Points of Discussion For Your Next Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Neighborhood_Watch_MeetingBefore you put the finishing touches on the agenda for your next neighborhood watch meeting, we’d like to offer a few suggestions of our own. In addition to concerns unique to your area, there are a few additional home security issues that you should be aware of. For one, did you know that some city police departments are no longer responding to certain burglar alarms? There’s good reason for this, so keep reading to find out why. Also, consider discussing a very thorough study indicating that areas densely populated with burglar alarms experience lower burglary rates.

(Note: If you do not have a neighborhood watch group in your area yet, read our article on how to start one and consider the following topics for your first meeting.)

Local Police Departments Deliberately Ignore Burglar Alarms?

This sounds like a bad Internet rumor, but it’s completely true. Cities like Los Angeles and Milwaukee are fed up with responding to false alarms and will no longer respond to one that has not first been verified as legitimate by a monitoring company or the alarm’s owner. While policies like these may seem drastic to some, consider that in Los Angeles false alarms in the past have counted for upwards of 90% of all alarm responses. And, in Milwaukee, the citizens of that city agreed that something needed to be done as nearly 97% of some 30,000 alarm responses were deemed to be false prior to their policy change. Since ignoring unverified alarms, however, Milwaukee’s false alarm response rate dropped to only 38% of 620 responses being false in 2012.

Before meeting with your neighborhood watch group, you may want to check with your local police department to find out if any similar policy changes have taken place in your area. If not, find out if this might be a concern in the near future and how your group can help reduce the false alarm response rate in your city. For more tips on how to do so, read a couple of our earlier posts on this very subject.

Is Your Alarm Monitoring Company Properly Registered?

Taking the conversation about alarm responses even further, in Colorado Springs police are not required to respond to certain alarms even if they are verified as being legitimate by a monitoring company. It should be noted that this policy applies strictly to alarm monitoring companies that are not properly registered or that have allowed previously granted permits to lapse.

Once again, speak to your local police department about their policies with regards to the permit status of alarm monitoring companies. For your neighbors who have alarms monitored by companies that are not in good standing, strongly suggest that they change services immediately. We highly recommend Alarm Relay which has more than a decade of UL certification to their credit and offers top-notch monitoring for a mere $8.95 per month. Your neighbors will thank you for passing this recommendation on as they’ll save money on this service (other companies charge hundreds of dollars per year) and can rest assured that alarms will always be responded to by your local authorities when called upon.

How Do You Feel About Non-Response Issues?

Whether these policies apply to your city (yet) or not, specifically ask your group how they feel about law enforcement agencies not responding to alarms. Ask how they think criminals will take advantage of these positions. Lastly, discuss strategies to ensure that no one in your group has an alarm that is ignored by authorities.

Burglars Avoid Neighborhoods With a Lot of Alarms

I recently ran across a study conducted by Rutgers University, which concluded that neighborhoods where “burglar alarms were densely installed” experience lower burglary rates. Most reading this already know that alarms are the hands-down best deterrents for protecting a property against burglary, but this study suggests that crime can be lowered, overall, in areas where neighbors ban together in taking a hard stance against crime by installing home security systems in every home on the block.

You may even want to suggest a DIY weekend for everyone without an alarm system to install one. Share with your group the affordable options offered here at the Home Security Store and how easily you were able to install your own system. For those of you who already have an alarm, who want to further secure your homes and who want to stand in solidarity with members participating in the DIY weekend event, we suggest expanding an existing system with security lighting, glass break detectors, CCTV cameras or any of the other DIY home security items featured on our main site.

What’s On Your Agenda?

What else do you plan to discuss at your next neighborhood watch meeting? Do you have any other important points of discussion you’d like to share with our readers? Make note of anything that we may have missed or simply share your thoughts on our agenda suggestions in the comments section below.
Ralph Winn

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