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Residential Security Systems Protect During Summer Peaks in Burglary Rates

June 27, 2013
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows an increase in crime rates during the summer months by as much as 16 percent. Summer is when families are involved in outdoor activities and when most vacations are taken. Homes are empty, doors are routinely left unlocked while people are outside enjoying the sun, and criminals are also taking advantage of the good weather.

Multiple things work together toward the measurable increase in crime during the summer months. Common sense indicates that winter keeps most people indoors. Except for participation in winter sports such as skiing or sled riding, most people want to get out of the cold. Summer brings warm days and nights where there is a huge increase in the amount of people spending time outdoors at all hours of the day or night. A person walking through a neighborhood on a frigid winter night would be scrutinized much more carefully than someone out for a stroll on a hot summer night.

Criminals are opportunistic, and they want to operate without being noticed. Summer is the perfect time for them to blend in with all of the other activities going on outside while planning to commit criminal acts; home burglaries are no exception. Also, summer brings out valuables that have been stored over the winter. Many residential homes have outdoor living spaces that are filled with goodies that are attractive to thieves: expensive barbecue grills, lawn furniture, power equipment such as lawn mowers, bicycles and even lawn ornaments are favorite outdoor targets for homes not protected by residential security systems installed by professional alarm companies.

Summer months are when school students are out on summer vacation. There is a statistical increase in crimes committed by juveniles during the summer months when school is not in session. Most of the crimes are shoplifting and property crimes such as vandalism. Kids with no prior criminal records often do not see any real harm in graffiti or destroying private property.

Residential security systems deter both burglaries and property crimes. Modern digital alarm systems can now integrate video surveillance cameras that extend the protection of a home alarm system to the outdoor living spaces. Thieves, by their nature, do not want to be caught on camera committing a crime. This is why video surveillance of both interiors and exteriors of homes is effective as a crime deterrent.

Many homeowners like to let fresh air in on cooler summer evenings through a partially opened window. To a criminal, this is an open invitation. Residential security systems incorporate multiple sensor technologies, such as motion detectors, that sound an alarm if entry is attempted even when a window sensor is bypassed to let in cool air. Dual magnetic switch placement on window sensors also permit windows to be partially opened but still sound the alarm if opened further to attempt entry.

Professional alarm companies can tailor the installation of home security alarms to meet the needs of any family. This protects a family and its home not only during the summer months when crime rates increase but during the rest of the year too. Modern wireless systems provide an early warning of intrusion attempts as well as early detection warnings of smoke or carbon monoxide. Security cameras can be installed that can be viewed by Internet-connected computers or through apps that can be downloaded to the homeowners cell phone or tablet computer. Summer can, and should, be a safe time of fun without worrying about home intrusion, burglary, vandalism and theft.​

False Alarms from Residential Security Systems a Growing Concern in LA

June 14, 2013
The monitoring service is an important aspect of all residential security systems. Alarm response must be precise. If an actual event occurs, a call must be placed promptly to the appropriate emergency services. If an alarm is false, it must not be passed through to local authorities because that diminishes their ability to respond to actual events in a timely manner.

False Alarms a Growing Issue in LA
Los Angeles is a prime example of a police force that is hindered greatly by the growing rise of false alarms. The LAPD estimates that more than 11 percent of its patrol force is wasted on false alarms, including those made by alarm companies. Recent predictions estimate that the number will grow sharply in the next five years if the root problem is not curbed.

City Levies Fines to Curb Problem
Los Angeles has alarm ordinances in place. In fact, one must register a monitored alarm system and obtain a permit before activating the system. Failure to do so can result in a $1,000 fine. Since that ordinance alone did not curb the problem, LA added a new ordinance that requires citizens to pay $159 for a false alarm.

The ordinance also requires additional fees from repeat offenders. In fact, the fine increases $50 with each occurrence, and there is no upper limit to the fine amount. For residential security systems without a valid permit, the base fine is $259, and it escalates in $100 increments.

Responsibility Falls on the Homeowner
It’s important to note that the responsibility for a false alarm falls on the person who subscribes to the monitoring service. The alarm companies and monitoring stations are not held directly accountable, but most have a guarantee in place that covers the cost of the fine if the reporting of the false alarm was a mistake made by its employee.

Appealing a False Alarm Fee
Citizens do have the option to appeal the false alarm fee and can do so in writing to the Board of Police Commissioners. The board will waive the fee if the fined party can demonstrate that there was criminal activity or that the false alarm was caused, directly or indirectly, by an act of nature, such as fire, power failure, earthquake, strong winds and so forth.

Alarm School
If an appeal is denied or not an option, offenders can attend alarm school instead of paying the fine. The alarm school is an in-person class that citizens are allowed to take once every 365 days. In other words, it’s possible to avoid a false alarm fine once every year.

Owners of residential security systems may also avoid the fine by attending the online alarm school. For the online class, citizens must register within 75 days of the invoice date. Beyond that point, online alarm school will not be available but the standard alarm school may still be.

A second alternative is home-based alarm school. This is similar to the online school except that the packet is printed and mailed to you and then mailed back when completed. You can opt in for the home study can occur Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except on holidays.​ ​