False alarms draining city resources - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

False alarms draining city resources

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CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Police have to respond to every alarm call. The numbers though, show it's rarely the real deal.

When the alarm sounds, cops put it on the priority list.

"Life and property, life first. Property second, said Lt. Chris D ill of the Clinton Police Department. "If there's nothing else going on, it is priority."

Clinton is joining a long list of cities taking a closer look at the frequency of those calls.

"A very very small percentage of the calls were actual break-ins," explained Dill.

From January 1 to September 17th of this year, Clinton Police got more than 1,600 alarm calls. Just eight of those were valid.

"It's an officer safety issue too," said Dill. "When you respond to that many calls that are false, officers tend to sometimes let their guard down. Most of the time they don't but you can get complacent always going to that call that's false."

It's an issue across the state. Some cities even have a fine system in place. After a certain number of false alarms, you pay up.

The fines range from $25-$100. Some places, it goes even higher. Clinton hasn't gone that far. But figures it does drain resources.

"Using that manpower to go to those calls and away from the area they're patrolling. so, gas and time, it adds up," said Lt. Dill.

You can steer clear of becoming "the boy who cried wolf" by following some simple tips. When you're entering and exiting, make sure you're aware of the alarm settings. Some household items can also be the culprit of false alarms.

"When the ceiling fan or air conditioner comes on, motion detectors catch that and set it off," said Dill.

Dogs and cats walking around can easily set off a censor while you're away. The same can be true of loose doors or windows in bad weather.

Police and security experts also advise you to get your alarm system tested regularly.

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