EVERETT, WA – The City of Everett recently revised a local ordinance designed to reduce false alarm calls. Through the City ordinance, the Everett Police Department is starting a new “False Alarm Reduction Program.” The program will charge a fee to alarm security providers for false alarm responses. On average, the department receives almost 4,900 alarm calls a year, 90% of which are false or unfounded. Everett Police will begin charging false alarm response fees in September, 2020.
False alarm responses present a serious threat to the effectiveness of the department by diverting law enforcement resources from crimes in progress, other emergency situations, and time spent patrolling the city.
“Our police officers take every alarm call seriously and assume there is a real emergency. In almost every case, though, our officers discover a false alarm that was caused by accident or error,” said Captain Greg Lineberry. “Charging a fee for false alarm responses is a proven way to reduce false alarms. This new program will help ensure that officers are available to patrol our neighborhoods and respond to emergencies.”
Cities implementing similar false alarm reduction strategies have seen the number of false alarms reduced by as much as 70%.
The City of Everett revised its alarm ordinance in 2019 to create the False Alarm Reductions Program. Everett Municipal Code 9.10, available at www.everettwa.gov/FalseAlarms, requires charging a false alarm response fee to businesses and residences for every false alarm response. The fee for false alarms will be $100 for audible alarms, such as those common in most alarmed residences; and $200 for panic alarms, holdup alarms, and silent alarms.
For monitored alarms that are reported by a private company, the false alarm fee will be charged to the alarm monitoring company who may charge the false alarm fee back to the alarm user. If there is no alarm monitoring company, the fee is directly charged to the alarm user.
While there is no requirement that alarm users register their alarm systems, alarm monitoring companies are required to obtain a special city license and provide a list of Everett properties where they have installed alarm systems.
Management and administration of the false alarm program will be done in partnership with Central Square Technologies who will provide false alarm notifications, billing, collection services, and alarm monitoring company licenses for the City of Everett. Central Square Technologies provides customer service support at 866-683-0824 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
For additional information, see the Everett Police Department False Alarm Reduction Program webpage at www.everettwa.gov/FalseAlarms. Police incident and case information, including alarm response data, is available at the City of Everett Open Data project website at https://data.everettwa.gov under the “Safe Community” focus area.
News Releases are located at: www.everettwa.gov/EPDNews.