Do Police Respond to Home Alarms? A Virginia Security Pro Explains

The answer? It depends.

Police can and often do respond to triggered alarms if you have a professionally monitored security system.

But here’s where it gets tricky: police response isn’t always guaranteed just because you have a monitored security system. In fact, some police departments around the country have recently adopted certain “non-response” policies due to the high number of false alarms every year.

Worried you won’t get the protection you need when an emergency arises? Don’t worry, we’ll give you tips on how to get police assistance when you need it most.

First, though, let’s take a closer look at why police response isn’t always guaranteed.



Richmond Alarm’s video verification services help police assess and respond to true emergencies. Ask us about our video verification services and how it can help you get the help you need, when you need it most.

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Too many false alarms means less police response

According to data from the Center for Problem Oriented Policing, police responded to more than 36 million triggered alarms in one year alone (2002). And that number continues to rise every year.

Unfortunately, the majority of alarm calls—between 94%-98%—are false.

And because false alarms waste police time and money, some departments no longer respond or “don’t guarantee” a response to triggered alarms.

Police departments in highly populated cities are more likely to implement these “non-response” policies.

To give you an idea of whether or not these policies will affect you, we’ve listed some of the major Virginia cities below along with their local police department response policies.

Local police department alarm response policies:

CityDo Police Respond to Alarms?

Alexandria

NO GUARANTEE

Chesapeake

YES

Hampton

YES

Harrisonburg

NO GUARANTEE

Leesburg

NO GUARANTEE

Lynchburg

YES

Newport News

YES

Portsmouth

YES

Richmond

YES

Roanoke

YES

Suffolk

YES

Virginia Beach

NO GUARANTEE

Don’t see your city listed? View the full study/report here.

Worried you won’t get the help you need during an emergency? Don’t worry, we’ll show you how you can increase your chances of getting police help when you need it most.

How to get police response when you really need it

The first step to getting police response in an emergency is to make sure your security system is being monitored by a professional security company.

If your system isn’t being monitored, you have almost zero chance of getting police response in an emergency—unless you call 911 yourself.

However, monitoring services alone won’t ensure that police will arrive on the scene when an alarm is triggered.

To increase your chances of getting help when there’s an emergency, we suggest you also follow these 2 tips.

1. Make sure your monitoring company is local.

Bigger security companies like ADT or Vivint typically use monitoring companies that aren’t local to the communities they’re serving. For example, a company in California might monitor alarms of tens of thousands of homeowners in Florida.

If your monitoring company isn’t local, it means that your police department is going to be notified by someone who isn’t familiar with your community or the policies of the local police. This can cause confusion and distrust between police and monitoring companies, which decreases your chance of getting police help.

Local monitoring companies, however, are more in-tune with your neighborhood and how the local police work.

Richmond Alarm, for example, has worked with police departments throughout Virginia for over 70 years. When our local monitoring employees call police departments in the area, they know what information police need and can quickly direct police to the exact location of the triggered alarm.

2. Invest in security cameras

Installing security cameras can help you “verify” a true emergency. For example, at Richmond Alarm Companies, we offer video verification services via professionally-installed security cameras.

With video verification, when unusual activity is detected, a 10-second clip is recorded by security cameras and sent to our local monitoring specialists.The clip is reviewed immediately and police are alerted and dispatched within seconds if there is a true emergency.

Want to learn more about RACs’ monitoring and video verification services?

Richmond Alarm offers local monitoring services with fast response times (under 30 seconds) as well as video verification services.

We’re the only 5 Diamond monitoring center in Central Virginia and we offer 60% faster response rates to emergency calls compared to the industry average. That means faster help when you need it most—no matter what.

If you have questions about either of these services or want to upgrade your security system, we can help.

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