Verified Response Successful in Recent Study


Securty system provider and monitoring company Sonitrol
Corp. recently commissioned a study to assess the value
of “verified response,” a law enforcement tool used to
decrease the number of false alarms. According to the U.S.
Department of Justice, approximately 94 to 98 percent of
all alarm activations police respond to are false. Verified
response helps solve this by verifying alarms through a
private security guard or through electronic video
surveillance means.

The study shows police were able to reduce their dispatch rate by 72 percent and that burglary rates declined in the majority of jurisdictions with verified response in place for more than one year. As of January 2006, 27 cities have adopted verified response. This allows police officers to pursue higher priority duties and respond more quickly to verified alarms.

According to Sonitrol President Alex Gellman, “Verified response is a reasonable and legitimate approach for cities looking to combat the false alarm epidemic. Sonitrol supports verified response because the status quo of a 98-percent false alarm rate is unacceptable and wastes police resources.”

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), however, disagrees with several aspects of the Sonitrol study. According to a recent statement issued by SIAC, “The study is a last desperate attempt to breathe life into an outdated concept that has been rejected by the vast majority of the law enforcement community.”

SIAC maintains that after more than six years of promotion, fewer than 30 of the nation’s 18,000 police departments use some form of verified response.

SIAC’s solution for the false alarm problem involves Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) and the use of alarm control panels built to the CP-01 standard established by the Security Industry Association (SIA).

ECV involves the use of multiple phone calls to sort out unnecessary police dispatches. According to SIAC, ECV can reduce false dispatches by up to 64 percent. SIA’s CP-01 standard is designed to reduce end-user error.

“Thanks to ECV and other industry suggestions, communities have successfully reduced dispatches by more than 70 percent,” says SIAC.

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