Habitec Security Reducing False Alarms Much to Satisfaction of Local Police Department

Habitec has reduced false alarms in Toledo, Ohio by 65% as a result of the program.

It’s never too old to teach an old dog – or in this case an established alarm monitoring company – new tricks. Although founded back in 1972 it was not until much more recently that Toledo, Ohio-based Habitec Security decided to really get serious about revamping its alarm management tactics and techniques. In seemingly no time, Habitec swiftly forged a more structured company-wide initiative that has optimized procedures, reduced false alarms and minimized unnecessary police dispatches.

“It took us until 2011 to truly grasp the problem false alarms cause for responding authorities,” says Habitec Security President John Smythe, whose late father James Smythe founded the business more than 40 years ago. “At Habitec, we do not want to be part of the problem; we want to work toward a solution. Once on-board with reducing false alarms as the goal, we reached out to SIAC [Security Industry Alarm Coalition] and have since cultivated a strong partnership.”

RELATED: Habitec Security Wins PDQ Award for Reducing False Alarms

In 2012, Habitec worked closely with the local police department and sheriffs while rolling out Enhanced Call Verification (ECV), which resulted in a 20% false alarm reduction the very first month and has since reached 57%. The firm also made a policy change on residential panic alarms that cut that type of alarm by 90%, as well as created a false alarm notification program and raised awareness among the customer base originating with the point of contact at the time of initial sale. These changes have won law enforcement’s attention and endorsement.

“In looking at the statistics regarding false alarm calls, we have observed a trend regarding Habitec Security,” says Captain Tricia White of the Lucas County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office. “In comparison to the many alarm companies that we deal with, [Habitec’s] rate of false alarm is significantly lower. The efficiency and thoroughness of the company is of great value to not only the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office but also its citizens.”

“In comparison to the many alarm companies that we deal with, [Habitec’s] rate of false alarm is significantly lower. The efficiency and thoroughness of the company is of great value to not only the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office but also its citizens. – Captain Tricia White, Lucas County Sheriff’s Office

Habitec’s implementation and ongoing support of a multitude of proven best alarm management practices have allowed it to slash its false alarm occurrences. These actions and results have led to the company capturing the industry’s most prestigious alarm management accolade: the 2015 Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award.

RELATED: Little Rock Aims to Reduce Number of False Alarm Calls With New Program

Founded in 2005 by SIAC, the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and Security Sales & Integration, and subsequently officially endorsed by the Installation Quality (IQ) program, the PDQ Award annually recognizes a security company that best demonstrates a proactive, cooperative and successful effort in false alarm reduction strategies. The PDQ program’s mission is to raise industry-wide awareness, promote partnering with responding agencies for public safety, motivate alarm companies to be proactive and provide workable models.

Applicants participate at no charge and are evaluated by three judges in a rigorous and thorough process that analyzes 14 areas. In another very close competition, Habitec narrowly edged out runners-up Amherst Alarm and Engineered Protection Systems (EPS).

“I have judged industry awards for a few years and it doesn’t get easier, with this year’s PDQ recipient a prime example. The scores were so close judges had to go over the top two contenders several times before a winner could be agreed upon,” says SIAC Director Ron Walters. “Habitec Security stood out for the lengths they go to be in contact with customers after their alarms have tripped. With user error the leading cause of alarm problems, this intimate relationship between the company and their customers is the most effective way to reduce their dispatch footprint.”

Habitec is able to take advantage of being a full-service electronic security provider that sells, installs, services and monitors 100% of its accounts. This soup-to-nuts chain allows the firm to take ownership of all facets of the customer experience. Having operated its central station for more than 30 years, Habitec is Ohio’s largest independent security provider with monitoring services delivered to in excess of 17,000 clients. In addition to Toledo, the company also deploys some of its 90+ associates at two branches in Columbus, Ohio, and Charlevoix, Mich.

About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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