Alarm Ordinance Video Transcript

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You installed an alarm system to protect those you care about; however, burglar alarms are built to protect property, not people. 

I’m Sandy Springs Deputy Police Chief Keith Zgonc and I speak on behalf of the entire police department when I say that our priority is to protect people  - our citizens, our business owners and our visitors. Property can be replaced, people can’t.

In Sandy Springs, 18 percent of all calls into 911 are from alarm monitoring companies with a 99 percent false alarm rate. In Sandy Springs, almost 10,000 calls come into 911 each year from alarm companies. That high failure rate should concern you as public safety resources are diverted from helping you when you need it most.

False alarms place a heavy burden on public safety.  Each call placed to 911 from an alarm company takes approximately 5 minutes to handle, with those 911 operators not able to receive calls from people with real emergencies.

That is why True Verification is so important. True Verification requires an alarm company to verify a burglar alarm activation – using audio, video or in-person – such as guard response prior to calling 911.  

Many alarm companies already offer audio and / or video verification, and there are self-monitored systems such as Ring, Nest and SimpliSafe that allow a homeowner to be their own monitoring agent.

Alarm companies want you to believe alarm activations receive a high priority response from public safety.  The reality is – because alarm calls are not verified and have a 99 percent failure rate, calls from alarm companies receive low priority response. 

With true verification, the monitoring company is able to determine if the activation is the air conditioning blowing a window shade, the dog, or an actual intruder. If there is a break-in, the call is prioritized because we know there is an actual crime.

True verification will put criminals on notice that homes are monitored and watched and that police will respond quickly because alarm activations are verified.

We want you to feel safe and be safe. In an emergency, the quickest response is to call 911 yourself.  Having an alarm system is a personal choice, and if you choose to contract with an alarm company, you need to work with your monitoring company, so that activations are verified through audio, video or guard response.  It’s the law.

We are here to serve the entire community.  When there is an emergency, your fastest response is always to call 911.  To learn more about the City’s alarm ordinance, visit sandy spring g-a dot gov forward slash alarm


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