Imagine buying an alarm system and paying monthly fees, only to find out your alarm company never told you that an alarm permit is required by your local police – and the company failed to register your alarm system. Then you experience a real break in, and because your alarm system has no permit, the police don’t respond! I’ve actually got two stories to share, with both alarm customers understandably upset. The Utah resident got off easy – it was just a false alarm. But for the woman in St. Louis, it was a nightmare: only after she alerted her friends of the burglary via Facebook, and those same friends called the police on her behalf, did the police finally respond. Here’s a key passage from the St. Louis story:
Burglars stole a gun and ammunition from a South St. Louis home — all while the security alarm blared. Burglars busted a side-alley window, which triggered the alarm. They made off with a large, flat-screen TV, the gun safe hidden in the closet, and the homeowner’s sense of safety. It took police half an hour to respond to that call. “My biggest concern is the safety of the general public because there’s a hand gun on the loose, out in St. Louis, with the ammunition,” the victim said. “Where’s our safety if our alarm company isn’t going to call police for us when we have an alarm going off? Don’t wait until you’re being robbed to find out that your alarm company doesn’t hold a valid permit number.”
In fairness to the St. Louis police, they were following the ordinance implemented in 2005:
“We always respond to 911 calls from citizens in need. We continue to ask 911 callers to remain on the line until the dispatcher ends the call. This ensures the dispatcher has all the information necessary in order to provide an accurate police response. Citizens should also work with their alarm companies to ensure alarms have a valid permit number.”
In the Utah incident, the same problem existed: the alarm company failed to follow through on the permit paperwork (here’s the Utah story link):
Derek Smith says he learned a valuable lesson from his alarm company. With no alarm permit, police don’t respond to his home when his alarm is tripped unless he pushes the panic button on his alarm system, or calls 911 himself. How did the alarm company respond? “They said, oh well, we got word from the police department that they’re not going to come out because you haven’t signed up for your permit,” said Smith. This concerns Derek. He’s trying to protect his 7-month old baby and young wife.
In both of these cases the alarm company let down the customer – in the most important way. Police response is fundamental to any alarm activation, especially with bolder criminals and a documented increase in home invasion (i.e. intrusion while you are home). FrontPoint has always been timely and accurate when informing our customers about alarm permit requirements – as the nation’s number one provider for interactive, wireless home security, we just think that’s a key part of our job. That’s also why post informative articles like these on alarm company licenses and permits (what you have to do, and what we are required to do as an alarm company), and customer alarm permits and false alarms (including fines for false alarms). When it comes to getting the complete story in home protection and peace of mind, you may always look to FrontPoint.