Failure to maintain alarm equipment penalizes everyone – the local jurisdiction, the owner of the system and the security company that services the home or business of the alarm system. Faulty operating equipment leads to false alarms.
Auburn, WA Police Chief Bill Pierson recently pointed this out in a news article. The city has been able to reduce alarm dispatch calls by 63% since 2008. One of the reasons is no free false calls are allowed. Penalties begin on the first infraction. The chief supported this, and pointed out in the news article that keeping the number of freebies at zero saved the city operational costs.
One of the bigger points Chief Pierson made in the article was that individuals plead they had a faulty operating alarm system. They argue the bad system caused the inadvertent alarm signal to be sent. The chief saw it differently: Some individuals use it as an excuse to get out of the fine, and if a free alarm dispatch was allowed, his jurisdiction would begin to hear that excuse too frequently.
Sometimes we’re asked why does SIAC support only one , two or even no free responses? The answer is simple: We understand that the vast majority of these dispatches are due to user error. The fewer free responses, the more likely the user is to take remedial action. This is particularly true of systems that need maintenance or equipment replacement. Supporting aggressive ordinance provisions is a much better choice than watching these agencies go down the path of ceasing response to all systems.
The goal is to always keep driving down those nuisance alarms. Auburn has done an excellent job because it has a strong ordinance and enforces it. An important part of keeping the number of alarm dispatches down is to ensure equipment operates the way it was meant to. Security companies should revisit customers periodically to check on the system, answer customer questions and see if any updating of technology makes sense. It’s a good business visit to make, and provides benefits for the customer and local jurisdiction, too.