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  • Responding to alarms (burglary)

    Does anybody here work for an alarm response company? What is a normal day like, and what kind of calls do you respond to?
    Police Officer

    Experience: Bouncer, EMT, Theme Park Security, Money Transport, Armed Guard

  • #2
    Securitas Patrol

    When I worked for Securitas USA I did midnight patrol and responded to about 2-10 alarms a night. Most tended to be false. Wind blowing on gate motion sensors, client employees accidentally tripping alarms, dumb teenagers driving by with their radio cranked up setting off sound sensors and so forth. But every once and a while it was real. My first true burglary response was when the son of a retired pastor tried stealling money out of a church's safe. That was a pretty simple case, the offender cooperated fully once he knew that we were on to him. Of course, with my luck not all the alarms after my first were so easy. After dealing with heavily armed, dedicated ALASKAN bulk diesel fuel thieves, crack heads smashing in storefronts and cronic inebriate transients trying to find a warm place to stay I realized that $12 an hour wasnt gonna cut it.

    Not to mention that I was UNARMED. That is still something that blew me away about Securitas. I was a lead officer, armed qualified firearms instructor and law enforcement academy grad. But no gun on patrol.
    Clearing buildings after burglary alarms. No gun, baton, oc, or even handcuffs. Only allowed to carry on posts that were specifically contracted to be armed. Did I forget to say no gun?

    Well, I jumped that ship real quick and replaced the adrenaline of alarm responses with catching shoplifters. LP rocks
    We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
    -George Orwell

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    • #3
      Alarm response is one of the key services offered by my company. Some nights we have none, some we have tons... Totally depends on weather conditions, whether the employees of those businesses remembered to turn stuff off, etc. On average, I would say maybe 1 or 2 a month turn out to be real burgs, (and much to our clients' happiness we've gotten a LOT of arrests since we respond so quickly), the rest are all false. I posted a news article a couple weeks ago about a big arrest we made on an alarm at a school.

      We respond on other types of calls as well, but the alarms take priority. With the exception of one officer, (due to his age), our entire patrol/alarm response staff is armed. He is issued a taser so that he at least has something other than OC to work with, until he hits his 21st. He also doesn't respond to alarms by himself, for obvious reasons. For the rest of us, the rule of thumb is that we respond by ourselves initially, (we're in a small town, and only have 3-4 cars on at a time. If all of us went at once there'd be nobody else out still "patrolling" in the meantime), and then call for backup if we find any signs of a real burg.

      The company I previously worked for down in Portland mandated that ONLY armed officers could respond to alarms, and even at that they were a mandated 2-car response. Difference is, that company routinely had 15-20 cars out on a shift.
      Corbier's Commandos - "Stickin it to the ninjas!"
      Originally posted by ValleyOne
      BANG, next thing you know Bob's your Uncle and this Sgt is seemingly out on his a$$.
      Shoulda called in sick.
      Be safe!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Justice_Hound View Post
        When I worked for Securitas USA I did midnight patrol and responded to about 2-10 alarms a night. Most tended to be false. Wind blowing on gate motion sensors, client employees accidentally tripping alarms, dumb teenagers driving by with their radio cranked up setting off sound sensors and so forth. But every once and a while it was real. My first true burglary response was when the son of a retired pastor tried stealling money out of a church's safe. That was a pretty simple case, the offender cooperated fully once he knew that we were on to him. Of course, with my luck not all the alarms after my first were so easy. After dealing with heavily armed, dedicated ALASKAN bulk diesel fuel thieves, crack heads smashing in storefronts and cronic inebriate transients trying to find a warm place to stay I realized that $12 an hour wasnt gonna cut it.

        Not to mention that I was UNARMED. That is still something that blew me away about Securitas. I was a lead officer, armed qualified firearms instructor and law enforcement academy grad. But no gun on patrol.
        Clearing buildings after burglary alarms. No gun, baton, oc, or even handcuffs. Only allowed to carry on posts that were specifically contracted to be armed. Did I forget to say no gun?

        Well, I jumped that ship real quick and replaced the adrenaline of alarm responses with catching shoplifters. LP rocks
        I'm honestly surprised your entire orders weren't "show up, see if the door was open, call 911."

        To actually expect you to go inside or anything like that... Would of meant that when you were injured, a failure to train lawsuit and failure to provide standard of employee care lawsuit would of been easily won by your next of kin.
        Some Kind of Commando Leader

        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

        Comment


        • #5
          N.A. - agreed. Most of our patrollers are there to report anything and to advise base or the client. I have attended umpteen alarms over the years and even when I responded to a local site alarm near where I lived I had to stop the guard from going into a potential death trap unarmed. As the client I told him to wait for the police but his SOP's were to go inside and look. I asked if he had reported his findings (duh big bloody hole in wall) and he informed me he had not as yet. Inside 3 drunken kids had smashed a window, driven a forklift through a door (hence the hole) and fell over drunk (CCTV is a wonderful thing). 1 woke up and came to the hole in the wall with a 10 inch length of steel pipe waving it around like a Ninja (Mr ASP was in my hand ready). Police arrived 20 seconds later and arrested all 3 of them with a $11k damage bill to fix the wall, door and windows.
          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
            I'm honestly surprised your entire orders weren't "show up, see if the door was open, call 911."

            To actually expect you to go inside or anything like that... Would of meant that when you were injured, a failure to train lawsuit and failure to provide standard of employee care lawsuit would of been easily won by your next of kin.

            Yeah, being a 9th degree black belt in Securitas RUN FU doesn't really work if some crackhead or gansta is gonna shoot you.

            The sad part is some of the younger green Securitas Officers would attempt to sell their soul to the keeper of the underworld in order to
            become PATROL and ALARM Officers. My view is that if they want to do that with absolutely no training, defense weapons, or backup
            they just might be cashing in that debt.

            If I had a dollar for every night some local pd officer or state mountie told me I was stupid for not havin a gun.....

            Trip to Tahiti
            Last edited by Justice_Hound; 11-16-2007, 12:56 AM.
            We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
            -George Orwell

            Comment


            • #7
              All of our substations, generating plants, service centers, as well as two corporate campuses and a corporate office building in the city are armed with alarms and we respond to all of them.

              Like Justice_Hound said, most of the time it is environmental. 8 of 10 times you show up to an apparently empty facility, thoroughly inspect the property, find the cause of the alarm to be environmental. Sometimes though, you show up and find people either fleeing the scene or inside the property. It definitely makes the shift go faster.

              It is always interesting when people are on the property and one of the things that never fails to amaze me is how often people actually get stuck in the physical barriers. Stuck in the hole in the fence they cut, stuck because they forgot where they cut the hole, stuck under a fence, stuck in the barbed wire, stuck in a structure after the door closed and locked behind them, stuck in the middle of high voltage equipment they are afraid to climb back out of, froze on the cat walk of a bridge and afraid to climb down/off. Its amazing the places people get their way into but cannot get back out.
              formerly C&A

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              • #8
                One of my many duties is alarm response & clearing alarm zones/areas, before I had my ASP, I carried a 6D flashlight... to date I've been blessed with only bugs, cats & false triggers
                "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill

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                • #9
                  As alarm systems become smarter, and as we learn more about ways to eliminate false alarms, the likelihood that an alarm represents a real intrusion will obviously increase.

                  Alarm responders should be armed and well-trained to deal with the increasing likelihood that they will face intruders.
                  "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                  "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                  "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                  "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                    As alarm systems become smarter, and as we learn more about ways to eliminate false alarms, the likelihood that an alarm represents a real intrusion will obviously increase.

                    Alarm responders should be armed and well-trained to deal with the increasing likelihood that they will face intruders.
                    This is interesting to me, I should probably sift through the tech part of the forum to find out more.

                    The problem we have is when an alarm system won't disarm or when workers enter an armed site without disarming it, and in both cases the workers fail to call security to let them know they are on an armed site. Despite the fact we have cameras and the cameras record the presence of the workers, we are still dispatched to the alarm. Only if the worker calls in and follows the proper procedure, is an alarm disregarded.

                    The only way we know for sure that an alarm is "for real" is if the alarm goes off and is followed by a call from a worker on site that there are intruders on the property. This despite PIR, microwave, and two independent camera systems working simultaneously. Too many times rushing out to a site to find a worker loafing around, "I was only gonna be in here for a second".

                    The single worst security issue we have isn't environmental false alarms, theft, terrorism, any threats from the outside at all, but rather the employees of the customer.

                    Without any sarcasm what so ever, I'd love to see the security system that eliminates that issue.
                    formerly C&A

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                    • #11
                      In a perfect world, alarm response should be checking out the situation first.

                      Depending on the types of alarm systems and sensors you're using, your response can vary...

                      The guys who put the stuff in on this forum know that some places just have door/window sensors.. others have e-fields, microwave, stationary thermal cameras with motion sensing equipment, etc etc etc... it all depends on how valuable the premises/contents, and what the threat level is.. will it just hurt the company, can it hurt people, can it hurt the environment...

                      But, alarm response has a couple levels in a perfect world as well.

                      Alarm goes off, use the PTZ cameras to check out what's going on.

                      Then, Threat level dictates response

                      non-intrusion caused... reset the system...

                      Intrusion based:

                      How many?
                      Armed?

                      this dictates if onsite initiates contact on their own w/ backup on the way, waits for backup, or simply breaks contact and let the cops handle it. Officer safety is imperative, and I am firmly planted in the company belief that no product is worth my life... I am armed for protection of myself and others... not for a product.

                      Now, if I worked for DoE... that'd be a bit different...
                      Overmotivated and Underpaid... I'm a Security supervisors wet dream...

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                      • #12
                        Don't Do It!!!!!!!

                        OK, here we go again. My feeble older mind is trying to make sense out of what my eyes seem to be reading here.

                        Is there anybody out there, with an I.Q. of over 0 that, if responding to the scene of an alarm, would go into a building / business / yard, ect., if not armed. I'm talking about even if the building / business / yard, ect., appears totally secure. Well, what about if bad guy(s) 1 thru 4 (or more maybe) went into the alarmed area through the roof, or hid on premises until after closing time. There would be no signs of forced entry, but you would likely run into them once you got inside, and quickly become their hostage (if they felt you were needed, or maybe you would just be dead.)

                        And is there any RAMBO types that would go into that building / business / yard, ect., armed (or even more stupidly, unarmed) if there were signs of a break-in, or unlocked / open door, window, or other point of entry. I hope not. Do not go in. DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        In the first situation, it would be nice to have a second person (co-worker or police) to do the check of the premises with you, but if your doing it yourself, (possibly) your only hope of getting out, if there are criminals inside, is to have a weapon and be willing to use it.

                        In the second situation, if you find an insecure, or forced, point of entry, you BACK OFF, try to get to a place away from the point of entry, where you have as much of a field of view of the area as possible, and notify law enforcement. You should be watching the point of entry area as much as possible to observe if anyone is going in or out that way.

                        But, don't forget that the bad guys may be out of that area already, walking around the area, or there maybe lookouts, or they might just leave by way of the area you are at. So, keep a constant 360 degree lookout yourself.

                        I'm not going to go into some big dissertation on officer safety, or officer smarts, but bring them with you to work each time you go, and hopefully you go home the same way you came in. (By the way, if it is your company's policy that you will go into that probable broken into area alone, without any back-up with you (armed or unarmed), they don't care if you live or die, so leave them ASAP, and some other poor, unknowing fool will take your place and will possibly suffer the fate which could have been waiting for you.)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bpdblue
                          OK, here we go again. My feeble older mind is trying to make sense out of what my eyes seem to be reading here.

                          Is there anybody out there, with an I.Q. of over 0 that, if responding to the scene of an alarm, would go into a building / business / yard, ect., if not armed. I'm talking about even if the building / business / yard, ect., appears totally secure.
                          As Alaska Security has already pointed out... the type of installed security system can provide a better indication of the situation inside a secured area, multiple hits, compromised adjacent secured zones, motion/heat sensors etc. can be successfully interpreted/read and conveyed by the alarm monitoring company to the SO providing the alarm response (dispatching a roving patrol & contacting police as matter of procedure on detection of potential intrusion)

                          Problem is... some sites have 'uber basic' motion sensor/break triggered alarms, requiring the attending SO to interpret what they find on an external inspection prior to entering the alarmed zone... I can't imagine anyone would knowingly enter an obvious 'break-in' scene, because thieves are scum and as we all should know well, scum travel in packs
                          "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill

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