many as 90% of alarms are actually false alarms"
The Ideal Scenario
If every time a Burglar Alarm was
triggered there was a real BREAK-IN in progress then
conventional Alarm Systems would be adequate to protect your
property. Police would respond immediately and more arrests
would be made potentially resulting in lowered crime rates.
Most jurisdictions across North America
are subject to False Alarms as high as in the 90th percentile
range. This means that as few as 1 out of every 10 Alarms is a
real Emergency. With statistics like this it is proving very
difficult to provide effective response from Police.
In the event of a false alarm, huge
costs are suffered. The home or business owner must attend his
office or home to resolve each emergency. If the customer
contracts private Guard Response services, there is typically an
extra fee to attend to an alarm.
However, the biggest single cost is the
time consumed by Police Officers to respond. As we know, police
must respond to 9 false alarms for every 1 real emergency. This
is a tragic loss of resources that should be directed at real
crimes. As tax payers we are only getting $0.10 of value out of
each tax dollar we apply towards having Police respond to
IN FACT, many municipalities are
actually charging fines for false alarm responses as well as
removing customers' alarm permits who are repeat false alarm
IN FACT, many municipalities are no
longer recognizing police calls for unconfirmed alarms because
of the amount of false alarms.
Some Solutions Proposed
There are a number of programs being
adopted to reduce the resource requirements generated by False
Alarms including but not limited to:
Education – It is hoped that educating
the public on the proper use and maintenance of Alarm Systems
will result in fewer False Alarms.
Low Priority or No Response – Some
municipalities will lower the response priority of alarm calls
meaning other crimes will be handled first. Some municipalities
have published rules that say that police will not attend
business premises alarms during normal business hours.
Permit System – Many municipalities
require all home and business owners with an alarm system to pay
an annual permit fee. Monies collected may be applied to
response costs directly. Those persons without a valid permit
may not receive a police response.
Fine System – A very large number of
municipalities are now charging home owners and businesses fines
of varying amounts for false alarm calls.
The Bottom Line
False Alarms create a sort of 'cry wolf'
scenario. With the majority of alarms being false, police have
no choice but to respond at their lowest level of priority. This
means that with a real emergency alarm, response time will
likely be EXTREMELY poor. That is of course only with
conventional-system unconfirmed emergencies...