Princeton - False Alarms
Armed Response companies are strongly affiliated with being a reactive approach to security.
An alarm goes off, and a response officer reacts to the information given to him by the control center. To add a proactive approach to this, we like to patrol and look out for suspicious behavior, which hopefully leads to a positive arrest. In this regard, the criminal is removed from the streets before he/she has a chance to commit a criminal offence.
The more false alarms our officers are responding to, the less likely we are to make these proactive changes. The more false alarms our officers respond to, the more likely it is that a burglary is taking place at the same time the officers are at the premises of a false alarm.
For some stats on false alarms: we received 2789 signals for the month of February alone, in Harfield Village and Surrounds. 2017 signals were cancelled due to the control room operators getting hold of the client who indicated it was a false alarm. Our officers had to respond to 772 alarms (averaging 27.5 signals per day). Only TWO of these alarms were positive incidents!
These are some mind-boggling statistics which makes you think; if it takes on average 15 minutes for an officer to respond to one alarm signal and investigate, that means that 11 580 minutes (193 hours or 8 days) are spent standing down and NOT being proactive.
For another case scenario; an officer responds to a panic signal. At the same time, we receive an alarm signal from a house a few streets away. The closest responding unit responds to the panic signal, while the back-up vehicle is dispatched to the alarm signal (Bare in mind that the back-up vehicle is further away).
a. First responding officer arrives at the premises for the panic signal in under 3 minutes; client says he's sorry but his child is playing with the panic button (FALSE ALARM)
b. Second responding officer arrives at the premises for the alarm signal in just under 5 minutes. The house has been cleaned out and the suspects have fled the scene.
Should the client at the address with the panic signal have called in to cancel the dispatch, the closest responding vehicle would have gone to the second alarm call, and would have been able to stop the criminals, ensure the belongings and priceless possessions are returned to the owner, and hopefully an arrest would have been made.
Let's also not forget about the 'cry wolf' situation you're putting yourself in. If your alarm is constantly going off, chances are that your neighbors will never take them seriously.
HOW DO YOU REDUCE THESE FALSE ALARM STATISTICS?
Ensure that all people operating the alarm, know how to use it
If there is a technical fault, then book a technician to correct the error
Don't leave your windows open
If you have pets, then make sure you have pet-friendly devices installed
ALWAYS CALL YOUR RESPONSE COMPANY IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE TRIPPED THE ALARM ACCIDENTLY! They can then cancel the dispatch of the vehicle.
False alarms are crippling our industry, which is why MOST companies choose to charge their clients for a certain amount of false alarms per month. In the defense of our officers on the ground- we need to protect them against getting into the routine of always thinking they are responding to another false alarm. This puts them in a dangerous spot!
Join the campaign and reduce FALSE ALARMS!