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False alarm rates for home and business security systems are high across the country. In Springfield, the police department has decided to make a change in order to save resources. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has the story.
Springfield Police Department's Lt. Ben King says dispatchers receive as many as 400 calls a month. So far this year, the department has received over 2,100 false alarm calls.
“National standards are about 98 percent of all alarms that come in are false alarms,” said King.
Police say the frequency of false alarms cause delays in arriving on scene and may prevent response to critical calls from within city limits. Because of this, things are now changing in the way the department will be handling their alarms program.
Whereas the program used to be handled in-house, SPD has now outsourced the job of managing alarm systems in the Springfield city-limits to Texas-based PMAM Corporation.
“They’re one of the larger companies in the United States that manages false alarms, and they have a pretty good proven track record,” said King.
King says that most false alarms are simple mistakes and easy to correct. First, he recommends training all family members or company employees how to operate the alarm properly.
He also notes that many false alarms are caused by faulty systems. King says PMAM will be able to notify people in Springfield when these faults are detected.
“Then they’re aware of it and they can get that fixed so that were not getting our resources put out there for the false alarm. That’s part of what’s behind having this company take this over, because they have ways to educate people on how to not have a false alarm again so they’re getting bills in the mail,” said King.
Of the roughly 2,100 false alarm calls in Springfield so far this year, multiple violators are assessed a fine.
“Of those 294 were in violation of our ordnance, meaning they had had at least four false alarms to where on the fourth false alarm you are charged a civil penalty fee,” said King.
Upon the fourth violation, fees can range between $15-50, with charges to increase with additional violations.
For more information on how you can keep from causing a false alarm, go to our website, KSMU.org.