Did you know that if there is a false alarm rate of 99% it’s a good thing?

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Did you know that if there is a false alarm rate of 99% it’s a good thing?

There are some that comment that 99% of police dispatches are false alarms.

How is this good? Well if you think of a the context where you compare a burglary with a false alarm, which would you prefer?

It’s a fact that there are very few burglaries attempted on homes and businesses that have burglar alarm systems. We want less burglaries not more.

Why are false alarms good?

Take into consideration an example where we have a city with 10,000 dispatches in a month. Only 100 of those were real burglaries. So 99% were not real burglaries, or “false alarms”.  If we kept the number of alarm systems constant but cut the false alarms in half in a month (and only 5000 dispatches occurred with the same 100 real burglaries), we would have a 98% rate. As you can notice, it will never change very much; it’s intended to be 90-100%.

We hope that this will continue to be the case. The only way to lower this is to have more real burglaries and try to reduce the cities false alarm rate.

Reducing false alarm rates

We don’t want more burglaries, so the city should work on its false alarm rate. The ideal false alarm rate is around 1 false alarm every 10 years for residential and around 1 false alarm every 2 years for commercial. I don’t think it’s too much to ask the police to come by your home once every 10 years. There are many ways a city can reduce its false alarms, but those that choose to focus on it see very good results.

  • Ray Perez
    Posted at 01:41h, 29 March Reply

    I suppose from that point of view having 99 percent of alarm dispatches being false alarms is good. However, from the police departments point of view that percentage is a big problem.

    • admin
      Posted at 01:55h, 04 April Reply

      Its actually a good thing for them too. A false alarm is much less expensive than an actual burglary. If police announced they would not respond anymore to alarms (as they have in some cities) why would anyone be afraid of breaking into jewelry stores, etc…? Most cities also charge for false alarms after a few false alarms in a year. They actually can profit from the false alarms.

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