L.A. Mayor Backs Less Strict Alarm Plan


Homeowners and business owners should be allowed two false
burglar alarms before they would need to verify a break-in
for police response, proposed Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn
July 15. This is a compromise in the months-long debate
about whether the Los Angeles Police Department has the
resources to continue answering burglar alarms.

Under the proposed policy, owners would also be charged for all false alarms and would be cited for having alarms without police permits. Deputy Mayor Roberta Yang said the compromise was designed to balance scarce police resources with the need for security, reported Los Angeles Times.

The matter will now go to the police commission. Tami Cantania, public information director for the police commission, said the panel had no comment on the proposal, but would discuss the matter at its meeting July 22.

The deputy mayor said the current proposal was developed in conjunction with commission staff and other city agencies, the article stated. The new policy would reduce police responses to false alarms by more than 50 percent, she said. She said advocates were confident that the commission would “give it a fair hearing.”

In January the commission approved a new policy that would have ended police response to unverified burglar alarms. The policy brought criticism from residents and business owners, who complained that they would be left unprotected.

The alarm industry also contested the policy, stating having police not respond to alarms jeopardizes the public safety for all alarm owners in the city. But police officials said the Los Angeles Police Department was wasting patrol time responding to false alarms, which last year made up 92 percent of alarm calls.

Implementation of the new policy was put on hold while a city task force studied the matter. Last month, the task force proposed a “three strikes” policy that would have allowed three false alarms, but the commission declined to adopt that proposal.

Councilwomen Janice Hahn and Wendy Greuel, who have urged the LAPD to modify its policy, said July 15 that they would lobby the police commissioners to back the mayor’s proposal. “This is a lesson learned that you never give up,” Greuel said, according to the Times. “I appreciate the leadership of the mayor on this to break the logjam.”

Councilwoman Hahn noted that the city could increase its revenue under the proposal, which would stiffen the enforcement of false alarms. “This is really a comprehensive solution,” she said.

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