·assess whether price has anything to do with quality?
To narrow down the choices, a potential customer should identify needs by assessing where security is required. Many licencing categories are commercial only. These will include armoured car guards, doormen, and access control technicians.
Retail outlets, offices, and accommodations are the primary market base for these specialty services.
Residential security services fall into two categories. Foot patrols by uniformed security guards, and security alarms with mobile patrol for rapid response through electronic monitoring centres.
The size of the residence can be a determining factor. For home owners sited on individual plots of land, security alarms are modestly priced and assure that someone will arrive on the scene to investigate an alarm.
Installation and monitoring fees may include free rapid response. But usually, each investigation into the cause of an alarm is billed directly to the client.
This increases the monthly service fees. Read the fine print first.
Home Alarm Systems
The cost of maintaining a mobile patrol fleet has increased dramatically over the past few years. Look at the price of gas alone. This led to a corresponding increase in the number of accounts these companies handled at one time to manage their rising costs.
Be skeptical about companies that want to post signs on the premises when there are no security alarms in service.
If a security company claims that it sends mobile patrol to investigate whenever the police give them a call, you are paying for nothing. In the absence of alarms, the only realistic alternative is foot patrols by a licenced security guard.
Security alarms are known to be touchy. They can be triggered by spiders, mice, or high winds. Anything that breaks the beam of infrared light or misaligns the facing boxes will trigger an alarm. This is not the fault of the alarm response team.
But customers should be aware that not every penny they spend makes sense. The role of the mobile patrolman is primarily to reset alarms so that service is continuous and uninterrupted.
Despite flaws in the home alarm business, it is a good alternative for people who keep to regular schedules and feel vulnerable to the unknown. Such customers might include the disabled, the elderly, foreign residents, diplomats, frequent travellers, and single parent families.
This is a large and ever expanding market once all the criteria for home alarms are assembled in one place.
For residents of multiplex buildings, large residential high rises, or gated low rise communities there are too many doors, lockers, and service rooms for home alarm systems to monitor continuously.
By combining the buying power of residents with high density lifestyles it's possible to lower the price points of preventive services to well below the fees for installing, monitoring, and servicing home alarm systems.
Prevention and Identification
Whereas a home alarm system attracts attention to a targeted location after the fact, the purpose of security patrol is prevention and identification.
The security guard can direct specialists to the precise location where an incident took place while guarding the crime scene. Often the guard can provide a description of suspects and observations of the conditions leading up to an incident.
Emergency response is performed by specialized teams of qualified experts based on the identification of a problem that requires police, fire, or ambulance.
Yet the more important objective of security patrol is prevention. Patrols in uniform are known to reduce the frequency and seriousness of unwanted activities because perpetrators avoid being observed, recorded, and reported.
As with home alarms systems, the key to security is communications.
The property owner who is shopping security companies should assess the continuity and effectiveness of their lines of communication.
How long does it take a security company to respond? Does it simply report an incident, or act to prevent the occurrence of similar emergencies?
Finally, the flexibility of the service provider is a primary consideration in meaningfully addressing security issues.
If a rash of break-ins occurs can the contract be extended to cover the times of day that are problematic? Does an emergency, or crime spree, involve paying additional fees? Are there financial incentives for the security company to reduce crime statistics or does the costing platform generate profits, coincidentally, based on an increase in unwanted activities?
These are the hard questions that are typically asked by renegades and rebels on the lunatic fringe. Turn the television off and think for a moment. No one is lying to you. The choice you make is entirely yours, and yours alone to make.
If everyone assessed the benefits of a security package based on hard evidence of a tangible improvement in quality of life, half of the security companies in BC would be out of business in less than 6 months. Who else to blame, but the consumer?
And that may be a sight better than places in other parts of the world. We actually have it pretty good here. Most people generally feel quite safe, according to recent polls.
Yet crime persists in being a local problem.
The security industry is not immune to invasion and interdiction. Know your guard and treat the uniform like wash on the line. (Nice wash, too.)