The latest in home security allows a homeowner to check the status of their house from a smartphone or laptop, with systems that monitor everything from fire to water leaks.
But aging equipment at Great Neck police stations limit notifications received by law enforcement to three emergencies: fire, burglary, and holdup.
“The newer systems give you a better range of notifications that you can receive,” said Great Neck Estates Chief of Police John Garbedian June 16. “Now they give you carbon monoxide, low heat, water. The new systems also allow video feed.”
Planned upgrades in the villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Lake Success will arm police with more information about household emergencies. Village of Kensington has no plans to upgrade.
For residents served by the Nassau County Police Department, alarms are monitored by a central station.
Replaced would be aging equipment at the Great Neck Estates, Kings Point, and Lake Success police stations.
The three villages contract with a private security company with which residents can also contract. The company’s equipment allows residents to set up their home-security system to notify the village police station when their alarm is triggered. Newer systems provide more detailed information for police, if those options are chosen by the homeowner.
Lieutenant George Banville of the Kings Point Police said for a fee from General, residents who use other companies can pay to have their alarm wired directly to the Kings Point Police Station.
Garbedian said video feed is an investigative tool that provides detectives with pictures of whoever illegally entered a house. New security systems can also tell police what triggered a burglar alarm, whether it be a window or front door.
The Great Neck Estates Police Department is being upgraded by General Security “any day now,” Garbedian said.
Banville said Kings Point officials either already signed a new contract with General, or will sign one any day now.
Great Neck Estates, Kings Point, and Lake Success currently use older systems from General.
The Village of Kensington does not contract with any security firm, said Kensington Chief of Police Lt. Michael Conlon. He said residents with security systems can set up their alarm to send the police station an recorded message every time the alarm is triggered.
“A lot of alarm companies don’t like to let homeowners know that that is an option, because then they lose a central-station charge,” Conlon said. “We prefer when the alarms come directly to us.”
He said the lag time with a central station can be up to 20 minutes, especially with an out-of-state central station.
Conlon said Kensington officials explored and decided against contracting with a security company several years ago.
One issue was forcing residents to use one particular security company. The other was a lack of dispatchers.
While Kensington police are always on patrol, the station is not manned 24/7. When Kensington police are unable to answer emergency calls, Conlon said the fire department acts as dispatcher, with a police response time of two minutes.
“We don’t have the capabilities,” Conlon said. “We don’t have a dispatcher in the building at all times to receive those calls. Something else would have to be worked out.”
The Village of Lake Success approved a contract with World Wide Security Group that authorizes the company to replace aging equipment from General that is 12 to 15 years old.
Representatives from World Wide Security promised a seamless transition for residents in a process that could take about a month.
About one third of the village is wired directly into the police station, said Village of Lake Success Trustee Paul Glantz at the meeting. He said residents would not be required to change alarm companies.
“The problem we were having with General is they were more expensive than anything you would get from any other company,” said Village of Lake Success Trustee Adam Hoffman.
Garbedian said options like a water leak detector could provide homeowners with peace of mind.
“I’ve been to a house where water was seen coming down the driveway,” Garbedian said.
Upon entry, police discovered a basement completely filled with water. With a water alarm, police would be notified and could call a homeowner’s plumber before the leak was seen from the street.
“Things can happen inside that you can’t see from the outside,” he said.