Burglar Alarm Systems Explained in 3 Steps: Detection, Verification, and Notification

If you’re worried about criminals breaking into your business or home, then a modern intrusion system — aka burglar alarms — is the logical next step in your security strategy. But how do these systems work? Are they just obnoxious flashing lights and sirens you see in the movies, or is there more going on?

Today, we’ll walk you through the 3 steps every burglar alarm system goes through to secure your property from intruders.

Burglar Alarm Stage 1: Detection Through Alarm Sensors

To quote from an earlier article:

Alarm systems have a variety of sensors and circuits installed within their hardware to monitor the conditions of its installed environment. Usually, the environment doesn’t change when the alarm system is “armed” — or active — and so it doesn’t alarm. It’s only when a sensor detects some sort of shift in the area that it begins the alarm process.
When it detects an intrusion, the sensor notifies a central control panel.
That said, there are many different sensors on the market that can detect distinct types of environmental change. The type of sensor used depends on the area in which each portion of the intrusion system is installed.

For more on how each type of sensor is customized, check out our previous article here.

Burglar Alarm Stage 2: Verify Alarms at Central Alarm Panel

A burglar alarm system may have several keypads strategically located throughout the protected buildings. These keypads allow authorized users to arm and disarm the alarm system, as well as report on the overall system status.

However, there will always be that central control panel — the on-site “brains” of the installed security system — that evaluates incoming alarms. It processes the event to determine whether incoming alarms are “false” alarms that the system should ignore, or “verified” alarms that indicate the presence of an intruder.

False Alarms

For a complete breakdown on how false alarms impact your business’s security, check out this blog post.

Here’s the quick summary: False alarms occur when the alarm system is unable to verify that a sensor’s detected disturbance is a true crime-in-progress, or if the alarm was triggered for another reason. User error, house pets, and bad installations all contribute to increased false alarms, which may cost alarm system owners hundreds in penalty fees.

Therefore, any alarm system must verify that a sensor’s alarm is truly triggering on a crime, and not just a keyholder who forgot to cancel an alarm. Excellent alarm systems will follow a customized, multi-step process to have a human — either a keyholder or the security monitoring center — verify that the sensors’ alarms are triggering on crime, not owners.

Burglar Alarm Stage 3: Notify the Authorities and Keyholders of Crime in Progress

Once the burglar alarm system verifies that an alarm indicates a crime-in-progress — or multiple attempts to further verify the alarm are unsuccessful — the monitoring center then calls local authorities. Depending on the jurisdiction, the authorities will request verification before sending patrol units to the scene, which the monitoring center should be able to supply on request.

Meanwhile, remember those shrieking alarms we mentioned at the start? That’s the on-site alarm system initiating audio and visual alerts that anyone in the area can hear and see.

These alarms serve a dual purpose.

  1. They tell the criminal that there’s a professional alarm system installed, which helps deter the criminal from continued theft. (A recent Eyewitness Surveillance survey found that homes with installed security systems experience 40% less theft than those without.)
  2. The loud noises and bright lights alert anyone in the immediate vicinity that a crime is in progress, bringing help and additional eyewitnesses to the scene.

From there, an open alarm ends when the authorities and system keyholders arrive on the scene to address the break-in with minimal loss and property damage. The alarm system’s logs also provide additional evidence to the authorities, should charges be pressed against the would-be burglar.

Would an intrusion system help secure your business from break-ins? Contact us for a free consultation. We’d love to explain how Eyewitness Surveillance’s intrusion technology seamlessly syncs with our live video surveillance service and decades of professional security experience to guarantee verified burglar alarms that bring the police running to intercept theft at your location.


Originally published at Eyewitness Surveillance.

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