About every home in Sandy Springs has an alarm. We answer from 600 to 1,200 alarms each month with an accuracy rate of about 3%. The other 97% or so can be chalked up to “subscriber error,” meaning you forgot the alarm was on, or other household goof ups. Each alarm probably takes 30 to 40 minutes of patrol time away.
Add it all up and it comes out to about — not good.
I have an alarm at my house and I can’t tell you how the dang thing works. I’ve never had one before, and it’s only been six years in this house, so I still have time to figure that and how to program the new multi-functional remote that costs almost as much as the television. The new remote can turn on the TV, CD, DVD, PS3, stereo, surround sound, the lights, the fireplace and, when the conditions are just right, my neighbor’s TV, too.
Nothing says fun like an adult beverage, sitting on the deck with Detective Sandy and watching my neighbor try to figure out why the TV automatically reverts to the Soap Opera Channel. Good times.
General alarms are no longer priority calls. They haven’t been in years because of the extremely high number of false alarms. We urge people to learn how they work, though our biggest problem with them has nothing to do with technology problems but rather that people don’t use them — like me.
My excuse is that I have three dogs, a rat and a snake. Here’s how it works: The youngest dog, a Schnauzer, has a short fuse on the “freak out” meter so she barks at anything, including dog commercials, which are becoming irritating. Normally, the chain of command includes the 12-year old Shih-Tzu. But in her “mature” years, she opts to just sleep and pass gastric smells that cause the walls to warp. As a result, the small dog passes the alert straight to Roxy, who is a six-year old Rottweiler we rescued from Hell and, according to a resident nearby, is inherently evil just because — yes, just because.
I think this resident is both ignorant and, well, more ignorant. Sure, we let the dog out late at night to bring us victims for our satanic rituals. But other than that, she’s a good alarm. Her bark sounds like it’s jacked up with an Orion 2009 HCCA154 15-inch, dual 4-ohm competition subwoofer — at a cost of just over $600. That’s low. She has a doggie door with a sign on top that reads “I warned you.” She’s actually very friendly, though I don’t want too many people to know that.
As far as the rat and the snake, the rat proved to be rather aggressive in its role as the snake’s monthly meal, so the snake won’t touch it and the rat is living a rat’s life with its own cage until I can get a ball python to man-up. (Save the suggestions. I know the different ways to feed the snake but I’m just mad at it.)
Bouncing back to alarms. When an officer gets an alarm call, he or she is given certain facts about the house and the conditions, such as animals that are at the house and may not necessarily be happy to see the cops. The officer wants to know about these things. Other animals, such as goldfish and aquarium-ridden turtles, you can leave out.
Today I heard an alarm dispatched and the operator said two dogs and a gecko were on the premises. I owned a gecko once and I felt no love for it. It just sits there in the dark and stares at you. Reminded me of an old girlfriend.
Check you alarm to make sure it works properly. If it goes off when you turn on the bathtub faucet, you need to make a service call. If it goes off every time it rains or thunder claps, get it looked at.
Don’t let your home have the reputation as being the one with the chronic alarm problem. It is crying wolf and is dangerous.
Also, don’t waste your money on a gecko. I hate geckos.