HomeCity Government NewsImportance of Alarm Systems Highlighted in Public Safety Meeting

Importance of Alarm Systems Highlighted in Public Safety Meeting

The San Marino Police Department hosted its first community public safety meeting focusing on alarm systems. This is part of a series of town hall meetings that will concentrate on different topics.

“Folks are not locking their cars, their homes…and not using their alarm systems,” said Police Chief John Incontro.

Year-to-date, there have been three robberies, 16 residential burglaries and 26 larceny thefts, said Sgt. Aaron Blonde. Response times to in-progress types of crimes is one minute and 57 seconds.

Sharon Elder, alarm system expert and vice president of sales with the National Monitoring Center, spoke on different types of alarm systems and other ways to stay safe. Alarm systems can help with a person’s lifestyle in addition to keeping a person secure. For example, if a child is walking home from school every day, a person can check the alarm to see if that child made it home.

“In order for it to be an effective tool, get active with it again,” Elder said.

Types include hardwire, wireless, do-it-yourself, professional and video. Video cameras help to capture whomever was inside a person’s home by quickly getting a face and full description to the police, she said.

“You have to decide what constitutes your piece of mind,” she said.

Do-it-yourself systems are not the best systems, according to Elder. They are a deterrent to burglars, but do not generally cover the full perimeter.

Professionals have the expertise to advise a person on how to fully protect one’s home as well as to look out for other environmental factors that may draw a criminal to that house. Factors include large bushes that allow for a person to hide close to the home and bad outdoor lighting.

Good lighting and minimal landscape directly by the house can actually be deterrents, she said.

Professionals have to be licensed, and that license must be written on all paperwork, Elder added. A person can validate a professional’s license at bsis.ca.gov.

Service should really be 24/7. Elder suggested that if anyone is thinking of purchasing a system, they should call that number right away to see what kind of response they get. If someone answers, it’s a good sign.

There should also be multiple paths of communication for an alarm system. If it is through a telephone line, it should also be through an IP address or a cellular line. That way, if one gets cut or loses connection, there is a backup, she said.

“What is accessible from the outside should be secured,” Elder said, noting that the inside should be secured as well. Perimeter protection includes doors and windows. The interior protection includes using infrared technology, which detects a temperature change, and a pet immune feature allows pets to move around without being detected.

If the alarm system does go off, a person may receive a call from the police stating, “zone 1 alarm has gone off.” The person who gets that call needs to know where each zone is so they can know where the trouble is and can tell police where the alarm was tripped.

Zoning also allows for a delay zone, which provides a person enough time to turn the alarm on or off and leave or enter the home without tripping the alarm themselves. Ideally, the delay is for about a minute and 45 seconds.

Whatever type of alarm a person has, it will need servicing, Elder said. The most frequent need for service is battery replacement. Alarm systems will also need maintenance.

Additionally, emergency contact information absolutely needs to be kept up-to-date. Many people who are listed as emergency contacts do not know they are emergency contacts. Elder said these people need to be informed of that responsibility, especially in order to make sure they are aware if the homeowner goes out of town and will need to respond should the alarm go off.

Incontro said “say something, see something” works really well. During the public safety meeting Tuesday evening, the police caught someone who was responsible for multiple thefts in the area. They caught this person because a San Marino resident saw something suspicious and reported it.

Detective Brian Wong added that residents should be aware of all the different scams going around the city at the moment. ID theft is common, and occurs through stolen mail. People have fallen victim to phone scams too, where someone calls claiming to be a relative in trouble overseas. San Marino also has a no soliciting policy in the city. People who are soliciting are really just casing out a home. If someone comes to the door trying to sell something, let them know you’re home by talking to them through the door.

“Make yourself known,” Wong said, stating the “solicitors” will move on.

Residents should also be aware of IRS scams and a warrant scams. These agencies will not be calling to collect money, he said.

“Don’t fall prey to a lot of these scams. Be skeptical,” he said.

The primary takeaway is to make sure your house is locked, and to be aware of your surroundings, Wong said.


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