This summer I had a friend stay at my place while I was gone. Oh it was gonna be nice to allow my friend to enjoy my home! Nice, but forgetting to give him the alarm code cost me 90 bucks.
However, one can get the $90 fee waived if they attend a “false alarm class” at SPD HQ. It’s pretty comical, but I got some good nuggets of info I thought I might share.
- 98% of all alarms are false
- False alarms cost the city $1.2 million a year
- Majority of false alarms are at homes that have 1-2 a year
- Response rate to a burglary alarm averages 40 mins! This is b/c 98% of alarms are false.
- Out of 14,000 alarms police responded to, 330 were actual break ins and 32 resulted in arrests
- Use your panic button for quicker response.
- Consider using private guard through your alarm provider as they can come by and check on your alarm before police do.
- If your neighbor calls in your alarm, it’s not a false alarm. Maybe hire your neighbor??
Basically, the police have a low tolerance for alarms and don’t respond quickly. In fact, he said when the power goes out, they usually don’t respond at all (alarms are triggered when the power goes back on).
I’m not sure the city’s false alarm stats are as accurate as they may lead you to believe. I’ve heard SPD staff state that a lot of the false alarms over the summer were set off by prospective burglars. They shake doors to try and trigger it and run off if it does.
And I can also say from personal experience that police don’t always have time to do a thorough inspection of the perimeter of houses when there’s an alarm. About 10 years ago I had a break-in to the basement on the side of the house that isn’t visible from the street. Police didn’t check that side and assumed it was a false alarm when it wasn’t. Luckily the alarm scared them off before they could get anything.
they note that positives are ones backed by physical evidence. apparently what you and i think is PE may not be PE to the department. your example is a good one. a woman in the class noted that she was there b/c somebody had triggered the basement window but the only evidence was a broken window pane that didn’t appear to be a b&e attempt. she wasn’t happy that SPD didn’t view that as evidence.
bottom line–make sure you report anything real and make sure you encourage SPD to look at your house thoroughly. They look for pry marks and that’s about it. Otherwise, you’ll be in the SPD basement on a Tuesday night with 10 of your closest friends and be donating 90 mins of your life you will not get back.
I’m averaging 1 false alarm a year. The first was when we headed down to the cheesesteak place to offer our support for the owner of the shop who was killed. When we got home, two police officers with flashlight and guns drawn were sweeping our house. We were startled but relieved to find that our alarm worked. The officers said they were called a couple minutes ago and apparently were pretty quick to the call. We found out that our backdoor had not been shut tight and the wind blew it open.
Our second experience was just about 2 months ago. The alarm went off and I thought I canceled it in time. Brinks called but did I did not answer thinking it’s too early in morning for anyone to call. I went out to take out the trash and found two police officers zooming up to my driveway. I realized that they were responding to the alarm.
I’m pretty impressed with the response time in both cases.
In both cases, I committed the crime and paid the fine.
The best alarm is a dog. Plus, they are wonderful bed heaters :-)