If You Live In A Location Requiring Verified Response, like Sandy Springs, GA, Read This!Posted By Julia Ross
The police department in Sandy Springs, GA is one of several that adhere to a policy of Verified Response when it comes to burglar alarms. They require proof that a crime has occurred before they will respond. Proof can come in one of several forms, which we will be discussing here.
Different police jurisdictions define verified response in different ways with different verification criteria. In some jurisdictions, a second burglar alarm activation on a different zone within the same address occurring within a certain period of time qualifies as verification. For others, there must be audio, video, or onsite verification before the police will respond. In Sandy Springs, GA, the latter type of verification is required. The full Alarm Dispatch Guidelines for Sandy Springs, GA can be found here.
This is not to say that the City of Sandy Springs or any other police department that otherwise requires verification won't respond to any type of alarm without proof of an issue at the site. For most jurisdictions, if there is a Panic, Duress, Hold-up, Medical, CO, Elevator or Fire alarm, the requirement for verification is waived and immediate dispatch can be requested. But, at least in the case of Sandy Springs, if authorities respond and there is no evidence of criminal activity or any other emergency, then false alarm fees will apply.
Furthermore, if a monitoring station employee requests public safety dispatch on an alarm based on audio or video proof that a crime is occurring or has occurred, then Sandy Springs requires that they submit proof of verification within 24 Hours of the dispatch request. Failure to do so will incur additional fines! Proof can either be described to the monitoring station employee by the end-user after checking their cameras or other means of verification, or it can come from the monitoring station employee themselves having reviewed audio or video evidence. The burden of proof has been placed squarely on the monitoring company.
If a customer has an alarm system that uses Audio Alarm Verification, sometimes referred to as 2-Way Voice, then the monitoring station can use this to verify if an unauthorized individual is onsite. In the case of Sandy Springs, silence does not count as proof of an issue, the monitoring station dispatcher must hear footsteps, talking, sounds of rummaging, or other proof of an issue at the site. If the customer has video surveillance, either the customer, or in some cases the monitoring station, can use the video system to verify if an alarm is an actual break-in. The customer may even have a friendly neighbor who is willing to receive a notification from the alarm monitoring company and will go and check things out for them and report back.
However, not every monitoring company will support 2-Way Voice. Currently at Alarm Grid, we don't support this option. And not every customer wants to blanket their property with security cameras. Some properties are too large, or too far away from neighbors to make relying on a neighbor a viable option. In these cases, the best option may be to employ a guard service.
In the past few years, Alarm Grid has partnered with a company called Vet Sec to provide an onsite guard response to monitored locations in jurisdictions such as Sandy Springs. Vet Sec employs guards, in most cases these guards are unarmed or they may be armed with non-lethal weapons (tasers). Once an alarm occurs, the monitoring station will contact Vet Sec, rather than the local police department. A single guard will respond and check the location for signs of a break-in or any other criminal activity, such as vandalism. If evidence of a crime is found, they will notify the monitoring station and wait up to 30 minutes for a key holder and the authorities to arrive. In exchange, they charge a fee for this site visit. The price may vary by location. In most cases, the police should respond within 30 minutes, but if it takes longer for them to arrive, and the customer or other key holder wants the guard to wait with them, then additional fees may apply.
There are several great things about this service. For one, just like with Alarm Grid monitoring, there is no contract so a customer can cancel at any time. Also, this is a "pay as you go" service, so a customer is only billed if a guard actually responds to their monitored location. The fees are billed to Alarm Grid and are then applied to the customer's monthly monitoring fee on the next automatic bill date. Alarm Grid does not markup this fee, we simply pass the fee along to the customer. What we pay, you pay.
Areas in the United States where Verified Response is Required:
|State||City||Guard Service Available?|
|North Las Vegas||Yes|
|Oregon||Eugene||Yes (Within City Limits Only)|
|Kent (Commercial Only)||No|
|Seattle (Recommended, not Required)||Yes|
|Utah||Salt Lake City||Yes|
Please keep in mind that this list is something that may evolve with little notice. It may be difficult to keep the list 100% accurate, but we will do our best. There have actually been a few places where the police department tried using verified response, and then changed their mind due to increases in property crime. San Jose, CA is one that comes to mind. It was reported in 2019 that they had decided to change their policy and move away from requiring verified response.
You may have noticed that the list above didn't feature any locations from our neighbor to the north. There are a couple of places in Canada that require a version of verified response. Winnipeg, Manitoba, and London and Toronto, Ontario have all adopted a more lax definition of this type of verification. In all three of these locations, the police department will accept two or more activations of two or more separate burglary zones as a form of verification. Currently, Alarm Grid does not offer a guard service in any of the Canadian provinces. If this changes, we'll be sure to update this blog post.
So, of course the burning question is, "How much does it cost?" For most locations the charge is $45 per site visit. There are a few locations where the price differs. In Sandy Springs, GA, the price is $68 per site visit. In Albuquerque, NM customers currently pay $57.07 per visit, and in Eugene, OR the price is $60 per site visit.
What do you think of the Verified Response Policy recently implemented in Sandy Springs, GA? Is it overdue, or overreach? Tell us what you think in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned to our blog for more exciting security industry news. If you need help figuring out what system you have in the house you just moved into, or you're looking to upgrade an existing system, or to install one for the first time, reach out to us via email at email@example.com. We're here Monday - Friday from 9 am to 8 pm Eastern. We look forward to hearing from you!