The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) has commissioned a study to verify the success of its model alarm ordinance, examining data from six cities with more than seven years of strictly implementing the ordinance.

Already in use in approximately 1,000 jurisdictions, the ordinance was cooperatively developed and tested between SIAC, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

As SIAC continues to work with individual communities on alarm management issues, an academic study provides additional third-party support and fully vetted case studies to support adoption of the model ordinance.

The study will test the premise that:

  • Most alarm systems are not utilizing law enforcement response resources;
  • A minuscule percentage of alarm users are the source of excessive use of patrol resources;  
  • Long-term ongoing dispatch reduction programs are sustainable; and
  • The model ordinance is reducing dispatches in the cities/counties where implemented and enforced.

IACP recently passed a resolution that endorses the model alarm ordinance as a best practices tool to reduce alarm dispatches and recommends the ordinance to its 31,000 members in 165 countries.

“This is an opportune time to have subject matter experts from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology take an in-depth look at how the ordinance is reducing the need for police resources in six cities that have adopted the model ordinance,” said Stan Martin, SIAC executive director. “When provided with a proven alternative to punitive programs, such as fining alarm companies for false alarms, the model ordinance is the strategy chosen to reduce false alarms.”

The model ordinance incorporates best practices that have been proven to reduce calls for services, including:

  • ECC: Enhanced call confirmation (formerly enhanced call verification, or ECV) uses two calls to different numbers to determine the cause of the alarm and whether a dispatch is required. Video, audio, and other means of confirmation are also included in the referenced ANSI CS-V01 standard in the model ordinance.
  • REQUIRING ALARM PERMITS WITH FEES: Registration for security systems is critical for the effective management of alarm programs.
  • LIMITING FREE RESPONSES/FINES: Setting reasonable fines for alarm dispatches can be a significant deterrent to the occasional offender. Allowing a maximum of two free responses before incurring fines is advisable; utilizing one free response will yield even higher dispatch reductions.
  • CEASING RESPONSE TO CHRONIC ABUSERS: The industry supports stopping responses to chronic abusers while including a reasonable appeal and restoration process.
  • ACCEPTING CANCELLATIONS: Allowing calls to be canceled if originating party verifies response is not needed.

“Several large law enforcement agencies with well-managed alarm management programs document a high percentage (up to 96 percent) of permitted alarm systems, with neither a billable alarm dispatch call nor utilization of any law enforcement response in any given year,” said Dr. Joe Kuhns, president of K4 Associates, who is conducting the study. “These findings would support the current premise that the national model ordinance appropriately targets chronic abusers. Additionally, it offers evidence that most alarm permit holders need not be subject to overly harsh, restrictive, or expensive requirements in an ordinance to further minimize alarm dispatches.”

Stan Martin of SIAC added, “Industry opponents generally use outdated or misleading statistics to justify harsh punitive policies. These policies diminish the ability of the 30 million legacy systems in use nationwide that protect lives and property. An objective, academic study will make it more difficult to justify the most extreme policies that are sometimes advocated to deal with alarm issues.”  

Work on the study has already begun with an anticipated completion date in April of 2022.