Richings Park and Thorney Residents Association

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Burglar Alarms

Many houses in Richings Park have a burglar alarm.  However, the rules have changed in the last few years about these intruder alarms.

“Bell only” alarms deter intruders and may alert the neighbours, but they no longer give an automatic police response.  The police will respond to an activated alarm only if an unlawful entry has been reported.

The reason is simple - of the twenty-eight thousand alarm calls in 2005 in the Thames Valley area the false activation rate was over 90%!

In addition, if your alarm was not professionally installed and maintained then it is no longer a requirement by Thames Valley Police to notify them of any keyholders.

Quite simply if your alarm goes off when you are away, whether at work or on holiday, you are relying on your neighbours to check that everything is OK, see if there has been a forced entry, and call the police if there has.  So it makes sense to let the neighbour have a door key, or at least the phone number of someone nearby who does.

If a neighbour reports to you that your alarm goes off quite often, then it really does merit looking into closely.  Is it set up properly?  Are there motion sensors that can be triggered by a curtain blowing in a breeze?  If a radio system, is it on the same frequency as a nearby system, causing interference between the two?

If in doubt, it is worth getting professional advice, because a series of false alarms may well  start the “cry wolf” syndrome and make the whole exercise rather pointless.

More people are now having a remotely monitored alarm system installed.  This is a professional installation, which when activated notifies a 24/7 monitoring centre run by the company, which can check the validity of the call, and then notify the police.

Obviously such a system costs more to maintain, but for many the extra peace of mind is worthwhile.

If you are interested in a monitored system, Yellow Pages will list established firms.  The Police advise you look for a company registered by the National Security Inspectorate that bears the NSI, NACOSS or SSAIB approval.

It is also well worth asking the advice of neighbours and colleagues who already have a good alarm system and are happy with the service they received.

Household insurance companies may also offer advice and/or a discount for installing such a system.  

It is recommended that you get at least three quotations for any work.

For useful web pages on this subject see the "Useful Links" section of this website.