I recently had a customer ask some specific questions as to what the police do when they respond to a burglary alarm signal. The process seemed pretty straightforward; police go out and they check for broken windows or doors. I knew the general procedure that a police officer might take to clear the scene of an alarm, but wanted a bit more clarification on what happens if they found someone at the site.
I decided to clarify these procedures from the source to better answer the question for customers in the future. Luckily I am blessed with tons of friends in various professions, so I approached a police officer pal (she chose to remain anonymous for the article) and asked her what the general practice is for responding to burglary signals. Obviously, police department protocols can vary by location, so this may not be an all-inclusive list for your area, but it should be helpful in giving you an idea of what goes on.
Normal procedures for dispatch on a general burglary signal
- The alarm company monitoring department received a signal. They follow call procedures and try to notify the customer of the issue.
- When ECV (enhanced call verification) is completed, monitoring calls the police dispatch.
- Dispatch sends officers out to the scene of an alarm.
- Officers will knock on the door to the home and wait for a response.
- Officers will walk the entire perimeter of the house if able (i.e. no vicious dogs in the back yard or tall fences without gate access to back yard).
- Officer will check doors and windows to make sure they aren’t open or broken.
- If officers arrive on scene and there is a door or window is open/broke , they will announce themselves and enter the site if they are able to.
- Officers will have dispatch contact the alarm company to request a key holder to meet them on the scene after clearing the house or business to make sure no one is still inside.
- If key holder is not able to be contacted, officers secure the business or residence as best as possible and lets dispatch know, who then contacts the alarm company.
There are detailed police procedures to handle burglaries in progress. The officers responding to these calls must follow protocol to handle these incidents in the most efficient manner to reduce the likelihood of injury or death when apprehending criminals. Though this protocol may vary from county or state, Police will take all necessary precautions to protect the property as well as apprehend the perpetrator of the crime.
What if the police find someone in my home?
No broken doors or windows:
- After being dispatched to a site, the police will knock on the door and wait a reasonable amount of time for an answer.
- If there is an answer, they will request the person answering the door to identify themselves.
- If proper identity or a reason for being on site are not given or seem invalid, the police would request the intruder to put their hands up and surrender any weapons.
- Rights would be read and an arrest would be made if the police still could not verify the reason for the individual to be on site.
- Most of the time the person on site is a relative or neighbor, feeding pets or checking on the house while the owners are away. Generally these people have forgotten the alarm code or password on the account, or were never told how to use the alarm.
In the case of broken windows or doors:
- It is incredibly rare to catch a criminal in the act. A fully sounding alarm will generally scare off anyone who has attempted a break in.
- If there were doors or windows open that allowed the police to enter, they would announce themselves and enter the site.
- Upon sight of an intruder, the police would draw their weapons and order the intruder to stop, put their hands up and surrender any weapons.
- If the intruder does not follow police direction and runs, police will then take chase to apprehend the criminal.
If you ever have any questions regarding your security system and your alarm history, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-PRO-1911.