In news from the New Milford Spectrum, the town of New Milford, prompted by fed-up first responders, has implemented a new fine structure for repeat-false-alarm offenders.

The story cites some illuminating police department statistics that people might find shocking. 

“In 2016, the department received about 1,380 burglary alarms, of which two were actual burglaries. In 2017 those figures were about 1,510 and four, respectively, and about 780 burglary alarms by the first presentation in fall 2018, of which two were actual burglaries.”

The sad truth is that for various reasons, ranging from lack of routine maintenance to lack of training, the vast majority of alarms that central monitoring centers call into first responders are false.

Unfortunately, the false alarm problem has many negative side effects. One of these is first responders begin to believe that every alarm they’re going to respond to is false and they become lax in their response, either taking longer to get to the alarm, or, worse, walking into a potentially dangerous situation with a sense that there’s nothing to worry about. This can be dangerous for responding officers.

The story also makes clear that an initial draft of a new ordinance was revised thanks to the work of a local integrator who talked with the town council and helped the revise some of their initial ideas.

For example, the town originally was going to a have a no-police-response policy for people with unpaid fines. However, they were convinced by the integrator that such would not be a good decision since, in the event of an actual emergency, innocent lives could be put in danger.

There were other changes as well that led to a more fair ordinance.

It’s worth noting that the security industry also has an association of dedicated individuals who make it their mission to work with alarm companies and municipalities to come to an understanding and to develop fair ordinances that are in the best interest of all involved. That association is the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). They have a model ordinance at their site that has helped countless municipalities address the false alarm issue and allow everyone to work toward a common goal of police response and reduced false alarms.

If you’re a business that has had a few false alarms, please contact Norris to ask for training and to discuss how we can help you keep your alarm system well-maintained. 

If you’re a municipality and you feel you’re at your wit’s end dealing with the false alarm epidemic, please give SIAC a shout and ask they’ll assess your situation.

What is Norris all about?
Norris, Inc.—a South Portland, Maine-based life-safety and security systems integrator with satellite offices in Bangor, Maine; Lee, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont—was founded nearly 40 years ago by two brothers, Brad and Harty Norris. The brothers remain on the board of directors today and continue to help steer the enterprise toward its goal of advancing life-safety, security, and communications while striving to grow in its status as Northern New England’s leading systems integrator. Norris provides fully integrated life-safety and security solutions, comprising disparate systems including fire alarm, intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, communications, and emergency notification and total systems integration via the Vigilance Systems Integration Engine and ENS.