False Alarm Update: Fremont, Simi Valley, East Providence


Verified response is now a reality in Fremont, Calif., as the city’s police put its previously delayed new alarm response policy into effect on March 20. Under the new policy, Fremont police aren’t responding to burglar alarms unless a resident, property owner or alarm company employee is able to show evidence that a crime occurred, such as glass breakage or seeing a suspicious person.

Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler ordered the new policy on on Jan. 20, but delayed it on Feb. 16 for a month while issuing a warning that there would be no further delays. Fremont is the first California city to go to a full verified response policy.

The Argus reports the new policy was put to the test less than two hours after it went into effect.

At 1:27 a.m. March 20, Sonitrol notified police of a verified break-in at Warwick Elementary School. Sonitrol says it was able to verify the alarm because listening devices it had installed detected voices and movements in classrooms. Police officers surrounded the campus and arrested three 17-year-old boys for attempted burglary.

In the first 11 hours of the new policy, there were five alarm calls in all, in which only the school call proved not to be false. Fremont insurance salesman Dennis Wolfe, who has been an outspoken critic of the new policy, told The Argus that those calls are a sign that criminals are already stepping up their work in Fremont.

“It’s just the beginning. Twenty-percent – one out of five –  of the alarms (Sunday) morning were real. That’s a far cry from the 1 percent the (police) chief said were real,” Wolfe says.

In other false alarm news …

SIMI VALLEY, Calif.:Police in the Southern California community 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles have postponed a plan to propose verified response to the city’s council and will instead hold a community meeting to determine the best policy to deal with false alarms.

The Ventura County Star reports the Simi Valley Police Department (SVPD) will hold a community meeting on March 30 to hear from residents and business owners on “the pros and cons” of verified response and how to improve the quality of their alarm systems.

The SVPD had planned to present verified response to the city council on April 4. That has been postponed pending the results of the community meeting.

Under the proposed Simi Valley policy, an alarm company would be required to verify a security breach with a video feed, an eyewitness or private security before sending police to the scene.

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I.:The Rhode Island city has increased the fines for excessive false alarms.

The Providence Journal reports under a new ordinance approved by the city council, a $100 penalty will now be imposed for a fourth false fire or burglar alarm within a calendar year.

The fine goes up to $250 for a fifth incident and $1,000 for each false alarm after that.

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