Verified response questioned in Dallas

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

DALLAS--A local television station here ran a story Dec. 28 featuring two business owners, accompanied by video clips, strongly criticizing the city's commercial verified response policy. WFAA, owned by the same company that owns the Dallas Morning News, gave air time to Mike Tam, owner of Elmer's Grocery, and Asfaw Aria, owner of Acefit Grocery, both of whom said the policy, enacted in March of 2006, puts their businesses at risk because, said Aria, criminals "know the police are not going to come."
The video clips, taken at Elmer's, show thieves backing through the front door with a pickup truck, tying a chain around an ATM, and dragging the ATM away from the store. "It's something that tells an accurate story of what's going on down here with regard to verified response," said Chris Russell, owner of Amazon Alarm Systems and president of the North Texas Alarm Association. Russell said the primary problem is that, in the Dallas policy, "the monitoring company seeing the video doesn't count as a human confirmation ... You have to contact the business owner and have him call the cops."
The police department, according to WFAA, reports a 25-30-minute average response time, and claims the verified policy is helping to reduce that, thanks to a reduction in responses to false alarms. The verified policy will be reviewed in March.