The following report, blew me away on so many different levels. From beginning to end.
A certain Service Provider that receives money from a client, on the basis, that such SP (Service Provider) will deliver various services to such client, under the Umbrella of Alarm Systems, Armed Patrol, Security Reaction to Alarms being triggered. I am not 100% familiar with the Terms and Conditions of such SP and I am not a client of such SP BUT I have sufficient ‘layman’s knowledge” or general knowledge on what this SP provides.
Here is my Report.
A Service Provider, put a client’s 15yr old child’s life at risk today, during one of their response reactions to a triggered alarm.
I will summarise this as best as possible. The following information was provided by the neighbour of the SP’s client, who wishes to be anonymous while sharing her story with me.
“My neighbour’s home alarm was triggered at 9:07am. Nobody was at home. My husband and I were outside when the alarm was triggered. We walked up and down our property to see if we could see someone suspicious in their property. We wanted to make sure that if there were people who tried to break into the neighbours house, we wanted to make sure they didn’t jump over the wall and enter our property. But we didn’t see anyone from our side. We could not see what was happening behind the neighbours house, or around the garage and swimming pool areas, because those areas are not in our line of sight. We saw none on the property or any suspicious vehicles in the road near the house.
The alarm sounded for 2 minutes and then stopped. My husband waited with me to make sure the reaction unit was there, before he left me to go to work. The reaction vehicle did not arrive, and my husband had to leave for work. He was not comfortable leaving me alone on my property, but he had no choice. I find myself alone in my property, waiting for the reaction vehicle to arrive. I was nervous but not much, because I new the SP armed response unit would arrive any minute now.
They didn’t. I waited and waited, ………..they never arrived.
A few minutes more minutes passed, and suddenly the 15yr child of the client (my neighbour) came home. I told him about the alarm and that they has been no reaction unit car here from the SP, so he (the child) cannot go into that house.
MY FIRST HORROR – it had been at least 6 or 7 minutes since the alarm went off. The security company’s vehicle should have been here by now. But they weren’t.
If I had to leave with my husband that morning, that 15yr child would have entered his house quiet happily. The child had no way of knowing that the alarm had gone off (as it was now silent), and when the child came home, there was no reaction car. So the child had ABSOLUTELY no reason to suspect anything was out of the ordinary. The child could have walked straight into their house and into the presence of criminals – had they remained behind.
Without me there to tell the child what possible danger there was, things could have turned very ugly. That child could have been in danger.
But THAT was not the worst of it, believe me, read on.
I then got the emergency number from the SP sign, displayed in my neighbors property. To keep my words short, I will not elaborate but rather give you a run down of what transpired in my numerous phone calls to the SP emergency.
- In my first phone call I asked if they received the signal from my neighbour. It was confirmed that they received it at 9.07am. I asked them where their car was… I was told it was on the way. I asked what is the standard procedure to a activated alarm. I was told, that they get a car to the property within 8 minutes. I told the female callcenter agent that the car was very late – already 4 minutes by their own company procedures and standards. I told her the child came home and the alarm wasn’t still going off, so he nearly walked into the house, because the car hadn’t arrived yet. And that was distressing.
She then asked me “so must we still send a car out there?” I was shocked. OF COURSE I said.” You have no idea, who I am, I could be the criminal and now you can choose to not still send the car. I could have a full day to rob this house blind”. She conceited and said she will still send the car and that the reaction officer said he was 2 minutes away.
I will not take you through the next few minutes but let’s skip to when the car finally arrived. I say finally, because the car pulled into the driveway some 31 minutes after the alarm was triggered.
When the car casually came to the house, and I do mean CASUALLY, found the house, the driver paused at the gate, took a phone call, casually drove up the driveway and casually climbed out the vehicle.
We spoke briefly with this absolutely bored Reaction officer, who …… and here comes the shocker….. asked the 15yr old child to unlock the kitchen door, and then proceeded to walked into the house WITH the child!!!!!!!. With the child he walks into an unknown house where they mayor may not be criminals, or maybe just a gecko who tripped the alarm…… I DON’T CARE… YOU DO NOT TAKE OR ALLOW, A CHILD INTO A HOUSE UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES.
I shouted to the child to come out the house. They returned. The reaction guy walked around the house and came to speak to me. The conversations went along the lines that he was dispatched from town, which is far away which is why it took so long for him to get here. He said there were only 2 vehicles in this area and they were busy. There are 2 vehicles in our neighboring area as well, he told me. I pointed out then why not send those two as they would be much closer than town.
I was told those two cars were also very very very busy. He then proceeded to tell me that at this time of the year, house break in’s were many and everybody was busy. I said well then surely you should get to the houses a lot quicker than 30 minutes.
This man was arrogant. At one point when I tried to get him to explain some industry lingo he used….. (something about not being able to leave a scene until the police gave him a positive etc…) and he looked at me as if is was : irritating, and stupid. So instead of answering or trying to explain it to me, he chose to completely ignored me, the adult and spoke to the child in Zulu. He then proceeded to let the child translate into english what he was saying. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand what the Reaction Agent was saying to me in english, it was because I couldn’t understand the explanation he gave me as being satisfactory. I wanted to understand how it could take 31 minutes to respond to a house alarm, and that be okay. I take it, that it was at this point that the Reaction Agent decided to rather speak to the child in Zulu. Arrogant and rude, is all I can call it. THIS is the service, we as the public get from this particular SP through their Reaction Agents. SHOCKING !
You would think that was horrific enough. My neighbour could have come home to a dead or injured child, who was let into the house by their Security company. Shocking. Horrific.
I of course, after phoning various of this SP’s 08 numbers, finally got through to one of the Area Managers and explained what has transpired.
It was pointed out and confirmed that when the Reaction officer arrived there, he never asked any of us to identify ourselves (whilst waiting for him the 15yr had a friend come to their house), he did not phone the client and tell him that there was a child on his property who claimed to be his child (because as far as this officer was concerned, he could actually have been talking to the criminals themselves. He did not phone the client and ask for the password or the child for the password, before he left the property, after his “extensive and thorough” search of the property. He did not even go to the back half of the property behind the garage and the swimming pool.
The manager was of course shocked by what I had explained what happened. He thanked me for bringing this to their attention, and letting them deal with the situation.
I specifically told the Area Manager that I wanted to be called back and tell me what corrective measures have been put in place to ensure that this was dealt with accordingly and that this will not happen again. My number was taken, I was assured I would be called.
Never happened. I was not called. I do not know how the matter was dealt with. I do not know what the outcome was. I was told nothing.
I think to myself, surely there must have been an investigation of some sort or meeting of some kind, with this reaction officer. Maybe they would have phoned me to gather evidence from me or a statement from me and the child.
I used to think the Reaction officer put the child’s life in danger, taking him into the house that day.
Now I think it was both the Reaction Officer as well as the Company call center female agent who asked if she should still send the car, that put this child’s life in danger. I think the company procedure which I was told by the first callcenter female agent, where the vehicle should be at a triggered alarm’s house, within 8 minutes – yet the company has allowed in this particular incident where it took 31 minutes for this reaction vehicle to arrive at the house.
All of the above had a big part in this dangerous incident. The CallCenter Agent, the Reaction Officer, the 31 minutes to arrive (company service delivery) and an Area Manager who to date, still hasn’t come back to me.
This Service Provider dear people, is one of the 4 most well named brands in Security Companies for home alarms and reaction units.
My neighbour would have been none the wiser of this, I think. Because unlucky for the 15yr child, their parents thought the child was at school, and were not aware of the child returning home at 9:15am. They thought their child was safe at school.
As a parent I say, kids will be kids and bunking school for a day is nothing new. Imagine you come home and your child has been injured or worse, due to them walking into a crime in progress ……in your house. The reaction unit only got there 30 minutes later and you were completely unaware what was happening in your home.
So much could have gone wrong that day…… I am thankful it didn’t. ”
My thoughts on this report is : I wish we could name and shame this company. Bring to light what happened in this incident and say to people, “you are paying a sum of money on a monthly basis, for the service that the SP is giving you. If this happened to you, involved with your child, would you REALLY REALLY appreciate the service you got from the SP? Is this the service you are paying for? Would you stay with them it this happened to you?
You are paying for safety, but are you really being protected?
thanks for reading