Eyewitness Surveillance Blog: 3 Ways to Stop False Alarms

3 Ways to Stop False Alarms

By | Intrusion System | No Comments

So, you’ve installed an intrusion system with burglar alarms that automatically calls the police whenever it senses a break-in. Congratulations! Your business will now pay thousands in false alarm penalty fees.

But don’t worry! We have some easy ways to dramatically decrease your false alarm rate through enhanced verification processes.

Why False Alarms Are a Problem

False alarms distract law enforcement from true crimes, wasting the authorities’ time and resources. The Suffolk County police department, for example, responded to 97,000 false alarms in 2015 alone. Those alarms wasted more than 32,000 patrol hours. 98% of the San Jose Police Department’s burglar alarm calls were false alarms, throwing away $662,000 worth of policework.

These local examples are far from unique. According to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS), the United States’ national rate of false alarms is 94-98%. Taxpayers paid for $1.8 billion in wasted police time and resources due to false alarms.

Consequently, municipalities across the country legislated various requirements for residential and commercial alarm systems. These local rules must be followed for the police to respond to an alarm call.

  • Domestic and commercial alarm system owners must register their address with the local police department, purchasing permits for use. Those who fail to do so will incur penalty fees for police response to alarm calls.
  • While the first one or two false alarms may let system owners off with a warning, municipalities may charge service fines for subsequent false alarms. In Suffolk County, false alarms can cost up to $500 per incident in “false alarm penalty.”
  • Some police departments even require “verification” of an alarm event before they’ll dispatch patrol officers, which we’ll explain in a moment.

3 Ways to Verify an Alarm

Alarm verification could include sound, video, or eyewitness accounts that guarantee a crime is, in fact, taking place.

  • Sound verification includes audio recordings of the monitored area that indicate unauthorized entry. Unrecognized voices, breaking doors or windows, screams or shouts—sensors can record these sounds and save the files for human verification.
  • Eyewitness verification includes a corroborating account of unauthorized access by a neighbor, who calls into the station as the alarm call comes in. The central monitoring center can also call keyholders to verify alarms. Keyholders and home owners may also verify alarms directly from the keypad in the building, if they’re on-site while an alarm occurs.
  • Video verification involves syncing a security system’s video cameras to a specific alarm panel’s “zone” of protection. When an alarm occurs, a video clip from the camera is automatically attached to the alarm and sent with the alarm to a keyholder and/or the central alarm system. This process allows for visual verification of in-progress crimes.

Alarm System Verification Protocols

An alarm panel’s automatic verification process follows several steps. Perhaps a first step would be sending a push notification of an alarm to a keyholder’s mobile device. A mobile alert system gives the keyholder up to a minute to manually verify (or cancel) the alarm. If a keyholder doesn’t respond in that time frame, the security company’s central monitoring center may manually call keyholders for verbal verification. Meanwhile, the company may review associated audio and video files to judge the alarm independently.

This multiple-step verification process by professional security monitoring companies can vastly cut down on false alarms and increase police response time. (After all, police typically respond faster to a verified crime-in-progress than to an unverified alarm.)

If you’re not sure what your security company’s verification process is, call your account representative. He or she can review the steps their security service takes to verify alarms before police notification.

If you have an Eyewitness Surveillance intrusion system synced with live video surveillance and our access control systems, then your burglar alarm sensors are synced to area-specific alarm zones. Video clips are automatically saved and sent with the alarm notification to your mobile device. You can manually review video to verify or cancel the alarm. (This automated video verification is in addition to any custom protocols you establish as part of your comprehensive security plan.)

If that interests you, then please contact us. We’d be happy to develop a customized security plan that incorporates exactly the technologies and professional security support your business needs—not a camera or a penny more.

Eyewitness Surveillance's National Crime Alert for June 26, 2017

The Eyewitness National Crime Alert for June 26, 2017

By | National Crime Alert | No Comments

These incidents were reported across the country from 6.19.17 to 6.25.17

Kenosha, MI – Reported 6.19.17

Auto Dealer’s Luck Runs Out With 5 Vehicles Gone

Back in February ‘17, an “out of control” car crime ring attacked multiple Chicago & Milwaukee area dealerships to steal vehicles by ramming through service bays and show floor windows. At the time, one dealership managed to deter those thefts with hardy overhead doors.

However, their luck ran out last week as thieves stole five cars, using one vehicle to burst through the overhead sliding doors as a makeshift battering ram. Police gave no leads or surveillance footage to reporters, nor have any arrests been made. (Original article)

Photo courtesy of Munster Police Dept.Munster, IN – 6.20.17

Have You Seen This Harley Thief?

A 50-year-old, 6 foot, 200-pound white male stole a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from an Indiana dealership near the Illinois state line. If you recognize this man, please contact Detective Marshall Van Schouwen at 219-836-6676 (Original article)

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Eyewitness Surveillance Blog: Echolocation, Microphones, and Panic Buttons —How Burglar Alarm Sensors Detect Intruders

Echolocation, Microphones, and Panic Buttons —How Burglar Alarm Sensors Detect Intruders

By | Intrusion System | No Comments
Many people install “burglar alarms” intrusion security systems in their homes and businesses, to better protect their valuables. And, for every type of home invasion and commercial theft, there’s a specific sensor that can warn authorities of the crime-in-progress. So, how does an alarm system actually work? And what different types of burglar alarm sensors are available for commercial intrusion systems?

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Eyewitness Surveillance's National Crime Alert for June 19, 2017

The Eyewitness National Crime Alert for June 19, 2017

By | National Crime Alert | No Comments

These incidents were reported across the continent from 6.12.17 to 6.18.17

San Rafael, CA – Reported 6.13.17

$245,000 Ferarri Recovered After Man Pours Gasoline on Stolen Vehicle

Police responded to report of suspicious activity last Sunday (6.11.17) and confronted a man asking for gas money while pouring gasoline on a 2016 Ferrari. The man claimed ownership of the vehicle, but police only found keys to that vehicle and another Ferrari with no papers. Police then called a local dealership, whose representative confirmed that the $245,000 Ferrari had been stolen from the dealership’s service center.

Police arrested the driver on suspicion of vehicle theft and possession of stolen property. (Original article)

Oxford, MS – Reported 6.13.17

General Manager Leaves $1,800 in Office, Discovers It Missing

On 6.9.17, a local car dealership manager stepped out for a brief time, only to return and discover $1,800 in cash missing from his office. The money had been on his desk and “inside a money bag underneath the desk” when thieves took it. After some deductive reasoning and a confession, police apprehended two men for commercial burglary, where they remain behind bars at the Lafayette County Detention Center with bonds of $10,000 each. (Original article)

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Blog: Dealership Service Area Security- Keep Tools on the Floor and Workman's Comp Nonexistent

Dealership Service Area Security: Keep Tools on the Floor and Workman’s Comp Nonexistent

By | Operational Efficiencies, Theft | No Comments
Sometimes, the most portable valuables on a car dealership aren’t the cars themselves—it’s the equipment you use to service them. Tally together the handheld diagnostic machines, welding torches, and various wrenches, hammers, and drills, and you’re looking at possibly $250,000 or more in cumulative investments that can disappear from your service department. And yet, we see so many dealerships focusing only on protecting their inventory while ignoring the service area security needs.

No more, we say! Starting today, protecting your employees and your investments in the service area becomes a top security priority.

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Eyewitness Surveillance's National Crime Alert for June 12, 2017

The Eyewitness National Crime Alert for June 12, 2017

By | National Crime Alert | No Comments

These incidents were reported across the country from 6.5.17 to 6.11.17

Benton, AR – 6.7.17

2 Burglars Busted for Sunday Break-In—Third Suspect Still Wanted

Surveillance cameras caught criminals breaking into a used car dealership in Benton, Arkansas early Sunday morning. Over several hours, the unmonitored CCTV recorded three burglars stealing six vehicles. Thanks to local tips, police have two of the three suspects in custody, but a white female remains at large. If you have any information, please contact the Benton Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Devision at 501-776-5947. (Original article)

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Advanced Key Management- 5 Key Commandments Your Staff Must Keep

Advanced Key Management: 5 Key Commandments Your Staff Must Keep

By | Access Control | No Comments
Writing an effective key control policy is (comparatively) easy. Enforcing it is the hard part, especially when you’ve got high employee turnover—and that turnover rate makes key management even more important! To keep things simple for employees old and new, we’ve put together these five “key commandments.” These rules outline the foundation strategies required in every effective key management policy.

Management and staff will see these rules differently—managers from a strategic and enforcement perspective, and staff on a day-to-day level. Overall, these key commandments offer a great baseline for everyone in your dealership to use.

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Eyewitness Surveillance National Crime Alert for June 5, 2017

The Eyewitness National Crime Alert for June 5, 2017

By | National Crime Alert | No Comments

These incidents were reported across the country from 5.31.17 to 6.4.17

Highland Township and Pickney, MI – Reported 5.29.17 and 6.1.17

I-94 Corridor Dealership Burglaries Rise to Combined $650K Total in Thefts, Damages

Last week’s string of heists and vandalism at I-94 dealerships in the Detroit area continued over Memorial Day weekend. Yet another Highland Township dealership had 58 vehicles vandalized with their large digital navigation radios stolen, with total damages coming to $250,000. Another dealer–this one in Pickney, MI–reported $150,000 in damages and theft of 45 cars’ 6×9 navigation screens.

Cumulatively, this crime ring has caused more than $650,000 in damages to I-94 dealerships.

The Highland Township dealership owner believes that it would take a large and professional “ring” to overcome his company’s internal security processes. They recently began hiring security guards to patrol the car lots, but the owner believes the thieves knew that Sunday night was an “off” night for the guards. (The Highland dealership does not possess any video surveillance system.) The Pickney dealership owner agrees, thinking that the thieves had previously cased his dealership to target specific cars to not waste time on vehicles without the desired navigation system.

Any information leading to an arrest that stops these crimes is eligible for a $6,500 reward. Please call the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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Emergency Crime Alert! Dealerships Targeted for Teen Drag Racing

Emergency Crime Alert: Dealerships Targeted for Teen Drag Racing

By | National Crime Alert | No Comments
Milwaukee area car dealerships—This is not a drill! Your lots will be targeted by delinquents preparing for a massive drag race event inspired by the Fast and Furious film franchise. Local community leaders and police officers are aware and preparing for this impending event. However, there are certain security protocols you can take tonight to protect your inventory and facilities from theft and vandalism this weekend.

(And other dealerships across the country, take note—this could be you in the not-too-distant future, if teen joyriding continues to escalate.)

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Eyewitness Blog: When Should You Install DIY Security Systems?

When Should You Install DIY Security Systems?

By | Surveillance | No Comments
When considering security options, there’s dozens of different set-ups and price-points available, from the one-man shop to the enterprise corporations. “DIY” security programs might seem cheaper on the outset, but could be comparatively ineffective when considering professional security partners. In that case, you’d basically throw your money away in a valiant attempt to save it—something no business can support for long.

So, when can you manage your business’s security needs on your own? And when is it time to invest in a professionally managed security system? Let’s dive in!

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