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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.

Business Security Tips to Prevent Robbery at Your Place of Work

Robbery, as other crimes against business, is most often a crime of opportunity. But, according to the Boston Police Department, there are extra precautions you can take to keep the bad guys at bay.

To prevent a robbery:

  • Don’t put any signs or posters on your front doors and windows to ensure you have good two-way visibility. That way your employees can see any people who are acting suspiciously outside and passers-by can see what’s going on inside;
  • Be sure the outside of your business is well lit at night;
  • Use video surveillance and post a sign letting people know you use it. Use cameras and/or mirrors so you can observe your entire store;
  • Greet everyone who enters your business. Pay close attention to people pretending to be customers. These individuals will be loitering or glancing around your store while they pretend to shop or browse through magazines;
  • If you see something suspicious report it to the police. Your local police department may have knowledge of other robberies that are similar to what you’re reporting;
  • Be sure to lock your side and back doors. If it’s possible, ask your employees to use the main entrance;
  • Place markers at the entrance that employees can use to help determine the height of a robber as he leaves;
  • Make bank deposits as often as possible, but at least once a day.


The Boston Police Department also has some tips to keep you safe during a robbery:

  • Try to stay calm;
  • Don’t make any sudden movements to upset the robber;
  • Do as exactly what the robber tells you to do. Don’t resist;
  • Try to get a good look at the robber so that you can describe him to police later;
  • Notice the direction the robber traveled when he left your store;
  • If you can do it without putting yourself in danger, try and get a description of the robber’s vehicle.


After the robbery:

  • Call the police immediately after the robbery, even if you’ve already activated your alarm;
  • Go outside when the police arrive so they’ll know the robber has left and you’re safe;
  • Don’t touch anything that the robber may have touched so police can identify his fingerprints;
  • Ask any witnesses to stay or get their names and telephone numbers so police can contact them;
  • Don’t tell anyone except the police how much money was taken.

Remember, no business is too small for a business security system. Today, a good business security system should include a business video surveillance system, which can send out digital alerts to automatically notify the authorities as soon as suspicious behavior is detected in or around your business. And that means police officers and private security guards are often able to catch those bad guys before they do any damage.

In the words of Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

No Company Too Small For A Business Security System

Small Company Business Security SystemsThink business security systems are only for the “Big Boys”? Think again! No matter what kind or size of business you’re operating, you have assets and people you need to protect. Small businesses are just as vulnerable as their larger cousins, maybe even more so, according to business crime analysts, since often thieves may perceive a smaller business as an easier target.

Just how much does crime against business cost? According to the most recent Crime in the United States report, theft of office equipment alone amounted to over $650 million annually! Burglaries on average cost businesses $2000 per incident, and shoplifting, which has recently been reaching epidemic proportions, costs a business an average of $205 per incident. Read more