Over the last decade, local governments have begun adopting ordinances to reduce the number of false alarms triggered by private security systems in homes and businesses. Unverified false alarms make up most alarms sent by security systems, often triggered by environmental factors or if a user error occurred.
If your security system is being monitored in a Command Center, like those of Ring and SimpliSafe, when an alarm is triggered, the monitoring center will call the emergency contact to confirm that emergency services are needed. However, if the monitoring center cannot reach the contact to verify the emergency, they will automatically dispatch the local police department to respond to the alarm.
When an alarm is not verified before law enforcement is dispatched, it can result in a huge loss of resources and time for the police department if a response is not actually necessary. This can pose a threat to public safety, as resources intended for viable incidents are being consumed by unverified security alarms.
Because of the overwhelming number of false alarms and the strain they impose on local law enforcement entities, local governments across the country have adopted false alarm reduction ordinances.
False Alarm Reduction in Georgia
Georgia cities like Atlanta, Savannah, Sandy Springs, and many more have adopted false alarm reduction ordinances. The model that appears in communities across the country requires both homeowners and business owners to register their security systems through false alarm management solutions. It is free to register your security but the failure to do so will result in a fine. This software allows for local law enforcement to receive and track alarms triggered by a security system in the area.
Example of a False Alarm Reduction Ordinance
Johns Creek is among the communities that have adopted this model. The local government requires security systems to be registered and issues a $100 fine if the system owners do not complete or update their registration. By tracking false alarms, the city can issue fines based on the number of unverified alarms coming from one home or business over a year. The fines are:
- First and Second False Burglar Alarm: $0
- Third through Fifth False Alarm: $50
- Sixth False Alarm: $100
- Seventh False Alarm: $150
- Eighth False Alarm: $250
- Ninth False Alarm: $350
- Tenth and Over False Alarm: $500
The policy is forgiving, with no charge for a first and second false alarm. However, with more false alarms the fines increase, punishing repeat offenders for not taking appropriate measures to reduce false alarms. If a homeowner or business owner fails to pay their fines within 30 days, police response to that address will be suspended, meaning any alarm coming from the property will not be responded to until the fines are paid.
These hefty fines are an incentive for property owners to be more diligent and responsible with their security systems. However, other cities have adopted stricter ordinances to reduce false alarms even further.
Verified Alarm Ordinance
The government of Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta adopted their false alarm reduction ordinance in 2019. This decision came after 911 operators were receiving thousands of security system alarm calls per year with 99% of them being false alarms.
The ordinance states that the police department will not respond to burglar alarms at a home or business without video, audio, or in-person verification that a crime is occurring. Rather than fining alarm owners, Sandy Spring has listed burglar alarms as a low priority to reduce the cost of manhours and equipment use.
While these ordinances may seem overly strict, they are efforts to save taxpayers money and reduce the strain alarm companies can place on local law enforcement when alarms go unverified.
Security System Alarm Verification
VirtuGuard™ remote video monitoring can monitor your burglar alarm and security systems and verify any alarms that may be triggered at your organization through internet connection. Command Center Agents monitor and control the surveillance cameras, security systems, and other security infrastructure on your property and respond to any security events immediately.
VirtuGuard™ complies with your city’s false alarm reduction programs. If a burglar alarm is triggered or if Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to your security camera detects activity when your company is closed, an alarm will go into the Command Center. VirtuGuard™ Agents will then review the recorded security video footage and livestream of the property to verify whether there is a viable threat.
If a Virtual Guard detects a break-in or suspicious behavior, they can directly interact with people at your business through audio speakers and dispatch onsite Security Officers, or local law enforcement if a situation persists.
When suspicious or criminal activity is detected on your property, VirtuGuard™ Agents can instantly intervene in an event when granted access to control two-way audio speakers installed on your property. For instance, if someone is observed loitering in your parking lot after hours, an Agent can issue an audio announcement alerting individuals that your company is closed and can return during your normal operating hours.
If a VirtuGuard™ Agent observes an individual or a group of people breaking into your business, they can issue an audio warning, instructing the individuals to leave the area and that police are on their way.
Audio intervention is an effective tool that can be used to deter criminal activity from occurring on your property and prevent activity from escalating further.
Catch Security Threats Proactively with Security Cameras
VirtuGuard™ remote video monitoring can catch a security violation before it escalates. While security systems and security cameras outfitted with AI technology are effective in alerting to activity, VirtuGuard™ can provide more proactive protection measures.
Virtual guard tours, like a physical foot patrol, are conducted through security cameras installed throughout a property. VirtuGuard™ Agents monitor for abnormal behavior, ensuring that criminals do not slip through the cracks. Remote video monitoring does not solely rely on technology to alert Command Center Agents to security incidents. Human verification and proactive patrols can improve the effectiveness and quality of your security systems and cameras.
Collaboration with Local Law Enforcement Agencies
If an alarm is triggered on your property, whether through your security system or AI detection on your security cameras, the VirtuGuard™ Command Center receives the alarm first. If a viable threat is detected, Agents can then report the activity to local law enforcement.
VirtuGuard™ verifies an event before acting on it, reducing the strain of false alarms on law enforcement. VirtuGuard™ can present video verification of a security event to law enforcement, which will allow them to respond with more urgency.
Command Center Agents can convey details of an event and the people involved. A Virtual Guard can direct police officers to the exact location of the event on your property. They can provide detailed descriptions of the person or people involved, providing details of their appearance and what they are wearing.
Providing responding officers with details of an ongoing event and the people involved empowers them to respond to the event safely and effectively. VirtuGuard™ Agents can prepare responding officers for any situation they are approaching, reducing the chances of dangerous or threatening behavior escalating.
VirtuGuard™ can also aide in investigations after an incident has taken place. If a burglary, vandalism, or another crime takes place on your property and the liable parties leave before police arrive, VirtuGuard™ can gather video, photo evidence, and generate a detailed report of events.
This report can be used to track the movements and activity of suspects, allowing investigators to create an accurate timeline of events. The photo evidence can then be used to identify suspects.
VirtuGuard™ works with your local law enforcement agency to promote public safety and secure your property.
Eliminate False Alarms with VirtuGuard™ Security Video Monitoring
VirtuGuard™ remote video monitoring can protect and secure your business without any of the hassle. Each threat detected by an alarm is visually verified, ensuring that further action is only taken when necessary. Rather than relying solely on Artificial Intelligence, entry sensors, or motion detectors to reflect an incident occurring on your property, each alarm is verified by a highly trained security professional.
Visual alarm verification is vital in securing your company and could even be crucial in receiving a timely police response. VirtuGuard™ can assist both ownership and local law enforcement agencies in responding to break-ins, vandalism, and other criminal activity that may occur at your business.
Eliminate false alarms with VirtuGuard™. Give yourself peace of mind and relieve the strain of frivolous calls to local law enforcement. To learn more about what VirtuGuard™ can do for your company, visit virtuguard.com.
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