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Reducing False Burglar Alarms

BOS Security: On-Site Security Serving the Greater Atlanta Area

False burglar alarms are more than just annoyances; they strain emergency services and can incur fines for you. This article cuts through the noise to present you with effective tactics to reduce false alarms, examines their common triggers, and introduces the technologies that can fortify your security system against these errors.

Key Takeaways

The False Alarm Dilemma

The false alarm dilemma is like a lurking iceberg with hidden consequences. In the United States, an astounding 98% of alarm calls turn out to be false, leading to a significant drain on emergency services, particularly police department resources. This misuse of resources doesn’t just result in wasted time and effort, but poses a potential risk to the community by causing delays in responses to actual emergencies.

The economic impact is equally significant. In 2000, the collective national expenditure for addressing 36 million false alarm calls amounted to a staggering $1.8 billion. This squandering of public funds is further exemplified by individual cities like Gastonia, which incurred expenses amounting to $865,395 in 2021 due to false alarms.

Causes of False Alarms

What, then, fuels this high rate of false alarms? The primary culprit is user error, which accounts for approximately 80% of false alarm incidents. This could be anything from incorrectly inputting disarm codes to unintentionally adjusting sensitivity settings on the alarm system.

Furthermore, equipment malfunctions such as faulty devices or sensors can also trigger false alarms. For instance, a poorly installed sensor, bad wiring, or an incorrectly placed sensor can cause the alarm system to trigger without any real threat. This highlights the importance of proper installation and regular maintenance of alarm systems.

Consequences of False Alarms

The domino effect of false alarms doesn’t end with the misuse of police resources. Businesses bear the brunt of these false alarms in the form of hefty fees and fines. With an average cost of $52 per false alarm, businesses contribute to a national estimation of approximately $1.8 million per year spent on false alarms in the United States.

Moreover, the psychological impact of false alarms on personnel within a business can be significant. Employees and stakeholders may experience anxiety, confusion, and frustration, leading to an erosion of confidence in the implemented security systems.

Remote Guarding: A Solution to the False Alarm Problem

Considering the magnitude of the false alarm issue, it’s evident that a novel solution is necessary. Enter remote guarding, a proactive security monitoring solution that integrates:

  • CCTV video cameras
  • Video analytics
  • Alarms
  • Monitoring centers
  • Security personnel

to provide a comprehensive and effective security solution.

This state-of-the-art system employs strategically placed high-tech cameras that constantly monitor and record property activities. These cameras are linked to a central monitoring center where trained security professionals access the live video monitoring feed and employ video analytics software for analysis. The result? More accurate alerts, fewer false alarms, and a safer environment.

Video Verification

Video verification, a crucial aspect of video monitoring, lies at the core of remote guarding. This process involves:

  • Reviewing video footage when an alarm is activated to validate whether an intrusion or incident has indeed occurred
  • This capability allows for the cancellation of false alarms and helps prevent unnecessary dispatches
  • Leading to reduced response times in monitoring centers.

The impact of video verification extends beyond the reduction of false alarms. By ensuring that alarms with confirmed visual evidence of an actual intrusion are given precedence, video verification leads to quicker action by law enforcement. This enhances the effectiveness of police interventions and overall public safety.

Benefits of Remote Guarding

Remote guarding offers advantages that go beyond merely reducing false alarms. It offers businesses a new level of security by:

  • Substituting or supplementing live security guards with remote video surveillance
  • Seamlessly integrating with current security technologies
  • Enhancing the existing security system with the help of advanced cameras and analytics.

Moreover, remote guarding offers the following benefits:

  • Eliminates the need for onsite security personnel
  • Trained security operators use advanced technology, including security cameras, sensors, and analytics, to remotely monitor the premises
  • Substantial cost savings
  • Significant reduction in false alarms

VirtuGuard™: The Remote Guarding Solution for Businesses

VirtuGuard™ is one solution that has made remarkable progress in the sphere of remote guarding. This advanced system offers features including 24/7 monitoring by security professionals, voice warnings to intruders, and the ability to alert law enforcement when necessary. These capabilities make VirtuGuard™ an effective solution for a wide range of businesses, helping them to enhance security, streamline operations, and lower expenses.

Moreover, VirtuGuard™ seamlessly integrates with existing security systems. Through collaboration with security camera system installers and integrators, VirtuGuard™ establishes connectivity with the existing surveillance cameras in a business, providing an integrated and comprehensive security solution.

Features and Capabilities

VirtuGuard™ brings to the table a variety of features engineered to bolster security and curtail false alarms. Some of these features include:

  • Real-time monitoring by experienced security professionals
  • Continuous monitoring of the property
  • Immediate alerts through video clips and live view upon detecting any movement

These features work together to provide enhanced security and peace of mind.

Additionally, VirtuGuard™ utilizes remote monitoring services to visually validate alarm events, thereby reducing false alarms and providing critical information to law enforcement when necessary. It also offers advanced detection features for fire, temperature, and potential water hazards, providing a comprehensive security solution.

Implementation and Integration

The process of integrating VirtuGuard™ into an existing security system is uncomplicated. By using Internet of Things (IoT) devices, VirtuGuard™ seamlessly integrates with existing security technologies to enhance overall security measures.

Moreover, VirtuGuard™ exhibits high flexibility and can integrate with a wide range of security systems, including professional-grade security cameras, video analytics, and door access control systems. This ensures a seamless integration process without disrupting existing security protocols.

Preventing False Alarms: Best Practices for Homeowners and Businesses

Besides employing advanced systems like VirtuGuard™ for significant reduction in false alarms, it’s equally fundamental to incorporate best practices in alarm usage and maintenance. For instance, homeowners can minimize false alarms by:

  • Employing pet-friendly motion sensors
  • Correctly inputting disarm codes
  • Regularly replacing batteries
  • Ensuring unobstructed detection paths for motion sensors
  • Shielding smoke detectors during activities that produce dust.

Similarly, businesses can mitigate false alarms by:

  • ensuring doors and windows are properly secured before alarm activation
  • removing potential trigger items from the area
  • conducting routine system maintenance
  • providing thorough staff training on system usage.

Proper Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and consistent maintenance of security systems are key in warding off false alarms. Some common mistakes to avoid include:

  • Misaligned door and window sensors
  • Improperly installed motion sensors
  • Poor wiring
  • Incorrect sensor placement

These errors can exacerbate false alarms and should be addressed during installation and regular maintenance.

Conversely, performing regular maintenance on security systems can significantly reduce false alarms. Here are some maintenance tasks to consider:

  • Regular checks and cleaning of sensors
  • Replacing batteries
  • Examining wiring
  • Testing and updating the system software

All of these tasks contribute to ensuring the system operates as intended, thereby reducing false alarms.

User Education and Training

Education and training of users are paramount in minimizing false alarms. Many false alarms are a result of user error, such as unintentionally adjusting sensitivity settings or accidentally activating the alarm system. Therefore, comprehensive user training is key. This includes training on:

  • system operation
  • response protocols
  • adhering to opening and closing protocols
  • providing periodic refresher courses

By ensuring users are fully trained and familiar with the system, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of false alarms.

Upgrading Security Systems

At times, the most effective strategy to curtail false alarms is to transition to a more sophisticated and dependable security system. Modern systems come with advanced verification techniques and use verified alarm systems, significantly reducing the chance of false alarms.

The transition from older security systems to newer ones usually includes:

  • Updating the panel board
  • Transitioning to wireless monitoring
  • Installing a new keypad
  • Integrating smart home features

While the expenses for the upgrade can vary based on the specific enhancements selected, the benefits in terms of reduced false alarms and improved security can make it a worthwhile investment.

Case Studies: Success Stories in Reducing False Alarms

To demonstrate the efficacy of remote guarding in diminishing false alarms, here are some examples from the real world:

  • One retail store completely eliminated false alarm responses through remote monitoring.
  • ABC sites monitored by Eyeforce experienced an 89% reduction in false alarms due to accurate detections.
  • WKS Restaurants achieved significant success by implementing Interface’s video verified alarms and adding Virtual Guard services.

Another success story comes from businesses that have implemented VirtuGuard™. These organizations have observed:

  • significant cost savings
  • a near total elimination of false alarms
  • improved operational efficiency
  • heightened security measures


In summary, the false alarm dilemma is a significant challenge facing police departments and businesses alike. However, with the right strategies and technologies, it’s a problem that can be effectively tackled. From implementing best practices in alarm use and maintenance, providing comprehensive user training, to integrating advanced systems like VirtuGuard™, we can significantly reduce false alarms, enhance security, and ensure resources are used where they’re needed most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fake burglar alarms any good?

Fake burglar alarms are not effective as experienced burglars can easily tell if a property uses fake burglary prevention measures. It’s best to avoid them completely.

Why does my burglar alarm go off for no reason?

Your burglar alarm may be going off for no reason due to operator error, improper installation, such as poorly positioned motion sensors, and lack of maintenance. Additionally, spider webs or insects on a detector, loose detector casings, and damaged cables could also be causing the issue.

What is remote video monitoring?

Remote video monitoring is a technology-driven process that allows individuals or organizations to observe and manage video feeds from a distance, using cameras strategically placed in various locations to capture video footage. This enables viewing live security camera feeds from anywhere using a laptop or mobile device, making it convenient for keeping an eye on a business while away.

How can remote guarding help in reducing false alarms?

Remote guarding can help reduce false alarms by utilizing strategically positioned cameras, audio systems, and AI software to ensure thorough monitoring and accurate threat detection. This ultimately leads to a more reliable security system.

What is VirtuGuard™?

VirtuGuard™ is a remote guarding solution that includes 24/7 monitoring by security professionals, voice warnings to intruders, and the capability to alert law enforcement when needed.


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