Here at SIAC, we like to pioneer new approaches to update alarm management practices. That means looking around at communities throughout North America, find out what works and what doesn’t, and appropriately share success models with the security industry. Steve Keefer, one of SIAC’s key staff members, recently came across a great example in Carson City, NV.
It’s a simple approach being taken by the Sheriff’s Office there. They use volunteers to track down nuisance alarm activations at local businesses. Two volunteers work with the Sheriff’s staff solely on alarm reduction activities.
The volunteers obtain call for service information from their agency of recent commercial alarm activations and responses by patrol officers. The volunteers then physically visit each business, politely introduce themselves and address the false alarm activation.
They share methods to reduce further false alarms and, according to what Steve reports, are almost always met with full cooperation. The volunteers leave with a critical and lasting contact, while potentially changing the habits of employees which caused the false alarm.
That’s good stuff. Law enforcement resources are extended. Progress is made in reducing unwanted alarm activations. The local business community becomes better connected to the people it serves.
This effort correlates well with what we know to be factual — nearly all citizens will cooperate on alarm dispatch reduction efforts once they realize there is a problem in their community. When alarm users are made aware of the problem directly from law enforcement (or volunteers officially representing the agency), they will normally take immediate corrective action. This does not preclude the alarm industry from doing its part to notify them as well by telephone or electronic notice. People take it more seriously when notified by the agency itself.
A new alarm ordinance or policy isn’t the only way to improve alarm management practices. As Carson City Sheriff Furlong has demonstrated, sometimes it just takes a little ingenuity and volunteer effort to make things better.