May 31 ,2020
Cornerstone Protection is Committed to Reducing Police Response to False Alarms and 911 Workload
Having an alarm system is one of the smartest moves you can make to protect your home or business. Research has shown that security systems are an effective crime deterrent and they can help ensure a response from law enforcement or other emergency first responders in the event of an incident.
While installing a security alarm system is an effective way to prevent crime and protect your property, these systems are not perfect and there is always the potential for false alarms due to user error or environmental issues. No one likes false alarms! When police officers have to respond to false alarms, it is a waste of their time and it can distract from other crime prevention efforts. Along with that, having the police show up for a false alarm can be a hassle for property owners and can oftentimes result in fines for the property owners in areas where an alarm ordinance charges for excessive alarms. I am well aware of this because I was a police officer for over 28 years and I have responded to my share of false alarms. One of the reasons I founded Cornerstone Protection was to provide a security company that was capable of reducing the number of false alarms to all law enforcement and 911 communication centers.
At Cornerstone Protection, we want to provide the absolute best alarm system services for Lexington, Richmond, Winchester, Mt. Sterling, Paris, and Morehead businesses and homeowners. Also, we recognize the role security systems play in our community and we want to make sure our security products and systems serve the home and business owners extremely well.
With these goals in mind, we have adopted Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) as a service for our alarm customers. In this post, I’m going to explain what ECV is and how it is an effective way to reduce false alarm dispatches and how it can benefit alarm users, first responders, and the community as a whole.
What is ECV?
An alarm system works by having detection devices such as door contacts, motion sensors, and glassbreak detectors placed around the home or business that is being protected. When the system is armed, the triggering of one of these detection devices will send a signal to a monitoring station.
In the early days of alarm systems when the alarm was activated, a signal was sent to a monitoring station and in turn, the monitoring center would then call the police to dispatch a police officer to the premises. This worked to get a response, but there were a lot of false alarms. These false alarms were a burden to police departments and they were often a nuisance for the owners of homes and businesses.
To mitigate this issue, alarm companies implemented a verification process. Under this verification process, the monitoring center would call a contact number to verify the alarm before calling to dispatch the police. This helped to reduce the number of false alarm responses but often the person on the call list wasn’t available or missed the call to verify the false alarm and the police were dispatched.
While the standard verification process has helped, police stations from around the country have found they still frequently have to dispatch a response due to many false alarms. Some alarm companies are now using Enhanced Call Verification to provide a better solution. We at Cornerstone Protection understand how effective ECV reduces the number of false alarms to police departments and have implemented this feature to our customers.
With ECV, our alarm monitoring center will make two calls to verify the alarm before contacting the police. The first call will be to the primary contact number. If that call is unanswered, we will follow up by making a call to a secondary number before contacting law enforcement. Under this new protocol, police stations and alarm companies have seen a significant reduction in dispatches to false alarms. A simple but very effective solution.
Benefits to Alarm Customers
Dealing with false alarms can be an issue for alarm users. The police show up to the premises and you have to make contact with them to explain the situation. This takes more time out of your day and is more of a hassle than having to answer a simple verification phone call.
A high volume of false alarms can lead to a delayed response in the event of a signal that does need the attention of law enforcement. If the police have come to expect false alarms from a property, they might not prioritize responding to future alarms at that address. Nothing slows down a response time more than responding to the same alarm system going off time after time.
Beyond that, alarm system users may have to pay fines if they have too many false alarms. Many cities and towns issue fines for false alarms. If false alarms keep resulting in unnecessary responses from law enforcement, the cost of the fines can add up. Lexington and Richmond, KY both have alarm ordinances that address how excessive false alarms will be handled which include fines to the home and business owner.
With Enhanced Call Verification, you can avoid all of these issues while still having the protection of a monitored alarm system.
Benefits to the Community
You want to protect your property, but you also want to be a good citizen. With ECV, you get the balance of protection with an alarm system that will not be a nuisance to the community.
If first responders regularly have to respond to false alarms at your property, you are draining police resources that could be going to other crime prevention and community safety efforts.
Within the 911 Center, dispatchers receive calls from monitoring centers who are reporting an alarm. The dispatcher must create a call for service and then dispatch the appropriate agency.
As the officer is enroute, dispatchers receive additional calls from the monitoring center who are reporting the additional sensors that are triggered as someone walks through the structure. This information must then be added to the call and relayed to the responding officer.
These initial and additional calls from alarm companies take time away from a dispatcher who may have a 911 call coming in simultaneously, utilizing a tremendous amount of resources.
It is also frustrating to a dispatcher who regularly sends police to an address with multiple false alarms. Dispatchers must create the call for service and send police out even when they expect another false alarm disposition. This in itself creates an environment where a Law Enforcement response could become less heightened due to familiarity with an address.
When your alarm system is triggered, wouldn’t you expect a focused response by the 911 Center and local Law Enforcement?
When you choose Cornerstone Protection you are choosing an alarm service provider that uses ECV. Having an ECV alarm system shows you are taking responsibility for your alarm system and taking steps toward being a responsible citizen.
With ECV, you not only protect yourself from the issues that can come with law enforcement coming to your property unnecessarily, but you are also conserving community resources and protecting first responders.
Cornerstone Protection is one of the leading alarm companies for Central Kentucky security systems and home automation, we are always looking for new innovative ways to deliver the best security service available to you. We are committed to the 911 dispatchers and the first responders and want to make their jobs safer and more efficient. You can contact us today to learn more about ECV. We have security professionals standing by to answer your questions and to further explain the benefits of ECV to your alarm system.