The security week that was: 2/6/09

Death and taxes

The NBFAA was very active this week alerting its members to the fact that the Virginia General Assembly was considering two bills that would place a tax on monitored security and fire alarm systems. The taxes were not insignificant. The Virginia Senate bill would tax alarm dealers $2.50 per month for each monitored account. The Virginia House version is a bit less onerous but still very significant, at $1 per month, paid by dealer on each monitored account.

Needless to say, the alarm industry is fully alarmed. The taxes are designed to fund the health benefits for police officers and firefighters and other state workers, and while the industry clearly believes in the support of its responder community, placing that tax solely on the shoulders of alarm system dealers seems a bit unfair.

If these taxes were approved, it also would mean a general increase in fees to our industry's customers, as this fee would surely be passed along to the customer from the dealer or monitoring company. The customers, in effect, would see an increase in their monthly fees without seeing any new, tangible benefit from their alarm company.

Beyond this, it makes a dealer or monitoring provider a taxing entity responsible for adding new systems and personnel to oversee the collection of such a tax, the tracking and auditing of those funds, and the payment of the tax to the state.

In close, I have to agree with the thinking of John Kochensparger, president of the Virginia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, who said the tax burden for funding of first responders shouldn't be unfairly burdened onto those persons who have already made steps to protect their homes and businesses.

"(This tax) creates additional fees on homeowners and businesses that are trying to protect themselves," said Kochensparger, "and they’re being singled out to fund something that should be funded by every Virginian, not just people who have taken measures to protect their homes or businesses."

Taxing is part of our nation's economic system; fair taxing also should be part of the system. Contact the NBFAA or the VBFAA if you do business or live in Virginia and want to learn more and assist their efforts in fighting this tax; the national association is especially concerned about the precedent potentially set if either of these bills becomes law.

PSA partners with 1nService
Organizations share member benefits, encourage IT and security integrator collaborations

The PSA Security Network, a cooperative of 200-plus security systems integration businesses, announced this week that it has formed an official partnership with a similar collaborative organization of data networking providers. The agreement between 1nServices and PSA will not only promote joint membership between the organizations, but it also allows 1nService members to purchase security products and systems through PSA members. But more than purchasing, the organization heads say the partnership encourages firms from within the two groups to work together on projects which converge corporate networking with electronic physical security systems.

Security groaner of the week
Smart shoplifter or dumb security?

After a shoplifter (allegedly) stole over $300 worth of goods from a Delaware mall, he needed a getaway. And what better choice for a getaway car than the mall security SUV that the guards use on patrols? We're not making this up, so read the story to find out how the incident ended.

In other news
Video synopsis technology, SEC Live, Pelco exits EAC

Despite an admitted slow-down in IP video projects caused by a softening economy globally, Axis Communications remained profitable to the tune of $30 million. ... BriefCam announced the launch of video synopsis technology that can allow skimming of hours of surveillance footage in seconds and which allows users to drill down into the video if they find an incident during that video review. ... The Security Executive Council has launched an online seminar series called Security Executive Council LIVE. ... Pelco has closed an Indianapolis facility and is exiting the electronic access control business, including its Intelli-M access control line.

Finally, here's a look at the most read stories of the week from SIW: