LA council asks for delay in false-alarm policy

Thursday, November 6, 2003

November 6, 2003

LOS ANGELES - If the Los Angeles City Council has its way, the compromise burglar alarm policy it adopted earlier this year, which was supposed to take effect Nov. 1, will be delayed.

A council committee learned on Monday that the software necessary to track false alarms would cost $400,000 and wouldn’t be ready until 2005 because of LAPD’s plan to change to a new computer system that year.

According to the California Alarm Association, at Tuesday night’s meeting, the full council asked the Los Angeles Police Commission to wait at least 30 days before implementing the policy. It is now up to the five-member commission to implement the delay voluntarily.

Under the policy, police would respond to two unverified burglar alarms at a home or business per year. Beyond that, alarms would need to be verified before police would respond.

Dan Koenig, executive director of the LAPC, suggested purchasing 12 to 16 laptop computers and outfitting them with the software to track alarm data. The computers would cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

“ The police commission wants to try this policy out,” Koenig told Copley News Service. “But we may get down the road and see that it doesn’t work, so why spend half a million on it now?”

It was not immediately clear if the LAPD would delay implementation of the policy, which would raise permit fees from the current $31 to $95. The policy would also raise false alarm fines for those with valid permits to $95 for the first offense, with escalating fines of $50 more per incident. Those without valid permits would pay $190 for the first offense and face escalating fines of $100 per incident.

According to the CAA, the city is unprepared to implement the new policy at present, even though police officers have been briefed about the policy.