Getting what you pay for

By Pamela Singleton, Sonitrol Pacific Director of Communications
Posted January 29, 2009

An article in yesterday’s Bakersfield Californian discusses some of the pros and cons of various home security measures and offers many great tips. It also quotes a local police lieutenant on the possibility that police aren’t as responsive to non-verified alarms as they are to calls from a Sonitrol operations center.

The current economic climate has us all looking for ways to reduce expenses. This is a good time to do a little research to make sure you’re getting the best possible return on your investment in a security system. No matter how cheap a security system is, it costs too much if it doesn’t do what it promises and protect your business, employees and assets.

Here’s a few things to look into:
1. Check with your law enforcement agency (local police department, sheriff’s department) on their policy regarding responding to verified alarms vs. unverified alarms. Since 94-98 percent of burglar alarms are false alarms and put a strain on police resources, many agencies have unofficial policies of making unverified alarms a very low priority.
2. When was the last time your system was tested? Do you know it’s actually working? Many systems stipulate the business owner test the system weekly/monthly/yearly and any warranty is voided without documentation of these system tests. Sonitrol Pacific takes care of equipment testing for our clients.
3. How many criminals have police arrested after a call from your burglar alarm company? Sonitrol Pacific has assisted law enforcement officials in the arrest of more than 5,000 criminals since 1978.
4. What is your burglar alarm company’s performance warranty? Sonitrol Pacific will pay you up to $10,000 if we fail to detect a break-in at your business.
5. Who pays the fine when your alarm company causes your business to be charged a false alarm fine?
6. What is your burglar alarm company’s valid dispatch rate? The industry standard for false alarms is 94-98 percent. This is completely unacceptable and can have a serious impact on the time it takes police to respond to a call from them. Faster police response time means criminals get caught and losses to the business are kept to a minimum.
7. Find out the operator to account ratio. Many burglar alarm companies contract with a national central station to monitor their clients’ systems. These centers frequently have one person watching as many as 10,000 accounts. You want a ratio more in the 1:2,000 range.
8. How much are you paying a year for service calls and false alarm fines? With traditional burglar alarm companies, these unplanned expenses add up and exceed what the businesses pay annually for the actual system and monitoring.

Many Sonitrol Pacific clients come to us after discovering their current security provider doesn’t deliver and costs them far too much. Call or email us today and learn how you can have more comprehensive security for a better return on investment.