SentryNet will call twice, thanks to ECV

Saturday, April 1, 2006

PENSACOLA, Fla.--Despite having only a few subscribers dotted in verified response cities, such as Dallas, SentryNet, a wholesale monitoring company with two centrals in Pensacola, Fla., and Greenville, Miss. wanted to be proactive before more municipalities in its reach went verified, so it added Enhanced Call Verification.
For the most part, the southern region of the United States is pro alarm, David Avritt, president of SentryNet, said. "The issue hasn't reached our locations. We should not abuse that or be naive enough to think that it is going to continue that way," Avritt said. "You have to be proactive as an industry."
Prior to the addition, SentryNet examined guidelines and studies conducted by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. A handful of the company's dealers beta tested the procedure. At the conclusion of the study, SentryNet found false dispatches were reduced by as much as 45 percent, said Michael Joseph, vice president of operations.
Those numbers were good enough for the central to decide internally that this is one way the company can support the industry's efforts. In February, the service was ready for its 500 dealers.
"ECV is a great first step to achieving that goal," Joseph said. "We thought as a central station, we could take the lead on behalf of our dealers to educate communities and show that we can do the right thing."
Incorporating this procedure is not an easy task for a third-party central. "At a proprietary central, you have more control of it," Avritt said. "Not only have we had an uphill battle convincing dealers, but we are coming to grips ourselves because it is an extra step in our business."
The majority of false alarms and dispatches arise when people are alarming or dis-alarming their system. To prepare for this, the central takes a series of steps to verify the burglary signal by making two calls, the first call goes to the customer's address, the second call, when available, goes to a homeowner or business owner's cellular number, before contacting law enforcement.
Avritt explained independent dealers have been open minded about the procedure, but, Avritt said, "It has taken some coaching, but the majority of our dealers have said, 'This is the right thing to do.'"
Traditionally, SentryNet leaves alone the conversations between dealers and end users about new services, Joseph said. "We encourage our dealers to have a dialogue," he said. "We provided them with materials such as sample letters and training on what we are doing that they can take to the law enforcement and customers."
Avritt said this procedure would eventually become the norm in the industry. "We can not keep pushing this off on police departments because they do not have the resources to take care of it."