False Alarm Update: California City Initiates Limited Verified Response


The Southern California city of Simi Valley is implementing
a limited form of verified response where only repeat
offenders of false alarms would have to verify the alarm
with police before police respond. Even for those who will
have to verify alarms, police will still automatically
respond during late night hours.

The Simi Valley City Council unanimously approved the new
alarm ordinance May 2 and it is expected to be implemented
immediately. Under the new law, police will no longer
respond to an alarm at a home or business with more than
three false alarms within a year unless it is verified at
the source, according to the Ventura County Star.
The law also says that verification must come through the
use of two of the following methods: a video feed,
activation of exterior alarm sensors, interior activation
of alarm sensors, verification by telephone or verification
by a private guard.

The law also sets up a system of fines, where a $150 fee
would be assessed for a third false alarm in a year, $250
for a fourth and $500 for each false alarm after that.

The Simi Valley law has been three months in the making and
included input from Simi
Valley residents and business leaders
at a March 30
community meeting. “Holding that public meeting was a good
idea,” Simi Valley Mayor Paul Miller told the
Star. “It got their input.”

The limited form of the Simi Valley ordinance is similar to
one that went into effect nid=1871>last year in nearby Los Angeles, where police
don’t respond to alarm customers with more than two false
alarms in a year unless it is verified. Fremont (see below)
remains the only California city with a policy where every
alarm must be verified before police response.

In other false alarm news …

DURHAM, N.C.: The North Carolina city is considering
raising its fees for fire and police response to false

According to the Herald-Sun, the Durham City Council
will consider on May 5 a measure that would raise the
current fine of $48 for police response and $100 for fire
department response to a second and third false alarm in a
year to $150. The fine would go up incrementally to a
maximum for $350 for each false alarm after a ninth.

If passed, the new ordinance would go into effect on Jan. 1.

FREMONT, Calif: After more than a month under a
total verified response policy, both supporters and foes of
Fremont, Calif.’s verified response policy say it has yet
to be seen just what effect it will have on police response
and crime.

Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler told the San Jose
that the burglary rate has gone down since
the new policy was put in place nid=2182>March 20 and criticized those who predicted
that the new policy would lay out a “welcome mat” for
thieves. However, Steckler also warned that crime figures
are cyclical and an 11-pecernt drop in burglaries can’t
necessarily be linked to the new policy.

“The reality is, like all crime, burglary is cyclical,”
Steckler told the Mercury-News. “A lot of burglaries
are committed by young men ages 15 to 25, and we’ll
probably see an upward trend during summer vacation.”

Michael Salk of the East Bay Alarm Association told the
newspaper he agrees with the chief about one thing: “A 30-
day sample is statistically irrelevant.”

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