Motion sensors used to be based on ultrasonic technology. Sound waves were emitted from a sensor, and the resulting reflected sounds were analyzed to detect changes. But the best solution found and used today is based upon infrared technology (abbreviated “IR”).
MOST COMMON INSTALLATION ISSUES
- Equipment failure
- Lack of end-user training
- Weather related
- Improper arming/exit
- Improper disarming/entry
Problems with entering and exiting buildings continue to trigger the most false alarms; however, improper arming/exiting was reduced by 6 percentage points compared to a previous study. Meanwhile, perhaps due to more radical meteorological shifts, weather-related issues increased by 5 percentage points and overtook lack of end-user training as the third leading source of false alarms. The latter category took a 10-point tumble, hopefully indicative of companies bring more proactive in training their customers on system usage. At least some of the false alarms where related to insects and balloons.
Motion sensors have been used with alarm systems since the 1970s. Back then, motion sensors were based on ultrasonic technology. Sound waves were emitted from a sensor, and the resulting reflected sounds were analyzed to detect changes. When a change was detected, the motion sensor notified the alarm system’s control panel (or whatever it was connected to). These ultrasonic sensors were frequently blamed for triggering false alarms. A phone ringing, an alarm clock sounding, or the heating system coming on could cause a false alarm. A better solution was needed. Fines where becoming exorbitant and some jurisdictions where considering banning alarm systems altogether
The best solution found and used today is based upon infrared technology (abbreviated “IR”). Other technologies based on microwave and radar were tried, but they never gained the popularity of infrared technology. Infrared sensors began to appear on the market in the 1980s. When they first came out, they were somewhat expensive, but as production increased and more manufacturers used them for different applications, the price dropped quickly. The most popular consumer uses of IR sensors are for motion-sensing floodlights.
How Motion Sensors Work
IR sensors look for the presence of human heat moving across their field of view. The sensors are passive, which means that they are looking for the movement. Unlike radar and ultrasonic systems that emit a signal and look for a reflection, IR sensors just receive.
All IR sensors have some common ratings and specifications. The first is the detection pattern or the field of view. This defines how wide or narrow the IR sensor can detect.
The Problem Using IR Sensors Outdoors
If motion sensors are so much better now than the early ultrasonic models, why can’t they be used outdoors with an alarm system? Strangely, it still comes down to the issue of reliability. With motion-detecting floodlights, if the sensor false alarms, the only consequences are the lights’ coming on for a few minutes. If an IR sensor connected to an alarm system falses, the sirens are set off and in some cases; the police may be dispatched to investigate. The noise of the sounding alarm sirens will surely irritate your neighbors. You don’t want a mob burning down your home because the alarm system is going off constantly! A couple of years ago, there was a security salesman in my neighborhood who did a great job of selling these systems, however for at least three months all you heard were false alarms going off with a loud booming voice alerting everyone in the neighborhood, “WARNING, WARNING!” etc.,etc.
When IR motion sensors are used outdoors, they are more likely to cause false alarms. The most common cause of a false trip is rapidly changing weather conditions. For example, when a warm winds blows across motion sensing floodlights, it’s not uncommon for them to trip on. Not only do the floodlights come on, but so do the connected devices inside the house that are set to addresses controlled by those floodlights. This is acceptable since no noise is being produced. However many of these type of floodlights have been discontinued.
Purchasers of an alarm system always expect a police response if the alarm is activated, even though they bought the system from a private alarm company with no link to a police department. If the police departments could cover the alarms the security alarm industry adds roughly 1.5 million new security monitoring systems each year. The average security system costs more than $1,600 and the average monthly monitoring fee is $24 according to alarm industry statistics. The recent trend of wiring new residential construction with alarm capacity has the potential for significantly increasing the number of alarm calls in the coming decade. How much more can we be taxed to cover these overwhelming costs? Only 40% percent of all new systems are on commercial and institutional premises but only 1 out of every 7 U.S. businesses have security systems and alarms. It is unclear how many non-alarm calls to police are actually false but the typical costs of responding to burglar alarms include which of the following:
1. Personnel costs of police call-takers and dispatchers;
2. Personnel, equipment and training costs of responding officers, along with those of any backup personnel;
3. Personnel costs associated with analyzing false alarms;
4. Software, hardware, office space, and equipment costs for false alarm management;
5. Administrative and staff costs of notifications, permitting, billing, and education programs;
6. Costs of developing, printing and distributing publications to educate the public and alarm companies about false alarms;
7. Lost-opportunity costs, since police are unavailable to work on actual crime problems; and
8. Costs associated with call displacement, because other 911 calls take longer to respond to.
The false burglar alarm problem exhibits some similarities to each of the related problems listed below:
• False 911 calls
• 911 hang-ups.
• False fire alarms.
• False vehicle alarms.
• False robbery alarms.
• Noise complaints about audible alarms.
Even those police agencies with recently enacted false alarm policies and ordinances should revisit their approach; otherwise, they might find their workload further consumed with false alarm calls. One study suggests that 20 percent of alarm systems trigger 80 percent of false alarms. False alarms may also generate calls for service from neighbors concerning noise.
THE COSTS OF FALSE ALARMS
Between 94 and 98 percent of alarm calls are false. Nationwide, false alarms account for 10 to 25 percent of all calls to police. In the United States alone, solving the problem of false alarms would by itself relieve 35,000 officers from providing an essentially private service.
• In 1997, Fort Worth, Texas, police spent $1,500,000.00 responding to false burglar alarms.
• In Los Angeles in 1998, police received 3,000 alarm calls per week, with a yearly average false alarm rate of approximately 97%, representing the equivalent of 123 officers working 8 hours a day, 365 days a year.
• In Salt Lake City, of the thousands of alarm calls responded to during 1999, only 23 – or three-tenths of 1 percent (0.3%) – turned out to result from crimes.
Each false alarm requires approximately 20 minutes of police time, usually for two officers. This costs the public as much as $1.5 billion per year in police time spent conducting problem-solving of documented crime and disorder, reducing repeat calls at crime hot spots, and engaging the community in public safety concerns.
Alarm systems are not cost-free to the community because up to 98 percent of alarms are false but still require the time and resources of a police response provided at the taxpayers’ expense.
In Salt Lake City, after enactment of a limited-response ordinance in 2000, the first few months showed an 88% reduction in the number of alarm calls.
The Las Vegas Metro Police Department adopted a limited-response approach in 1992, changing departmental policy to require alarm company visual verification before dispatch. Las Vegas burglary rates declined by 8% for the 3 years following the change in policy. Las Vegas dispatches on burglary alarms dropped from over 100,000 per year (before 1992) to less than 10,000 a year (in 2000), a 90 % reduction, despite population growth from 678,190 in 1991 to over 1 million in 2000.
In the United States, in 1998, police responded to approximately 38 million alarm activations. Most of the 1998 alarm activations were burglar alarms. The estimated annual cost, in 1998, for the police to respond to approximately 38 million alarm activations was $1.5 billion.
Burglary remains one of the most frequent crimes, with a national clearance rate averaging below 15%.
Burglar alarms may account for as much as 90% of the alarm workload and the reliability of alarm systems in general is between 2% and 6% percent when measured by using the industries false alarm rates according to a review of police data from several cities.
Urban areas have higher residential burglary rates than suburban and rural areas. According to The Bureau of Justice Assistance annual crime-victim survey, which does not include commercial burglary, the residential burglary rate in 1999 for urban areas was 46.2 per 1,000 households, compared with 27.1 for suburban and 32.6 for rural households. Residential burglaries tend to concentrate in and around low-income areas, victimizing low-income households.
In 1999, households with annual incomes of $14,999 or less had two to three times the rate of burglary as those with incomes above $50,000, and burglary victimization rates were highest for households with incomes of less than $7,500.
ALARM MONITORING COMPANIES
About 15 million security alarm systems in the United States are monitored.
If alarms are highly reliable, the public benefits from police catching burglars, taking them out of circulation and reducing the risk of burglary for everyone in the community. However, if alarms are unreliable, then automatic police response becomes a personal service to the alarm owner, providing no benefits to the public at large.
Politicians fearful of alienating their local security industry often initially support police response to all alarms. However, the monitoring companies they are supporting may not be local at all. The alarm company mergers of the 1990s’ also mean that alarm systems originally installed and serviced by one company may now be serviced by another.
A company in Texas can monitor the alarms of tens of thousands of customers in Utah or other distant states but at what level of response? A few companies still respond as part of their contract with customers, but this is rare.
For the purposes of general discussion, it should be assumed that the alarm industry has the responsibility to improve the quality of its equipment, more accurately install devices and increase user knowledge of its product; all of which reduce false alarm calls.
The TeleSpyTM is a clever and reliable combination of a telephone, a motion sensor, and a microphone.
The TeleSpy is an ordinary telephone that doubles as a monitoring system. Simply enter any phone number you want the unit to call and turn the motion sensor switch to on.
Should motion be detected the phone will dial the number entered and upon answering you will be able to listen in via the amplified microphone on the unit.
The TeleSpy allows you to decide from a safe location if it is a friend or foe before you call the police. A verified alarm is considered a priority call just short of an officer down scenario.
The listening period is about 30 seconds, then the TeleSpy disconnects and instantly re-arms to detect again and again.
TeleSpy operates from any phone line, requires no installation, and is completely portable. No monitoring fees, No false alarms. The TeleSpy’s telephone is the same popular “Slimline” telephone found in millions of home. Operation is no different than the regularly produced version and the user would notice no difference. The TeleSpy plugs into any standard telephone jack for normal phone operation. How does the Self Test function help me? The test switch on the TeleSpy powers the green LED light near it. It tells the operator instantly when the motion sensor detects something (light comes on). The light stays during a timed period (the listening period) then the phone would disconnect (light off), now, light is off and TeleSpy is instantly re-armed for the next detection. Knowing how to use this function allows the operator to discover the exact perameter and sensitivity of the motion sensor within their personal environment. Can the TeleSpyTM be used in smaller homes and apartments and homes with existing security systems? The TeleSpyTM is an ideal solution for the smaller homes and apartments. What if I hear a burglar? First, be grateful you’re not there but are listening from a remote location. Never attempt to apprehend criminals. The unit costs $
75.95. 65.00 during January 2012 only .GOTO www.protechdefense.com to order today!