Phoenix Police Spend Thousands Of Hours On False Alarms

Published: Monday, October 14, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2019 - 9:15am

When alarms go off accidentally at homes and businesses, it can be annoying. But, it can be costly, too.

Last year, Phoenix police responded to 48,256 alarm calls. Of those, 986 involved a crime. The Phoenix Police Department’s website says false alarms result in thousands of wasted hours annually.

During Wednesday’s public safety subcommittee meeting, Chair Michael Nowakowski asked Executive Assistant Chief Mike Kurtenbach if there were ways to verify whether the alarm is real before pulling officers off the streets.

“My concern would be that we not respond on even one call that actually ended up being valid,” he said.

Phoenix begins fining companies and alarm owners when they have two false alarms. The fee is $96 per response to false burglar alarms and $105 per response to false fire alarms. An alarm subscriber is required to obtain a permit with an annual renewal fee of $17.

In fiscal year 2018-19, Phoenix collected $1,097,000 in alarm permits and $1,080,000 in false alarm fees.

Nowakowski requested the police department look at how other cities use verification processes and handle false alarms.

In 2014, the Surprise City Council approved an ordinance requiring alarm companies or owners to verify potential criminal activity before calling police. Verification can come through:

  • Audio or video surveillance.
  • An eyewitness.
  • Two separate zones activated and no response by the owner to alarm company calls.
  • A verification from the owner to the alarm company that the alarm is valid.

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