Mailbox: Dealers must be part of the false alarm solution
I read with great interest your recent editorial encouraging the industry to take up the cause of false alarm reduction.
There are several points which I would take issue with.
You state that it is fair to say that security installers are more aware of the false alarm issue today than in the past. Offered literally that is probably an accurate statement, but in the context of security installers taking "proactive" steps towards addressing false alarm issues, I think it is largely inaccurate.
LEADERS TAKE ACTION
Recently, the Long Island Alarm Association was faced with a ridiculously punitive ordinance, introduced by a local municipality. Even with the threat of $100 dollar fines, escalating to $1000s the vast majority of the local dealers sat on the sidelines, and let a half dozen dedicated members carry the ball, and work with the municipality to address the ordinance.
Had it not been for the efforts of Ron Petrarca, Fred Leonardo and Phil Lagravinese, along with the stellar support of SIAC's Ron Walters and Bill Moody, this ridiculous ordinance would most likely have passed.
TAKE THE BLAME
When the topic of false alarms is brought up at association meetings, or distributor counters, the vast majority of alarm dealers and installers reply in some form or fashion that they are not to blame for the problem, it is the big guys and their free systems to blame.
The fact of the matter is that every dealer shares part of the blame for the false alarm problem and to their credit large companies such as ADT and Brinks are the first to aid groups, such as AIREF and SIAC, in addressing the issue.
Your editorial goes on to state that "some" central stations have adopted enhanced call verification. Again, this is a clear example of where literally it is accurate, and practically it is a clear example of the problem. Until we as an industry move beyond "some" to "all" we will only be solving the problem part-time at best.
Lastly, you mention the CP-01 Control Panel Standard. Another example of the "some" versus the "all" in our industry. Had the manufacturers and dealers embraced the standard when it was created and released years ago, your next statement may not have become true. But it now appears that the standard will gain teeth through the efforts by municipalities to incorporate the standard as part of local alarm ordinances. Another example of our industry failing to act proactively.
One group has attempted to act pro-actively in dealing with the false alarm issue--the Installation Quality Certification Program--and their efforts are based on imposing upon themselves a set of guidelines aimed at addressing quality control measures proven to reduce false alarms. As more dealers proactively raise the bar, the industry will feel the effects, and more importantly the benefits.
Your closing paragraph, states the most important point in addressing the false alarm issue, that it is the industry's problem.
Hopefully, we will all awake tomorrow morning and realize that all of the solutions for the problem are available for us to implement, it just takes every dealer to decide that they are going to become part of the solution, not part of the problem.
As the Nike commercial, says"Just Do It."
Thanks for your compelling editorial.
Owner and Consultant