Unique Contribution from Amherst Alarm

Amherst Alarm CEO Tim Creenan has committed a financial pledge to SIAC in support of our legal efforts to battle ordinances that threaten non-response and other factors, such as those adopted recently in Sandy Springs, Ga. We’ve known Tim for a long time as a friend and a highly respected security industry colleague. His unique pledge speaks volumes about his character and commitment to better alarm management practices in our industry. We can’t thank him enough for the contribution.


Creenan is a newly inducted member of the Security Sales & Integration (SSI) Industry Hall of Fame. He will donate 10 cents for each Amherst Alarm customer to SIAC, resulting in a substantial donation. The donation will be divided between the fund established to fight the Sandy Springs ordinance and funding for SIAC’s ongoing nationwide activities to promote a “Model Alarm Ordinance” that has dramatically decreased false alarms in communities nationwide.



“There is no question that cities such as Sandy Springs negatively impact our business and our customers with ordinances based on misinformation or animosity toward our industry. A small investment now will pay tremendous dividends if ordinances that fine alarm companies, impose outrageous fees for registration and false alarms, and generally discourage or punish people from protecting their lives and property go unchallenged,” Creenan told SSI recently.


Let’s not kid ourselves. There are individuals in the country who spend a considerable amount of their time trying to undermine our industry’s credibility and promote ordinances that either fine alarm companies or severely limit police response to alarms. Their misinformation campaigns can take root when there is no alternative voice to provide expertise on the issue.


Without a proactive program to engage the nation’s 18,000 public safety agencies these efforts will gain momentum, harm our relationship with customers and place excessive administrative and financial burdens on our businesses.


Creenan, who serves on the SIAC board as a representative of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), is urging other companies to make the same donation of 10 cents per customer. We deeply appreciate Tim taking these steps to further a cause that benefits all companies in our industry. If you’d like to set up a similar program, contact Stan Martin directly at stan@siacinc.org. If you’d like to make a direct donation to our collective cause, follow this link on our web site.


“I can’t think of any investment with a higher potential ROI than funding SIAC’s well-established track record for promoting the Model Alarm Ordinance and fighting back when our industry and those we serve are attacked. It is clearly a case of pay now or pay much more later,” Creenan told SSI.

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The Difficulties Faced by Local Security Companies

We recognize how tough things are for family-owned and/or small security companies. You’re busy on many fronts. You’re dealing with accounts payable and receivable, hiring and training, sales and ordering equipment. Most business owners wear multiple hats.

That’s a major reason SIAC is important to you. We handle the details on alarm management, working with local officials, promoting good ordinances that work for all parties, opposing ordinances that negatively impact your business, and sharing information that you may not have access to which ensures our industry’s messages are heard at the local, state and national level.

bay alarm

Recently, we heard from a small security company that contributes to SIAC. They pointed out that they do not have the time to understand all the local issues. They want to do the right thing, but can’t dedicate the resources to doing that little bit extra which would allow them to meet with local law enforcement, for example, and groom the relationship. We understand that. That’s why SIAC is around. It’s also why we need your financial support.

Smaller local security companies are the backbone of our industry. SIAC serves companies of all sizes, but the smaller guys are a unique niche that captures our heart. We know you are out on the front lines driving sales, and making sure your bottom lines stays on the plus side. Because of that you may not have the expertise or time to participate in terms of local engagement on alarm issues.

We understand the difficulties. It’s why we’re here. In fact, it’s a major reason SIAC came to be. We educate and/or  fight when necessary for you so you can run your business. Help us by being our eyes and ears in the field, and remember we’re here to serve your needs and allow you the extra room to meet the core demands of your bottom line.


Please don’t believe your contribution is not needed, WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT! Help us to  keep fighting your fight.

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Three Great Events from the California Alarm Association

Next week is ISC West in Las Vegas. SIAC will be there. We hope you are too. We know the California Alarm Association will host a number of events, and we encourage you to join them if at all possible and support their efforts:


SC’s Got Talent!
April 10, 2018 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Hosted Bar 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. VIP for Sponsors

Featuring the GREATEST SINGERS including the triumphant return of Dos Associones (George Gunning and Les Gold) live on the Las Vegas Strip. Join more than 300 members of the California Alarm Association, Nevada Security Association, ESA of Utah, Arizona Alarm Association and more than 20 other organizations for a special welcome reception.

Leadership Breakfast 
April 11, 2018
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Galileo 1001-1004
Join members of local, state and national associations at the official beginning of the first day at ISC West followed by the keynote address. Full breakfast and presentation of the funds raised for the associations.

NSA Public Safety Luncheon 
April 12, 2018
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Galileo 1001-1004
NSA hosts the western states luncheon with a special focus on public safety including guests from police and fire agencies and presentation of the NSA/ESA Youth Scholarship Awards.


See what’s new in technology. Catch up with your colleagues at networking opportunities. We’ve attended ISC West for many years, and it continues to offer great sessions, new security tools and insights to help businesses grow. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Alarm Detection Systems Targets Bad Actors

Alarm Detection Systems out of Aurora, IL has long had a superior program to reduce nuisance alarm activations. Central to their program is a list that years ago they termed the “Horrible 100.” Though they don’t use that term any more, they still identify the bad actors, and do something about it. It’s a program SIAC lauds and one other companies should consider emulating.

It’s not difficult to accomplish, but does take forward thinking, dedication and someone on your staff to do the work. Alarm Detection Systems has all of those. It led to them winning the Police Dispatch Quality Award in 2007-8 for having the top program in the U.S. for reducing false alarm activations.

bad actor

But let’s get back to the concept of a Horrible 100. Alarm Detection Systems identifies those customers who have repeated false alarm activations. They capture the data. They have an employee specifically dedicated to this as part of her job. She personally calls the offenders to find the problem causing the alarm, then strategizes a solution with the customer over the phone.


Compared to a year ago, they reduced false dispatches in January by close to 30 percent and by close to 60 percent in the month of February. Those are huge reductions. How did they do it?


Much of the reduction comes through the use of daily analytics on the false alarms and taking a much more aggressive approach to the causes and strategizes solutions to resolve the problem permanently.  Many solutions are as easy as increasing the entrance delay time, re-keying the exit doors so employees’ keys only work the identified entrance door, making all doors with the entrance delay, and many other logical solutions to the problem.


The electronic security industry is about customer service in many ways. You succeed with superior customer service. It’s what sets you apart as a company. Alarm Detection Systems has this in spades. We sometimes presume that having a top notch alarm management program is strictly about the numbers, but they show it’s much more than that. They are connecting with their customers, crafting solutions, opening the lines of communication and working cooperatively to improve alarm management. SIAC believes we all can learn from that example.

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Changing Landscape at ESA Leadership Summit

Are you in denial about the changing landscape in the electronic security industry? Do you believe pre-2018 was the heyday for the alarm industry? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you probably didn’t attend the 2018 ESA Leadership Summit recently concluded in Savannah, GA.


On the other hand, if you were there, you found out how to get out in front of trends affecting our industry. You learned not only about how to capitalize on new opportunities, but got the chance to join sessions that did just that – showed you specific ways to grow your business.

esa leadership

We were there. Stan Martin and our staff from SIAC have regularly attended the ESA Leadership Summits, and we’ve praised them in the past for the quality speakers, networking opportunities and just plain random discussions in the hallways that arise with other business owners about what works for them and what doesn’t work. It can be those one-on-one moments where you speak to a colleague you haven’t seen in months or perhaps even years that sparks you to think differently and change some part of your business model.


If you didn’t go to this year’s Summit, or have never gone in the past, we recommend you put 2019 on your schedule now. Commit to develop yourself, your team and your business.


About 230 dealers registered for 2018.  Were you there? If you’re reading this blog, please share it with others in our industry. Collectively we need to support each other for the future of electronic security. Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes committed effort to do something more, to adopt new practices to help industry leaders more rapidly evolve.


Many tools are available — what you learned and how you operated the last five or ten years will not be sufficient to carry you in to the future.  In SIAC’s opinion, dealers are in denial if they believe their state or local association can deliver the same high quality, innovative training — their budget won’t allow it. There has never been a better time to be a participating member of a national association like ESA.  Insurance, training, leadership classes, social media/communication, customer service opportunities are all critical to your future.  Join, retain and utilize your ESA membership — or watch the competition pass you by.

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What Happens When a Burglary Isn’t Reported?

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.

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If You Don’t Succeed the First Time, Get it Right the Second Time Around

Success the first time around is unusual. We learn by failing or getting something wrong. It’s a great teacher. Yes, here at SIAC, we’d love to say we get it right immediately, and bad ordinances go away immediately when the cavalry shows up, and everyone is happy. But we all know the world doesn’t work that way.


What happens instead is things don’t necessarily go exactly the way you wanted or planned. Then you adjust and apply the lessons you learned. Case in point: Recently, Prescott Valley, AZ adopted verified response.


Perhaps we all won as a follow up in Prescott, AZ. When a visible local public policy issue arises, it creates debates and informs others. That often helps our industry in neighboring communities. In this case, Prescott, AZ is also considering changes to its alarm ordinance. Instead of verified response though, they are going down the path of pursuing model ordinance provisions supported and advocated by SIAC and others in our industry.
You may ask yourself why communities so close together have such a different perspective on this issue, and the answer would be we don’t really know. What we do know is that by being active and visible in Prescott Valley and introducing alternatives, that information got out in front of the public and elected officials and likely influenced their thinking.


We believe that is one of the strongest contributions SIAC makes to the electronic security industry – helping to provide information and influence decisions on alarm ordinances that benefits the industry AND the local community. It’s also why supporting SIAC is important if you have a company in our industry. We can’t provide those benefits without funding, and as a non-profit entity, we need contributions to do that. To make a donation, click here.


Getting it right the first time is a bonus. Getting it right the second time provides different tangible benefits. We don’t like seeing bad ordinances, but sometimes when that happens, positive responses occur down the road. Whether it’s the first, second or third time, SIAC will keep working hard for you to keep those onerous ordinances from reproducing.

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