Reducing False Burglar Alarms with AI & Computer Vision


Jun 5, 2024

Reducing False Burglar Alarms with Computer Vision & Video AI

False alarms are a big deal in burglar detection. For businesses, they lead to unnecessary expense, lost productivity, angry customers, reputational damage, and fines from local authorities. The good news is that video AI technology is emerging as a reliable solution to this long-standing challenge, offering a way to reduce false burglar alarms, quickly respond to real threats in a way that’s accessible and affordable for virtually any business.

The Cost of False Burglar Alarms

Estimated to cost millions if not billions to the public infrastructure, false burglar alarms are a persistent problem across the United States. Many communities and local governments have formed groups that work to reduce false alarms via proactive intervention and public awareness programs, including one association that works at a national level.

Yet until recently, the problem has been difficult to solve. Burglar alarms are essential for protecting assets and keeping people safe. Yet they’ve also traditionally been extremely prone to false alarms, thanks to typically alarms being triggered by movements rather than real threats which creates the inability to distinguish different shapes and movements, and a reliance on human interpretation.

And the consequences can be serious, if not downright disastrous. For instance: 

  • False burglar alarms often disrupt business for a few minutes (if you’re lucky), a couple of hours, or longer. Of course, this hurts productivity. In retail settings, transactions may be halted or kept to a minimum, which directly impacts revenue.
  • They can lead to fines from the police or the city (although not typically until the second or third incident).
  • They can cause embarrassment — not just to yourself and your staff, but also the customers on whom you depend to drive your business. This can harm your reputation and slow growth by discouraging new business and alienating loyal shoppers.
  1. Frequent false alarms instill a tendency for staff to ignore future alerts, making actual breaches even more damaging. This air of lax safety is particularly dangerous given today’s heightened need for vigilance regarding everything from cybersecurity to tailgating and self-checkout fraud.  

What Can Businesses Do to Reduce False Burglar Alarms?

What solutions are available to help curb the cost of false burglar alarms? In the past, options have been limited. Training staff in the optimal handling of detection equipment and undergoing regular system testing and maintenance are helpful and necessary steps. But they don’t do enough to reduce the risk of false alarms given the foundation upon which traditional alarms are built - movement detection.

Better solutions lie in technology, though traditionally, these solutions have come at a price. For instance, infrared or thermal cameras offer a higher level of visual detection. But they’re too costly for most businesses. They’re also expensive to scale, difficult to manage, and still subject to the kind of human error and bias that can cause false alarms.

The Rise of AI-Powered Computer Vision

Advances in computer vision technology have been much more promising. Largely removing the element of human error and misinterpretation altogether, computer vision delivers a higher level of capability around key aspects of intrusion detection like: 

  • Object detection
  • Image classification
  • Motion and pattern recognition
  • Facial recognition
  • Scene understanding

Supplanting old-school pixel-based camera feeds with a much higher level of resolution and intelligence, computer vision all but eliminates the problem of mistaking an animal or an object like a tree branch for a human intruder, one of the most common causes of false burglar alarms.

And that’s not all. Combined with predictive AI, computer vision can deliver a much more detailed picture of customer behavior that includes how customers move, where they congregate, and how long they linger in certain areas. Even better, it can monitor how these trends shift and change over time, or during certain times of day or the year. When discrepancies do occur, they’re much more likely to be detected — and they’re much less likely to be false alarms.

Reducing False Burglar Alarms with Affordable, Accessible Video AI

Until recently, though, technology like this was hard to come by, and rarely affordable. Installing the new cameras and infrastructure needed to leverage computer vision technology was only cost-effective for certain enterprise-level organizations.

Today, though, that’s changing — and more quickly than anticipated. Indeed, amid all the new use cases currently being promoted for AI, retail may be the space where it’s most comprehensively delivering on its initial promise of delivering a new level of value in a way that’s affordable for most businesses.

By applying advanced computer vision technology to the cameras you already use, solutions like Dragonfruit AI make cutting-edge intrusion detection accessible to all. In addition to all but eliminating false burglar alarms, the Dragonfruit AI helps you:

  • Improve incident management with automated pattern detection and smart alerts
  • Increase labor ROI with more effective staff monitoring, engagement, and management
  • Dramatically improve case management with fewer missed incidents and accelerated footage review
  • Easily scale for growth, or to better manage large venues or vast amounts of warehouse space

Fight Back Against False Alarms with Dragonfruit AI

Expand your business horizons with the power of Dragonfruit AI: Whether you’re a small retailer or a multinational corporation, our AI-based solutions have you covered with a suite of cutting-edge, app-based services to not only reduce false burglar alarms but also fuel growth, customer satisfaction, supply chain efficiency, self-checkout loss prevention, and much more. 

You can read more about our AI-driven burglar detection system here, or contact us today to schedule a meeting. 

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Disclosure: The apps promoted on this page are offered by Dragonfruit AI, a provider of app-based video AI business solutions. Read more about Dragonfruit AI here.

Image Credit: Featured image licensed under iStockPhoto account 16223288

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