Nothing but Net, town adopts CSAA course

Friday, July 1, 2005

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.--The Village of Schaumburg approved a measure in late April to become the first municipality in the country to move false alarm training from the classroom to the Central Station Alarm Association's online training course.
Alarm users with five false alarms within a one-year period are now required to complete CSAA's course. The decision by the city, which passed its false alarm ordinance two years ago was influenced by how much resources are freed up through the online course for both end users and the municipality.
The city had previsouly charged $200 for classroom instruction, but now end users will pay $39.95 for the Internet training. Although the city no longer collects more money per student, it does not have to arrange the meetings and staff them with highly paid professionals.
Ed Bonifas, chairman of marketing and communications at CSAA and vice president at Aurora, Ill.-based Alarm Detection Systems, said the larger issue at stake is a lot of police departments are ill equipped to organize and host seminars for chronic false alarm abusers. By adopting the CSAA class, cities can offer an informed class based on the experience of many industry professionals.
CSAA introduced the online course in March, after almost a year of development. The course covers two subject areas that are different types of alarm systems and issues related to false alarms.
"What this allows them to do is put on a terrific class everyday," said Bonifas. "I know this will be a popular program to educate people on false alarms." Speaking on behalf of the association, Bonifas said he expects other cities within the United States to follow Schaumburg's lead.
The Village of Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago with a population of approximately 80,000, has a long history of dealing with the false alarm problem, explained Village of Schaumburg Police Officer John Nebl.
"The goal is to reduce the number of false alarms; it costs money and helps tie up officers," said Nebl, who said the city recognizes the problem and is willing to listen to ideas on how to solve it. "It was just as simple as letting the village board know and getting their approval."
The city has worked hard to help reduce false alarms in the past few years. Nebl cites a long-standing policy that puts police officers in permanent beats within the city, which helps the officers build relationships with residents, enabling discussion on false alarm prevention. Additionally, a citywide goal to reduce false alarms was initiated a few years ago.
Since 2001, incoming burglary calls have dropped from 9 percent in 2001 to 6.5 percent in 2003. False burglary and robbery alarms have decreased in the past three years to 3,385 in 2004 from 3,764 in 2003 and 4,588 in 2002.