AIREF Report Underscores Efficacy Of Burglar Alarm Systems

burglar alarm systemsWhat goes on inside the mind of a burglar? For many of us, the thought process of someone willing to break into our homes are a dark place that we would prefer to avoid dwelling on — but for those in the security and law enforcement sectors, understanding a burglar’s motivations are a key component of protecting individuals and businesses from being victimized. A recent report from the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation (AIREF) sheds some light on why criminals chose specific locations to rob, what keeps them away from others, and the techniques that they employ while breaking the law.

One of the key findings of the study is one that shouldn’t surprise any home or business owner who has invested in a high quality alarm system: a full 83 percent of the roughly 400 incarcerated burglars made sure to check for the presence of a security system before they broke into a building. In fact, more than half elected to move on to a ‘softer’ target once they realized that they were dealing with an alarm, underscoring the deterrent power of this form of precaution. Even among those who discovered a location was protected by an alarm in the midst of their break-in, its presence was enough to cause 50 percent to immediately cease and desist their crime.

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Untested Alarm System Costs Siskiyou County $3 Million

Is your burglar alarm system programmed with a communication timer test?

Just ask officials at the Siskiyou County Courthouse in California, who were shocked to discover that the failure of the security system protecting $3 million in gold resulted in a clean getaway for the thieves who simply smashed a hole in the glass case protecting the historical artifacts and grabbed everything they could.

The gold nuggets had been a theft target once before in 1979, when the silent alarm functioned as intended and the would-be marauders were apprehended roughly a block away from the courthouse with the illicit wares in their possession. This time, however, the vibration alarm that was meant to protect the irreplaceable gold nuggets – some of which date back to the town’s founding – did not respond at all. A town spokesperson stated that the system had been properly armed, and that the county was working with its security provider to get to the bottom of the glitch.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the sad story surrounding the Siskiyou gold is a footnote at the bottom of the article that mentions an annual security alarm test schedule. According to the Courthouse, the last test occurred in August of 2011, nearly seven months before the February theft.

There is an important lesson that business and property owners can learn from the tragic tale of the Siskiyou theft, and that is that it’s not enough to rely on a single alarm system test every 12 months. So much can happen within a year’s time, especially in a heavily-trafficked space such as a courthouse or a retail space, that it really becomes necessary to perform an alarm system test at least once per quarter, if not once per month.

American Alarm programs a timer test with its business security systems that can send communications weekly or daily, depending on the type of signals being monitored. If our central station operators do not receive a signal, we contact the owner immediately to determine the cause of the missed communication, and find a solution to the issue.

It costs nothing to make sure that your alarm system is functioning up to spec – what’s  the price tag of not knowing? In the case of Siskiyou County, the figure would seem to be $3 million.