Last year set a new record for burglaries in the UK. 407,189 cases were reported during 2022 - a sharp 7% increase on the previous year.
Despite year-on-year spikes, only 68% of businesses are thought to have burglar alarms. For homes, it’s even worse, with only 32% reported to have these devices installed.
That’s not to say that a burglar alarm will stop your property from being broken into. A recent report found that 22% of burgled homes already had alarms installed. Even more modern, cloud-based systems with connected smartphone apps have their weaknesses: missed alerts, WiFi downtime, and connectivity issues.
- What Is Intruder Alarm Monitoring?
- How Does a Monitored Intruder Alarm Work?
- The Benefits of an Alarm Receiving Centre Monitoring Your Intruder Alarms
- Final Thoughts
So, what can you do to fully protect your property and people?
Introducing professional alarm monitoring services: the go-to for property owners looking to keep a watchful eye over their assets in real-time. In this blog, we’ll discuss the features of an intruder alarm monitoring service, the options available and the benefits it can hold for properties of all types.
What Is Intruder Alarm Monitoring?
Intruder alarm monitoring is the process of having your security system actively monitored by professional monitoring companies, or 24 hour alarm receiving centre (ARC) at all times.
The service connects the system to an off-site team who are specialised in dealing with break-ins, trespassing and all other types of property breaches. These professionals take the responsibility of dealing with out-of-hours incidents out of your hands entirely. The end result is faster response times, reduced damage and usually, arrest of the perpetrator.
Thanks to its great advantages, monitored alarm services have quickly taken over the residential and commercial security market. In fact, these services accounted for over half of all security industry revenue in 2022-23!
How Does a Monitored Intruder Alarm Work?
The process begins when an alarm is triggered. Whether due to a break-in or a false alert, the off-site monitoring station will be alerted to an alarm activation as it happens, through the internet or mobile network. If the building is known to be unoccupied, the ARC will respond immediately with the actions agreed by the site owner. This may be automatic police response, keyholder response or the immediate dispatching of a professional security team.
If a security team is sent, they will investigate the premises upon arrival to find the cause of the trigger. If a break-in is confirmed, the team will contact the police and work to secure the premises before emergency support arrives. If the trigger is a false positive, the security team will leave the premises untouched, reset the system and lock the building. Until a break-in is confirmed, you are unlikely to be disturbed by the ARC, unless you have agreed on this with them beforehand.
The Benefits of an Alarm Receiving Centre Monitoring Your Intruder Alarms
This is the stage where the differences between a DIY and professional installation truly appear. Our principal focus at Chris Lewis Group is on proactive, rather than reactive security solutions. That is, preventing crime before it happens, not just dealing with it after the fact.
Here are seven key benefits of choosing intruder alarm monitoring over the alternatives. These benefits will apply to all monitored intruder alarm systems, no matter where they are installed: homes, businesses or schools.
Speed of Response:
The window of time to prevent burglary is extremely small. It’s been estimated that most burglaries take under 10 minutes, from start to finish. With alarm monitoring: speed is king; the quicker the response time, the higher the chance of catching the trespasser and preventing the offence.
Within a matter of minutes, the ARC or response team will have alerted the right people to react to the event, be that a break-in or false alert. This rapid speed ensures that even if a trespasser manages to access your building, they only have a short window to get back out again.
Quality of Response:
Dealing with a burglary first-hand can be unsettling. If you are a key holder or the site owner, you’ll have the responsibility of calling the police, or potentially heading to the property yourself - both of which can be stressful in the heat of the moment.
With a monitored system, you can rest assured that rapid responders are ready to deal with any alert. Professional responders are highly qualified in dealing with security breaches, and will relay the information to police quickly and clearly. If you go to the extent of having an SIA-accredited security team respond, they will be able to tackle the situation with confidence and authority, keeping you directly out of harm's way.
Almost two-thirds of burglaries (61%) take place between 6PM and 6AM. If you’re the first responder, how likely are you to be available at all times? Consider holidays abroad, different time zones, silenced phones, reduced WiFi signal - all of these factors can slow your response time down. It’s as easy as missing a phone call.
A monitored system essentially takes that risk away. You no longer need to be tied to your device to handle a trespassing situation or break-in. That responsibility is taken from your hands and entrusted to the people who know how to deal with it best.
No Alarm Sounding:
Traditional burglar alarm systems have a reputation for crying wolf. When sounded they emit a loud noise, with the aim of both alerting people in the surrounding area, and scaring away the burglar. Not only does this rely on neighbours or bystanders responding, it also usually has a 15-20 minute cut-out time. This means if the siren goes un-investigated, it will eventually leave the burglar an unlimited amount of time to ransack the property.
Monitored solutions verify alerts and respond instantly, without an siren needing to be sounded. This is far more favourable for property owners who don’t wish to disturb their neighbours or the emergency services with false alarms.
Reduced Insurance Premiums:
Installing an alarm is common practice for reducing insurance company premiums, but because burglar alarms are far from a fool-proof means of protection, the potential reductions aren’t as great as they could be. For larger sites, or those that contain valuable assets or belongings, these premiums can still be brutally expensive.
The added security of a monitored system can make a huge reduction on your insurance premiums, potentially far greater than the cost of the service itself.
Extra Peace of Mind:
Your home is your castle, and feeling like it’s no longer safe is devastating. The damage done by a break-in goes far beyond the physical impact on your property or even loss of valuable assets. It can have a devastating effect on both your family’s mental health, and your own. Many people who have suffered a break in report post-traumatic stress, whether they were home at the time or not. Plus, according to the statistics, 58% of the time, there is someone home when a burglary takes place.
Knowing that a security professional will be on site rapidly after the system is tripped is an enormous comfort. This applies even more to parents with children old enough to be at home alone. The increased speed of response afforded by the alert going straight to the police or the receiving centre means that by opting for intruder alarm monitoring, you are protecting your family’s financial, physical and mental well-being.
Cheaper Than Security Guards
A common alternative to burglar alarm systems is security guards. But this can be a very expensive option. On average, 24/7 security on a site costs around £100,000 a year, more if it’s a larger site. Alarm monitoring is a tiny fraction of this cost, and you won’t need to pay more if the size of your site increases.
When you opt for a monitoring service, you access one of the most proactive security services available.
That’s even without mentioning the benefits afforded by having other systems monitored simultaneously, such as CCTV or fire detection systems.
If this blog has convinced you of the benefits of intruder alarm monitoring, the next step is to find the right monitoring partner. We always recommend looking for the latest qualifications and certifications, so you can be sure the provider can be trusted with access to your premises.