Westside Burglary highlights the need for private (and immediate) response

a burglary that did not need to happen...

On Wednesday morning, a Westside business learned the hard way why Police response does not work.

At about 3:45am, crooks smashed a pane of glass and forced open a set of expandable bars to steal some movies, video games and gaming consoles.

The alarm did not trip until after the bars had been forced open and the burglar(s) walked in front of a motion detector inside the store. When the alarm company received the signal, they followed typical procedures by calling the store and then the emergency contacts.

Because they were unable to get an answer from any of the emergency contacts, they were unable to dispatch the Police to request a response due to the Vancouver City By-Law which does not allow for alarm companies to request Police response until after an emergency contact has been reached.

No contact was reached… so no Police response could be requested.

As a result, the store remained wide open… accessible to the world until someone noticed the broken glass and called Police several hours later.

The store was very lucky… if the crooks who had broken in had been smart, or patient, enough to watch for any response to their initial burglary, they could have easily cleaned out the entire store, displays and all. They certainly would have had enough time to do it.

Unfortunately, incidents like this happen all of the time.

There are several things that could have been done to minimize the loss incurred during this burglary:

1. Get private response

Police response to burglar alarms simply does not work. I’ve written extensively about this issue (click here, here or here for a few examples).

By assuming that all alarms are false until proven otherwise completely eliminates any real value that an alarm can offer. Having a private and immediate response service in place would have at least ensured that someone was going to be responsible for attending to the alarm and make sure that the store would not be left wide open for hours;

2. Detect the ‘break’ not the ‘enter’

The alarm should have been configured to trip the second that the glass was broken. Instead, because the alarm system relied on an interior motion detector as the first detection point, the alarm did not trip until after the glass was broken and the bars had been disabled.

A properly installed glassbreak detector would have ensured that an alarm signal was sent while the crooks were still standing outside… which may have been enough to encourage them to change their plans. All of the effort required to break into a premises occurs while the crook is still standing OUTSIDE… the alarm must be configured to detect that. Once they are inside, they are moving quickly and it is very unlikely that response will be fast enough to catch them in the act. Detect the ‘break’ not the ‘enter’.

Burglaries like this do not need to happen.

Your security is in your redundancy. Installing bars is not good enough. Neither is an alarm. In fact, just about anything by itself isn’t going to be very effective… your security comes from building multiple levels of detection & security so that your different security measures work together to create actual security. The individual components on their own are almost never good enough. It doesn’t need to be expensive… but it does need to be well thought out. In this case, a bit of extra money spent on private response as well as one glassbreak detector would have saved a significant loss from occurring.

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