DALLAS - In the first month of â€œverified responseâ€ for business burglar alarms in Dallas, a key statistic shows the failure of the policy. Business burglaries in March 2006 shot up 17.9 percent compared to March of 2005.
â€œThe City of Dallas has a real problem with this statistic,â€ said Chris Russell, president of the North Texas Alarm Association. "A proposal that was supposed to help police fight more crime has instead led to a predictable increase in crime. This is why fewer than 30 of the nationâ€™s approximate 18,000 police departments utilize verified response.â€
This increase in burglaries and other related crimes is typical for the few cities that do use verified response. In Fremont, California, police reported a 14.4 percent increase in burglaries following the first year of verified response in that city. Similar increases in crime were also seen in Salt Lake City after it adopted a verified response program.
Dallas homeowners need to know that the Dallas City Council appears committed to imposing verified response on homeowners in the future. â€œHomeowners must make their wishes known at City Hall or they will face the same crime problems business owners are now facing,â€ said Russell.
â€œThe cities with the greatest success in dealing with false alarm issues and maintaining public support take a citizen-oriented approach,â€ said Russell. Cities such as Olympia, Washington, are addressing alarm issues with impressive success. Olympia has reduced false alarm dispatches by more than 70 percent while maintaining police response to alarms. â€œDallas can accomplish the same thing by working with the alarm industry and the state legislature,â€ added Russell.
False alarm dispatches were already showing a downward trend when a citizenâ€™s committee recommended the controversial verified response program. The total number of dispatches to false alarms was down by nearly 60 percent before verified response and there were numerous alternatives that would have continued that trend while allowing the police to continue to protect and serve the whole community. â€œThe average savings of 30 minutes a week per patrol officer under â€˜verified responseâ€™ is not worth a big jump in crime like this,â€ stated Russell.