Police in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Are Gunning to Slash False Dispatches

Police say the majority of false dispatches in the community result from locations that have multiple instances of nuisance alarms.

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — The police chief in this affluent community near Phoenix has received approval from the town council to being penalizing repeat false-alarm offenders in their pocket books.

According to Paradise Valley Police Department records, police officers responded to 3,672 security alarms in 2017, of which more than 99% were false alarms. Police Chief Peter Wingert told the Paradise Valley Independent that only five of those calls were due to an actual emergency.

More than 2,200 police work hours were used on false alarm calls last year, the newspaper reported.

“You’re talking about a lot of time — 2,200 hours that we’ve spent on false alarms in 2017,” Chief Wingert said during a recent presentation to Paradise Valley Town Council.

Most of the false alarm calls originate from locations that have multiple instances of nuisance alarms. Wingert told town officials that only 683 of the locations police responded to last year had only one false alarm call. He stated that reducing the top 10 locations where alarms go off regularly would cut the number of total calls by 8%.

Beginning July 1, property owners with multiple false alarm violations will be subject to fines as outlined in an ordinance already in place to enforce false alarms. The city had previously abandoned taking action on the regulations in 2012. When it was originally put in place, the ordinance led to a reduction in false alarms by 10% from 2009 to 2010.

False alarms will be put on record if there is “no evidence of a crime or emergency is observed,” the newspaper reported. A first violation results in no fine and a warning letter, and each following violation will lead to a $100 fine that can be appealed to the town manager.

The police chief’s outline to reduce false alarms suggested providing Paradise Valley residents with tips to avoid false alarms, including a June reminder prior to monsoon storms. Chief Wingert explained that when the power goes out at a residence and the alarm system’s batteries run out, it sends an alarm to dispatch.

“If we can send out a reminder in June that might cut it back too, so I’m trying to work the education side of it,” he said.

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