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Fairfax County PD’s False Alarm Reduction Unit Nationally Awarded

September 10, 2013 | Virginia News

“Distinction for Excellence in False Alarm Management”.

Burglar, panic and robbery alarms are useful deterrents to crime; however, 95-98 percent of alarm calls are determined to be false alarms. This widespread problem takes police away from other life-threatening emergencies. Alarm legislation was developed to reduce the number of false alarm activations and keep officers available for other important calls for service

The False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU) works to reduce incidents of false alarms by registering alarm users, imposing penalties for excessive false alarm activations, and administering the system for the more than 114,102 registered alarm locations in Fairfax County.

The number of both commercial and residential alarm registrants in Fairfax County has risen each year since 2003 when there were just 46,667 residential and 9,844 commercial alarm locations. In 2012, that number grew to 96,964 residential and 17,138 commercial locations. Despite this steady increase, the efforts of the FARU have worked; the number of patrol man-hours has actually reduced each year. That means officers are spending less time responding to these “false” calls and more time serving and protecting residents of Fairfax County as they assist residents with other important safety matters.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) annually recognizes local law enforcement agencies that consistently reduce false alarm calls; and they are nationally recognizing FARU with their 2013 distinction. The sustained, effective efforts of the FARU have resulted in fewer patrol man-hours spent on handling false alarms.

The mission of the SIAC is to “create a structure for all interested parties to come together under the banner of “dispatch reduction” and “alarm management” and through a coordinated effort maximize the impact on “false dispatch reduction” and “alarm management” across North America by maintaining a liaison with national and state (or provincial) law enforcement leadership, while educating and empowering local alarm communities to proactively foster relationships with law enforcement before a crisis develops.”

Maintaining and managing your security alarm system is important to help alleviating false activations; remember the following tips from FARU:

  • Your alarm is not a replacement for calling 9-1-1; when you need police, call them.
  • Know how to cancel your alarm; call your alarm company to learn how to cancel a false alarm.
  • Have your alarm system serviced, routinely, to help prevent any mechanical issues
  • Many “bad weather” false alarms are caused by old batteries; replace them routinely and remember that frequent power outages will also impact your system.


Learn more about the Fairfax County Police Department’s False Alarm Reduction Unit and how to register your alarm system.