Mainstream Media Questions Merits of Home Security Systems

As other long-time security and alarm industry professionals will attest, no news is usually good news when it comes to mainstream media. That’s because through the years, more often than not, when newspapers, consumer magazines, TV newscasts, etc. decide to dedicate some time or space to the topic it is about false alarms, fraudulent business practices, systems not working properly, cameras not being watched or recorded when crimes occur and so on. Residential providers, in particular, take a beating. It’s no wonder many who work in the security industry have become as cynical and leery of the media as officers of the law.

Two more such portrayals were published by the New York Times (“Weighing the Value of Home Security System”) and Smart Money (“10 Things Home-Security Firms Won’t Tell You”) this week. Both question the merit and effectiveness of professionally installed and monitored alarm systems. Many well known security sources are referenced (SSI magazine among them) and comments are presented from several industry professionals including myself. I must admit I am a bit dismayed to see my comments taken somewhat out of context and edited in such a way as to omit a lot of the very positive things I conveyed about the industry, its providers and solutions. I am guessing others appearing in these articles feel similarly and like me had no idea the final product would be so biased against the industry.

In hindsight I suppose we all should have known better given mainstream media’s apparent vendetta against the security business. It must be acknowledged, however, that there is at least a grain of truth to many of the points covered in these articles. Those are instances where the industry must ask itself if efforts can be made to address those issues and strive toward further improvement. Regardless, there remains an inequity and bias in mainstream media reporting on our industry that does not appear to be abating anytime soon. All you can do is the best darn job you can for your customers and the interests of overall public safety. Of course, you can also write retorts to blow off some steam and attempt to set the record straight.

Some say any media exposure is a positive, but I am curious if Under Surveillance readers agree in cases like this. Where do you stand?

As always, thanks for reading …

Scott Goldfine

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Tagged with: Under Surveillance

About the Author


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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