76% of Contributors Agree SIAC is Critical to the Security Industry

During May and early June 2018, a survey was distributed to ESA, TMA and SIA members regarding SIAC. A total of 4,646 surveys were distributed. The recipients included 249 past and current SIAC contributors. Respondents were almost evenly divided among those who have contributed to SIAC (42) and those who have not contributed (40). With this response rate, the margin of error is high at +/-14% and 15% respectively, so the results will need to be viewed with that caveat. The following is an overview of the survey responses.

siac staff

Among SIAC Contributors

  • 76% agree or strongly agree that SIAC is critical to the industry
  • 71% believe their donations have a great impact toward the SIAC mission
  • 64% believe SIAC does a good job explaining how donations are spent and is a good steward of donations, while 19% disagree
  • 57% believe SIAC does a good job recognizing donors and 21% disagree with that statement.
  • Of all respondents who have contributed to SIAC, 70% have donated in the last 12 months and 60% plan to donate in the next 12 months, with 17% unsure if they will contribute.
  • On questions regarding the SIAC mission there was very strong support for establishing positive working relationships with law enforcement (79%) and encouraging alarm/monitoring companies to adopt best practices (79%) as well as providing updated “model ordinances” to local public safety agencies (67%)
  • SIAC received an incredibly high Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 68.57

Among Respondents Who Have Not Contributed to SIAC

  • 70% believe that fining alarm companies for false alarms is a significant issue for the industry
  • 58% are familiar with the purpose and mission of SIAC and 28% were not familiar.
  • 50% believe that SIAC does a good job communicating its activities and mission to members of the associations, while 33% disagreed with that statement.
  • 63% believe SIAC is effective at achieving model alarm reduction ordinances
  • On the question of why members have not contributed to SIAC, members responded with the following:
    • 28% don’t have the financial resources
    • 45% don’t know enough (or anything) about SIAC
    • 2% said SIAC mission doesn’t impact their business needs
    • 3% don’t know what SIAC does
    • 18% are satisfied with local ordinances and practices in their service area (and don’t believe anything will change).

Two areas from this survey stand out: The need for us here at SIAC to publicly recognize those who support us, and the need to communicate more with the security industry about our activities. You should see steps in the coming months through this blog and our social media activities that address both those issues.

SIAC is thankful for those who contribute every year. Yet, we don’t understand why so many who benefit from our program of managing alarm ordinances don’t contribute?  We sell no services and have no other income – we are dependent on your voluntary support, so please take a moment to make a donation via our website or email stan@siacinc.org with an amount and we will promptly return a pledge invoice or contact you to facilitate a payment.  Thank you!

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Are You an ESA Member?

Are you an ESA member? If so, SIAC would like to give your association an update on law enforcement activities relative to our industry to you free of charge. Stan Martin will do the honors for us.

It has always been our desire to work with all the state chapters of ESA to give them updates on our activities and any alarm ordinances being considered locally. But, given our limited budget, we haven’t been able to attend local meetings as much as we’d like.
pat egan
However, our industry has Pat Egan to thank for a new program, helping us finance these presentations to ESA member states. Pat has been a long-time supporter of SIAC and leader in the electronic security industry. He understands the importance of law enforcement relationships and need in communicating to all members on this critical topic. We appreciate his support, vision and insights.

If your ESA chapter is interested in bringing Stan in, please get in touch with him directly at stan@siacinc.org. Pat will cover the air fare and we would appreciate the chapter covering one night in a hotel. This helps SIAC conserve our funds, while continuing to spread the word on improving alarm management standards. We only ask the ESA chapter to allocate 15-20 minutes during a membership lunch/dinner or annual meeting for an update. We are limited to one venue per month so it’s important to make your request as soon as possible to secure the date desired.

Our thanks to Pat Egan/Select Security for stepping forward in this. Creative ways to help us sustain our work by communicating more effectively are always appreciated.

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Wheeling, WV Sees 14 Percent Drop in Alarm Calls

Wheeling, WV has seen a 14 percent drop in alarm calls during it’s most recent 12-month reporting period. Between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017, the Wheeling Police Department responded to 969 alarms. A year later (Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30 of this year), officers were called to 834 alarms with only eight of those proving to be valid calls. Over the past 12 months, the city leveled fines totaling $55,000 against residential and commercial property owners who either failed to register their alarms or whose properties experienced multiple false alarms.


One of the components put into place by the city was provisions of the model ordinance, including registration and fines for false alarm activations. When effectively enforced, as seen in many other communities, positive results take place.


The city initiated the Wheeling False Alarm Reduction Program on Oct. 1, 2016. It requires all burglar or panic type alarms, such as those at banks, to be registered with the city. Registrations must be renewed each year in October. Letters have gone out to current alarm holders as a reminder to renew. Registration is free.


The city reported it has gone 50 days out of the past 365 without a false alarm. The year before it was 30 days.


With fewer alarm calls, city officers are able to perform more street patrols and other work, according to Wheeling Police Department Public Information Officer Philip Stahl, who noted that two officers are required to respond to an alarm for safety reasons.


Improving these numbers takes time, but Wheeling is one more example that with a well-implemented and enforced ordinance that improvements take place in terms of reducing inadvertent alarm activations. With continued focus, those numbers should continue to come down. That’s good for the community, the PD and security industry.

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See SIA and Honeywell in New York City

See the Security Industry Association (SIA) and Honeywell Security & Fire in New York City October 25-26. Where? At “Securing New Ground” (SNG) during the ISC East annual conference. SIA and Honeywell are two of SIAC’s biggest and long-term contributors. We cannot do what we do without their help. We encourage all attendees to stop in to see them while in NYC, and let them know you appreciate their support of our causes.


Both ISC East and West are signature security industry events. Beyond hearing about new technology and networking with colleagues, sessions revolve around key industry standards and policy issues facing us in the years ahead. To stay abreast of these trends, and use them to your advantage while running your business, being onsite is the best way to go.


Top industry executives and chief security officers gather annually at SNG. We’ve found over the years that new trends are spotlighted as well. Yes, there will be awards and great New York City food as well.


You can access the ISC site for SNG by clicking here. If you are a SIA member, your registration is significantly reduced. You can click here to go through the SIA web site.

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“Progress” can be a loaded word. One person’s definition of “progress” might be another’s definition of “failure.” At SIAC, we’re continually focused on improving alarm management practices – for the security industry, so law enforcement can do its job more easily and to help communities protect their citizens in the most efficient way possible.   That’s progress for the three pillars consistently engaged in dealing with alarm system issues in local jurisdictions.


That’s not the only way we define progress. We track the decline in inadvertent alarm activations. For example, if a city is seeing 12,000 dispatches per year for 10,000 systems, when we get our model ordinance enacted with good enforcement, we’d expect to see a drop down to 9,000 or less dispatches within the first year.  That’s demonstrable results – progress.


SIAC purposefully is conservative in the estimates we make and provide to law enforcement. We don’t want to make promises we can’t keep. Instead, we want to demonstrate what can be done based on numbers that show progress in communities that implement the best practices we advocate for.


We’re not perfect, and the model we use to assist law enforcement and local governments is not going to provide the exact same results from town to town or city to city. But for the most part, when we show reductions in those unwanted alarm activations, we can comfortably predict that with similar provisions, and strong implementation and enforcement, that other communities will see similar results.


As advocates for the alarm industry, it’s important that we provide conservative estimates to our law enforcement partners. That’s critical for our credibility, and the trust necessary for “progress” to continue reducing unnecessary alarm activations in the years ahead.

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Machine Learning Algorithms for Alarm Management?

A machine learning algorithm to improve alarm management? Gadzooks, what will they think of next? But Johnson Controls (JCI) has developed the product, and is marketing it.

Here’s the story: JCI is marketing a false alarm reduction service that applies machine learning algorithms to intrusion alarm panel data. It provides end-use customers with insights to prioritize actions that are said to vastly reduce preventable nuisance alarms.

machine learning

To train its algorithms and confirm their accuracy, the company utilizes a massive amount of closed loop data. They took five years-worth of that data from the 757,000 panels they have in the field. A customer beta-testing phase followed. That lasted a year-and-a-half, then bore results that JCI says can give end users data-driven recommendations to reduce 50-70 percent of their false alarms.

This is good stuff. At SIAC, we’re excited about the possibility of such algorithms when properly applied taking us to the next level of alarm dispatch reduction. That’s excellent and we applaud these steps.

Great job JCI! Kudos for digging in and finding ways to deliver alarm services while helping to improve alarm management practices.

SIAC also fully supports JCI’s next steps as it rolls out the solution to a limited number of businesses. It’s a Cloud-based, software-as-a-service offering. Physical deployment isn’t necessary. The software system should work with any panel vendor. That’s important, and also an excellent feature to ensure penetration in the security industry.

We’re fascinated to see this hitting the market, and looking forward to see how it is adopted and utilized by others. The success will occur when we see high utilization rates. A great reason to be optimistic about the future!

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False Alarms Decrease in Greenville County, SC after New Ordinance

False alarms decreased in Greenville County, SC, after a new alarm ordinance was enacted. Hmmmm, should we be surprised? Not here at SIAC. We expect that. When proper provisions are put in place and sensibly enforced, good things happen. We see that time and again.

The Greenville County Council looked at the impact of an ordinance they passed in September of 2017, which imposed stricter fines on habitual false alarm offenders. The Sheriff’s Office started enforcing the ordinance in January. Since then, they say they’ve seen a decrease in the number of false alarms, according to news reports.


Here are the provisions put into effect by the county: After two (2) false alarms within a calendar year, all additional false alarms during the calendar year shall be considered a violation of this article and shall be deemed a civil infraction and the alarm system user shall be subject to the following fines:(1) 3-5 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $50 per occurrence;(2) 6 and 7 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $100 per occurrence;(3) 8 and 9 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $250 per occurrence, and(4) 10 or more False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $500 per occurrence.


Since the new ordinance has been in effect, the worst offender went from having nearly 130 false alarms in a year to none.


“Our goal was to correct the false alarm problem,” Council Member Lynn Ballard said.  It seems to be working. From the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2018, the number of false alarms in the county decreased by nearly 500, ultimately improving public safety.


Ballard says since the ordinance has passed no residential customers have been fined for false alarms, only businesses. Security companies say they’ve also implemented a two-call confirmation (ECV) process which has also played a role in decreasing the number of false alarms, according to the news report.


This is why we do what we do at SIAC. Share good information. Work with local officials. Tailor a program to fit their resources. If done with commitment, ordinances work effectively and everyone wins.

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