As different campaigns develop across the country that require our involvement – Vancouver, WA and Avondale, AZ being two recent cases – it’s important to remember the shining success examples we have. Too often we hear about a new tactic that is designed to remove police response to alarms (Vancouver) or start charging security companies the fines for false dispatches (Avondale), and forcing them to bill back to customers. Here at SIAC, we jump on those issues and work with our colleagues to resolve them in a beneficial way to the community, our industry and in concert with law enforcement and elected officials.
We also work proactively to establish effective local ordinances that maintain police officers as the first line of response to an alarm signal. We believe this is good for public safety, and our industry.
So, where are some key jurisdictions that have demonstrated success? Where did we sit down and work with all the parties to help create solutions that reduce those unwanted calls by over 80%? Though there are many, three clear examples stand out in the Pacific Northwest: Spokane, WA; Pierce County, WA; and Olympia, WA. Ron Haner, our talented SIAC staff member in that part of the country, has had a huge hand in these projects.
Let’s look at the statistics. Alarm responses before a new ordinance was put in place were: Olympia, 252 calls per month; Spokane, >600/month; Pierce County, 330/month. After key new provisions were put in place (early fines; cutoffs of response for too many false dispatches; permitting structures; two-call verification; CP-01 equipment standards), those numbers all went down dramatically: Olympia, 21/month; Spokane, <100/month; Pierce County, 37/month. THAT’S AN AVERAGE 85% REDUCTION in those calls we don’t want going to police!
What’s also important here is to look at the timeframe for these reductions. In each case, these reductions have been sustained over a minimum of three years. That’s what cities need, and what our industry needs to demonstrate.
In Vancouver, they recently appeared headed towards a Verified Response (VR) option (a verification of an intrusion required before police would be dispatched). After being provided with some of the documentation above, we’re hopeful other options will be considered. This demonstrates the importance of security industry members being informed and actively engaging with local officials. Ron Haner has done a masterful job in the Pacific Northwest, and we now have these shining examples to use elsewhere.
Go to our Web site for more information on how we can help you, http://www.siacinc.org.