posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 8:23 PM by klehan

Alarm Permitting and Fine Administration Services Free Responders from Paperwork

Third-party administration of permitting, fee and penalty programs for burglar alarms can increase revenue and reduce municipal man hours needed to oversee Enhanced Call Verification programs, its adherents maintain. 

St. Louis reported that false alarms have been reduced 28 percent from June 2005 to June 2006 while third-party administration of the alarm permitting and penalty process was handled by APB Services LLP, Chesterfield, MO. 

Charlene Deeken, executive assistant to the director of public safety for the City of St. Louis said, “If other cities are trying to manage a false alarm program, and I understand everybody is, then they might consider some legislation like this.” 

False alarm reductions from 30 percent to 40 percent, according to ATB’s president, Michael Zelesnik, have been realized across the country. Zelesnik maintains municipalities that allow three free false alarms have lower reduction rates because 70 percent of customers who have false alarms have no more than three. 

Zelesnik and Dan Stocking, ATB’s government relations manager, think that cities do better by enforcing – and outsourcing – their alarm permit fee and fine programs than going to verified response or non-response. 

“We’re not aware of any city that uses alarm administration that has gone to verified responses or non-response, because their problem is being handled,” Stocking maintained. “Only in the last five or six years has third-party [administration] been developing in that area. The vast majority (of people) is not even aware that (such a) solution is out there for them. Once they hear from you, they generally will go with third party, because they virtually have to do very little work.” 

But Chris Russell, president of the North Texas Alarm Association, does not see the connection between using improved alarm administration to offset a move toward verified response. “Third party administration has to do with collection of fees and fines,” Russell noted. 

Reported Henry Edmonds, APB’s chairman and CEO, “Cities that have gone to verified response have let the police lead the charge. If they understand there is an alternative that does work, the citizens want the police to respond, and the citizens elect the politicians,” he said. “It’s important to talk to people when the issue is being discussed rather than after a decision is made. There are a lot of benefits to the [enforcement] approach, and if they understand those benefits, they may change what they’re pushing for.”