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Calif. City Switches to Verified Alarms Only

The San Jose (Calif.) Police Department hopes to eliminate 15,700 responses in 2012 after the city council approved a verified burglar alarm policy. As one element to improve street patrol staffing, police will now respond only to burglar alarms when there is additional information that a crime is actually occurring. Panic, duress and robbery alarms will continue to receive a response, as well as burglar alarms at firearms dealers, banks, ATM’s and other critical locations. Police chief Chris Moore noted that several other cities have adopted a verified policy, including Salt Lake City (Utah), and have experienced no change in crime that can be traced to the policy. Interestingly, Moore said that alarm companies attribute 80% of the alarms to just 20% of premise owners, and suggest focusing on chronic alarms. But Moore said studies by other cities show a wider responsibility for false alarms among property owners. Download (pdf) Moore’s report to a city council committee on the proposal, and read more about the policy here.

2 comments… add one

  • imnotrich January 31, 2012, 11:35 am

    Dear Burglars, this podunk town’s police department no longer responds to in progress burglary alarm calls. How giving notice like that could NOT cause an increase in property crimes I don’t know.

    Here’s the thing – when you stop responding on calls like audible burglar alarms, alarm companies will then claim it’s a silent alarm or hold up or some other alarm that meets your response criteria.

    Similarly, neighbors will call anonymously and claim they saw somebody breaking in, when in fact they’re just griping about the noise.

    Policies like this one are just asking for trouble.

    Ask the Stockton, CA police department. They had a “non response” list for alarms that frequently cried wolf. Guess what? The bad guys had access to that list. So when an alarm company calls in a hold up alarm at a liquor store and the police don’t respond (only to find two dead employees inside a few hours later) tell me how this policy is working to protect the public again?

    I don’t get it.

  • geek January 31, 2012, 11:37 am

    Dear Burglars, this podunk town’s police department no longer responds to in progress burglary alarm calls. How giving notice like that could NOT cause an increase in property crimes I don’t know.

    Here’s the thing – when you stop responding on calls like audible burglar alarms, alarm companies will then claim it’s a silent alarm or hold up or some other alarm that meets your response criteria.

    Similarly, neighbors will call anonymously and claim they saw somebody breaking in, when in fact they’re just griping about the noise.

    Policies like this one are just asking for trouble.

    Ask the Stockton, CA police department. They had a “non response” list for alarms that frequently cried wolf. Guess what? The bad guys had access to that list. So when an alarm company calls in a hold up alarm at a liquor store and the police don’t respond (only to find two dead employees inside a few hours later) tell me how this policy is working to protect the public again?

    I don’t get it.

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