KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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comments on false alarms - should there be cut off by central station
January 29, 2018
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comments on false alarms - should there be cut off by central station from January 20, 2018 article
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Ken,   re Gene's ideas:
    Gene, there are a number of flaws in your thinking that I think need to be surfaced and/or explained. While what you propose sounds easy it’s not and I really don’t think it would be effective in fact I would argue that the opposite would result.
    1. Most wholesale centers don’t own the relationship either legally or ethically  between the CS and the consumer, therefore we have no direct legal method to stop responding to signals from a subscriber because they have exceeded some number of false alarms, we typically work with the dealer who has the relationship to get the subscriber corrected or disconnected.  The municipality almost always has an ordinance that allows the police departments to stop responding to sites where the number of allowable false alarms is exceeded.
    2. The majority of the false alarms are created by the user not the central station, equipment or the dealer.  With the majority of phone calls to subscribers going to voice mail the traditional model of calling them pre-dispatch is not working. Since the subscriber is causing most of them it seems fitting to fine them directly.
    3. Currently there are a few areas where the central station is billed directly and then collects the fees for false alarm from the dealers, I can tell you based on that exposure having a national initiative  it would mean that wholesale centers would have to dramatically increase staffing to manage that and that would certainly  increase costs of monitoring to the dealers, we would also have to have as part of our agreement that the dealer is ultimately responsible to the central station for false alarms being invoiced for which would in turn now require the dealer to deal with collections of fines and would clearly require the dealer to increase staffing to do this especially since no one in the alarm business has a real tool to increase collections unlike the city that can enforce or turn off other city services should the fine not get paid  
    4. Central stations have no  visibility on panel programming nor could we even begin to enforce it even if we did,  that is the dealers responsibility to program panels correctly and to use the tools that are provided by manufacturers that help in reducing false alarms.  Shame on those that turn off CP01
    I know there are ways to manage and decrease false alarm rates and calls for service (By the way these are two different things) but ultimately most of these involve subscriber engagement and involvement. The key to getting subscribers involved in the process requires you to do so at the level and methods they require.
    I already mentioned that most calls to subscribers go to voice mail; for us its 70% of all calls go  to voice mail so you have to ask yourself are you, as a dealer, doing all that you can do to engage and involve your subscribers.  Do you  …..

      Does your central station have a team of people looking for frequent flyers and getting you the dealer this information so you can get ahead of the problems?
       Do you actually train the subscribers on how to manage users and false alarms or does the installer just give them the “nickel tour” and then move to the next install?
    This is just the short list of things that I have found that if deployed correctly will make a huge difference in unnecessary calls for service and I think spending money and time on changing the current fine and free structure will take away resources from these efforts.
    All the best ..
Morgan Hertel | VP of Technology and Innovation
Rapid Response Monitoring
mhertel@rrms.com
www.rrms.com
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Ken
    It seems to me that Gene is attacking the false alarm problem from the wrong end. I would think that the vast majority of false alarms are either operator error or lack of service when needed. Operator error falls clearly on the owner/operator. In many cases lack of service would as well unless the service is under contract and isn't being performed properly. Also, just because a system is serviced doesn't mean it's immune to problems. Fining the central station and then expecting them to pass that down to the dealer who then attempts to collect from the customer just seems completely devoid of any logic. Or maybe I'm missing something.
Larry Dove
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Ken,
    The accountability in our industry to solve false alarms in North America is very bad. Between the best and the worst monitoring stations for handling non-verified type accounts (exclude audio or video verification type accounts) the range is huge – I believe the best stations have 10x the number of true alarms compared to the worst monitoring stations for the same number of police dispatches. When the monitoring station only cares about how quickly an operator can handle a call – where is the quality in that?
    Fines don’t solve anything.
Want a cold shower - Check out what they do in the UK if you have been bad.
1.       No police response unless you have the site registered with the response center (URN#).
2.       All false alarms of a monitoring station/ alarm company is consolidated and compared to all others on a quarterly basis. A rate is calculated to determine; what is an acceptable false alarm rate.
3.       If a monitoring station or alarm company has a high false alarm rate then the city has the option of suspending the granting of any new URN# to that monitoring station (or alarm company) for 3 months until the false alarm rate is brought down.
    That might get the attention of someone who cares.
Robert Baxter, P.Eng.
President/CEO
Richmond, B.C. V6W 1J5 CANADA
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Ken
    Gene from Reliable got it it right, almost, at the end of his rant, "NOW, stepping back into reality".
I would like to hear from Gene's central station service provider. The question is simple, is Reliable the lowest activity dealer you have on average per account?
Bart A. Didden
USA Central Station Alarm Corp
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com