Citing a report by the Police Executive Review Forum, the Commercial Appeal noted that the Memphis Police Department in Tennessee wastes a significant amount of time responding to residential alarm systems. As a result, authorities have less time to patrol the city, which may lead to an increase in criminal activity in urban areas.
“We’ve got a good police department that’s doing many of the right things and people need to know that,” chief administrative officer George Little said, according to the news source. “That being said, there are some challenges we’ll have to address.”
False alarms remain problematic
The Memphis Police Department responds to approximately 181 burglar alarm calls every day. The report also noted that authorities were dispatched on more than 66,000 alarm situations in 2011, second only to traffic stops, which averaged 484 incidents each day. Consequently, more than 46,000 of the alarms turned out to be false.
A separate report by the False Alarm Reduction Association revealed that improperly arming or disarming lock and access control systems are the most common reasons for falsely triggering an alarm. Lack of user training and understanding can also be regular factors.
Homeowners and business decision-makers should consider speaking with experienced professionals to learn how to properly use security systems. As a result, fewer false alarms will be sounded and local authorities won’t need to waste valuable time and effort responding to unnecessary calls.
“We have a culture that is used to picking up the phone and calling the police no matter how small the problem,” police director Toney Armstrong said, according to the Commercial Appeal. “It’s a culture we have to change.”
Little said the Memphis Police Department also needs to stop dispatching officials when individuals complain of petty theft when only one or two items are stolen. In these instances, victims can file a police report. Authorities can then skim through these reports to look for commonalities and potential serial burglars, for example, in which they would then send out officers to review the crime scene, the Commercial Appeal noted.
“If you get a bunch of hits in a neighborhood, then maybe you do need to go dust for prints and the whole nine yards,” Little said, according to the news source.