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False Alarm Reduction
“It was just a false alarm,” says your customer, breathing a sigh of relief. Yet, while better than an actual emergency, false alarms can still cause problems.
When an alarm alerts the police to a potential burglary, police are sent to investigate. If there is no criminal activity to be found, these valuable resources are spent on a false alarm instead of real emergencies. According to an article by Stephen Dubner, The Hidden Costs of False Alarms, between 94-99% of burglar-alarm calls turn out to be false alarms. These false alarms make up between 10-20% of all calls to the police.
To combat this issue, some city ordinances are fining property owners who set off false alarms along with enforcing registration fees on alarm owners. Culver City, CA requires both home and business owners to purchase an alarm permit, and then additionally fines owners $120 for false alarms. In fact, after the 11th false alarm in a one-year period, alarm permits are suspended.
What’s causing all of these false alarms anyway? Some of the most common reasons include:
- •Using incorrect keypad codes
- •Lack of training on the system for people who access your property
- •Wandering pets
- •Weak batteries
- •Faulty equipment
- •Acts of nature
With more than two million burglaries in the US, an alarm system is a must. Actions to prevent false alarms include:
- •Take time explaining the system to anyone who has access to your home, including knowledge of correct arming codes, pass codes, telephone numbers and procedures for canceling accidental alarm activations.
- •Contain pets to one area where they cannot set off a motion sensor.
- •Routinely check and replace batteries.
- •Have your system checked and serviced regularly by your alarm company.
- •Coordinate with your alarm company and your local jurisdiction if bad weather is impending.
Be sure to communicate these tips to your customers to avoid fines, cancellation and suspension of service. Perhaps a topic for your next eNewsletter, email marketing campaign or Facebook post. Whichever method you choose, this valuable message will be appreciated by both your customers and local law enforcement.