Siren or Silent? Building a commercial alarm system
Building a commercial alarm system may sound like a simple task. Install a couple of contacts on the door, a keypad, and a motion detector, and you have an alarm system. But is it secure?
If the business owner is just looking for an insurance discount, the cheapest system will suffice. But if security and protecting property is the main goal, a few more things must be taken into consideration. One of the items added to many burglary alarms is a siren. But is it a good idea?
Is noise a deterrent?
- When an audible siren sounds, the perpetrator knows that police are on the way. A siren typically causes a “smash and grab” type of burglary. If the building has already been cased, they know exactly where they are going. As the siren is screaming, they pick up the stuff and head for the door before police arrive.
- Many business locations are in industrial areas. If the siren sounds in the middle of the night or on holidays, it is likely that no one will hear it or respond to the noise alone.
- Since 95% of all burglar alarms are false, a lower law enforcement priority is given to them. If police are on other calls or have had multiple calls to the same location for an alarm, it may be awhile before they arrive.
- Alarm monitoring operators who receive an alarm notification but cannot visually or audibly verify a burglary are required to contact several people from the business before dispatching the police. This delay often allows for burglars to get away.
- With a siren blaring, law enforcement will likely be at a disadvantage when they arrive, as they will not be able to hear movement if one or multiple intruders are still on the premises.
Silent is golden.
A silent alarm allows for a much different scenario:
- The siren doesn’t automatically go off. Now the burglar or burglars believe that there is more time to find valuables in the business. The “rush” is not on. The delay will allow law enforcement more time to get to the location to make an arrest.
- A properly built silent alarm will also add some type of verification by operators. If listening devices or cameras are activated on alarm, monitoring personal can hear or view the suspects. An audio or visual verification of a break in allows the alarm to be considered a “verified alarm”. According to Florida Statute 489.529, call verification to the business is not required on a verified alarm. Law enforcement can be immediately dispatched with the knowledge that there is an actual burglary in progress.
- A properly built system will also have the zones and devices identified so that law enforcement can be directed to the location of the burglars within the building, which can prevent the burglars from leaving through another spot in the building.
- Since the alarm is silent and the alarm operators can listen and view burglars in the building, this allows law enforcement to plan en route and/or wait for backup or deploy a K9 unit.
Catching the bad guy allows the business to keep their property. If there is camera footage or audio recording, this can be used as evidence in a court of law.
If you want your security system to work for you, make sure it’s designed by professionals.
Contact us for a free assessment of your property.
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