive industry without the expertise and courageous response of local law enforcement to arrive onsite to confront and apprehend individuals,” Winner says. “Really, the Sonitrol technology is only a piece of the formula in protecting our customers and their properties, and we are committed to engaging local law enforcement in communities throughout the country.”

Sonitrol has established police relations programs throughout the various communities associated with its 85 local franchises. In instances of notable apprehensions, Sonitrol franchises often host ceremonies to honor local law enforcement, administering awards and certificates to recognize responding officers for a job well done. This has helped cultivate an excellent, trusting relationship with police departments nationwide.

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