The purpose of this fact sheet is to support applications for security alarm systems (without video surveillance) to the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
Security alarm systems can be an effective crime prevention tool by:
- making a property less attractive to would-be intruders
- alerting people in the area or security/police about any suspicious activity.
However, security alarm systems should never be regarded as a substitute for good physical security but rather an addition to it. It is also important to understand that there are sometimes unanticipated issues involved with installing security alarms. For example:
- frequent false alarms may mean neighbours ignore ‘real’ activations
- volunteers or employees responding to alarms may put themselves in danger by confronting intruders.
Before choosing a security alarm as your crime prevention solution, an overall security assessment by a registered security adviser is recommended. The following questions should be an initial prompt:
- What is the problem you are trying to address?
- When is the problem occurring? Is there any pattern? What do your local police say?
- Is there any other way the problem could be tackled? Is a security alarm system alone likely to address the problem?
- Will the benefits of an alarm outweigh the costs involved (including maintenance and monitoring)?
Other important considerations
- Ensure your system complies with the relevant Australian Standards. You should only use security equipment installers registered in Victoria under the Private Security Act 2004.
- How will you safely respond to alarm activations? Is a security monitoring firm proposed or will volunteers/employees respond?
- While grant funding cannot be used towards ongoing monitoring costs, these are recognised positively as a co-contribution to any project.
- If the alarm system isn’t monitored by a security firm, developing a risk management plan can ensure the personal safety of employees or volunteers responding to call outs. Read up on your obligations as an employer under the Work Health & Safety Act 2011.
- Ensuring adequate training and detailed instructions for users will ensure the alarm system is used properly.
- Obtain several itemised quotes for the system (and any monitoring) from different suppliers.
- Be aware of the impact of alarm activation and the need for consultation with any neighbours.
- Check with your local council if there are any laws relating to noise pollution and alarms sounding for a period of time unattended.
- Ensure plans are in place for regular testing and maintenance of the system (helps avoid false alarm activations). Signs indicating an alarm system is operating can act as a deterrent and should be displayed.
For more information
- A fact sheet on engaging a security contractor is available on our website.
- Information on alarm responses is available on the Victoria Police website.