Milwaukee Chief Touts Burglar Alarm Policy Change


Nearly six months after becoming one of a handful of big-city police departments to stop responding to all burglar alarms, Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty has declared her controversial verification-first policy a success, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Hegerty credited the change with an improved police response time to serious offenses. The burglar alarm industry said the policy has led to a huge increase in break-ins at the homes of alarm customers.

Hegarty has asked the city’s aldermen to impose a requirement that all companies respond to their own alarms with a trained security staff, which could increase the cost for all alarm owners. In light of the new policy, which has cut the false alarm rate of 96 percent, many firms have allowed customers to check on their own homes and businesses. Hegerty said that is dangerous and should be prohibited with a new ordinance. “I think it’s inappropriate for a homeowner or business owner to verify their own alarm,” said Hegerty, adding it should fall to the company “to respond to alarms they have installed.” She offered these six-month statistics: 5,331 police hours saved, leading to a 3 minute, 57 second improved response time for serious police calls.


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