Police respond to approximately 36 million alarm activations per year, at an estimated annual cost of nearly $2 billion. In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) reported that over 98% of all alarm calls in the United States were false. These false alarms not only waste countless police hours but can also be costly to all involved. In many cities, like Seattle, end users can even face fines of up to $115 for their first offense.
A false alarm is defined as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. A study from the Cleveland County Sheriffs has found that false alarms are most commonly caused by faulty equipment, human error, low batteries or an inconsistent power supply, unlocked or loose doors, improper installation, as well as even pets, rodents, and insects.
The proliferation of these false alarms has forced many police departments to not prioritize the calls they receive for unverified alarm events. However, a verified alarm will receive priority response from law enforcement. According to the IACP, a “verified alarm” is defined as “an electronic security system event in which a trained monitoring professional, utilizing standard protocol, has determined the presence of humans and the high probability that a criminal office is in progress”.
Reports have found that the use of two-way verification can reduce false alarms by 95%, providing a cost savings of thousands of dollars per community per year. By adding audio security devices, like the Louroe Electronics Verifact® A, sounds are documented the moment an alarm is triggered. That audio is then sent directly to a monitoring center, where trained security personnel can listen to live or recorded audio from the scene.
With this information, security professionals can confidently determine the validity of the alarm, along with what may be happening at the scene. If the alarm is valid, this information is passed along to law enforcement within minutes to prioritize the response.