Taming False Alarms -


The general consensus is that alarm systems are highly effective in helping to reduce burglaries. In a national survey of Police Chiefs, Officers and Sheriffs, the majority acknowledged that Security Systems help to deter burglary attempts and assist in apprehending suspects. Even the Burglars themselves tend to agree, saying that the presence of an alarm system would send them off to look for an easier target.

Law Enforcement Leaders claim that responding to so many false alarms - both business and residential - is a costly, waste of time that takes officers away from other, more valuable duties.

Since the first network alarms and central station were established in the 1870's, improvements in technology and product reliability have significantly reduced faulty equipment as a cause of false alarms. Bad weather, animals - even helium balloons - have been blamed in some cases. But studies have shown that half or more false alarms are the result of user error.

False Alarm Rates for commercial properties are up to three times higher than those of residential users as multiple employees and vendors tend to share an alarm control panel.

With tight budgets now routine in most cities, many law enforcement departments are being forced to cut personnel, making solutions for false alarm reduction even more important. That has led to hefty fines being assessed for repeat false alarm offenders.

Some jurisdictions will no longer respond without alarm verification. And, in those cities where police still do respond, alarms that can't be verified may receive a lower dispatch priority. Verification may take the form of an eyewitness making a report or a time-consuming and costly dispatch of a private security guard - paid for by the property owner. (Hold-up, duress and panic alarms still result in an immediate law enforcement dispatch in virtually every community.)

Some cities require what's known as enhanced verification. The alarm company is required to attempt phone calls to as many as two business contacts to verify that the alarm was not accidentally activated.

A better solution - video verification - has resulted from input by alarm users, central station operators, law enforcement and insurance companies. Many of these groups now support video verification as the best way to reduce false alarms.

Video alarm verification works by having motion sensors immediately activate security cameras when a burglar enters a business. alarm company central station personnel have access to the resulting video, which they review before notifying authorities and providing them with detailed information.

For law enforcement, video verification results in a more efficient use of time, increased officer safety and more arrests. For business owners, video verified alarms act as a deterrent to would be burglars. That, and more rapid law enforcement response, may help reduce losses and lead to lower insurance premiums.


There are 2 prongs to that answer: Training and Testing. Anyone coming into contact with the system needs a thorough understanding of how to use it. Today's control panels have become more intuitive and easier to use. Yet, with house sitters, and employee turnover, there is a constant need to repeat the training process.

Remember, that process should include service vendors such as janitorial crews, delivery drivers and contractors that are accessing your business after hours. Also, make sure that you have any necessary Permits for your system - as required by your City or County. Many municipalities will not respond to an alarm site that doesn't have a valid permit.


When it comes to Installing, Upgrading or Adding Services, choose carefully. Look for a Security Provider with years of experience in protecting building like yours. Insist on a Provider that has offices where you are, and has the trained staff to meet your needs - when you need them.

Olympic Security & Communications Systems is YOUR Local, Licensed Honeywell Dealer


Mistakes will be made as long as people are involved. Doors will be left ajar. Codes will be improperly entered. Aging Systems will be left to fail - False Alarms will result.

Municipalities and Law Enforcement agencies have made it clear that they can no longer afford to investigate false alarms. Most homeowners and businesses can't afford the associated fines.

Security Systems are an effective tool in helping reduce costly thefts. Premise Owners can help reduce false alarms through regular training and testing of their alarm systems. They can also help by adopting accepted technology such as video verified alarms.

The use of technology can help ensure improved response times, potential capture of the criminal and may help mitigate false alarm fines.

Olympic Security & Communications Systems is YOUR Local, Licensed Honeywell Dealer -

Test your alarm system.
Update your Emergency (ECL) Call List - if necessary.
If you need Assistance with your Security, Monitoring, Fire System or, if you are interested in obtaining one:
Please call Olympic Security & Communications Systems 800-540-SAFE (7233) or 360-652-1088.
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Olympic Security & Communications Systems has been serving Western Washington for 25 years!