LAPD abandons verified response, adopts compromise

Thursday, July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

LOS ANGELES - On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Commission voted 4-1 in favor of a compromise plan for responding to alarms, putting an end to a year and a half of debate in the city.

The compromise plan, put forth last week by Mayor James Hahn, was adopted in lieu of the commission’s nonresponse policy for unverified alarms. That policy would have required a person or video-monitoring equipment at the scene to verify that there had been a break-in before police would respond.

Under the compromise policy, police will respond to alarms without requiring physical verification, unless a site has experienced two false alarms within a 12-month period. For the first false alarm, homeowners or businesses with valid permits will pay a $95 fine. For each false alarm after that, they will pay escalating fines of $50 more per incident. Those without permits will pay $190 for the first false alarm, with fines escalating at $100 per incident.

The new policy also requires alarm permits prior to installation of a system, and provides for penalties for alarm owners who do not keep permits current. For the time being, Hahn has requested an amnesty period to allow alarm owners and monitoring companies to acquire permits.

Hahn developed his proposal for a compromise policy with representatives of the City Council and other city departments, based in large part on the recommendations of the City of Los Angeles Burglar Alarm Task Force, which produced a comprehensive 50-page report in April.

Jerry Lenander of the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association, praised the task force for its work on the issue.

"I think the task force did a really good job in dissecting the issue," he said. "It’s really up to the citizens to determine what kind of policy they want and translate that to the police."