For immediate release: July 2, 2018
The Independence False Alarm Reduction Program
The Independence Police Department is implementing a new program in an effort to substantially reduce the number of false alarms in the city, and subsequently, cut down on the amount of time police officers spend responding to false alarms. The Independence Alarm Ordinance defines a false alarm as “the activation of an alarm system in the city resulting in an urgent response by law enforcement, fire or emergency medical personnel when a situation requiring an urgent response does not, in fact, exist at the time of the alarm.”
The police department responds to an average of 15 false alarms per day, with each alarm requiring a two-officer response lasting about 30 minutes. This valuable time could instead be spent conducting pro-active patrols, positive community contacts and other police services in the city. The fire department also experiences a significant amount of false alarms daily which impacts their personnel and response times. Nationwide, approximately 99% or more of all burglar alarms police respond to are false. False alarms present a serious threat to the effectiveness of police, fire and EMS departments, as well as to the safety of our citizens. In 2017 the Independence Police Department received 4,408 alarm calls. Only 71 of these were deemed actual alarms.
The alarm registration process for both residential and business alarms within the City of Independence has previously been handled as a secondary duty by the IPD’s Communications Unit, whose primary responsibility is receiving and dispatching calls for service for both the police and fire departments. The alarm process includes the alarm application review, data entry, monitoring and tracking of false alarms.
The new Independence False Alarm Reduction program will remove the responsibility of the alarm program from the Communications Unit staff of the police department and shift it to a third party vendor named CryWolf, who will be able to more effectively manage the program. Other communities have had great success reducing the number of false alarms when they require alarms to be registered and assess cost recovery for false alarms. Cities using this system have reduced the number of false alarms by as much as 70% in one year after implementing an alarm registration system.
The new ordinance language was effective on June 1, 2018 and this program went into effect on July 1, 2018. All alarm users in the City of Independence are required to register with the program under the city ordinance. This includes all private and business locations. Registration is free but there are fines for failure to register and renew, as well as a graduated penalty for repeat false alarms.
Citizens and businesses with alarms can register online at crywolfservices.com/independencemo and can call (855) 732-9029 with any questions about the program. The website will also contain helpful tips on how to reduce a majority of false alarms that are preventable with proper operation.