Security Systems 

The False Alarm Tax

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Your city may be on the list for a false alarm tax. Over 80 cities have changed their response policies to burglar alarms, especially when they create false alarms. Cities across the United States are charging heavy fines up to $500 when police are sent on an unverified alarm call that turns out to be a false alarm.

So what is an unverified alarm? Any automated alarm that is sent to an alarm company or directly to the police (92% of all alarm calls) is considered an unverified alarm and police forces around the country place these alarm calls at a lower priority, meaning officers may not arrive for up to an hour or more. Verified alarms, on the other hand, would be answered as high-priority calls, with a response time in minutes, not hours.

Residents and businesses are starting to receive tickets for repeat false alarms starting at $50 and going up to as high as $500.  Some claim that this is another form of a “ticket tax” and should be abolished while city officials say that the tickets are the only way it can compensate its coffers for the thousands of false alarms responded to throughout the year.

About 95 percent of the nation’s 38 million yearly alarms turn out to be false, according to a national police group, authorities increasingly aren’t coming when a siren sounds. The alarm industry claims the policy changes will mean alarm owners will have to pay more to have a security guard respond to their alarms or to add surveillance cameras.

On the other hand, panic alarms activated by pressing a home or business panic button or notification from a verified security video at a resident or business security camera system continue to be handled as a top priority call under most of the new alarm policies. Police have struggled with false alarms for years but a verified alarm seems to be the answer.

As of 2010, the following cities are now slowing their response time to unverified alarm calls: Orlando, New York City, Camden, New Jersey, Chicago, Tampa, Baltimore, San Francisco including 80 other large and small towns and counties in the Florida Panhandle, Central Florida, New York and New Jersey.

Now, there are some changes you can implement to your alarm system to make sure the police respond to your alarm as a top priority within seconds.  One, make sure you’re the first call your alarm system calls so you can verify an alarm. In fact, if you can give your alarm company a list of first responders to call like a neighbor or someone else who happens to live in your home. If they’re close by and can see someone suspicious on your property that is considered a verified alarm. Two, add a security camera system, may it be one or more cameras that can send you an automated video when it senses motion or allows you to view a picture or video of the incident moments after it happens from your mobile phone.

SimpliSafeAppOnce you personally verify an alarm with live security video, you can call the police and let them know you are watching an incident in progress. This will make sure your call becomes a priority to police and have an officer respond to the incident within precious seconds Instead of much later.

If you decide to purchase security cameras, make sure you are using a provider that will offer either a low-cost upfront price or flexible payments for a high definition security camera system. Also, make sure you receive a warranty with a minimum of 2 years that will send video to your smartphone when it senses an intruder around your premises so you can make a verified alarm call. For extra protection, make sure you upgrade your present alarm system to an Intelligent security alarm that will always verify an alarm call with you through your mobile phone and does not need a phone line at the premise (that can be cut) or internet connection to operate. These systems are normally priced at 1/3 the cost of an ADT or Brinks alarm contracts. If you have any questions on making sure your alarm setup will activate a priority police response, schedule a callback and we will try to answer your questions in details.



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