The numbers are in: Nationwide alarm dispatch rate decreases

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Monday, August 1, 2005

FRISCO, Texas--Results of a recent survey by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition on the nationwide alarm dispatch rate show that the false alarm dispatch rate has dropped, proving the industry's efforts to reduce these occurrences are working.
SIAC's research showed the dispatch rate declined to 0.9 per alarm system, which reflects a drop in dispatches of more than 64 percent over the last seven years. Communities surveyed experienced less than one law enforcement dispatch per system, per year.
To compile the data, SIAC studied reports from alarm companies representing approximately 20 percent of the systems monitored nationally. Police in select communities corroborated the sampling, said Stan Martin, executive director of SIAC.
The alarm dispatch rate was determined by dividing the total number of police dispatches by the total number of alarm systems in use in the communities, Martin added.
The association believes the survey results indicate that communities are taking alarm reduction more seriously. The news has also been well received by the industry, considering its efforts to reduce false alarms while at the same time constantly protecting its image, noted Martin.
"People are more conscientious," said Martin. "Ordinances are having an effect. People want to be responsible."
According to Martin, the fact that enhanced call verification is being implemented at an increasing number of central stations is another reason for a drop in false dispatches.
"We are ever improving the level of dispatched calls; nine out of 10 calls never make it to a responding authority because they are being verified," he said.
Communities throughout the United States have taken action to reduce the false dispatch rate. Montgomery County in Maryland played an integral part in the survey's low numbers. The county significantly lowered the dispatch rate by introducing an alarm ordinance a decade ago. However, in early 2004, the county implemented ECV, said Norma Beaubien, director of the False Alarm Reduction Section with the Montgomery County Police Department.
Since ECV went into effect, the county has seen a drop from 45,000 to 38,000 false dispatch calls, Beaubien said.
Martin said the industry has made progress in reducing false dispatches. But, he stressed, work remains to be done.
"It took us a long time to battle invalid alarms, but we can't let up--not even for a moment," he said. "We've got to continue to reduce invalid dispatches."