False Alarm Fines Suspended in Minnesota City During Rash of Burglaries

Business owners in Rochester, Minn., are asked to contact their alarm company to request the first alarm notification call go directly to police dispatch.

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Police here have suspended false alarm fees for commercial businesses until further notice due to a large number of actual burglaries.

In the wake of nearly 50 burglaries in the past three months, business owners have been asked by police to contact their alarm company and request the first notification phone call after an alarm is made to police dispatch instead of the business owner or key holder.

An analysis of the incidents committed since Jan. 1 indicates many of the burglaries may be linked, though no pattern about the day or time of the burglaries has been noted, according to the Post-Bulletin.

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Initially, the burglaries were occurring on the fringes of Rochester, Capt. John Sherwin told the newspaper, but they’ve now spread citywide. Most of the recent activity has taken place on the weekends. In several burglaries, a suspect was believed to have been observed outside soon after closing by employees of neighboring businesses.

“One burglar can be very, very prolific,” Sherwin told the newspaper, possibly accounting for many of the incidents, “but it could be more than one individual, operating independently. There are some similarities, but (the burglaries) are not all connected.”

Because repeated calls for false alarms eventually generate a fine against the business owner, many of the owners cancel the police response before an officer responds.

“Some owners (recently) have canceled, so we didn’t respond,” Sherwin told the newspaper, “and it turned out there’d been a burglary. We can’t solve these if we don’t respond” immediately.

Residential alarms are not included in the fee waiver.

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