False Alarms Put Drain On Police Manpower

For years,  John Roberts' alarm system would activate for no reason. Alarm company owners say false alarms are mainly caused by user error and incorrect installation. Roberts' new alarm company found that to be the case with Roberts' alarm.

"I went through every inch of wiring in this house and found numerous places where they had just twisted the wire together and did not lock 'em in with a connector and that's a problem too," says alarm company owner John Stachura.

Most of the false alarms come from homes but Stachura says they can be verified before ever reaching the police department.

"Where you call the customer or the alarm monitoring company calls the customer, asks for a psssword. If that customer gives a password, that can cancel the alarm there," he says.

Stachura's company also gives alarm owners a few seconds to punch their code in the keypad to cancel the alarm. Law enforcers say not enough people do that, forcing officers to respond.

"It cost manhours, it cost the taxpayers money. We ask the public to be more diligent when they set their alarms, check the alarms, have their alarm companies come back and check 'em to make sure that there's not faulty problems with the alarms," says Harrison County Sheriff George Payne.

Biloxi Police Spokesperson Jackie Rhodes says, "We respond to alarms each shift on a daily basis and the vast majority of them are false alarms. I can't recall an alarm that we responded to recently thht was anything but a false alarm."

Gulfport and Biloxi have ordinances that subject the owner to fines if a certain number of false alarms are reported. The sheriff says with all the growth in the county, he's considering asking the county supervisors to pass a similar law.

We checked with a couple of law enforcement agencies about their false alarm calls. Last year, Harrison County had 421 out of 437 calls. And in Long Beach 1,099 of the more than 1,100 calls were false.