By KAREN McKINLEY Bulletin Staff Writer The prying sounds of a metal instrument forcing a patio door open -- the soft squeak of shoes as an u n s e e n ' person creeps quietly across the floors -the -the sounds of drawers and cabinets being opened and Â·rummaged -- and often the sounds of whispering. These are all noises one might hear if he were to listen in on a burglary in . progress. They arc? also sounds sometimes not even d e t e c t a b l e to persons sleeping inside a house being burglarized. Bui these sounds are among the many that can be detected by sensitive Sonic Guard microphones. Sonic Guard is one of the most e f f e c t i v e sound s e c u r i t y s y s t e m s i n existence today. Available t o h o m e o w n e r s a n d businesses, it has grown f r o m a s m a l l local operation into a lucrative business with dealers in some 120 cities across the nation. The Sonic Guard system, as it is called locally, is one of the names given to dealers in these 120 cities: And it was invented right here in Anderson. In 1963 a city police officer by the name of Al Crunk came up with what he t h o u g h t was ,a new a p p r o a c h to security alarm systems. He took his idea to a local man known for his skills in engineering. Bob Baxter. T o g e t h e r C r o n k a n d Baxter came up with what is now the second largest alarm company utilizing central control stations in Hie United Stales. The SonUrol system is unique in its operation f r o m o t h e r s e c u r i t y systems in that it gives its c u s t o m e r s t o t a l area protection. Sonitrol can d e t e c t a n a t t e m p t e d break-in through walls, c e i l i n g s and floors, in a d d i t i o n to d e t e c t i n g door and window entry. The microphone is capable of covering up to 8.000 s q u a r e f e e t o f u n o b s t r u c t e d a r e a . H o w e v e r , if there is e x t e n s i v e carpeting ur other sound obstruction, the Sonitrol dealer will recommend more than one microphone be installed. The s y s t e m is also u n i q u e in t h a t it was especially engineered to reduce the number of fal.se alarms. A conventional "burglar" alarm can be triggered by a number of noises and can even be set off by c e r t a i n weather conditions. But the Sonitrol m i c r o p h o n e c a n b e adjusted so that normal s o u n d s o r w e a t h e r conditions will not trigger it. Also, with the Souilrol system, the operator is able to determine what is t a k i n g p l a c e . T h e c o n v e n t i o n a l b u r g l a r alarm is not capable of t r a n s m i t t i n g t h i s information. Only when police arrive to investigate can it be determined what has taken place. Another advantage of the system, according to S o n i c G u a r d General Manager Bill McNabney, is that the system can be reset at the control center. Most alarm systems, once they are set off, have to be reset at the- location of the alarm, a practice which is a t i m e - c o n s u m i n g inconvenience. B u t t h e g r e a t e s t advantage of all in the Sonitrol alarm system is that the burglar has no idea he is activating an alarm. The microphone- is virtually invisible: upon e n t e r i n g a b u i l d i n g e q u i p p e d . w i t h Sonic G u a r d , a b u r g l a r is immediately delected. If that person were to find and cut the phone line connected to the system, M c N a b n e y said, a silent alarm would be set off and the control center operator w o u l d i m m e d i a t e l y d i s p a t c h police to the location. The system works like t h i s : someone at each business or residence i n f o r m s t h e operator (there is one on duty 24 hour every day) when he is leaving the building and the operator then turns the individual microphone on. a d j u s t i n g t h e s o u n d sensitivity according to n o r m a l s o u n d s of the l o c a t i o n . B e f o r e t h e syslem 'can be turned on, h o w e v e r , the occupant must give the operator an i n d i v i d u a l code number i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , . If t h i s procedure is not followed, the operator notifies police immediately. She docs this on a phone line connected d i r e c t l y to local police agencies -- a phone line which docs not require dialing any numbers. Whenever an individual m i c r o p h o n e picks up a noise not normal to the surroundings of : certain business or residence, the o p e r a t o r i m m e d i a t e l y begins monitoring that p a r t i c u l a r micrbpTione. S h e i s t r a i n e d t o distinguish between noises that arc normal and noises that almost certainly point to a break-in. She then contacls police. The operator is also e q u i p p e d w i t h a ( a p e recorder w h i c h can be hooked up to the individual m i c r o p h o n e l i n e . A b u r g l a r y or hold-up in progress can be recorded and often times later used by police officers in Iheir investigation. In many cases, officers arrive at thn scene before the burglar has completed his w o r k . Apprehensions are fairly common through effective use of Sonilrol, along wilh the work of police officers. I n J a n u a r y a n d F e b r u a r y , two persons w e r e a p p r e h e n d e d by police with the help of Sonic G u a r d bere. In March thai figure jumped to five. Sonitrol also offers silent h o l d - u p a l a r m s t o customers. Some private homeowners in the area have these alarms in their residences, as do several b r a n c h b a n k s . Onec activated, the shrill alarm continues sounding until tbe control operator has dispatched police and has made c e r t a i n they have, arrived at the scene. She can then deactivate the a l a r m a l t h e control center. McfVubney says there a r e n o w s o m e 2 5 0 businesses in Anderson using the Sonic Guard cilarm system. There are about 40 homeowners in the A n d e r s o n area who have the system in their residences. A "dedicated" phone line can be leased from the phone company to connect tbe customer's microphone m Photoj by Steve Hagensieker SONIC-CIIAHD OPKRATOH MONITORS CONTHOl. CUNTER .. . Letta Miller is responsible for informing police when burglary or hold-up occurc directly to the control station without any outside interference. The security system is also used in a large number of schools across t h e n a t i o n , M e N a b n e y said. Several years ago the Sonic Guard located in the gymnasium, at Hazclwood School in Anderson was able to detect the dripjjing of u fire hose valve which had been knocked loose. A s a r e s u l t , t h e gymnasium and possibly other areas of the school were saved from what might h a v e been costly r e p a i r s d u e to' water d a m a g e . Other schools with the Sonitrol sccurilv system have had similar success stories, according to M c N a b n e y , "Sonitrol probably protects more schools in this country t h a n a n y o t h e r alarm syslem," he said. Thirteen schools in Anderson now have Sonic Guard, as.do schools in Muncie, South R e n d , F o r t W a y n e . D e t r o i t , Cleveland and Fort Memphis -- citfes which vandalism rates. He says there is little d i f f i c u l t y in selling the system to businessmen. If they arc not salsfied with their u n i t , according to McNabney. the installation feo is returned and the unit removed. H o m e o w n e r s different story, though, he says. Most usually wait until they have been a victim of n hold-up or burglary before inquiring about an alarm system. And by Ihon it's loo late. Tfl/l Reg. 199,99. 4 H.P, Easy Dagger 20" mower with JCPennoy Power Protection. Features Driggs and Slratlon engine with heavy duty two stage air filter and easy check oil'minder. 10" fear wheels. Snlepnceseffectlvethru Sunday. Some mowers partial assembly. Sale 499.99 Rog- 549.99. 7 HP ritiei Briggs and Slratton engine recoil starter. Has 30" deck, 5 forward speeds and reverse.