Friday, February 03, 2006

Burglar alarm subsidies harm taxpayers, public safety

Maybe another reason police are solving fewer violent crimes than ever before is that they're spending so much time chasing down false burglar alarms. Dallas PD has decided to stop responding to commercial burglar alarms until alarm companies verify a crime was committed at the business. Dallas police say 97% of such calls are false alarms. In other cities, the false alarm rate tops 99%. Even when a crime has been committed, it's extremely rare for police to find a burglar still on the premises when they arrive. Such "verified response" policies save police departments in other jurisdictions huge sums, and free up officer resource to pursue actual criminals.

Alarm companies profits stem from massive, regressive taxpayer subsidies -- police respond to the alarms, after all, not the companies who get the money. Taxpayers should welcome DPD's common sense policy, and the city should extend it to residential alarms -- that'd be the equivalent of putting dozens of new officers on the street without raising taxes or reducing public safety in the least.


Steamboat Lion said...

Where I lived in Australia (Brisbane) you got one false alarm response from the Police or Fire Department each year. After that, if it's a false alarm, they charge you like a thousand bucks.


We're too soft on burglars in the United States. Read this column in Angry Frozen Head