When Security Systems Fail To Protect (An Alarm Dealers Thoughts On The Matter)

When Security Systems Fail To Protect (An Alarm Dealers Thoughts On The Matter)


We’ve all seen the news stories on when a
security systems fails to protect what it was designed to protect. Stay tuned. Watch
this video for an expert analysis on one such event. Hello everyone, Mark McLeroy from Patriot Electronic Security Systems here. The subject
for this week’s video is a tough one for me. I actually had to think long and hard about
whether or not I was actually going to produce it. The topic is “When Security Systems Fail
To Protect”. The reason I considered not doing it should be pretty obvious. I am the owner
of an alarm company. I don’t like to think about these systems fail to do what they
are designed to do. The reason I finally decided to produce the video was I asked myself as
the administrator of this YouTube channel, what do I want the purpose of this channel
to be? Do I want it to be like all the other alarm company channels out there shouting how you need a security systems, and how they’re the guys to do it because they’re the biggest, and the best, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.. And the
answer to that questions is no. I don’t want this channel to be like all the other security
company’s channels out there. I want this channel to be a place where people can go
to get unbiased information on how technology (and in some cases a little education) can
be used to protect themselves, their family, their home, and their businesses. And the
fact of the matter is sometimes, due to various reasons, security systems fail to protect
what they were intended to protect. Therefore, unless I wanted to consider this channel no
different than any other alarm company’s channel on YouTube, I had to do this video. So let’s
get on with the topic at hand. I want to start off by telling a story of
an event where the burglar alarm and the CCTV system failed to protect a business they were
installed in. We’re going to examine how they failed, why failed, and what could have been
done to prevent the failure. It was an event that I personally got involved in, but not
in an alarm or CCTV system capacity. Ya see, those of you who have been watching my videos
for some time now know that before I was in the alarm business, I was a computer technician
for many years. And a large number of those years I worked for a company who installed,
serviced, and supported computer point of sale systems for liquor stores through the
country. What I mean by computer point of sale systems (for those of you who don’t know) they are the computerized cash
register systems that you see in stores these days. You know, they have the barcode scanner,
and the electronic displays so the customer can watch as their items our rung up. Those
systems. Well, one of our clients had a burglary one
night and I was there a few days later to do some work to the point of sale system.
While I was there I got a lot of details on what happened and what went wrong. Now the
first thing you should know was this was no small mom and pop liquor store. This was one
of those huge, discount, warehouse sized liquor stores. It’s also important to know the geography
around the store. In the front of the store there was a main thoroughfare, a very busy
street during the day, and not so much at night because it was a business district,
there really was no residential housing in the immediate area. The back of the store
was a large lot where trucks would pull into and the store would receive all their deliveries
there. At night, when the store was closed, that lot was empty. An even more important
fact about that lot was that it was not visible from the main thoroughfare in the front of
the store because the building was in between the thoroughfare and the lot. So the liquor
store itself provided excellent covage for someone wanting to attack it from the rear.
So the night of the burglary, the first thing the burglars do is….. you guessed it, find
the phone lines going into the store and cut them. And where do you think the phone lines
enter the store from? You guessed it again, that lot in the back of the store where the
burglars could work as long as they needed with low danger of detection. Once they cut
the phone lines, they then proceed to work on the back door. Now that was probably no
easy task for them because it was a metal industrial door and there was a lot of damage
to it. Once they got the door opened, the burglar alarm did just what it was designed
to do. It went off and the siren started to scream. Now the alarm system tried to call
the central monitoring station but the phone lines were already cut.
But at this point there was one thing the burglars didn’t know. They didn’t know if
the alarm system had another way of contacting the central station, such as with a wireless
or cellular connection. Now the alarm systems was an old system that way installed when the store
first opened about twelve years before this incident, and it did not have wireless or
cellular capabilities. But the burglars did not know this. So here is where they did something
very clever. After they force open the door, they do not go in. Instead, they drove away
to an area where it is speculated that they can watch the store and they waited to see
if the police would respond. Well, the police never responded. So they now knew the alarm system
was unable to call the central station and they returned about twenty five minutes later
knowing they can now do what they need to do, and can do it virtually undetected.
Once inside the store, they see the CCTV cameras everywhere, so they go to the office in the
store and sure enough find the digital video recorder sitting there. So they unplug the
power cord and cut all the video lines running to it from the cameras. They then steal the
digital video recorder. All in all they got away with an amount of
cash (how much was never revealed to me), more alcohol than you can imagine, and the
good stuff too, there were very selective, the digital video recorder, and my personal
favorite, an ATM machine that was in the store. They took the whole machine!
So now let’s review, we know how the systems failed. The phone lines were cut prior to
triggering the alarm system thus preventing the system to successfully call the central
station. Then the digital video recorder was stolen thus preventing the ability to possibility
identify the perpetrators or review recorded key events that might have led to their arrest.
Now let’s examine why the system failed. In my opinion the main reason these systems failed
was complacency, complacency on the part of the alarm company. Here’s how I came to this
conclusion. The alarm system installed at the business at the time of the burglary was
old, in fact it was out right antiquated. In the years since the system was originally
installed, the alarm manufactures had made strides in leaps and bounds in technology
regarding how alarms systems communicate with the central station, yet here we had this
system with only one communication path to the central station and that path was base
on the oldest technology currently used in the industry. It is a technology that is the
easiest to defeat, and it is a technology that is being phased out on a national level.
I am now going to reveal another secret word in the alarm industry. A word no owner of
an alarm company likes. The word is attrition. In the alarm industry, attrition means a reduction
in numbers of an alarm company’s clients, particularly clients that subscribe to monthly
alarm monitoring. Since monthly alarm monitoring is the life blood of any alarm company, as
an owner you want the number of customers you lose to attrition to be as low as possible.
In my opinion one of the main reasons for attrition in the security alarm industry is
the lack of attention on the part of an alarm companies to their clients. Typically, when
a retail business first opens for business they hear from several alarm companies, all
wanting to be the company to install their security system and get that coveted three
to five year monitoring contract. And during that time the new business owner will not
stop hearing from the security alarm companies. But once the dust settles and the business
owner signs a deal with an alarm company, once that company installs and tests the system,
the business owner will probably never hear from that alarm company again except for the
monthly or yearly monitoring invoices they mail him.
To me this is just complacency on the part of an alarm company and perhaps a lack of
drive from their sales people. So now let’s see what could have been done to prevent this
failure. I’m gonna do a little role playing here. I’m going to play the part of the sales
person from the alarm company that installed and was monitoring the alarm system of the
liquor store in the case I just presented to you. When I’m done, I want you to ask yourself,
do you think if the alarm company took the initiative in making this phone to the
liquor store, who was already their client, would this story have ended better for the
liquor store? Okay phone rings, owner of the liquor store
answers it (keep in mind the names of the businesses and people I use here are fictitious
and in no way represent real entities): Hello is Mr. Jones there? Mr. Jones this is John Doe from The Acme Alarm Company. We are the alarm company that
installed your security system about twelve years ago and we currently provide the monthly
monitoring service for the system. I have been going over our records and as you know
it’s been a while since you’ve had that system installed. The records I have here indicate
that the only option your current system has in communicating with the central monitoring
station in the event of an alarm is a telephone line. And that’s understandable since at the
time you installed the system way back when, that was the only option available. Unfortunately,
that technology is being phased out. It is very conceivable that five years from now
a telephone line is going to be hard to find. However, the good news is that the industry
has made considerable advances in communication technology since then, and there are many
other, more reliable options for you now. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t have to do
anything close to buying a new system. You already have your sensors and wiring in
place. That’s Ninety Five percent of the work they don’t have to be changed. All you
would have to do is upgrade your alarm panel. My notes indicate you have a big store, and
a lot to protect, do you mind if I stop by and discuss this with you? Now had the alarm company taken the incentive
to make that call, do you think there could have been a chance that this story would have
ended better for the liquor store? By making this phone call, everybody wins. The alarm
company wins by drumming up business from the easiest avenue to get business from, their
existing customer base. And by doing so, they are showing the customer that they genuinely
care for the security of his business and that he is more that a monthly invoice to
them. The liquor store owner wins by being give an affordable option to get the system
that protects his business from theft off antiquated technology.
So, in conclusion, there are many reasons why a security system could fail to protect
what they were designed to protect; and I’m not here to point the finger of blame at anyone.
In fact I’m sure there are many instances that all the precautions in the world, from all
parties involved would not prevent a system failure. But I feel that if both
the alarm company and their customers take proactive steps in keeping the systems well
maintained and up to date, these systems will offer the customer a real increase in security
in their lives. This concludes our video in “When Security Systems Fail To Protect”. If you like this video, we ask you to click
the like button below. And if you really want to help support this channel, please click
the subscribe button. It won’t cost you anything, and you will be notified every time we release
a new video. I’m Mark McLeroy President of Patriot Electronic Security Systems, until
next time….. stay safe.

2 Replies to “When Security Systems Fail To Protect (An Alarm Dealers Thoughts On The Matter)”

  1. – They should have had a wireless device to contact the monitoring center
    – they should have had that NVR hidden somewhere, not in the office. Or better yet, 2 NVRs, a cheap, crappy dummy in the office, and a real one in some hidden location.
    – some kind of device to monitor the phone lines wouldn't have hurt either. Then the cops might even have turned up before the crooks even knew what was happening.

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