April 5, 2012
Los Angles Angels Outfielder Learns his Alarm System Works: Meets Local Police the Hard Way
It’s opening day for our beloved MLB, so I’m mixing baseball and burglar alarms. You may be aware that security companies encourage their customers to test every home alarm system on a regular basis, to make sure everything is working. For older home systems this is a good idea, especially if you have a traditional installation that only communicates in the event of alarm activation – and that means over 80% of the alarm systems in the US. After all, not every alarm service providers offers the advanced interactive services you can get from FrontPoint! Then there are the homeowners who set off their systems by accident: usually they receive the verification call from the monitoring center, and the alarm is canceled before police are dispatched to the home. Finally there are those rare situations when someone who lives in the home gets to meet the police unexpectedly, as in this story from Newport Beach, California.
Los Angeles Angels right fielder Torii Hunter had a frightening encounter with police at his Newport Coast home Wednesday afternoon, when two Newport Beach officers entered the house and escorted him upstairs -- with guns drawn -- so he could show them identification. The incident began when Hunter accidentally triggered his home's alarm upon entering.
Why the Police were Dispatched
A dispatcher [at the monitoring center] called Hunter’s wife's cell phone, but she was in Texas and didn't answer the call. Hunter said he was lying on the couch watching TV when he saw two officers in his backyard approaching the back door. "I saw the cops and turned around and they had their guns out, saying, 'Show me your hands!' " Hunter said. "I'm like, 'All right, I'm cool.'”
It Could Have Been Worse
“I had a pistol upstairs. I'm a licensed gun owner. I'm glad I didn't get it because I could have been shot. What would have happened if I went out there?" Hunter said the officers instructed him to sit down and began asking him questions. He said he told them his ID was upstairs, so they walked behind him up the stairs with their guns drawn. "After a while, the guy told me, 'I'm a big Angels fan. I watch you all the time,' "Hunter said. "I'm like, 'Come on, man.' "
Police Confirm the Incident
Newport Beach police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe confirmed that officers responded to an alarm call at Hunter's residence. "Responding officers contacted the resident and confirmed that the alarm was unfounded," Lowe said in an email. "I have no further details at this time."
All’s Well that Ends Well
Hunter tweeted about the incident Wednesday afternoon just as the Angels were concluding their exhibition season with an 8-3 win over the Dodgers. "I'm not upset that the cops did their job today. I'm actually glad they were protecting my home," Hunter wrote. The former Twins outfielder later added, "The cops that were here today had their guns drawn but pointed downward for safety. Those guys handled the situation like trained cops."
What I found interesting is that the monitoring center only called one number (Hunter’s wife’s cell phone) before dispatching the police. It’s standard these days for the monitoring center to try two different homeowner numbers, to reduce the incidence of unnecessarily sending the police to a false alarm. And these days, so with so many people getting rid of their home phone lines, that’s generally two cell phone numbers that are called. But in Torii Hunter’s case, since he travels extensively, it is understandable that the monitoring center would not be calling him to verify the alarm activation.
It’s also a bit intriguing that there was no siren in the home triggered by the alarm activation, since that is also standard in most home alarm systems. The siren can act as a reminder to the homeowner to disarm the system (since the control unit generally dials out to the monitoring center only after the siren has sounded for a short time), and the siren can also tell an intruder to get, while the getting’s good. But it appears that the Hunter residence had no siren.
Despite these two anomalies, Torii and his wife can at least feel good that their home is protected, and that their local police do respond in a timely (and serious) manner. With a home intrusion taking place every 14 seconds somewhere in the US, monitored home security spells peace of mind to a growing number of homeowners. And when you are shopping for the best in protection, make sure you look for safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive services – two things that FrontPoint is known for. Our systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And we care deeply about every home we protect. That’s why we’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Now, play ball!