About two months ago, Security Systems News spoke with Steve Keefer, national law enforcement liaison for SIAC, about the unique way the Carson City Sheriff’s Department approaches false alarms; by utilizing volunteers. Since, Keefer followed up with this sheriff’s office and found that while false alarms have dropped, it is difficult to determine how the volunteers were involved.
Upon looking at the figures over all reductions, “I told the sheriff, ‘I bet you’re close to a fifty percent reduction in your commercial [false alarms],” Keefer told SSN. Yet, because of how the data was organized, the exact influence of this volunteer program can’t currently be determined, Keefer said.
Keefer gave the sheriff recommendations, such as hand-outs, like flyers and printed statistics, as well as a heavier focus on false panic and hold-up alarms. “Those are probably more problematic for a police department, because you’re not getting, traditionally, two officers going to a robbery or hold-up—you’re probably getting three or four.”
A primary reason for Keefer’s follow-up was to investigate the viability this practice might hold for other jurisdictions, perhaps to be incorporated into SIAC’s recommended practices.
A positive aspect of this program is the small commitment for volunteers, Keefer said; they could finish a month’s duties in four hours, across two days. “It’s not draining by any means.”
According to Keefer, the city of 55,000 people saw about 1,300 false alarms last year. These false alarms are split about 70 percent commercial and 30 percent residential. While these volunteers exclusively visit commercial offenders, Keefer underlined that this method could benefit the residential sector as well.
The volunteers, a husband-and-wife pair, only visit businesses that have received two or more false alarms in a given month, totaling about 10 to 15 per month.