WOBURN, Mass.--June 20, 2006--OzVision, a leading developer of advanced video solutions for the security monitoring market, has declared its support for the Central Station Alarm Association's (CSAA) Video Verification Standard, which is expected to be approved at its Annual Meeting in November. Dozens of communities across the United States and Canada have adopted Verified Response policies, which require confirmation of an intrusion by a witness or alarm company before police will respond.
According to the CSAA, the goals of the standard include improving efficiencies and decreasing costs around the reporting of alarm events, and providing effective guidelines for the use of video to aid in effective alarm verifications. Most recently, communities like Modesto, Calif. and Madison, Wis. have considered adopting verified response policies. Modesto will begin instituting the policy in September.
"Current industry initiatives focused on decreasing false alarm rates rely on 'second calls' and increasing fines for home and business owners. While somewhat effective, the alarm industry needs to take a significant leap forward in terms of adopting new, technology-based solutions to help decrease the escalating costs being incurred by municipalities faced with managing false alarms," said Louis T. Fiore, president of L.T. Fiore, Inc., CSAA standards chairman and OzVision technical advisor. "The goal of the CSAA standard is not only to help reduce the number of false dispatches but also to enhance information about the source of the alarm event, without requiring an on-site witness."
Background and Scope of the Video Verification Standard
Verified response policies are being increasingly adopted by major metropolitan cities like Dallas, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Fremont, Calif. and dozens of others in the U.S. and Canada. This program requires human verification of a burglary or attempted break-in before police will respond. In other words, for owners of home or small business security systems, if the alarm is triggered at 2 a.m., without some sort of human or visual confirmation - the police aren't coming.
The verified response issue has strong opinions on either side of it. Most proponents are law enforcement officials, like Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton, who cite high false alarm rates (some estimates cite that 94-99 percent of all alarms are false) are costing their cities valuable time and money. According to Modesto police, their department averages 800 burglar alarm reports per month, 99 percent of them false, which consumes the equivalent of five full-time officers and costs approximately $500,000 a year. Bratton has been quoted as estimating that as much as 15 percent of officers' time was being wasted by false alarms.
However, many cities that have adopted verified response have seen burglary rates jump, at least initially. For example, in Dallas, business burglaries in March 2006 increased 17.9 percent compared to March 2005. Similar increases in crime were also reported in Fremont and Salt Lake City within the first year of adopting verified response programs.
Most home and business owners recognize the dangers of having to verify an intruder themselves. However, there are new technologies that security monitoring companies can integrate with existing systems that use the Internet to send video feeds directly to the monitoring company once an alarm is triggered. The monitoring station personnel can use video surveillance cameras installed at the home or business to view "in real time" whether there is an actual break-in, and alert police.