What happens when a burglary isn’t accurately reported? Inaccurate statistics result from this. It means the full picture isn’t reported. That’s misleading, and sometimes leads to inaccurate statistics.
A case in point is a recent news article coming out of Seattle, WA. The writer discussed an incident he’d had where, based on visual evidence at the scene of a very clear forced entry, law enforcement chose not to report the situation as an attempted break-in. As a consequence, he was charged for a false alarm.
SIAC is committed to doing all we can to reduce unnecessary alarm dispatches, however we do feel it is incumbent on our law enforcement partners to ensure reasonable accuracy. At the same time, we believe it’s important for law enforcement to accurately represent the scene of a potential crime, both so they respond to the right situations and so that local citizens are best protected.
Examples of this type of situation were cited by the writer. We have also been aware of other cases over the years. Rather than a “burglary,” a broken window above a latch to the door gets written up as “criminal mischief.” Signs of forced entry by a crowbar get written off as something else.
What does all this mean to SIAC and security industry? We fight for good alarm management practices. We often have to address communities because of a high number of false alarms. If those numbers are higher because an attempted burglary is instead listed as a “false alarm,” that is not an accurate reflection of what happened. The home or business may pay a fine that it doesn’t deserve. Higher numbers of false alarms reflect poorly on our industry. Not reporting an attempted burglary also gives a community a false sense of security.
SIAC encourages our readers: If you are ever faced with this type of situation, push for an accurate representation of a forced entry. This is important for public protection and for statistics that pass the credibility test. Everyone benefits when the full facts emerge.
Success the first time around is unusual. We learn by failing or getting something wrong. It’s a great teacher. Yes, here at SIAC, we’d love to say we get it right immediately, and bad ordinances go away immediately when the cavalry shows up, and everyone is happy. But we all know the world doesn’t work that way.
What happens instead is things don’t necessarily go exactly the way you wanted or planned. Then you adjust and apply the lessons you learned. Case in point: Recently, Prescott Valley, AZ adopted verified response.
Perhaps we all won as a follow up in Prescott, AZ. When a visible local public policy issue arises, it creates debates and informs others. That often helps our industry in neighboring communities. In this case, Prescott, AZ is also considering changes to its alarm ordinance. Instead of verified response though, they are going down the path of pursuing model ordinance provisions supported and advocated by SIAC and others in our industry.
You may ask yourself why communities so close together have such a different perspective on this issue, and the answer would be we don’t really know. What we do know is that by being active and visible in Prescott Valley and introducing alternatives, that information got out in front of the public and elected officials and likely influenced their thinking.
We believe that is one of the strongest contributions SIAC makes to the electronic security industry – helping to provide information and influence decisions on alarm ordinances that benefits the industry AND the local community. It’s also why supporting SIAC is important if you have a company in our industry. We can’t provide those benefits without funding, and as a non-profit entity, we need contributions to do that. To make a donation, click here.
Getting it right the first time is a bonus. Getting it right the second time provides different tangible benefits. We don’t like seeing bad ordinances, but sometimes when that happens, positive responses occur down the road. Whether it’s the first, second or third time, SIAC will keep working hard for you to keep those onerous ordinances from reproducing.
It’s that time of year to think back and project forward. SIAC continued successfully serving the electronic security industry on multiple fronts in 2017, including: 1) Continuing to remove provisions in ordinances that would bill alarm companies for their customers fines. 2) Coordinate legal action to undo harmful and unlawful ordinance provisions as in Sandy Springs, GA; 3) Continue to maintain (13) and add (3 new) alarm management committees in the state chiefs organizations; 4) Review and assist over hundred cities with new or revised alarm ordinances. We’re pleased to hit those numbers and show value to not only those who support us with financial contributions, but to all the companies and associations that don’t.
We believe every industry association and member benefits from what we do, so we don’t always understand why more dealers and state/local industry organizations support us financially? We’d ask you reconsider your position in 2018 and if you are not contributing, please look at providing some level of support. It all helps!
The worst decision any company can make is to believe others will pay up and not let SIAC fall! That fallacy will lead to the extinction of SIAC. With no other income, we are dependent on voluntary contributions and need EVERYONE’S support to continue our (and your) work.
We face an ongoing trend that negatively affects what SIAC is able to do: Donations are going down on an annual basis. Industry consolidation eliminates some sources of money for SIAC and other associations that rely on contributions to do their non-profit work. This trend also continued the past year and has been in place for several years – companies merging or one company buying out another. When those things happen, typically one of the two sources of donations dries up. We lose, other non-profits lose, and the industry loses.
SIAC asks that you share today’s blog. We need to get the word out more thoroughly throughout the security industry about what SIAC accomplishes in terms of maintaining police as first responders to alarms, and by curtailing local programs that seek to fine alarm companies for their customers’ violations. Those two causes are primary ways we benefit the bottom lines of security companies. You save money by investing in SIAC. We help brand the electronic security industry in a positive way. We take on local work on alarm management that most businesses cannot afford to devote the time or resources to.
We are the experts, and we bring that to the game when there is a local ordinance issue. We leverage the high-level experience and talent of our staff to get the results noted above, year after year. By sharing our blog with others, you’ll be helping us continue to help you. If you’d like to contribute right now, click here to the “Donate” page on our web site. It’s simple and easy. Our thanks to all our contributors and we look forward to working with you in 2018.
Registration of your security system with local authorities is a cornerstone of the model alarm ordinance. With permitting, the ordinance works the way it is intended because there’s a track record – law enforcement is able to track where the alarms are coming from. That allows them to implement ways to help better manage the number of alarms through fines, education and cessation of response to major offenders.
As long as SIAC has been around, we’ve supported and advocated permitting provisions for the same reasons as police. When properly enforced, registration of alarm systems helps reduce the number of nuisance alarm system activations. That’s at the core of what we do, and why we are supported by many security companies and the four major security associations – ESA (Electronic Security Association), The Monitoring Association, SIA (Security Industry Association) and CANASA (Canadian Security Association).
Recently, Springfield, N.J., reminded permit holders in town that they need to submit their annual registration by January 15. We noted this in our SIAC State Activity Report, which you can find here. If you haven’t used our State Activity Report before, we urge you to do so. If you check it periodically, you recognize its value to your company in ensuring you and your customers are better aware of local rules and regulations affecting alarm systems.
The report is one of the extra benefits we provide to the electronic security industry. We always look for new ways to help our industry prosper. That means staying on top of government activities like alarm ordinances and sharing that information in a timely fashion.
Our coverage crisscrosses the United States and Canada. That’s a lot of activity. If you have any information you’d like us to share, please follow up with Stan Martin at email@example.com. We’d be glad to post relevant activities. If you find our postings helpful, please share them with others. Better compliance helps our entire industry.
SIAC is a HUGE advocate of collectively improving operations for the entire electronic security industry. With your input, we’ll keep getting better. We hope to see you in the new year. Be safe.
SIAC is engaged in pushing legal action against Sandy Springs, GA for its alarm ordinance that forces security companies to pay for its customers’ fines. Surrounding jurisdictions pay close attention to these types of activities, both good and bad. The goal for the industry is to repeal the ordinance. At the same time, Brookhaven, GA, has chosen to follow in Sandy Springs’ footsteps and plans to begin fining alarm companies for its customers’ false alarms beginning January 1, 2018.
For all dealers across the country, what happens in Georgia can happen in your city and state. Tracking these ordinances and challenging these unlawful provisions are costly. Please go to our website at http://siacinc.org/donate.aspx and help support our programs!
SIAC does not cry wolf. We follow critical local issues like this one, then share information and warn when appropriate. We’ve been warning about the growing threat of jurisdictions making security companies responsible for the false alarms of their customers. These types of local actions, if left unchallenged, present a threat to the electronic security industry. Without intervention, you have situations arise like Brookhaven.
What does all this mean to our industry? Security companies serving Brookhaven MUST get involved. Local involvement is critical because elected representatives will be most responsive to those companies operating locally. Write to your city representatives. Testify before the city council. Write a letter-to-the-editor and submit it to the Brookhaven Patch or the Brookhaven Post. You have a voice. Use it to help others become aware of why fining alarm companies does NOT make sense for the community – it is similar to making automobile manufacturers responsible for speeding tickets of drivers.
SIAC’s resources are available to help. Our goal is to drive down unnecessary alarm dispatches — educate customers of security companies, share information, work with local authorities to adopt strong and enforceable alarm ordinances. If we do that, the need for any fines decreases.
The former CEO of the Security Industry Association (SIA), Richard Chace, passed away recently in China from complications of contracting rabies. You may have already heard that news, but we felt it incumbent to share a bit about Richard’s commitment to the security industry as a whole and to SIAC’s mission of improving alarm management practices.
Richard was pursuing new security ventures during his time in China, which won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows him. He was a tireless and relentless promoter of our industry during his SIA tenure, and continued to stay engaged after leaving that position.
For SIAC, he repeatedly backed our efforts on an annual basis by fighting for funding, and supporting our educational and informational efforts to help the electronic security industry. We appreciated his leadership and influence. It often takes but one person to step up on an issue to get others to understand its importance.
Richard was good at that. He kept SIAC’s message in front of others. He campaigned for us. For SIAC and for our industry, we give thanks for the work of Richard Chace over his many years of service, and send our prayers to him and his family.
When EPS Security won this year’s Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award, it spoke to their diligence not only in the programs they implement on the front lines, but also determination to keep applying for the award when they hadn’t won it in previous years. That stood out to the judges. It’s also those qualities that we think other electronic security companies should consider as they develop and implement worthwhile alarm management programs that work in their front lines.
At SIAC, it’s easy for us to continue encouraging, teaching and sharing information on best alarm management practices. We receive appreciative feedback, but the reality of any program is that it’s only as good as how it’s put into practice on a day-to-day basis. Companies commit to execution. Then consistently do what is necessary to ensure best practices are used every day by their people.
This is hard. We never said getting better (at anything) was easy, much less putting in place a new measure or reforming your current alarm management program. The rubber meets the road through 1,000+ small- to medium-sized electronic security companies committing and executing on those better practices in communities across the United States and Canada.
In short, that means owners/managers of those companies care. That’s the first step to success. Those leaders must push their people and come up with several key indicators where they can improve. Then communicate it to your people. Stay committed. Follow up to see how things are going. And reform, as necessary, as you go along. If something it not working, try something new. If your employees are not prepared to share quality information with customers, put together better materials, train your people and cut them loose to do their jobs.
SIAC is here to help and provide big picture influence and information. We help many communities throughout North America improve how alarms are managed. But it’s you – the companies who read this blog and sell, install and service systems – who are on the front lines who determine local success or failure. Every owner, every company, every employee is important to this effort. We call on leaders and owners to stay committed and involved on the alarm management front. We know this is hard given all the day-to-day activities you must attend to in running a successful and profitable business.
With your engagement and leadership, your company benefits, as does our industry. Next year may be your time to win the PDQ. That won’t happen without strong programs right now.