When an alarm is triggered, and an incident has occurred, a quick response can minimize theft and property damage. But many police departments in various states, counties, and cities have been so overwhelmed by false notifications from both residential and commercial security systems that they no longer prioritize responding to alarms. Average police response time is increasing resulting in lower apprehension rates and greater property loss or damage. Video alarm verification helps reduce these issues, and in turn, helps protect your business.
What Triggers False Alarms?
There are a few common causes of false alarms for both fire and security systems, although specifics are variable across industries. They include the following:
It may surprise you to learn that the majority (nearly a third of all false alarms) originate from employees who have not been properly trained or have triggered an alarm by accident.
It’s estimated a little over a quarter of false alarms are caused by faulty equipment.
The remaining triggered sensors occur as a result of a wide variety of random or weather-related events such as strong winds and obstructions. In fact, some statistics show that as many as 94% of alarms are false, costing taxpayers over 1.5 billion a year. Fines average about $100 for a first offense and estimates are that businesses in the United States may pay as much as $900 million in false alarm fines yearly. More than half a dozen states and over 150 cities or counties require alarm verification of some kind.
Poorly done DIY and unprofessional installation results in about 15% of false events.
What is video alarm verification?
Video alarm verification is rapidly becoming one of the most popular methods of confirming an incident or intruder and dispatching authorities. It involves one or several cameras delivering recorded or live video either to a smartphone or to a central monitoring station that visually verifies what caused the triggered alarm. Some security systems will pair the alarm notification sent to the central monitoring station with live video clips of the area for review. This is a vast improvement over previous methods of alarm verification, which usually involved phone calls and verification from someone at the scene. With video verification, both business owners, central station operators, and authorities can prioritize an alarm, beginning an action plan to get employees to safety and to secure the property.
Benefits of video alarm verification
If you already have video surveillance and security cameras installed in your business, you may be wondering how video verification can help. While it’s true that video verification doesn’t specifically make your property safer on its own, it can benefit your business by avoiding several negative outcomes.
Because this service is set-up to record video specifically in the area where an alarm has been triggered or an incident occurred, video verification can save you time weeding through hours of footage and syncing information from the security system
As we mentioned previously, false alarm fines can get very expensive. Video verification can ensure when authorities are dispatched, it’s for a legitimate incident and not the result of an employee or equipment error.
Faster Response Times
With video verification, your central monitoring station can confirm the alarm and help authorities prioritize their response to the concern or crime happening on your property. Previously, police usually categorized alarms as “priority 3,” but verified alarms are typically assigned “priority 1” as a crime in progress. There is some evidence that response times to video verified alarms are about 12 minutes faster.
In some states or municipalities, verification is required by police to respond to an alarm due to overwhelming numbers of false alarms and a need to prioritize law enforcement resources. If you don’t have video verification, authorities would require at least two calls to validate the alarm along with visible proof of broken glass, an open door, or a witness.
Yes, it does happen. After a certain number of false alarms and fines, police or fire authorities simply won’t respond to an incident on your commercial property. That’s a negative outcome you definitely want to avoid.
In the case of claiming loss or filing a police report, having easily accessible video clips of the incident or crime makes the process a bit easier for all the parties involved.
After a certain number of false alarms, your employees may simply stop responding to them. They may neglect to follow safety plans because they perceive any alarm as a false one. It certainly makes the working environment more dangerous when employees can’t trust that the warnings to evacuate are legitimate.
Better Apprehension Rates
There is some evidence that when video verification is available, police are better able to apprehend suspects of a crime and that it speeds up the process of identifying and prosecuting those responsible.