The City of Everett recently revised a local ordinance designed to reduce false alarm calls. Through the ordinance, the Everett Police Department has implemented a new “False Alarm Reduction Program” that charges a fee to alarm security providers for false alarm responses. On average, the department receives almost 4,900 alarm calls a year, of which 90% are false or unfounded. Since September 1st, Everett Police began charging false alarm response fees as these types of calls 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 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.