False Alarm Prevention

How many false alarms occur?

Of all police calls, alarm dispatches comprise of anywhere between 10 to 20 percent of calls. Yet, of these, as much as 94 to 99 percent are false alarms. It’s a huge number that could easily be reduced, since most false alarms are caused to human error. To put this into perspective, here are three city reports, which show how many false alarms occurred in the year 2000.

  • Dekalb, GA: There were 144,000 burglary alarm calls; only 39 of were actual burglaries or burglary attempts. The rest were false alarms.
  • Seattle, WA: There were 30,000 burglary alarm calls; 97.5 percent of these were false alarms.
  • Chicago, IL: There were 300,000 burglary alarm calls; 98 percent of these were false alarms.

How much do false alarms cost?

False alarms literally drain tons of police resources. In 2000, there were a total of 36 million false burglar alarms, which cost $1.8 billion. If these resources were shifted to areas that actually required police attention, 35,000 police officers would be assigned to other responsibilities.

In the same Seattle example listed above, it cost the department $52 dollars to respond to each false alarm. The 911 centers there also had to first process the calls, which totaled $303,237.

What do false alarms mean for homeowners?

Since there are so many false alarms that occur due to human error, there are some penalties if they happen to you. Over 3,000 cities throughout the U.S. charge false alarm fines. For first-time offenders, these fines are often low (no more than $35). Each additional offense increases the fine amount, which can then top hundreds of dollars.

7 steps to reduce the likelihood of a false alarm