5 Proactive Measures To Help Prevent Home Security False Alarms
Home alarm security systems have been proven to be useful for preventing crimes. However, an alarm system that is repetitively sending false alarm signals can cause problems to homeowners as well as law enforcement. Home security alarms are meant to detect intrusion or unauthorized entry into a residential property. They are used as a personal protection against intruders.
What is a false alarm?
A false or nuisance alarm is an erroneous report of an emergency that can cause unnecessary panic resulting to police or emergency service response. It is more than just an inconvenience since it takes up the time and energy of law enforcement and emergency personnel diverting them from responding to real emergencies. This is the main reason why Suffolk County launched an Alarm Management Program.
Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to register their security alarm systems with the Suffolk County Police Department. Legislators in Suffolk County passed a law requiring a $50 annual registration fee for those who have residential security systems installed, and $100 registration fee for commercial security systems. The security permits are non-transferable.
In 2015, the Suffolk County police department responded to about 98,000 false alarms, costing them hours and $2 million in overall costs. As a result, the legislators have also introduced false alarm punishments. Homeowners and business owners will be subject to false alarm fines whether their alarm systems are registered or not. For unregistered locations, they will immediately be assessed a penalty for a first false alarm. For registered locations, they will be given a written warning without a fine for the first 2 false alarms and then will be assessed with fines for the next false alarm. Residents will are subject to a $100 fine and $150 for business owners. The fines will keep increasing every time there’s a false alarm. Fines could go up to $500.
There are three common reasons that could cause false alarms – user error, security system malfunctions, and environmental triggers. To reduce the risk of having false alarms at home, we suggest taking the following proactive measures:
- Make sure all windows and doors are completely closed before turning your home security alarm system on.
- Ensure that all family members or authorized people know how to use the system properly. Let them know the alarm code or password in case the alarm will be accidentally set off. If you have a pet at home, you should inform your alarm company. They can install pet-friendly devices that have motion detectors designed ignore animals but can detect human intrusion.
- Place the alarm remote control out of children’s reach. Some security systems have panic buttons which can easily be set off if kids are playing with the remote.
- If the alarm is accidentally triggered, answer the phone call and immediately provide the password. Most unnecessary police emergency responses could have been avoided right away if the homeowner only responded to the phone call from their security monitoring company.
- It is important to perform a regular check of your alarm system to ensure that everything is working properly. We recommend an alarm test once a month. If you think there is a system malfunction, contact your alarm company to schedule a repair service.
Avoiding false security alarms should be a cooperative effort between homeowners and the security monitoring company. A well-designed home security alarm system will less likely trigger false alarms, however, adding extra care when using your system can go a long way towards saving from expensive fines.
To learn more about the Alarm Management Program of Suffolk County, visit this link: https://apps2.suffolkcountyny.gov/scpd/crywolf/default.aspx.