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.

Audio impact technology can identify a break-in in progress, thereby reducing false alarms, hastening response and intruder apprehensions by police. Photo: ©“The effectiveness of our technology and services relies on a crucial partnership with law enforcement,” says Scott Green, security consultant for Sonitrol of Lexington, Ky. “For about 10 years, I’ve been attending the roll-call meetings of local police departments — sometimes as late as 10 p.m. — to present responding officers with certificates of appreciation after a successful apprehension. It’s a simple gesture, but a highly valuable one, to acknowledge these officers in front of their peers. These men and women put their lives on the line every day in the name of our safety and, often, are reminded more of the things they did wrong than the countless times they got it right.”

From Sonitrol’s perspective, law enforcement has a mutual appreciation of the provider’s technology accuracy and alarm verification support. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, of the 38 million alarm activations officers respond to each year, 94%-98% can be attributed to false alarms. This not only results in losses of both taxpayer-funded work time and money in a community, but also in a loss of law enforcement officials’ trust in the validity of alarms in general when responding to calls. However, impact-activated audio allows monitoring specialists to immediately verify whether a break-in is in progress or if a fal
se alarm has sounded, giving police real-time intelligence as they respond to the scene.

“From a reliability standpoint, certainly what separates Sonitrol from other alarm companies is the crucial and accurate information that is provided to law enforcement officers on the way to a scene,” Winner says. “Security is no longer a guessing game and because our method of alarm verification keeps false alarm dispatch rates so low, Sonitrol verified alarms are given a higher priority at local police departments. The average police response time is 85% faster when responding to Sonitrol’s verified security alarms.”

Loud Praise for Impact Audio Provider

In addition to partnering with law enforcement, Sonitrol credits its heightened level of attentiveness and quality customer service in allowing the company to thrive the past 50 years. Here are a couple of testimonials:

“Sonitrol is the best in the industry. The staff is very responsive. When an alarm is tripped at one of our homes or at one of our restaurants, they call us right away,” says Roger Glass, owner of Marion’s Piazza in Dayton, Ohio, serviced by Sonitrol of Southwest Ohio. “In 38 years, we have never had any issues with Sonitrol, and that is why we are such a loyal customer.”

“I was impressed with the knowledgeable sales team, installation crew and central station staff, and especially the way they operated like a family,” says Scott Aronoff of Prasco Laboratories, headquartered in Cincinnati and also serviced by Sonitrol of Southwest Ohio. “Communication is key to me and everyone I have interacted with [at Sonitrol] has risen to the level that I expect from a security partner. Prasco’s motto is, ‘Do good, do well,’ and I feel Sonitrol does things right, in a responsible and ethical fashion. From the top down, they act as a partner, not just a vendor.”

Be sure to read the three actual case histories accompanying this article for real-life examples of how Sonitrol’s audio impact technology and monitoring has kept customers’ property and persons safe, as well as assisted law enforcement in the name of public safety. For more information or to see about becoming involved with a Sonitrol franchise, visit

Chuck Harrelson is President of the Sonitrol National Dealers Association (SNDA). He can be reached at

Case History: Burglar Left Hanging

Officers apprehended a suspect onsite after Sonitrol’s impact-activated audio detected unusual activity at a local business in Markham, Ontario, Canada, which also led to the arrests of his three accomplices after the fact. Late one night, audio from the customer’s protected site was transmitted to Sonitrol’s Toronto central station. The sounds of a definite burglary in progress were detected by the operator, who immediately contacted the York Regional Police.

The Sonitrol operator described to dispatch several voices belonging to the intruders inside the business as they rummaged around and gathered up what they planned to steal. One individual must have been positioned at the front of the building to watch for signs of a police response, because a short time after the dispatch went out, the operator heard one of the voices alert the others in a panicked tone. Police had arrived. Chaos ensued over the audio transmission as the four suspects now shifted from a theft mode to getaway mode.

The perpetrators quickly discovered it was much easier to break into the building than it was to get out. The exit door at the back of the building had a key-only deadbolt, leaving the four men trapped. As police closed in from the front of the building, the suspects broke a window in the back door and began exiting through it. The first three made it out the window and ran out into the night, but the fourth had a tougher time escaping. When the police made their way back to the back of the building, they found him hanging on the outside of the window in the door by his belt. He’d gotten caught on the broken window frame and couldn’t get himself free. He quickly gave up the names of his buddies who had left him hanging for the police.

Case History: Intervention Saves Officer’s Life

Officers apprehended two suspects and saved the life of a policeman and business owner after Sonitrol’s impact-activated audio detected activity at a Nevada-based international event planning business. One morning in 2011, at the Sonitrol of Southern Nevada central station, an operator began to hear unusual sounds coming from the protected building. The business’ owner/president received a call from the operator alerting her to the disturbance and, having experienced successful apprehensions as a result of Sonitrol in the past, she quickly drove to the facility to meet authorities.

The operator stayed on the line with the customer until she arrived at the building. There were 12 police cars that had responded to the scene, and the owner was notified that a foot pursuit was underway. The owner entered the facility to inspect the damage, requesting a policeman escort her through the building, which was now a crime scene. The next thing she remembered hearing was, “MAN DOWN!” A second suspect who had been hiding in a closet jumped on and attacked the officer.

Continuing to monitor the sounds from the scene, Sonitrol’s operator at the central station notified police dispatch that an officer was being attacked inside the facility. The operator’s call to dispatch resulted in the apprehension of the final suspect and likely saved the officer’s life.

Case History: Bad Trip for Drug Thieves

Officers apprehended two suspects after Sonitrol’s impact-activated audio detected activity at Health Smart Pharmacy in Pensacola, Fla., on Aug. 6, 2013. Operator Kenny Williams received the impact audio alert from inside the building shortly after 2 a.m. From the central monitoring station, Williams heard some unusual initial sounds followed by silence. After hearing no additional audio following the initial impact, he reset the alarm and continued to monitor the account. When the system activated a second time with the sounds of breaking glass and other intrusion sounds, Williams dispatched the Okaloosa Sherriff’s office to the scene.

Officers quickly arrived at Health Smart Pharmacy to find signs of forced entry; however, there were no suspects at the scene. Immediately, the officers soon began reviewing video from the site to find that the suspect had parked his truck in front of the building. Sherriff’s officers pulled the license plate from the video and within 20 minutes the suspect was pulled over and apprehended for theft, as well as driving under the influence of narcotics.

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