Ventura, Calif., Votes 6-0 to Go to Non-Response

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - Fed up with the cost of responding to false alarms, police will no longer show up for burglar alarm calls unless crimes in progress have been certified.

Police Chief Pat Miller said 99.5 percent of 4,824 alarm calls last year were false, straining police resources at a time when the department is facing budget constraints. False alarms cost more than $155,000 in lost personnel time, wasted fuel and vehicle wear.

The City Council on Monday voted 6-0 in favor of the more stringent response plan, which is similar to one used in the Ventura County communities of Simi Valley and Oxnard.

"This is going to make a big difference," Miller said.

Police will respond to a burglar alarm call only when a resident, property owner or an alarm company employee using installed cameras can personally confirm that a break-in occurred.

Officers on patrol will still be alerted to the alarm and may choose to respond if there are factors that lead them to believe the alarm is valid. Officers also will respond to all emergency medical aid and panic alarms.

"This is going to make a big difference," Miller said.