We've all seen the ads for home security and business-minded alarm systems — you might even have one installed at home — and in some cases they can be a godsend. In Detroit, however, the ridiculously high rate of false 911 calls generated by these systems has led the Detroit Police Department to demand that alarm companies verify crimes before requesting an officer.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. announced that as of August 22, the department would no longer be responding to burglar alarm calls unless the caller has proof that a law is being broken. The DPD receives a bounty of alarm notifications from home and business security firms every day, but a staggering 98% of the calls turn out to be false alarms — just one out of every 50 reveals an actual break-in.
These erroneous requests for officers put a drain on department resources, and can delay police response time to much more legitimate emergencies. To support its decision, a DPD press release noted that roughly 30 other police departments in big cities have instituted similar "verified response" programs since 1991, including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee.
Many businesses employ security staff to verify automated alarms, but homeowners may find their options considerably more limited. Some security companies already offer methods of verification such as live video feeds, but these options can be considerably more pricey than a standard alarm system. Though if the extra expense ensures a timely police response, it's likely worth it.
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