Under a new law passed by the Dallas City Council, police no longer will respond to commercial burglar alarms, says the Dallas Observer. That makes Dallas the largest metropolitan area in the nation to adopt the so-called “verified response” policy. The law, designed to combat a 97 percent false-alarm rate, says that the alarm companies must use private security guards to verify that a burglar–as opposed to, say, a clumsy cat or frisky squirrel–tripped the alarm before police will respond. The law will affect thousands of owners of small and big businesses alike.
The idea for the law came from something called the Commission on Productivity and Innovation. “We knew the alarm industry was going to make it an emotional issue, and the people needed to know why this was a good thing to do,” says chairman Larry Davis. “We were told by the cities that successfully approached it we would have to get the message out. The alarm industry is not going to tell people the 10 to 15 advantages of going verified response.” David Marguiles, who represents alarm industry clients, argued against verified response before the council. Dallas residents overwhelmingly spoke out against it as well. Davis helped get $15,000 to pay for a campaign for the measure. Two security-related firms that could stand to gain by the law’s outsourcing of calls to private security personnel, chipped in $3,500.