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Boca police first in state to using new dispatch system for home burglary alarm calls

System can shave 3 minutes off response time
Posted: 8:26 PM, Jul 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-12 20:26:40-04

Police in Boca Raton hope new dispatch system will help catch home burglars.

Garret Krause spared no expense securing his Boca Raton home. His doorbell has a camera so he can see who's on the porch. And he installed an alarm system.

He said he wanted to keep his family safe.

“I have a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old. Security is very important,” he said, pointing out he’s never had to use the alarm.

Plenty of people have used their alarms. The police department said it received 7,560 alarm calls in 2015. Most were false alarms. Police reported 321 home burglaries, many of which are unsolved.

When most home alarms are set off, they alert a monitoring company. Those companies can be anywhere in the United States. They then call the Boca Raton police department with details of the alarm.

Dispatchers said it can take several minutes for them to get all the information they need over the phone. Plus there are pronunciation and other issues because most monitoring companies don’t have local knowledge of Boca Raton.

Starting at the end of 2015, the Boca Raton dispatch center started using a system which cuts out the phone call. Instead, information from the alarm companies is sent like an email to the dispatch center.

“I think this is exciting, this is cool stuff,” said Cindy Cevallos, the police department’s IT Project Manager.

The new program is called the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) system.

Cevallos said the department spent less than $10,000 to install the system at their dispatch center.

Police said the new protocol can shave as much as three minutes off police response times.

“Faster response times, greater likelihood of law enforcement apprehension; everyone wins here,” Cevallos explained.

One downside, police still respond to thousands of false alarms. Cevallos said there's no easy fix for that.

Still some say it'll make home feel a little safer.

“Knowing that someone will make it to the home a lot quicker is comforting to know,” Krause said.