False alarms may mean real changes

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton leaders are considering changes to lessen the number of false alarm calls in the city.

Dayton police say the false alarms are making it harder for officers to deal with real calls.

Chief Richard Biehl says of the city’s nearly 5,000 alarm calls last year, about 97 percent were false.

False or not, two officers have to check the scene, taking up 40 minutes of their time and adding up to a major expense over the course of a year.

“Equivalent to one and a half to two officers full time responding to those alarms and providing no valuable service to citizens,” Biehl says.

From a work session Wednesday, we learned the city is looking into a policy called Enhanced Verification.

It would mean the alarm company would have to make two calls to check the alarm before calling police.

We wanted to know if that would make it harder for officers to respond to actual alarm calls.

“No, because how much time does it take to make two phone calls?” Biehl says. “That’s a very quick effort to see if the alarm is possibly false.

The city also wants to increase fines for false alarms and disconnect alarms after four false calls over 12 months.

In 2010 it made the cut off seven false alarms.  Since then the number of false alarm calls has dropped by about 2,000, but police say they remain an issue.

“That helped reduce some but we still have thousands of calls every year,” Biehl says.

City commissioners will still have to approve any changes to the city’s alarm ordinance.

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