Public/Private Partnership Formed to Promote Video Intrusion Alarms

By Rodney Bosch

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A group of property crime stakeholders from public and private sectors have formed an affiliation to encourage the use of, and promote priority response for, video intrusion alarms.

The Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response (PPVAR) is comprised of representatives from the electronic security industry, as well as police, sheriffs and the insurance industry. It is the first public/private organization of its kind to focus on combatting false dispatches, property crime and increasing arrest rates using video alarms.

PPVAR’s board of directors include: Donald Young, chief information officer, Protection 1; Steve Walker, vice president, customer service centers, Stanley CSS; Fred Lohmann, director of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB); Yost Zakhary, chief of police, Woodway, Texas; and Paul Fitzgerald, current president of the National Sheriff’s Association, will join the board after his term is completed in June. Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, will serve as coordinator of PPVAR.

According to Walker, two forces are actively at work in bringing public and private sector stakeholders together to improve the effectiveness of electronic security.  First, the economic realities of budget and spending constraints are driving public safety officials to seek out ways of reducing agency responses to false alarms.  Second, the economic realities of rising insurance liabilities and rising consumer premiums are driving the private sector to find more effective ways to reduce crime related losses. 

 “The electronic security industry is in a strong position to partner with law enforcement, the customer, insurance industry, and other stakeholders to address these concerns through the use of verification technologies such as video and audio,” Walker says. “These technologies are helping law enforcement to prioritize their responses while increasing apprehensions — an outcome that is valued by the insurance industry, consumers and law enforcement alike.” 

According to PPVAR, video alarms have proven arrest rates hundreds of times greater than traditional intrusion alarm systems. While arrest rates with traditional alarms are less than one tenth of one percent (0.08%), video alarm systems have delivered arrest rates of more than 20%, the group says. In some instances, video alarms helped achieve arrest rates of 50% or better, the group says. 

The organization works to collect data from alarm companies, law enforcement, PSAPs and insurers. Beyond promoting the adoption of video intrusion alarms, PPVAR will help gather real world examples of what is working best for all the stakeholders. This will entail approaching the issue from a variety of applications including indoor, outdoor, commercial, residential, etc.  

Eventually, PPVAR says its goal is to package “best practices” and work with organizations such as the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) to create standards that meet the needs of all the stakeholders and were created with their input. 

“The availability of technology has only proven to solve a portion of the false alarm problems that plague our industry and minimize our effectiveness in the eyes of law enforcement. Without a greater understanding between both the public and private sector of the use of this technology we continue to either over or under estimate its usefulness in achieving our common goals,” Young says. “I believe that more candid dialog is necessary about the benefits of certain technologies that allow for priority response from the public sector that is clearly craving an alternative to the traditional methods of the past.”  

Young says initially some industry veterans may be confused on the difference between the roles of PPVAR and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), which works to forge partnerships with law enforcement. However, over time and with help from associations like CSAA, both groups can craft a unified approach to dealing with both law enforcement and the insurance industry to achieve goals that are important to all stakeholders, he says. 

“Our consumers rely on us to recommend the best methods of protecting their life and property and though our industry has many opinions on this I believe PPVAR will offer collaborative thinking with the public sector on what end-to-end solution works best for everyone,” Young says.

Rodney Bosch is managing editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (310) 533-2426.

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