Requiring a security system to have a 30 to 60 second delay reduces false alarms, but it also diminishes security. Most of the national alarm companies require system delays, because they have to respond to fewer calls, saving the company money. We feel strongly that alarm delays reduce a customer’s overall security, create opportunities for burglars and more than one or two false alarms in a year means adjustments need to be made to a system or additional customer training and education may be necessary.
Do False Alarms Cost Money in St. Louis?
Companies that require delays are quick to argue that reducing false alarms could save customers money, as many cities and municipalities charge fees for responding to false alarms. This is true, but the fees in St. Louis are nominal for the first few occurrences and usually start with a warning. If you are home, you may be able to respond to the false alarm in time to avoid having police arrive, and if you aren’t home, the false alarm is likely going to result in a visit from the police with or without delays.
What Happens When Burglars Know About the Delay?
Experienced burglars can use the delay to their advantage. Some alarm company signs in the front yard are basically invitations. If the crook can break in, locate the control panel and pull it off the wall in about 30 to 60 seconds the monitoring company never gets notified. Here’s a video that shows just how easily this can be accomplished:
Reducing False Alarms
Rather than using delays to reduce the number of calls to our monitoring station, we focus on figuring out the reason behind a false alarm. If a customer gets more than one or two false alarms in a one year time period, there may be something wrong with the system or there may be user error that needs to be corrected.
Correcting technical issues, additional control panel training or coming up with passwords that are easier to remember can often solve false alarm issues without adding delays. We contact our customers immediately after an alarm is triggered, so our customers do not experience more false alarms than the companies that require delays.
How We Really Feel About Alarm Delays
At Butler Durrell we believe using a delay provides diminishes security. When a customer’s security system is armed, we set it to sound immediately after it is triggered. We receive the alarm signal and call the homeowner or business contact immediately. You can give us the passcode indicating the alarm was triggered accidentally or if you aren’t sure what caused the alarm, we can help you identify the source (which sensor triggered it) and you tell us if you want police to respond. If you don’t answer or if you give us an incorrect code, we call the police to have them dispatched immediately to your property.
Contact us to learn more about alarm delays or how our family owned alarm company is different from the big national security companies here in St. Louis.