Comment / Question


    I recall seeing a segment on cable TV about ADT’s decision to avoid selling systems to marijuana outlets. Today I had one of my dealers call about whether or not USA Central Station monitors marijuana outlets.

    We should all recall the Eli Lilly robbery in Connecticut were they came in through the roof and made off with 90 million dollars worth of pharmaceuticals. Not as famous but another Eli Lilly attack in Indianapolis where three were arrested when security guards ignored three separate alarms and never called police. The thief’s were caught when one was recognized days later on a video tape.

Needless to say robbing a storefront operation is easier than a massive warehouse and the usual snatch and grab can result in significant losses. What is your opinion about the risk / reward for these types of potential customers?

Additionally, is there risk that someone under the affects of that stolen marijuana in turn harms or worse kills an innocent person while operating a vehicle, could the injured party have a claim back to the store and alarm company for insufficient security measures?  Many years ago we saw a decision or verdict against an alarm company for the death of two firefighters that died in an accident responding to a false alarm, even though it was proven that the fire truck was not well maintained by the city and the brakes failed.


Bart A. Didden, President 

U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp




    As you can imagine pot is a big industry and growing like weeds.  Businesses that dispense legal marijuana have valuable portable inventory and for the most part conduct business in cash, green, like their product.  These businesses may also be concerned that they attract the kind of customers and interest among the community that suggests that more, rather than less, security is necessary to protect not only the inventory and cash within the premises, but those persons working at these facilities and those on premises as customers.

    So what's the problem?  Reportedly ADT has decided that it will not provide security to these facilities because they are illegal in the eyes of the Federal Government, even though they may be legal according to state law.  

    Here's what interests me about this issue.  Does the alarm industry need to be concerned with the type of subscriber that requests alarm services?  Do alarm companies face different exposure for liability if the subscriber is an illegal operation?  All businesses have their own inherent risk factors, legal or illegal.  Jewelery stores have different risks than a barber shop or plant store.  Drug stores have different risks than a restaurant, and fast food operations [cash business]  have a different risk than an upscale restaurant [mostly credit cards].  

    But what difference is there in exposure between alarming a house of worship and a whorehouse?  A house of worship may be more concerned with an intrusion and fire alarm, and the house of ill repute with a panic alarm; maybe a smoke detector.  Why should the alarm company care whats going on in the subscriber's premises when that alarm signal comes in.  The decision is whether to dispatch and to which agency, PD or FD.  

    Consider this scenario.  You're called to a potential subscriber premises, a single family dwelling - to make this easy.      Sub wants an intrusion and fire alarm.  It's a residence so no fire alarm permit is needed.  You survey the house, check for number of openings and bedrooms.  Sub asks lot of questions and wants a few extras like wall vibrators and extra motion detectors, but no cameras - or if cameras - only a local DVR.  Sub also lets you know that no one actually lives at the house and it's used to store illegal cigarettes and  knock off designer clothing.  Does this change your mind about selling and monitoring the alarm system?  Why should it?

    I don't think the alarm company is responsible for subscriber activity, whether it's selling legal or illegal pot or anything else.  Whether you want to sell and service an alarm in a high risk premises is another matter, but if it's priced right I don't see how it matters.  You should of course insist on installing a code compliant system.  While the activity in the premises may be illegal you certainly should not be doing anything improper or illegal.  

    So if you get a call to alarm a pot dispensary, take the job and price it right - at least you don't have to compete against ADT. 


TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS REPLY TO THIS EMAIL OR EMAIL  Most comments and questions get circulated.