Independence Police had been been spending too much time frequently dealing with false alarms – so much so the city allowed it to shift responsibility of the alarm program from the its communications unit to a third party.
With about 15 false alarms per day, each one netting a two-officer response of about 30 minutes, IPD said it lost valuable time on proactive patrols and other services.
Sunday marked the beginning of the new false-alarm reduction program, in which the company CryWolf will manage alarm application review, data entry, monitoring and the tracking of false alarms. The city ordinance passed earlier this year requires all alarm users – private and business locations – to register with the program.
Registration is free, though there are fines for failure to register and renew, plus a graduated penalty for repeat false alarms.
According to police, only 71 of its 4,408 alarm calls (1.6 percent) received in 2017 were deemed actual alarms. That is consistent with nationwide trends, it says. False alarms also hamper fire department and EMS operations.
Council Member Mike Huff said police have found that about half of the false alarms could be traced “shabby work” with wiring when security companies installed the alarm system. The city code currently does not require a low-voltage electric work permit, something that would change with an ordinance scheduled for a council vote later this month. Theoretically, such permits should curb the number of false alarms due to bad wiring.
Numerous cities across the United States have employed CryWolf to manage alarm programs, and police said number of false alarms has been reduced by as much as 70 percent in a year.
To register alarms online, go to Crywolfservices.com/independencemo. Call 855-732-9029 with any questions about the program.