Kevin Lehan, Executive Director of the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA), recently sent us an email with a story attached from Lincoln, NE. It addressed how the burglar alarm ordinance had reduced unnecessary police dispatch calls. It went on to briefly outline steps the fire department in Lincoln would like to take to duplicate the success of the burglar alarm ordinance.
Kevin’s submission contained information we hadn’t received. His thoughtfulness and initiative helps our overall effort to continue improving alarm management issues across North American (for both fire and burglar alarms). His note to us also spotlights how we often are informed about what is going on – through communication from others in our industry.
We urge you to send us information when any type of alarm management activity occurs in your community, the states where you do business, or even nationally. We have a wide network, and actively stay on top of the issues, but we are not perfect. We need help from others – like Kevin – to continue improving the job we do for you.
If you go to http://www.siacinc.org, you will find contact information for all of our staff who work on these issues. Their email and phone numbers are all there. We hope you already know most or all of our staff. If not, please start typing and send us a message or pick up the phone and give us a call.
As we capture more and better data, we’re better able to serve the electronic security industry, with growing improvements to how run alarm management programs across North America.
As cable companies enter the electronic security market, we encourage them to commit to high standards of training, installation, monitoring and service. No industry stays static year after year, and as ours continues to add and subtract companies, while others merge, it’s important that new entities embrace the types of alarm management standards that make us all look good.
The security trade magazines are rife with stories about cable companies growing their services. Comcast, AT&T, Cox, Verizon, Time-Warner and ComSouth, along with others, have either entered the electronic security market, or are planning to do so. This represents an opportunity if they start their alarm management programs the right way.
Buy-in by cable companies to high quality alarm management practices like 2-call verification and the ANSI SIA CP-01 standard will minimize law enforcement dispatches. Dealers should embrace these new players by readily accepting them into industry associations. History has show too often that dealers resist or fight entry of bona fide competitors into associations, an action which is anti-competitive, illegal and irrational. We need to all work together on common issues to improve our businesses and for the betterment of our industry. That includes professional growth and the image of our industry.
We encourage the newcomers to join ESA and CSAA. We also encourage them to work with SIAC to learn about the work we do, and to step up as a strong participants and contributors to improving alarm management standards.
There is plenty of opportunity for everyone. Let’s work together.
Up front, we’ll let you know this: There is no mobile app that we know of which tracks alarm management data. If there is, we’d like to hear about it from you.
If there was such an app, there are a lot of benefits it could provide the electronic security industry. We could track trends, for example, where successful ordinances have been implemented and what the key provisions are.
A mobile app could also chart alarm management statistics – what cities have registration requirements, two-call verification and CP-01 standards. All this information would help dealers do business in their local jurisdiction.
If there was such an application, we believe it would help in our campaign across North America to continue improving alarm management standards and enforcement. One of the ongoing walls we have to keep climbing over is a lack of information and understanding of key issues in local jurisdictions.
If nothing else, a mobile app would be tremendously beneficial in getting more information into the public arena. We’re willing to help. Get in touch with SIAC at http://www.siacinc.org, and we’ll share what we have with you. The convenience and speed with which members of our industry could access critical data would improve if we can make a mobile app happen.
Five years of proof in Pierce County, WA, have now become six. With information provided by the county to SIAC’s Ron Haner, we have one more year of proof that our model ordinance not only works, but also that it continues to added reductions in the number of unnecessary dispatches.
Through March of this year in unincorporated Pierce County, false burglar alarms are down over 90% when compared to the same time period in 2007. Last year that reduction was 88%, so we’ve gained another two percent in the positive column over the past year.
In the past, we’ve applauded the work of the county, Ron, the security industry in the state of Washington, and the local alarm administrator. It’s worth giving them another shout out because not only do they set an example for the rest of the country in terms of demonstrating positive results year after year, all the parties have also demonstrated the importance of cooperation and enforcement.
Working together, they’ve made this happen. Through enforcement, they continue to see improvements. We believe those two simple concepts mean a lot for other jurisdictions across North America.
Go to our Web site for more information on SIAC and for resources on how you can implement the model ordinance in your community: http://www.siacinc.org. Ron Haner’s name and contact information is there, too. Thank him. Ask him a few questions. He’ll give you some insights on how to achieve end goals of significant alarm reductions in your jurisdiction.
North Carolina has taken a leading role to push school security legislation, a step SIAC believes is important for safer schools. We’ve advocated for a number of measures the past few months, since the Newtown, CT, tragedy. It’s good to see the North Carolina legislature take initial steps to further protect children in our schools. We know it is not final action, but we encourage companies in the electronic security industry to stay active on this front, supporting these types of measures.
The bipartisan legislation in North Carolina was approved by their House Education Committee unanimously, according to the Associated Press. The legislation would set aside money for districts to hire police officers and counselors and install panic alarms in classrooms. Four million dollars in grants would be set aside to help districts install panic alarms in classrooms.
Other states should take heed. Companies in our industry should also take heed. Legislation does not get developed, discussed and passed by people standing on the sidelines. Progress takes shape through individuals and organizations stepping forward, taking a stand and following through to ensure change takes place.
North Carolina has done the right thing, and we encourage other states to follow suit. Through your local and state alarm associations, you can get involved to find out the best way to advocate for legislation. Contacting the Electronic Security Association (ESA at http://www.esaweb.org) or the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA at http://www.csaaintl.org) are two other great ways for you to get started.
A little over a month ago, we made an end user presentation in California. There were over 100 MACE Monitoring dealers and vendors registered for the event. That’s a great turnout and one we’d like to replicate in other meetings across North America.
To spread the word to companies throughout the security industry, we need attendees at sessions where we teach proper alarm installation practices. The more that show up, the more we have people in the field helping the customers prevent inadvertent alarms down the road. Good alarm management practices help the security business and customers.
Beyond the education you receive at a SIAC session, you’ll also get information on the importance of joining your local association. Professionalism grows for companies that take the extra step to participate in their local and state alarm associations. We encourage you to explore the benefits our alarm associations provide.
Another issue we touch on during SIAC presentations at meetings with dealers and vendors is the importance of direct contact with law enforcement. That means knowing your police chief or sheriff. Many of the issues we face regarding alarm management in cities across North America tie directly to the police department, their policies and the ordinances they are charged with enforcing. Again, we all benefit through this strengthened relationship – security companies, customers and the local jurisdiction.
To have us run an end user (or any other alarm management issue) meeting for you, go to http://www.siacinc.org for more information.
The private sector is filling gaps in law enforcement left by budget cuts, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. In our opinion, that’s a bad trend.
The story reports on private detectives investigating crimes, security firms patrolling neighborhoods to deter crime and private security forces investigating burglaries. We think our Alarm Management Program is one small step that can help police across the North America combat this trend.
While SIAC’s program doesn’t guarantee our permit and fine-based system will make a local jurisdiction money (nor is it our goal), we have multiple success stories to back up the case that if the ordinance with our recommended best practices is properly enforced, it reduces unnecessary alarms and “at a minimum” pays for itself. Many years ago we had a deputy chief in Toronto point out that those alarm revenues helped fund keeping more officers on the payroll that he could use in combating crime.
The more direct benefit of our model ordinance program is reducing unnecessary alarm dispatches, thus keeping more officers available to address priority issues. We’ve beat this drum for many years. We need you to share this message with others.
Not everyone can afford private security services. Police protection is part of the common good for a community. Police are the experts in handling crimes, not private security services. Those are three excellent reasons to support the Alarm Management Program, which would help keep police on the streets, patrolling and responding to needs of everyone in the community, not just the wealthy.
Let’s work with law enforcement to continue proposing new ways to help them solve funding problems, and in the process keep our communities safe. Go to http://www.siacinc.org, for more information.