Here is yet more evidence that we are responsible for our own self defense and protection, and simply cannot rely on police services alone. First, I will say that I have ALREADY accepted responsibility for protecting myself and my family through the disciplined and responsible use of firearms and other measures. But since I can’t be everywhere at once, I use a defense in depth strategy to protect my home through other means and technologies while I am not able to be there.
I recently received a letter from ADT – my home security provider – stating that my city administration is doing a 6-month trial whereby the police will no longer automatically respond to a burglar alarm from any home or business burglar alarm system unless the alarm has been:
- Visually verified…
- Enhanced call verification has taken place…
- Witness reports corroborate the alarm… or
- Signals from multiple points are received.
The letter goes on to say that if none of the above requirements are met (1 – 4 above) then the police will simply
“…broadcast the alarm activation to its officers at the lowest priority, who may or may not respond depending on their availability and/or knowledge of crime patterns in your vicinity.”
My concern is that this police response policy will increase my risks of loss due to a home burglary, and thus increasing the risk that my insurance company will have to pay out higher claims on any home owners living in this city. This will in turn have the potential of increasing insurance rates, thus having an economic impact as well. The stipulations listed above means that there is a far less likelihood that a burglar alarm going off in my unattended home will be acted upon. This completely nullifies one of the largest reasons for even having the alarm system to begin with.
My much deeper concern, however, is that my city administration is opening its citizens up to increased risks to home burglaries by decreasing the deterrent value of these systems. Many of us purchased these home alarm systems to serve as a deterrent to crimes of burglary and break-in against our homes. The criminals, now knowing the new policy, will be more willing to break into a home, even when an alarm system sign is posted. They know that their risk of being caught and prosecuted while committing the crime has now been reduced because of flawed city policy. This causes greater risk for all of our city’s residents by making crime in here more attractive. By implementing such a policy they are putting my family at greater risk as well.
If this city policy is permanently implemented, the residents of this city will be open to increased crime in the long term due to a decreased level of expected response by the police to burglar alarms. This policy will, in effect, let the criminal element know that they will have more time to break into a house and take what they want, even if, and possibly especially if an alarm is sounding. More time to steal more household goods, (possibly including firearms?) means that citizens will stand to lose more, and that there is even a greater chance that they may stumble onto a burglary in progress. This will of course cause higher risk of personal injury. I already secure my firearms without having to be told to do so by law, but this is obviously giving criminals more time to break my steel gun safe to steal them.
I strongly urged them (in writing) to reverse this flawed policy. Since my home is presently ensured with a standard homeowner’s policy, and one of my stated policy discounts is due to the fact that I have an electronic alarm system to help reduce my risk to losses caused by fire and theft, I have also written to my insurance company to inform them of this policy, and to urge them to contact city council members with their concerns as well.
Yes – I am responsible for my family’s safety. But when I implement defense in depth measures to ensure maximum security, and a city administration reduces the effect of these measures, they are putting the safety of my family and the whole community at risk.