Signal Hill Police Dept. seeking public’s help in reducing false security-alarm system calls

The Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD) is seeking the public’s help to reduce the incidence of police responses to false security-alarm system calls for service.
“The Signal Hill Police Department responded to over 1,200 false security-alarm calls for service during the past two years,” said SHPD Chief Michael Langston. “For a city the size of Signal Hill, that number is excessive and has negatively impacted police services. These calls prevent, divert and delay police officers from patrolling neighborhoods and responding to legitimate calls for police services, or investigating and solving crimes.”
False alarms typically result from faulty or defective systems, improperly trained users and, occasionally, misuse of the system itself, according to the SHPD. Both residential and commercial businesses that have security alarm systems are required by a local ordinance to have an alarm permit issued by the City. The permits help police identify who to contact in emergencies and, in some cases, who is authorized to be on certain premises. Permit fees are $15 and $30, respectively, for residential and commercial permits and are valid for two years.
“We are encouraging our security-alarm system users to contact their alarm-monitoring service companies and to adopt the Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) protocol supported by the alarm industry,” Langston said.
ECV requires that the alarm-monitoring service make a second call to a second telephone number before requesting a dispatch from law-enforcement agencies. The first call is typically to the premises. The Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association indicates on its website that when a dealer implements enhanced call verification, 40 to 50 percent of alarm signals that traditionally would have been dispatched under premises verification were not because the signal was verified as not valid on the second call.
According to Langston, alarm users, with or without a permit, will be charged a cost-recovery fee for the second and any subsequent police response to a false security-alarm system call for service within any 12-month period of time. The cost-recovery fees of either $50 or $100 are based upon the type of police response: burglary or robbery/panic alarm. Cost-recovery fees are not imposed when officers determine that an actual crime related to the alarm response occurred or when the false alarm is caused by earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other unusual meteorological event.
Violations of the local ordinance, including failure to obtain an alarm permit, are infractions and can be enforced through criminal enforcement, civil action or an administrative citation. “Frankly, our interest is not in collecting cost-recovery fees in this matter,” Langston said. “We would prefer to see that all alarm users obtain permits and work with their alarm-monitoring service companies to ensure that their alarm systems are working properly, the users are properly trained and that they engage the ECV protocol. Reducing the incidence of police responses to false security-alarm systems calls for service will help us to improve police services overall.”

Source: SHPD

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