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  • False residential/commercial alarms.

    In the two years I have been on, I have never been on a "real" alarm call. I bet we average 2 calls per day. Most of the time I have no problem with it as it sometimes gives me something to do. But we waste a lot of time and fuel driving from one side of the county to the other for false alarms.

    So, my question is. Does your department do anything about it? I have heard of some Departments charging $50 for false alarms after one or two "give me's" I agree with this because the alarm owner's will not "tune there system" to prevent the false alarms. Your opinions please. Myself and another Deputy have been thinking of bringing it up to the Sheriff.

  • #2
    Dude that is my BIGGEST gripe about patrol here. I have said, I wish there was a study (would have to be done by a party who's mission is to track this my dept is to big for deputies to get together and do this) on how much fuel, manpower (2 deputies per alarm call minimum) and time, add that time from dispatch to call clear over the course of a year, and add up how many deputies got dispatched what their hourly wage is and add all that up to how much money a year is spent on false alarms. We have a pretty busy call volume where I am and just when we get off something real, inevitably we'll get the freaking alarm call just when we are trying to park and get paperwork done from the previous call. These things are such a pain in the ***. I have been to hundreds alarm calls and have only had about 5 that were real. Then there are the daily customers and the ones who go off 2-4 times a shift. On the 3rd dispatch we just refuse to go out. My dept has to spend a GRIP on false alarms yearly from what I see.

    As soon as I am dispatched I always cancel the back up unit. No need to waste two units for some BS alarm call. Oh, did I say, I HATE alarms. Some people have the same old decayed alarm system when they first came out and still act suprised when it goes off as if they can't figure out why. Well LADY maybe you might would want to get it serviced once in the 18yrs since you've had it!
    Ignored: Towncop, Pulicords, TacoMac, Ten08

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    • #3
      After three false alarms in a one year period we fine the offender's for the false alarms. The fine is $150.00 per false alarm if our code enforcement people choose to fine. Needless to say, it provides an incentive to commercial properties to fix their alarms.
      " The Beatings will continue until Morale Improves "

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      • #4
        Originally posted by NJLAWMAN214 View Post
        After three false alarms in a one year period we fine the offender's for the false alarms. The fine is $150.00 per false alarm if our code enforcement people choose to fine. Needless to say, it provides an incentive to commercial properties to fix their alarms.
        ^^^^Love that.

        We dont have a huge number of alarm calls. In a former PD, we used false alarm incident reports, of FAIR cards. more that 3 during a 30 day period, and you were fined.

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        • #5
          In 20 years,average minimum 1 a day,(you do the math) I have had exactly 3 real alarms.LOVE,the idea of false alarms,hell it is against the law to file any other type false report ,isn't it???
          Sleeping Giant. They're not fat and happy anymore. They are hungry and increasingly angry. That is not a good recipe for a "Puppies and Rainbows America".

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          • #6
            We have false alarm fines. I believe after 2 falses, they start getting hammered
            Disturbed
            Forum Member
            Last edited by Disturbed; 06-14-2011, 06:17 AM.

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            • #7
              My town has a comprehensive false alarm ordinance. Alarms must have permits and there's a fine for false alarms that increases with frequency.

              The problem is people above my pay grade absolutely refuse to enforce it.

              Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if there were no false alarms: if we always found a broken window.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by NJLAWMAN214 View Post
                After three false alarms in a one year period we fine the offender's for the false alarms. The fine is $150.00 per false alarm if our code enforcement people choose to fine. Needless to say, it provides an incentive to commercial properties to fix their alarms.
                Ours is pretty much the same, but we give them 5 freebies.
                \

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NJLAWMAN214 View Post
                  After three false alarms in a one year period we fine the offender's for the false alarms. The fine is $150.00 per false alarm if our code enforcement people choose to fine. Needless to say, it provides an incentive to commercial properties to fix their alarms.
                  The city of Cedar Rapids Iowa did this a number of years ago.........................(I think the ordinance is still in use).

                  The effect was dramatic in that there are far fewer false alarms now. Sure they happen but the "serial offenders" make sure their alarms work--

                  I don't hear of any fines being leaved anymore so the PD must not use the ordinance much! ---anymore. When they first enacted the ordinance---there was a lot of revenue
                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                  • #10
                    Here's our ordinance:

                    Sec. 28-117. Penalties for repeated false alarms.
                    (a) A false alarm is defined for this section as any activation, whether intentional or unintentional, of any alarm system to which the ****** Department of Public Safety is requested by a representative of the alarm company, an automated system, or a third party to respond to the alarm location for a possible emergency when no emergency exists. A third party may be, but is not limited to, another agency that has received notification of the alarm or any person that hears an audible alarm, to include city employees. A test of an alarm system shall not be considered a false alarm if the ****** Department of Public Safety receives prior notification at least 15 minutes before the test.
                    (b) The ****** Department of Public Safety shall maintain records of responses to all alarms and the reason for activation, if known. Penalties will be determined by the number of false alarms during a one month period, from midnight beginning the first day of a month to midnight of the last day of a month. Penalties for false alarms will be as follows: 1st alarm--No penalty, 2nd alarm--($50.00), 3rd alarm--$100.00, and 4th and subsequent alarms--$200.00 each.
                    (c) The ****** Department of Public Safety shall issue a written notice of the penalties to the party owning or in possession of the premises containing the alarm location. Failure to pay any such penalty when due and owed shall constitute a violation of this section.

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                    • #11
                      Define false alarm for me please.
                      Having been on all three sides of the fence as a police officer, alarm installer, and perpetrator (alarm owner) there needs to be a definition of a false alarm.

                      Most are operator error. If this is your biggest problem, yes a monetary fine system could be a good solution. This would make the alarm owners educate themselves on the alarm or get it fixed meaning have the installer change a parameter in programming such as having a time window extended in which there is no alarm, or changing an offending zone into a different acting zone. An example is changing a perimeter door from an instant to a delayed alarm zone to let the owner get to the touchpad in time.

                      Push for having to register the alarm and pay every year for an alarm permit. Get to know the good alarm companies and their techs. Keep several of their phone numbers on hand for any questions you might have while on a call. I would be glad to assist any officer technically.

                      A lackadaisic attitude toward alarms and canceling backup are a good way to get killed. Please take every alarm seriously. The one you don't and turns out to be valid will hurt you and your department bad.

                      Also know the alarm industry is well aware of the issue and has taken a lot of measures to prevent them. As I said before get these local alarm companies involved with any city, county ordinances you may want to inflict upon the public. These companies might have great suggestions you never thought of.
                      OneAdam12
                      Conservitum Americum
                      Last edited by OneAdam12; 06-14-2011, 12:27 PM.
                      Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OneAdam12 View Post
                        Define false alarm for me please.
                        Having been on all three sides of the fence as a police officer, alarm installer, and perpetrator (alarm owner) there needs to be a definition of a false alarm.

                        Most are operator error. If this is your biggest problem, yes a monetary fine system could be a good solution. This would make the alarm owners educate themselves on the alarm or get it fixed meaning have the installer change a parameter in programming such as having a time window extended in which there is no alarm, or changing an offending zone into a different acting zone. An example is changing a perimeter door from an instant to a delayed alarm zone to let the owner get to the touchpad in time.

                        The VAST majority of false alarms are operator error or as you stated badly set parameters.

                        The "false alarm" where there is no observable cause--------could have very easily been a test by a criminal to see if there was a response...............so absent of a provable problem............it is not necessarily a false alarm.

                        Sometimes it is a "mechanical" error that can be fixed easily-------------------but in fact many alarms are installed then forgotten...........those need servicing and if the owner doesn't do that on their own-----ya sometimes need to jab them.

                        The fines really worked in my area........................I do know the ordinance was hotly contested, but now it is a non issue because the owners comply.
                        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                        • #13
                          Three free in a year. Then a letter telling them we won't be showing up until the problem is fixed. Then the get fined and dropped from response.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by OneAdam12 View Post
                            A lackadaisic attitude toward alarms and canceling backup are a good way to get killed. Please take every alarm seriously. The one you don't and turns out to be valid will hurt you and your department bad.
                            I'm more likely to get killed on a traffic stop which typically is just me, rather than an alarm call. I'v made plenty of arrest, foot pursuits, and fights from traffic stops, and have answered waaay more "false" alarm calls than traffic stops made and never arrested anyone, and only had approximately 5 (thats giving about 2 of them for the sake of saying) that were real. On this job you can be killed doing ANYTHING just being in a marked unit. I understand what you are saying but alarm calls given the ratio of false ones to real ones pose little threat on the scale compared to all of our other job hazards. However, most of our calls pose a threat, and we have to be careful but when you go to thousands and only a couple are real calls, kind of hard to justify the need to stack the manpower on that type of call.
                            creolecop
                            Forum Member
                            Last edited by creolecop; 06-15-2011, 06:09 AM.
                            Ignored: Towncop, Pulicords, TacoMac, Ten08

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                            • #15
                              In addition, if one approaches the target building in a tactical manner, you can assess the location, activity, and environment for threats. From there, you can call for backing units.

                              But you probaby knew that.


                              Originally posted by creolecop View Post
                              I'm more likely to get killed on a traffic stop which typically is just me, rather than an alarm call. I'v made plenty of arrest, foot pursuits, and fights from traffic stops, and have answered waaay more "false" alarm calls than traffic stops made and never arrested anyone, and only had approximately 5 (thats giving about 2 of them for the sake of saying) that were real. On this job you can be killed doing ANYTHING just being in a marked unit. I understand what you are saying but alarm calls given the ratio of false ones to real ones pose little threat on the scale compared to all of our other job hazards. However, most of our calls pose a threat, and we have to be careful but when you go to thousands and only a couple are real calls, kind of hard to justify the need to stack the manpower on that type of call.

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