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False Alarms Big Problem?

If you have a burglar alarm, you know a false alarm at some point is inevitable. The Los Angeles Police Department was considering enacting a policy to eliminate dispatching any police to false alarms. They were hoping this policy would:

* Save patrol resources and money
* Allow police to respond to more important crimes
* Eliminate a special service to a small part of the community
* End providing public service that was creating a private company profit

However, research concluded there were no facts supporting a need for this new policy. “Researchers at the University North Carolina Charlotte found that alarm systems are a proven method of protecting life and property and that measuring effectiveness based on false alarms can be misleading.”

In fact, studies showed the false alarm rate to be lower than the standard. An accepted standard is an alarm rate of .5, or one police response to an alarm property every two years. In Los Angeles, the alarm rate was measured as .4, an average of one police response about every three years. The alarm rate is calculated by dividing the number of alarm calls into the total number of alarmed properties. In addition, it was determined that alarm calls only contributed to 1% of all distress calls coming in to LAPD.

The main concern was public safety, and with the possibility of eliminating police response to false alarms, “the task force produced empirical evidence that indicated this would have a negative impact on public safety and the policy was rejected.”

Intrusion alarms have been found to improve the public safety, not just for your property, but for the whole community. “Rutgers University concluded that communities that have electronic security systems installed and monitored have a measurable positive impact on public safety. It also found that this umbrella of enhanced protection extended beyond the protected property and homes or businesses benefited from their neighbor’s alarm system. The Rutgers study also showed that crime was not displaced or moved from the protected property to another part of the community.”

Want to read the entire article? Check it out here: Alarm Response Policies

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