Detroit Police Have Given Up on Burglar Alarms

Illustration for article titled Detroit Police Have Given Up on Burglar Alarms

The Detroit Police Department has had enough. After pouring so much money and manpower into responding to false alarms, they're finally giving up. Before they come to your door to save you, you had better be able to verify a crime is in progress.

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The DPD has every reason to be frustrated. According to Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, 98% of the alarms they handle turn out to be false. That's way too much forgetting your ID on your way to the gym and setting off the alarm for anyone's liking. So on August 22nd they're requiring all alarm companies to find a way to verify the alarm before they respond. Otherwise they won't bother.

Detroit isn't the first city to do this. About 30 other police departments in the U.S. and Canada have adopted the policy since 1991, writes the Detroit Free Press. Which makes me wonder how burglar alarm systems could get things wrong for so long and for so many people.

One way to verify that a crime is taking place is to, you know, call the police. Generally pretty helpful. Another—most likely for companies or gated communities—is for a security guard to check on the alarm. And a third is for some form of video surveillance to accompany the alarm so that there's no doubt something is amiss. Which is also probably good for large companies. Families not so much.

But does this decision leave any room for burglars to take advantage of people? [CBS Local, Detroit Free Press]

Image Credit: ilFede/Shutterstock

DISCUSSION

It's simple. Charge/fine for falsies.

I had alarm in all my stores with a POC for the alarm company to call before the police were dispatched. The alarm company would call the store first, then start calling down the list of contacts.

When I was in the store and screwed up, I would call (before they called me) and gave them the PW to stop the police from coming.

If there was no one in the stores, the calls went like this.

Phone rings at 2am

Them: "You're alarm is going off, and no one answered at the location."

Me: "What alarm was it"

Them: "Looks like motion detector 2"

Me: "Let it go"

Knowing that there was no way to get to that area without opening doors, breaking windows, or tripping off other sensors, I told them to reset it and not call the police. Sometimes it was holiday decorations, sometimes it was fans and AC knocking over signage etc...

Having alarms in six stores for 10+ years, I never had the police dispatched more than a few times for false alarms. I had one store full of dumbasses that received a warning that the next call would carry a fine, but once I told them it would come out of their bonus, it never happened again.

Something wrong that police are showing up for all these falsies Are there alarm companies involved, or are the police immediately dispatched. I bet if they started fining, that percentage would drop.