Editorial: The high price of false alarms

There is a problem when 99.2 percent of the alarms police respond to are false and in this age of amazing technology, there is absolutely no reason for it to be that high.

It is a huge waste of resources to have our police officers verifying that the alarm is indeed false, and is a drain on taxpayer funds.

It would also be human nature for the officers to relax, take their time responding, since they know it’s a false alarm 99 percent of the time. And that could be dangerous.

Prescott Valley Police Department is asking its town council to act, changing ordinances so that the police only respond to verified responses (usually the alarm company must first contact the homeowner to make sure it’s not a false alarm).

This will no doubt delay response times. But, considering all the time wasted now responding to 766 false alarms a year, it makes sense.

The statistics are even worse in Prescott, where there were 2,400 alarms triggered in 2016 and only three were legitimate, Prescott Police Department officials said.

None of this is necessary, if only homeowners took responsibility for their own homes. Install a camera system tied to a smartphone. If the alarm is triggered, the homeowner can immediately check their phone and see if there’s a problem, or not. If there is then they’d be able to immediately inform the police.

If not, they could let them know that as well.

Considering it costs police more than $50 for each false alarm (some of that cost is passed along to the homeowner if there are repeat incidents), this makes a lot of sense and is a way to deal with the problem.

The cost of home surveillance has dropped significantly in recent years, well worth the peace of mind they provide. And they would be cheaper than having to pay the police for numerous false alarms.

It would also free up our police officers to patrol neighborhoods and businesses instead of wasting their time checking out false alarms.

All it takes is some personal responsibility, and that’s something all of us should be able to get behind.

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