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Private Guard Response to Alarm Activations

NCJ Number
S Hakim; M A Gaffney
Date Published
23 pages
This report discusses the characteristics, benefits, and barriers related to the use of private security guard forces to response to the activation of alarm systems.
Alarm companies are being forced to generate creative solutions to deal with the problem of false alarms, because four-fifths of all localities in the United States have false alarm ordinances in place and many States are beginning to develop licensing requirements. Police agencies are losing the ability to respond effectively to alarms, because each of the 17 million systems activates falsely 1.4 times a year, and 94-98 percent of all police responses to alarms are to false alarms. Private response ensures rapid response, makes alarm calls more credible to the police, can increase the apprehension rate, and is funded by the users. Alarm ownership is a substitute for police patrol services. However, the barrier that most concerns security companies is that of liability. Security guards generally have little education and security training and are poorly paid. Private response has proven effective in some parts of California and New York. To avoid liability problems, some choose to send unarmed response teams. Those considering private responses to alarms should focus on small geographic regions, use unarmed teams, and provide sufficient training.


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