Criticom Implementing Enhanced Call Verification


Alarm monitoring firm Criticom Int’l says it will be
implementing enhanced call verification (ECV) for all of
its customers, in which two confirmation calls are made
before police or other authorities are dispatched to a
break-in.  The firm, which provides alarm-monitoring
services for more than 5,000 independent alarm dealers in
the U.S., has sent out a letter to contractors stating its
intention to implement ECV.

“We’re not going to mandate that they change all their
accounts,” says Robert Few, vice president of monitoring
operations for Criticom. “We sent the letter out saying
this is where we’re going.”

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) is promoting
the ECV protocol for alarm response as a way for the
industry to help prevent false alarm dispatches. Under ECV,
alarm-monitoring centers call alarm customers to determine
if a break-in has occurred before dispatching the
authorities. If the first call fails, a second call is made
to a second number provided by the customer – often their
cell phone. If a break-in is confirmed or no call is
answered, authorities are then dispatched.

“This is a landmark event as the industry moves forward
toward full implementation of ECV,” says SIAC Executive
Director Stan Martin.

Criticom runs a central station in Hackensack, N.J., and
the National Alarm Computer Center (NACC) in Irvine, Calif.
Potentially, Criticom’s move could affect hundreds of
thousands of alarm customers. Few says police departments
in California and New Jersey may see a substantial decrease
in false alarms because of the density of Criticom
customers in those states.

“We’re going to cut down on false alarm fines and cut down
police departments’ need to go to no-response policies.
We’re trying to stay ahead of that game,” Few
says. “Enhanced call verification is meeting them halfway.
It’s going to slow down police response by 45 seconds, but
it’s a step in the right direction.”

At the same time, Few acknowledges there will still be some critics in law enforcement who say ECV doesn’t go far enough. “Critics are critics. No matter what you do to assist them, they’re going to look for the next piece of the pie. This is a positive step. The reduced number of false dispatches will be considerable,” says Few, who adds a total verified response policy is too costly to alarm customers and the industry. “We’re very sensitive to the fact were here to protect life and property. Not every alarm is false and we need to be careful. There’s a very fine line.”

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