Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Slashed in half

I have been giving annual updates in recent years on the reduction in false burglar alarms in Lincoln. I neglected to do so in January, but I am catching up now. False alarms fell to 2,383 in 2012. We can now say for the first time that the number of false burglar alarms has been slashed in half (and then some) from the high-water mark in 2002.

Since every one of these involves at least two officers being dispatched and some emergency driving, this has had a significant impact not only on workload, but on public and officer safety. This appears to have been achieved without impacting the number of actual burglaries. There were 1,593 burglaries reported to Lincoln police in 2012, compared with 1,964 in 2002.

There is still a little room for improvement. Although the number of chronic repeat addresses has fallen even further (242 in 2002 to 45 last year), there are still a handful of places that rack up impressive records of repeat false alarms. One local restaurant, for example, had 35 false alarms in 2012, and paid $6,000 in fees. That's a lot of onion rings.

Beginning this year, we are including false fire alarms in the ordinance. A false fire alarm is an even riskier proposition than a false burglary alarm, and consumes even more resources. It is a bit too soon to evaluate this, however, since it has only been in effect for a few months, and since the number of alarms is smaller. You can bet that I will be watching the data, though.


Anonymous said...

From news reports I have been reading the capture of the Boston bombing suspect was because the victim of the carjacking by one? of the bad guys had the foresight to turn his cell phone on and leave it on when he was forced out of the car. He then immediately notified the police and made them aware of this.

My question is: How often have LPD officers in Lincoln been aided in solving crimes because of GPS devices embedded in cell phones? Any suggestions to us in the Public about how to plan ahead for an event?

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

How are you going to deal with the inevitable false alarms from power outages during really stormy weather? When they start coming in, it's pretty fast and furious, as I recall.

Michelle said...

Director, I would be interested in the dispatch rate of your alarm calls (total alarm calls divided by total alarm systems). This is the standard that the industry and the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) recommend. I'm surprised that Lincoln PD is not a member of FARA (faraonline.org). This organization holds the only training conference for alarm units and is an invaluable resource for my unit.

Michelle said...

For Anonymous_
Power outages should not cause false alarms. The industry standard is that alarm systems should have a four hour battery backup. If power going on and off causes a signal to be triggered, it is likely due to faulty wiring/grounding that should be fixed to prevent future false alarm charges. For power outages of less than four hours, citizens in my jurisdiction should expect to receive an invoice for any false alarm.
Wind is cited as the cause of many false alarms during storms also. These alarms are preventable with the proper equipment--even on large garage-type overhead doors.

Tom Casady said...


Thanks for the line to faronline.org, and I will certainly bring it to the attention of the appropriate staff members at LPD and LF&R. Looks like a nice resources, as does your blog!

Seems to me that the ratio of false alarm responses to actual alarmed premises would be the best way to compare jurisdictions. Now you've got me curious.

2012 Intrusion/Duress Alarms v. Registered Alarms: 2,383/5,584

2012 Fire Alarms v. Registered Alarms: 1,194/5,371