The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is sending officers on almost 57,000 false alarm runs a year, delaying response for real emergencies and putting police officers at risk.
The false alarms were caused by an outmoded computer system which has cost the City of Los Angeles at least $4.5 million that should have been collected from businesses or homeowners generating false burglar alarms, according to the Daily News.
An ordinance enacted in the 1990s is supposed to levy a fine to property owners whose alarms summon police frequently, but the computer system that tracks false alarms is faulty and missing 40 percent of the revenue that should be collected by the city, the newspaper reported.
“It can drain a lot of manpower,” said one LAPD officer, Gary Shanahan. “If I’m working three days in a row and I hear a particular business and we were just there last night, the alarm may be malfunctioning.”
Ninety-seven percent of automatic alarm calls are false, and LAPD send out officers on an average of 163 alarms a day. Most of them are at businesses, and the International Jewelry Plaza in downtown Los Angeles is the number one false-alarm generator, the report said.
The high-rise building is home to 380 independent, small jewelry companies, all of them with individual silent alarms. LAPD received 253 false alarms last year from that building alone, according to the newspaper.