Kennewick to Begin ‘False Security Alarm’ Reduction Program
The City of Kennewick has announced they are beginning a new program designed to reduce the number of false alarms from security systems, which they say account for about 99% of their alarm calls.
These are calls that police respond to when a security system is activated. According to Mike Blatman of the Kennewick Police Department, 32 years ago the city began to require a license for the installation of a security system, and there were about 500 locations. Now, there's nearly 3,000. Whether they're homes or businesses, the oversight of these systems are now going to be maintained by a private party contracted with the city.
Blatman announced Thursday the city will be turning over it's alarm services to Cry Wolf. Currently, Kennewick has codes that do fine people for a certain number of 'false alarms.' For example, if a bank has a false alarm within a six month period, no charge. But if there's a second, there is a $50 penalty, paid to the city. It goes up from there, to $100 for 4 or more in six months, and that's per offense. But the city utilizes significant police resources chasing down these alarms, most of which are false.
Cry Wolf is a nationwide firm that works with cities, handling the licensing, license renewal and what is called 'false alarm compliance.' They handle pretty much all the procedures for licensing and monitoring security systems that alert police.Cry Wolf will handle all data collection of fines and fees. The system also reportedly tracks data and works with residents and companies to reduce the number of false alarms.
Cities such as LA, Atlanta and others saw dramatic drops in their police calls to false alarms, according to the Cry Wolf website. Currently, Blatman says 99% of alarm calls from security systems are false.
Kennewick has a new Cry Wolf subpage, but it has yet to be populated with the ordinances governing alarm systems etc. No word if the Cry Wolf or city fees will rise once the new system comes online. Blatman says utilizing this new company will greatly reduce the number of calls having to be made by police, and free up hundreds, if not thousands, of man hours. Once it's active, residents and businesses will be directed to this page to sign up or register their system.
The company also says on it's website that compliance numbers also increase greatly under their system, meaning more and more residents and businesses register their security systems with the city.