SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With virtually no public notice, San Jose police announced via their web site that the department will no longer respond to unverified burglar alarms. The sudden policy change provides no opportunity for citizens to arrange or fund private security guards to respond and will lead to the real possibility that homeowners and business owners will undertake the dangerous practice of responding to alarms on their own.
"We are calling on San Jose elected officials to put this dangerous policy on hold until the city can explore options that will fund police response and generate revenue for the city," said Jerry Lenander, executive director of the California Alarm Association. "A sudden change in policy leaves alarm owners, ranging from homeowners to businesses, churches, schools and other buildings, unprotected and should not be implemented without further review and public comment," said Lenander.
The False Alarm Response Audit conducted by the San Jose Police Department in 2008 specifically notes one of the main drawbacks of the non-response system the city plans to implement:
"The verified response protocol would force the alarm industry to either sell their customers (your taxpayers) expensive audio/video hardware or to employ roving private security to spot check alarm activations in order to verify the alarm prior to requesting police response."
"Fewer than 30 of the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies have adopted this policy," said Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. "Ten states and the National Association of Chiefs of Police recommend a more comprehensive strategy that maintains response by highly trained police officers while dealing with all common alarm issues."
"A verified response policy is a 1980s solution to a problem that other communities have solved with national best practices for alarm management and police funding," Martin.
- "The City of Oakland has reduced alarm dispatches and collected more than $1 million in alarm related fees. With the help of third party administrators and good enforcement of the ordinance, the city expects to end the fiscal year with substantially less alarm dispatches and increased revenue." Antone Hicks, Oakland Police Department.
- "The new ordinance, permit, and fee schedule will allow the Police Department to add additional personnel to respond to all alarm calls, thus serving the needs and expectations of our citizens and business community." Lt. Charles Robinson, Cathedral City Police Department.
- The City of Dallas, Texas voted to end verified response after complaints from local business owners and a new mayor determined that verified response hurt economic development and cost the city more than $1 million lost revenue.
"These nationwide best practices could be implemented in San Jose without adding additional administrative personnel and would generate up to $5 million in additional income for the city," said Martin.
SOURCE California Alarm Association