The power of the angry tax-payer

SSN Staff  - 
Wednesday, October 1, 2003

I’m amused, and at times, saddened, by what I read about the alarm industry. I read one article stating that in 2002, the top 100 companies recorded $5.81 billon dollars in revenue, yet I also read that the alarm companies are against verified response. They claim that the citizens will be in harm’s way, but at the same time, rake in the profits.

You state, if I’m reading your commentary correctly, (“The power of an angry mob,” Security Systems News, June 2003), that the citizens of the cities going to verified response should use the political process to fight verified response. But what about the power of an angry mob (the tax-payer non-alarm user) because of the lack of police response due to the false alarms? The citizens want the police there right away when they call, but because of the call load burden, they need to realize that response times suffer because of false alarms. All of the education of alarm users and cooperation of the alarm industry (excuse me while I laugh at that statement) does no good if the problem is not eliminated. I think of what more the local department could do with the additional 36,000 hours wasted on false alarms. That 36,000 wasted hours was just patrol, not dispatch, K9, helicopter, alarm squad, etc.

They (the alarm industry) claim in countless surveys that they do customer education of false alarms, but here, they put it on the back of the police department to pay for it. They also claim, in your poll, that they use multiple verification. But right now, I know of a case against an alarm company that failed to make verification calls close to 107 times in the year 2002, but claim they follow NBFAA guidelines. They also haven’t been licensed in (their) state since May 2001.

I see the advantage of verified response, and in talking with some alarm company reps, they also see it. Las Vegas and Salt Lake City proved that the alarm companies have a better relationship with their customers and the police with verified response. Also, the alarm companies can and do make money with verified response. Yet, they would rather spend $50,000 per month (according to one article) to fight verified response in Los Angeles.

You said that maybe your view was naive, sometimes I think my view is naive. That view is that the alarm industry, as a whole, wants to do the right thing.

Gene Hale
Fate, Texas

Wanted: letters to the editor
The editors at Security Systems News want to hear what you think about features in our publication and the issues facing the security industry today.

What are your thoughts about how well the industry combats false alarms? Do you agree with Gene Hale (see above?)

Do you feel that a majority of companies do a good job training their technicians, as in Ken Egbert’s Guest Commentary?

Or how do you think proposed installation standards might affect you and your business? Read about those efforts beginning here.

These are just some of the issues in our publication this month, but we welcome comments on any event or subject the industry deals with today, as well as comments on our coverage of these issues.

You can send us your thoughts or simply drop us a line by email at or call us at 207-846-0600.

We look forward to hearing from you.

- The editors