Combining Alarm Systems with Video Surveillance for Effective Intrusion Detection

By: Randy Bragg, Brownstone Security

Alarm systems and video surveillance both have many benefits when used alone, but when combined they act as a more powerful deterrent and detection method of intrusions by unwanted persons and/or other criminal acts.

Traditional alarm systems have evolved over the years from burglar alarms that sounded a bell to attract attention, to alarms that are monitored by 24 hour central alarm stations that can provide assistance when alarms are activated. However, even with central alarm stations there still persist major problems with false alarms. Normal procedures require the central alarm station to call a predetermined phone number to "verify" the alarm. This works well if the client is actually home and OK, as they can answer the phone, and verify it is a false alarm.

However, if the premises are being broken in to, it is highly unlikely the intruder will answer the phone to get caught. If the central alarm station does not get an answer the alarm is still considered unverified (except in very limited cases such as silent alarms in banks). Unverified alarms are a very low priority for law enforcement agencies to the point that in some cases law enforcement does not respond at all to unverified alarms.

So what is the answer? By adding a video surveillance system that is integrated with the alarm system you can ensure that the alarm can be verified. When the alarm system is activated a camera is also activated allowing the dispatcher to verify if there is an actual intrusion on the premises. The dispatcher can then alert the police to the verified criminal act in progress, and track the incident until the police or other authorities arrive.

Combining video surveillance with your alarm system can help to create a safe and secure environment not only against unwanted intrusions, but also to deter other types of liabilities and losses such as inventory shrinkage and personnel liability claims. Considering Walmart lost over $3 billion and Target over $1 billion to these types of liabilities in a 12 month period of time, it may be the time to look into adding or upgrading your current video surveillance system as a way to protect your business.

Copyright 2009 by Randy Bragg, August 26, 2009

Article reprinted with permission of Randy Bragg/Brownstone Companies.
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