Warren officials plan to get tough on false alarms

WARREN — The city is looking to first warn — and then fine — property owners when police respond repeatedly to their false alarms.

“The hope is the false alarms will stop,” said Councilwoman Susan Hartman, D-7th, who chairs council’s police and fire committee.

She said the police department will begin reporting to the law department those property owners whose burglar alarms sound when there is no emergency.

The effort is a safety issue for police officers responding to false alarms, and addressing it can hopefully free them to respond to actual emergencies, Hartman explained.

The city, Hartman said, has an ordinancethat calls for a $25 charge to a property owner if police are called to a business or residence more than three times annually because of equipment malfunction or human error.

After a fourth false alarm, Hartman said, the police department will notify the law department, which will send a warning letter to the owner and the $25 fee for subsequent alarms. Money collected will be deposited into the city’s general fund.

Police Capt. Tim Bowers said the department responds to an average 8.5 burglar alarms daily, or about 310 annually. The department receives about 130 calls for service per day. According to national statistics, Bowers noted, 93 percent of alarm callsare for false alarms.

But it’s difficult to determine if an alarm is false, Bowers said, because a would-be burglar may have touched a window, triggered the alarm and fled. Just because officers arrive and don’t find a burglary doesn’t mean there wasn’t an attempted break-in.

He argues that some alarm companies aren’t reliable and install a faulty system that generate false alarms.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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