The approach to false alarms

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08/23/2017

Here at Security Systems News, we cover a variety of topics related to the physical security industry. As a result, we get to track trends in the industry; we see when they first come up and we see when they become more prevalent. The matter of false alarms is one that I can say I've been watching since I started with SSN.

Some municipalities have sought to fine alarm companies for users’ false alarms. In late 2014, shortly after I joined the publication, I was speaking with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition about the City of Chico, Calif., that passed an ordinance like this. The city then revised the ordinance after a response from SIAC and California Alarm Association.

More recently, Sandy Springs, Ga., also looked to bring fines for false alarms to the dealers.

California has now stepped in to stop alarm companies in the state from being fined for false alarms that the installation or the equipment didn’t directly cause. Read more about that here.

Security Systems News’ latest monthly News Poll asks about whether false alarm ordinances, particularly the ones that fine alarm dealers and installers, pose a large problem for the industry. Feel free to weigh in on that here. Additionally, feel free to share your thoughts on the best methods for reducing false alarms.

Different areas have taken different approaches to false alarms. In 2015, New Orleans considered outsourcing alarm fine collections to CryWolf, which specializes in issuing and collecting fines, permit fees, and compiling alarm system data. This is a practice that SIAC recommends.

Back in 2014, I spoke with another SIAC’s, Steve Keefer, about an interesting approach: using volunteers to reduce false alarm dispatches. These were “regular citizens that just want to help out in the community,” Keefer said, by notifying repeat false alarm offenders and discussing ways to reduce false alarms.

 

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