Major market no longer responding to unverified alarms

Moves from ECV to VR
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DETROIT—City police here have instituted a new policy—effective Aug. 22—of no longer responding to alarms that aren't verified by the alarm system owner or the monitoring company. This move from enhanced call verification to verified response represents a change the Security Industry Alarm Coalition worked hard to avoid last year when they helped city leaders adopt an ECV policy. ECV requires a second phone call to a different number to help determine if an emergency exists. The new verified response policy states that the DPD will no longer respond to an alarm unless it is verified by the alarm company, by private response, or by technological means (video or audio) that there is actually a crime in progress.

SIAC says it is still present in Detroit and is trying to help out however it can and mitigate the effect of the change.

"We're still working Detroit, but it is a very tough situation," SIAC executive director Stan Martin told Security Systems News. "Right now they are enforcing the policy change and I do believe they are putting citizens at unnecessary risk by not allowing a longer period of transition. We've appealed to the mayor to work with us, restore response and let us bring to fruition a plan we set in place over a year ago."

Calls to the DPD were not returned by press time.

What's the difference between ECV and VR?

Both aim to reduce needless police dispatch by requiring the alarm company to take certain actions before calling the police to dispatch to the alarmed premise. However, ECV doesn't require visual (either in person or via video) or auditory proof of a break-in or crime in progress. It only requires more than one call to multiple numbers be made to ascertain if the alarm activation was accidental or not. Security Systems News has covered many of the companies, like Cernium, RSI, Sonitrol, and Provident, that provide verification solutions.

Martin maintains cooperation between the industry and the city is still the best route.

"An ordinance would provide $2 million plus in revenue to the city, while continuing to reduce alarm dispatches," Martin said. "We're confident that we can achieve 60-80 percent [reduction] in those dispatches, targeting the chronic abusers and not the 80 percent of the systems that have one or less dispatches per year."