False Alarm Update: Bellingham Enacts Verified Response


The city council in Bellingham, Wash., has voted to approve
a new police policy where officers would only respond to
alarms verified by a security guard or someone else on site
and also gives police the option to not respond at all
whether there is verification or not.

The council during its Aug. 30 meeting rejected another
plan presented by local alarm companies for increased false
alarm fees as an alternative to dealing with the false
dispatch problem in the city 90 miles north of Seattle. As
a compromise to alarm users, the council did approve the
end to all false alarm fees.

Under the new policy, police will also be able to label a
repeat false alarm offender as a “problem alarm” and stop
all response to alarms there. It is unclear how many false
alarms would constitute a problem alarm. Verified response
will apply for 24 hours to residential alarms and between 6
a.m. and 10 p.m. for commercial alarms.

Police say they will begin enforcing the new policy in

Jim Vos, owner of Bellingham Lock and Safe, told KOMO-TV
that the verified response policy will likely make
Bellingham look like an easy target for criminals. “Only
time is going to tell, but I don’t want to be the statistic
that proves that it does,” Vos said. “Why not keep the
deterrent in place and protect the homeowner?”

However, Bellingham Police Lt. Dave Doll told KOMO that
alarm companies need to hire their own security guards. “We
estimated we could have one police officer spend eight
hours a day, every day of the entire year, responding to
alarms that are false,” Doll said. “What you have is the
alarm companies selling a product, charging a monthly fee,
and getting public services to do the work of that product.
It’s just not right.”

In other false alarm news …

SIAC Calls for Enhanced Call Verification: The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) has endorsed the concept of enhanced call verification, or ECV, as a way for cities and the industry to control the false alarm problem.
Under ECV, the central station makes and additional call to an alarm customer’s back-up number or cellular phone before calling police after and alarm activation.

PLANTATION, Fla.:The city council in the town just west of Fort Lauderdale is considering increased fees for false alarms generated by fire and medical alarm systems.
While the first three alarms would still only get a warning, the fine for a fourth false alarm in a calendar year would be $150, up from $75. The fifth, sixth and seventh occurrences will carry fines of $250, $400, and $500, respectively, up from the current $75, $90, and $105.
Fines for false burglary alarms would remain unchanged at $75 on the fourth and fifth incidents on a year, $90 on the sixth, and $105 on the seventh and subsequent instances.
The Plantation Council has not yet set a date for when it will consider the ordinance.

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