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SIAC Cautions Best Practices in Alarm Management Not Reflected in COPS Study

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SIAC Cautions Best Practices in Alarm Management Not Reflected in Dated Study on Verified Response by COPS – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

Frisco, Texas (October 18, 2013) – Leaders in law enforcement working with the alarm industry have made great strides in developing effective alarm management programs that curtail unnecessary dispatches while maintaining and often funding response from trained law enforcement officers.

False Burglar Alarms 2nd Edition was published by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and last revised in 2007.  Despite a strong disclaimer, the report is sometimes misinterpreted as a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The report is in fact the work of a consultant retained by the COPS organization and is based on data from 1993-2005.

An article released in 2004 called Verified Response Really Does Work is based on data that is a decade old and does not reflect best practices in alarm management developed since it was published.  At least one of the cities named in the report has ended its verified response policy.  

“Fewer than 18 of the nation’s approximately 18,000 public safety agencies have adopted the extreme approach of verified response, promoted by these two reports,” said Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). “We are not aware of any national public safety organizations supporting this approach.”

More Recent Studies Tell a Different Story
Studies from Rutgers University (2010) and UNC Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology (2010) show that alarms systems are a highly effective crime deterrent.

The two reports supporting verified response predate a highly effective and proven Model Alarm Ordinance that requires registration of alarm systems with local police, a graduated fine structure, new equipment standards, suspension of response to chronic abusers and Enhanced Call Verification (ECV). ECV (two-call verification) requires that alarm monitoring stations attempt to confirm an alarm by calling the site and the alarm user to determine whether the signal is valid before requesting dispatch.  

“One reason is that police statistics from Arizona, Maryland and Virginia show that approximately 85% of alarm users have no calls for service in a given year,” said Martin.  “Best practices target problem areas without depriving the majority of responsible alarm owners of police response.”


Verified Response is often suggested as a way to save the cost of police response. An Urban Institute study (2012) showed that Montgomery County Maryland not only saved $6 million
through use of best practices in alarm management, it also generated $500,000 in revenue above the cost of the program.

Law enforcement agencies can find the latest information on alarm management, including the latest studies and comments from law enforcement leaders at

About SIAC
SIAC represents one voice for the electronic security industry on alarm management issues – communicating solutions and enhancing relationships with law enforcement.  SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations--Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and the Electronic Security Association (ESA).  For more, go to ,, or follow us on


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