DALLAS, Texas - Police in Olympia, Washington, are pleased with a new program that has reduced the number of false alarms by more than 30 percent while still allowing them to protect and serve their community.
The dramatic decrease in false alarms is attributed to the adoption of a model ordinance jointly developed by the alarm industry and law enforcement. The model calls for alarm registration, increased fines for false alarms as well as state-of-the-art security alarm panels that decrease the number of false alarms. It also suggests Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) â€“ the practice of calling back-up phone numbers so false alarms can be identified before officers are dispatched.
â€œOlympia should be commended for recognizing that people depend on alarms for their own safety as well as the security of their homes, businesses, schools and places of worship,â€ said Stan Martin, president of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). â€œBy working with the industry and alarm owners, Olympia will continue to provide police response the public expects and at the same time curtail false alarms.â€
Honolulu police have also seen a 20 percent drop in the number of false alarms. Officers attribute the steady decline to the cityâ€™s requirement that alarm owners now register their systems with the city. In addition, registration fees and fines now generate more than $300,000 a year for the city.
â€œThe alarm industry stands ready to help local police departments and communities deal with alarm issues,â€ said Martin. â€œWe have research, experts and technical information that can lead to a win-win situation for the whole community.â€
â€œOpponents of this positive approach have not served their communities as well,â€ said Martin. â€œA perfect example is Salt Lake City â€“ a strong proponent of the non-response approach.â€
The latest FBI statistics show the number of property crimes in Salt Lake City increased in the first half of 2005 as compared to the same period in 2004. The cityâ€™s burglary rate remains far above the national average and the number of burglaries increased since the city implemented its non-response ordinance.
â€œIf the bottom line is cutting crime, non-response isnâ€™t the answer,â€ said Martin. â€œIt puts peopleâ€™s lives at risk with no real benefit for the community.â€
SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations â€“ Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA).