Fremont, Calif.: No Spike in Burglaries after Verified Response

Fremont, Calif., police have released crime statistics following their adoption of a verified response policy (also known as a non-response policy). The city stopped responding to unverified burglar alarm calls on March 20, 2005, following severe budget cutbacks throughout numerous city services.

Six months later, they're saying that there has hardly been an effect. The city reported 385 burglaries in the four months between April 1 and the end of July; compared with some 364 burglaries over the same four-month period in 2004. The numbers reflect a 6 percent increase, certainly within the margins of yearly variances.

According to the Fremont Police Department's alarm unit, those statistics will be available on the department's website within a week or two.

The security and alarm community around the Bay Area (Fremont is located south of San Francisco) was very vocal in its opposition to the move to verified response. The city's move to the policy came swiftly and didn't have the necessary public input, according to many affected by the policy.

In May 2005, the city released 30-day data on the verified response policy, which also indicated that the town's crime hadn't spiked. In fact, early numbers for the first 30 days showed a slight dip. Critics said those numbers were said to be too small of a data set, and some have been said the four-month data is also too small a set to give a clear picture of the policy's effect on crime.

The town's policy requires that a burglar alarm have a verification of a crime, break-in or suspicious activity -- i.e., by a guard, by vide, or by a neighbor or the homeowner -- before police will be dispatched. Unverified alarms will be "broadcasted and filed," meaning police can choose whether or not to respond.