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.