The decision by Fremont, Ca., police three years ago to quit responding to burglar alarms rankles Junior Moosayar, who stood inside his car accessories shop recently and described a medley of shiny stereos, rims and grilles as a “criminal’s dream,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Moosayar’s unease led him to fortify his ceiling with metal rails and put up 16 cameras that he can monitor online. He pays guards to show up when his alarm trips. He responds as well, armed. He admits that every time his alarm has gone off since 2005, no one was actually burglarizing his store.
Police Chief Craig Steckler says the first three years of “verified response” have gone well, saving the city more than $600,000 a year. He says arrests are up across the board. Taxpayers without alarms no longer subsidize the 20 percent with alarms. “The alarm industry claimed people were going to get raped and murdered, but none of it happened,” said Steckler, the top cop for 16 years in the Bay Area’s fourth most populous city. “The only unfortunate thing is it got advertised around the world that Fremont doesn’t respond to burglar alarms.” Alarm industry officials and some residents say criminals have taken advantage. The cite a rising number of burglaries as a reason no other Bay Area cities have followed Fremont and the few dozen other cities around the U.S. that have adopted verified response. In the three years before the change, Fremont averaged 1,009 burglaries annually. From 2005 to 2007, the city averaged 1,210 – a 20 percent bump.