Security alarms, public policy, and the police

Security alarms are a proven deterrent to criminal activity at homes and businesses, but as the popularity and use of alarm systems steadily increases, so does the occurrence of false alarms. When it comes to false alarm response, some public safety agencies have had enough and have established policies against responding to alarm calls altogether. False alarms waste public resources. Public policy provides sufficient guidance in how to properly handle the issue of false alam1 fines, fees, and penalties. The responsibility for false alarm response remuneration lies with those members of the public who own and operate alarms that cause unneeded police/fire response, not the community as a whole. While the security industry blames alarm users for most false alarms, it could do much more to educate consumers on the proper use of alarm systems and the implications of generating false alarms. Part of the educational effort comes from false alarm schools. Sponsored jointly by public safety and the alarm community, alarm schools are a proven method of reducing the reoccurrence of false alarms. As we enter the twenty-first century, 15 million telematics devices will be in service by 2004, representing the next bastion of false alarm activity. Now is the time to establish a plan of action for handling calls coming from these mobile security devices.