In my past life as a cop, I’ve been on literally thousands of alarm drops. They’re usually called drops which simply means alarm activations. How it worked was that either an alarm company called the police with a residential or business alarm activation or sometimes police dispatchers notified us directly for drops that were wired right into police stations.
I cannot remember what percentage of drops were real or false but the vast majority appeared to be false. At least false meaning the activation was unknown. No bad-guy was spotted or no trace of a break-in was noticed. False drops can occur for many reasons from high wind to homeowner’s irresponsibility but the fact is that alarms catch some criminals trying to do their dastardly deed. They have saved lives and have saved oodles of money for businesses and homeowners.
An ironic thing though is that the vast majority of police that I knew were against them. They said that response time was too long. They said because the alarm company had to first receive the drop, then they notified the police and then the police had to get to the scene—all too long to be able to catch the criminal which turned many to dislike them. Most said the bad-guys would run like the wind when they knew the alarm was tripped.
All true issues but here’s where I differ—big-time. I think that the bad-guy hurrying or stopping dead in his tracks and running away is a GREAT thing! Catching criminals is fantastic but so is deterring them and scaring them away. And that’s what alarms are great for.
If you can afford them, get one. Actually they are quite affordable to have installed. How companies make money is the monthly monitoring fee—the fee you pay them to watch your alarm system in case it trips. That’s not expensive either but it is continuous money from you to them and companies like continuous cash flow. However, it’s usually no more than thirty dollars a month.
There’s a boatload of companies vying for your business. Make sure you get a reputable company or perhaps a larger company that has been around for ages. Or you can call your local police and ask them who they have had good experiences with.
I am adamant about one specific feature with alarms. If you get one, make sure you have an outside alarm bell installed as well as the usual inside alarm noise-maker that most alarms come with. It might cost you more but get a loud obnoxious alarm facing toward your neighbors so in case someone does break in, not only will the criminal know the alarm’s been tripped but so will all your neighbors. Criminals are like cockroaches, they don’t like light or anything that sheds attention on them.
In high crime areas where police response is bad or perhaps downright terrible, alarms lose their effectiveness. And any alarm can be defeated but the fact is that the vast majority of criminals do not know how to defeat them for the average violent or theft related crime. If you are guarding The Hope Diamond or millions in art, you may have a worry on your hands. However, they are good for the average man or woman. If you have the money, I recommend them for your personal protection needs.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer being the recipient of the 'J. Edgar Hoover Foundation' award for Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. Steve was SWAT trained by the FBI, FBI Hostage Rescue Team, and the LAPD.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
Latest posts by Steve Kovacs (see all)
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