Alarm Industry Partners With Texas-Based PD on Video Response Program

By Ashley Willis

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — In an effort to combat property crime and reduce false alarms, the police department here has teamed up with the alarm industry and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) for the Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response program.

Traditional burglar alarms produced more than 98% of false alarms that the Grand Prairie Police Department (GPPD) responded to in 2011, Chief Steve Dye said at a recent press conference. The new program is intended to encourage residents and business owners to install or upgrade to video intrusion alarms to allow stakeholders to best maximize public and private resources.

“Previous case studies of video alarm responses have shown apprehension rates of over 19% with many over 50%. That’s compared to a less than 1% rate on traditional alarms,” Dye said.

The department will continue to respond to all alarm calls; however, GPPD will place a higher priority on the confirmed video alarm responses.

“We’ll now handle these incidents as in-progress calls,” Dye explained. “As a result, these video alarm confirmations will immediately dispatch officers in the field.”

The police department collaborated with Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, along with representatives from ADT, ASG Security and Stanley CSS. Prior to implementing the program, the department participated in a pilot program to test RSI’s Videofied video intrusion alarm product. Stanley CSS installed and monitored the systems free of charge.

“Chief Dye was so confident with the equipment that he wanted to have a system that he could put in one place for a period of time. He was almost positive that he could get an apprehension,” Stanley CSS Director of Technology Lance Holloway tells SSI.

Jentoft, who organized the partnership with GPPD, travels extensively to speak with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to start similar programs.

“I missed the opening day of ISC West to present this information to 80 chiefs of the North Texas Police Chiefs Association,” he says. “Next month, I’m speaking with 300 police chiefs in Louisiana. I’m being invited by different state associations to come and speak because there are not costs on the police departments’ side.”

The video verification program is also beneficial for insurance companies that are seeking ways to fight property crime.

“For anyone who has less than 20 years in the industry may have lost sight on how security systems came into being,” Holloway says. “They really came about because of the insurance companies because they underwrite to cover for loss.”

Jentoft, who works closely with NICB, says insurance companies depend on video intrusion technology to apprehend intruders, which helps to cut costs in terms of labor and resources.

“Insurance companies are really the end user for our alarm systems because if we don’t catch thieves, then the companies pay 87 cents on every dollar stolen,” he says. “Every arrest prevents about 30 or 50 additional crimes.”

Both Jentoft and Holloway agree that while it’s important for the alarm industry to work closely with law enforcement to reduce false alarms, it is also necessary to forge partnerships with insurers.

“In our industry, we tend to focus on false alarm reduction,” Jentoft says. “Because the insurer is ultimately our final customer, we need to start looking at things from the insurers’ perspective, which means the goal is to arrest.”

Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

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