False Alarm Update: Salem Goes to Verified Response


The city council in Salem, Ore., has unanimously approved a
new policy where police offers will no longer be required
to respond to unverified burglar alarms. The policy on
alarms, which goes into effect immediately, was HREF=t_ci_newsView.cfm?nid=1357>recommended in November
by a city task force as part of an approach at reducing
false alarms.

Under the new policy approved March 8, officers will only
be dispatched to alarms that have been verified by someone
at the scene or by electronic surveillance.

“If we know there is the possible indicator of crime, the
police are going to be there,” Councilor Dan Clem, who
headed the city task force that explored the issue, told
the Statesman Journal. “If it’s just another of
these false alarms, the police won’t.”

However, as a concession to concerns expressed by the alarm
industry, unverified alarms would be broadcast as “all-
units bulletins,” giving any patrol officer in the city the
discretion to respond. Even then, the broadcast will only
go out if an alarm company has called trice to try to
verify the possible crime.

Councilor Bruce Rogers told the Journal that people
with burglar alarms should not think that their safety has
been lost. “I think our citizens need to know that a
burglar alarm is more than a police officer responding,”
Rogers says. “It’s making noise, it’s driving people away,
it’s attracting attention.”

In other false alarm news …

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada: The Regina City
Council unanimously approved a new bylaw March 8 that adds
a $75 charge for alarm owners who have a third false alarm
and reduce police response to residences with more than
four false alarms within a year.

The fee will be charged to the homeowner or business that
owns the alarm, though the council had discussed, and
rejected, charging the alarm company that installed the

After a fourth false alarm within a year, police will no
longer be the “first responders” to an alarm.

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