LJWorld.com weblogs Police Scanner action in Lawrence Kansas
Police Scanner Action- False Burglary Alarms
While listening to my scanner and hearing the "goings-ons" in Lawrence, Kansas, I have noticed a pesky little problem; false burglary alarms. Some days, it seems like there are at least 30 calls, all of which are false. I don't have the actual numbers from the Douglas County dispatch, I am just guessing. It is enough calls to be noticed and has made me wonder- what is the deal?
A little research has made me aware this is a major problem across the country. False alarms account for 10-25% of all police calls- and some statictics say only 1-3% of these alarms show any evidence of criminal activity. This is a HUGE waste of resources! In 1998 it was estimated that, in Chicago alone, the cost of responding to these alarms was equal to the cost of 198 full-time officers that year, For such a high-crime area, this is simply unacceptable.
Different cities have tried different approaches- some offer a certain amout of "free" call responses a year. Some cities require a certification and registration of your alarm system- to make sure you are using it responsibly- and will not answer your alarm if you are not registered. Some cities fine you if there is more than 1-3 calls a year.
These alarm companies have different ways of operating- some will try to contact the responsible party first. All to often though, it is the police who respond, sometimes during extremely busy times, when there is a lot of real criminal activity. This is not only wasteful, but puts the public at risk due to understaffing. Often times two units respond to these calls.
I am unsure what the answer is, but I am really curious to see what others think. This is costing billions of dollars in wasted resources. We just can't afford this anymore